Ghana battles rising inflation
Similar outcries echo in other countries
Trucks loaded with yams and other imported food items lined the outside of a busy wholesale market in Accra, Ghana.
Abass Caesar, an onion seller in the market, is seeing the number of buyers decline as the prices of goods rise. He usually sells 50 bags of onions in about two weeks. “Now, it will be there for almost one month,” he recently told TV3 Ghana.
Ghana is in the midst of an economic recession as the cost of living and inflation rates rise. Street protests and union actions echo similar outcries for stronger government responses in other countries.
Ghana’s inflation rate rose to 40.4 percent this month. The cedi, the country’s currency, has lost 45 percent of its value against the U.S. dollar this year, making it the world’s worst-performing currency. Ghana now has the highest food prices in the region. The costs of fuel, cooking gas, and other items have also risen.
Francis Fynn, a 53-year-old businessman, heeded the call when the Union of Traders Association in Ghana asked its members to lock down their shops in protest. Fynn told Reuters the country’s worsening exchange rate has made it difficult for him to buy books and supplies for his family’s stationery store.
“It’s because of this dollar situation that we closed the shop,” he said. “Day in, day out, the dollar is going up now. It’s too much for us.”
Ghana’s government blamed the COVID-19 pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war, but opponents point to corruption and economic mismanagement. In a national address last month, Ghanaian President Nana Akufo-Addo said he can’t recall another moment in history when “malevolent forces have come together at the same time.” He pledged to resolve the crisis and fix other long-term structural problems. Ghana is in talks with the International Monetary Fund to secure a bailout.
The pandemic and ongoing conflict in Ukraine have sparked similar demands for government solutions in other countries. On Monday evening, healthcare workers in Buenos Aires, Argentina, held candles as they marched and called for better salaries and improved working conditions. The country’s inflation rate hit 88 percent this week. In Bulgaria, thousands of workers crowded the streets of Sofia, demanding salary increases to cushion the effect of rising inflation.
MOZAMBIQUE: The southern African nation shipped its first export of liquefied natural gas on Sunday. Mozambique first discovered natural gas deposits in 2010 in the northern Cabo Delgado province, where an offshore plant run by the Italian energy firm Eni now produces LNG. BP, a British gas and oil company, said it has a “long-term agreement to purchase 100 percent of LNG output from [Mozambique’s] facility, which has the capacity to produce up to 3.4 tonnes of LNG per year.” Mozambique’s LNG supply could help Europe curb its reliance on Russian gas. But Cabo Delgado province is at the center of a five-year Islamist insurgency that has killed more than 4,000 people.
HONG KONG: Pro-Beijing officials are seeking further investigations into the anthem mix-up at the Asia Rugby Sevens Series final on Sunday in Incheon, South Korea. Instead of the Chinese national anthem for the Hong Kong team, organizers played “Glory to Hong Kong,” the unofficial anthem of the city’s 2019 pro-democracy protests. The song is banned in Hong Kong. When the Korea Rugby Union, which hosted Sunday’s game, did not receive an audio file for the Hong Kong team, a staffer downloaded the song from YouTube. It was “pure human error,” said Asia Rugby’s interim CEO Benjamin van Rooyen. The person who played the song “has no understanding of the politics of the world,” he added. Asia Rugby and the Korea Rugby Union have apologized to the Hong Kong Rugby Union, and the Hong Kong and Chinese governments.
AFGHANISTAN: Supreme leader Haibatullah Akhundzada has ordered judges to fully enforce Islamic Shariah law—including punishments of public executions, stonings, floggings, and amputations, Taliban spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid tweeted on Sunday. Akhundzada told judges to “carefully examine the files of thieves, kidnappers, and seditionists” and to implement hudud and qisas in cases where all the legal conditions have been met. Hudud is a form of law that applies to crimes with mandated punishment, while qisas refers to retaliation in kind, for example, taking a murderer’s life. Since the Taliban returned to power in 2021, videos and photos of Taliban fighters flogging suspects have circulated on social media, reported The Guardian.
CANADA: A multipartisan group of parliamentarians agreed on Monday to investigate claims that China has interfered in the country’s national elections. Earlier this month, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said state actors were playing “aggressive games” with Canadian institutions and democracy. His remarks followed a Global News report that Beijing allegedly funded a “clandestine network of at least 11 federal candidates running in the 2019 election.” China’s other alleged efforts include placing agents in lawmakers’ offices to influence policy and aiming to “co-opt and corrupt” former Canadian officials to gain political power. The tension between Ottawa and Beijing has risen as Canadian authorities investigate three covert Chinese police stations in the greater Toronto area. Chinese leader Xi Jinping recently confronted Trudeau about leaking information to the press from their closed-door meeting.
DEMOCRATIC REPUBLIC OF CONGO: As clashes intensify between the Congolese army and M23—a resurgent rebel group made up of mostly Congolese Tutsis—thousands of residents have been displaced in the restive eastern region. Claiming to defend the interests of ethnic Tutsis living in Congo, M23 has expanded territorial control as it advances toward the city of Goma, a commercial hub of 1 million people on the border with Rwanda. Congo has accused Rwanda of backing M23, an allegation Rwandan officials have denied. But an unpublished report for the United Nations points to Rwandan involvement, Agence France-Presse reported. Many Congolese are joining the army to fight against the M23 rebels.
KUWAIT: Despite calls for clemency from the European Union and Amnesty International, Kuwait executed seven people on Wednesday. The rare mass execution of three Kuwaiti men, one Kuwaiti woman, one Syrian man, one Pakistani man, and one Ethiopian woman took place at the Central Prison. The seven were convicted of murder and other crimes. The executions will have consequences for the European Parliament’s vote on the proposal to lift visa requirements for Kuwaitis traveling to Europe, said Margaritis Schinas, a European Commission official. Kuwait’s last execution was in 2017, when seven prisoners were hanged.
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