Around the world, fuel and food prices are on the rise. These increased prices are causing a lot of problems for people in West African countries, such as the nation of Ghana.
This article is the first of a series of columns focused on opinions on current events in Ghana. I hope to analyze some of the issues facing Ghanaians and apply them to problems plaguing other people around the world.
In Ghana, food and fuel price inflation has led to a higher cost of living, while many wages in the country have remained stagnant.
Prior to coming back to Ghana, after being in the US for nearly a year, I was told by many of my friends that prices had gone up significantly. My suspicions where confirmed when I arrived in the country.
I saw first hand that nearly every good’s price had increased by 5, 10 or even 15 Pesawas, a Ghanaian coin equal to roughly 70% of a U.S. penny.
A key factor for this rapid inflation is the Ghanaian discontinuation of the 1 Pesawa coin. For this reason, the lowest coin in Ghana’s currency is now 5 Pesawas, which means that prices cannot be raised by only a few cents.
Rather, they go up in increments of five. This raises prices quickly and further reduces the purchasing power. Ghanaians face high prices wherever they go.
Tro-tros, mini-buses that serve as the primary means of transport in Ghana, have raised their fares by nearly 30%, which makes getting to work and school more costly.
When Ghanaians go to the market or grocery store to purchase food, they face prices that have increased by as much as 40%. Even the price of a sachet, a plastic bag full of water, has doubled from 5 to 10 Pesawas, approximately 3 cents to 6 cents.
To many Americans, these prices may seem trivial. However, in a country where the majority of its citizens must survive on less than $2 a day, the increase in prices mean that many Ghanaians will have to survive with nearly half of the purchasing power then they previously had.
With less purchasing power, the rising prices have resulted in a lower demand for products and services, weakening various industries. It also leaves many Ghanaians without the necessary funds to support their family and these problems are further worsened by the ever-rising unemployment rates.
Clearly, the rising food and fuel prices are a major global issue that must be recognized by legislatures around the world.
Ghana is just one of many countries facing rising prices, high unemployment and low wages. Yet, by exploring Ghana’s situation we can gain a better understanding of the real effects of a global depression and food crisis.