The US’s prospect of establishing a military base in Ghana proves its firm control of this thriving African country. This firm control of US is also strongly apparent in Ghana’s economic policy. Endowed with an abundant supply of natural resources, Ghana has long been under US economic and social influence through international organizations such as the World Bank, International Monetary Fund, and World Trade Organization.
It is important to note here that IMF-WB and WTO work, in the final analysis, for the benefit of those who control them which are no other than the US and other First World countries. The policies advanced by IMF-WB and WTO that Ghana faithfully adopts put the country in an inequitable relationship with the US and other powerful nations.
One clear policy is the Structural Adjustments Programs (SAPs) which contain various conditionalities like the privatization of local industries, the reductions in tariffs and trade barriers, the curtailing of agrarian reform, and the liberalization of local economies.
A manifestation that the SAPs are at work in Ghana can be seen through the country’s export-oriented and import-dependent economy. What does this mean? Ghana’s economy is export-oriented because its natural resources, particularly its rich agricultural resources, are taken outside the country and appropriated by the more powerful nations who control it.
That is why even though Ghana is rich in agricultural resources, majority of its people experience hunger because: 1) they are not the ones who benefit from what their land offers 2) the country is not yet industrialized to support a viable agricultural production process.
The US, being a highly industrialized country, makes use of the natural resources it has taken from Ghana and processes these resources. The US requires less labor force in processing the natural resources it has taken from third world countries precisely because it has high-tech machines to do the work faster and more efficient.
After the processing of the natural resources, Third World countries dependent on US (thanks to IMF-WB and WTO) import them. The tragic irony here is that Third World countries buy and import goods that are essentially theirs.
1. “Structural adjustment” 25 July 2007. Wikipedia, the Free Encyclopedia. Wikimedia Foundation. 12 August 2007. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Structural_adjustment_programs>