(Adds details, quote, background)
ACCRA Feb 21 Ghana will target minimum GDP
growth of 8 percent over each of the next four years, President
John Dramani Mahama said on Thursday in his first state of the
nation address since his election in December.
The cocoa, gold and oil exporting West African country has
recorded two and half decades of uninterrupted economic
expansion, culminating in estimated growth of 14.4 percent last
year. It is now one of the world's fastest growing economies.
"My vision in this first term ... is to work to sustain
economic growth rates at a minimum of 8 percent in line with our
goal of moving our country from a lower-middle income status to
the full middle income bracket," he said.
While analysts predict the expansion of its new oil and gas
production will likely guarantee healthy growth over the next
several years, Ghana has struggled to bolster its weak cedi
currency, combat inflation and control budget deficits.
Last year's deficit ballooned to 12.1 percent, nearly double
a government target, leading the rating agency Fitch to
downgrade the country's economic outlook from stable to
The government cut fuel subsidies, which last year totalled
about one billion cedis ($526 million), on Sunday, as one of its
measures to curb spending.
(Reporting by Kwasi Kpodo; Writing by Joe Bavier; editing by