• Any Words
    All Words

Gold in Ghana: A Story of Unbalanced Exchange

Gold in Ghana: A Story of Unbalanced Exchange

PERI researcher Leonce Ndikumana and William Godfred Cantah present the historical and institutional context of the development of the gold sector in Ghana. This sets the stage for examining the contribution of the sector to the economy and its exposure to capital flight. The analysis sheds light on the important role that the regulatory framework and the fiscal regime that govern the gold sector have played in perpetuating a system of unequal distribution of gains from gold exploitation in terms of tax revenue and foreign exchange earnings in favor of foreign gold companies.

Abstract

This paper presents the historical and institutional context of the development of the gold sector in Ghana, which sets the stage for examining the contribution of the sector to the economy and its exposure to capital flight. The analysis sheds light on the important role that the regulatory framework and the fiscal regime that govern the gold sector have played in perpetuating a system of unequal distribution of gains from gold exploitation in terms of tax revenue and foreign exchange earnings in favour of foreign gold companies. The statistical analysis of gold export statistics reveals substantial discrepancies between Ghana’s gold exports and the recorded value of imports by its trading partners. These differences point to export underinvoicing as a conduit of capital flight, while also exhibiting a systematic lack of transparency and inconsistencies vis-a-vis established international conventions governing the recording of trade transactions, especially in the case of gold destined for South Africa which does not show up in the latter’s import statistics. Overall, the analysis suggests that the gains from the gold sector remain much below potential, but that at the same time there may be room for reforms that can improve the benefits from gold exploitation for the country.


This paper is a product of a research project funded by a grant from the 2021 Andrew Carnegie Fellowship from Carnegie Corporation of New York, which is very much appreciated by the Principal Investigator (Léonce Ndikumana). The project examines domestic and global drivers of capital flight from Africa focusing on natural-resource rich countries using Cameroon, Ghana, and Zambia as case studies. Other working papers under the project can be found here: https://peri.umass.edu/research-areas/african-development-policy

umass seal

This is an official web page
of the University of Massachusetts.

Political Economy Research Institute

Gordon Hall, 418 N. Pleasant St., Suite A

Amherst, MA 01002
Tel: 413-545-6355 Fax: 413-577-0261
Contact: