Ghana's Mahama vows high growth, low inflation if elected

ACCRA Thu Oct 18, 2012 4:24pm EDT

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ACCRA (Reuters) - Ghana President John Dramani Mahama said he would aim to oversee annual economic growth of at least 8 percent while keeping consumer prices in check in the West African State, if he wins elections in December.

Mahama became interim leader of the oil, cocoa, and gold producer nation after the death of late president John Atta Mills in July and is expected to face a tough election contest against the country's opposition.

"Our macroeconomic goals for the next four years are an average GDP growth rate of not less than eight percent per annum, a sustained rate of single digit inflation, low interest rates, an overall budget deficit of approximately five percent of GDP, and gross international reserves of not less than four months import cover," Mahama said.

He was speaking at a meeting organized by the Accra-based Institute of Economic Affairs, a political think tank.

"Overall, our economic policies will aim at the attainment of a per capital income of at least $2,300 by the year 2017," he said adding that the country would achieve these goals by carefully managing resource revenues.

Ghana's annual inflation rate dipped to 9.4 percent in September from 9.5 percent a month before, leading analysts to predict the central bank will hold its prime interest rate steady at 15 percent until at least the end of the year.

Mahama will face main opposition rival Nana Akufo-Addo and former first lady Konadu Agyeman-Rawlings in December 2 elections in Ghana, which is keen to maintain its reputation as one of Africa's most stable and investor-friendly countries.

Akufo-Addo lost narrowly to Mills in 2008 elections, and may seek to challenge the ruling party on what some Ghanaians perceive to be slower-than-expected development on the back of the country's oil wealth.

Ghana started producing from its offshore Jubilee oil field in 2010, but production rates have fallen short of projections due to technical problems, according to field operator Tullow.

(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Editing by Richard Valdmanis; Editing by Michael Roddy)

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