ACCRA (Reuters) – Thousands took to the streets of Ghana’s capital Accra on Tuesday demanding the central bank governor be removed for what they say is the mismanagement of the economy during the worst debt crisis in a generation.
The demonstrations are the latest show of frustration with rising living costs, joblessness and hardship in one of West Africa’s largest economies. Similar multi-day protests gripped the capital last month.
The crowd marched to the central bank’s head office under the watch of riot police, blaring reggae from speakers and calling for bank governor Ernest Addison and his two deputies to resign. Many were dressed in red and black, colours typically worn at funerals.
“We want Addison out because he has shown us that he is not able to manage the Bank of Ghana,” said Emmanuel Quarcoo, 29, who is unemployed.
“How can a whole Bank of Ghana go into loss. What are they selling?” he asked.
Ghana’s central bank in July posted a record loss of 60.8 billion cedi ($5.3 billion) for 2022, mostly due to debt restructuring.
Ghana, which produces gold, oil and cocoa, has sealed a deal with the International Monetary Fund for a $3 billion, three-year loan programme to help redress the situation. Debt restructuring is one of the conditions to obtain those funds.
Addison, who has been in the post since 2017 and whose tenure runs for another two years, said last month that improved economic indicators would soon lead to higher incomes and purchasing power.
But a stabler exchange rate, lower inflation and more robust growth have not yet helped those struggling to make ends meet.
“I joined the march today because the cost of living is high. No one is buying our wares and our children are suffering because we have no money to feed them,” said 45-year-old trader Happy Agbezudor.
(Reporting by Christian Akorlie and Maxwell Akalaare Adombila; Writing by Sofia Christensen, Editing by William Maclean)