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World Bank urges Ghana to focus on prudent fiscal management

The World Bank has echoed the call by the International Mo netary Fund (IMF) on Ghana to continue to focus on good fiscal management in ord e r not to erode the recent macro-economic strides.

Ms Obiageli K. Ezekwesili, World Bank Vice President for the Africa Region, who said this in a video press conference on Wednesday, noted that if increasing pub l ic debt was not checked it could reverse the economic gains so far chalked.

The International Monetary Fund (IMF), during a recent Mission in Ghana to asses s the economy, asked the Ghana Government to strive to reduce fiscal deficits an d its associated public borrowing to sustain and build on the favourable trends i n inflation and macro-economic stability.

The fiscal deficit in the first half of 2010 was 5.3 per cent of projected gross domestic product, slightly above the ceiling under government’s IMF-supported p r ogramme.

The video press conference, which saw about 30 African countries participating, was organized ahead of the Annual Meetings of the World Bank and the Internation a l Monetary Fund scheduled for October 8-10, 2010.

It focused on reforms under way at the World Bank and the need for a robust repl enishment of the International Development Association (IDA), the World Bank’s f u nd for the world’s 79 poorest countries.

The WB/IMF Annual Meetings bring together Finance Ministers of all member countr ies, central bankers, business leaders, academics and civil society to discuss e c onomic development and progress in the fight against poverty.

Ms Ezekwesili said Africa had rebounded from the financial crisis with growth pr ojected to reach 4.5 per cent in 2010 and thereafter hit five per cent and above

in 2011-12.

However, she said, the growth would not be sufficient to pull more people out of poverty if it was not backed by investment in infrastructure and improvement in

policy choices that ensure credible investment in the private sector.

Besides, she indicated that countries must draw on the lessons from the credible opportunities created for investment through reforms in sectors such as telecom m unications and financial services.

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