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Emerging Market: Ghana

January 1, 2015

 

Countries that have some of the characteristics of a developed market but not yet a developed market of their own are referred to as emerging markets. Markets can move between being developed and emerging based on their current status. The five major emerging national economies today are Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa, which are known by the acronym BRICS. The original report on this by Goldman Sachs in 2003 (which did not identify South Africa and used the acronym BRIC) speculated that by 2050 these four economies would be wealthier than most of the current major economic powers. Ghana is a country slightly smaller than Oregon on the west coast of Africa. A former British colony, now a democracy, it is considered on of the last corrupt of the African countries. Its economy is expected to maintain robust growth over the medium term due to improved oil and gas production, increased private-sector investment, improved public infrastructure development and sustained political stability. 

Much of Ghana consists of small villages, many of which are not accessible by roads. For the last 15 years Dick Kiphart, a Chicago investment banker, and his wife Susan have invested in drilling over 85 wells in these remote communities, bringing water to villages where formerly women and girls had to walk at least 3 hours a day to fetch water.

Another investment the Kipharts have in Ghana is a pineapple plantation managed by Dr. Joe Kwarteng, an expert in agronomy who teaches at the University of Cape Coast in Ghana. The plantation hires local people, mostly women, and pays them a living wage.

The Kipharts also built the Cape Deaf School. Throughout Ghana being deaf is considered a liability and deaf people are often shunned and have difficulties finding work. The school teaches basic literacy skills, farming and agronomy, and the arts through rhythmic dancing. Where before the deaf children who attend the school would have only been able to beg or rely on their families (some of whom believe that a deaf child is a punishment form God), they now have knowledge and tools to sustain themselves when they go out into the world.

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