Ghana Falls Into IMF Trap
Junious Ricardo Stanton
“The Ghana government was elated and most Ghanaians were happy when the International Monetary Fund (IMF), gave Ghana a $1 billion loan to help prop up the country’s budget. But little was heard in the euphoria about the full implications of the conditionality attached to the loan. The IMF has suggested that Ghana should tighten monetary policy to reduce inflation which has been pushed up by high cost of food, strong domestic demand and a currency depreciation.” http://ghanabusinessnews.com/2009/07/18/
The International Monetary Fund announced a one billion dollar “loan” to Ghana in anticipation of the country’s Jubilee offshore oil field production coming online in 2010. The field is expected to make oil one of Ghana’s most if not the most important export. The oilfield is now estimated as being much larger than originally expected. “The JUBILEE oilfield, already described by Tullow Oil, the operator, as a world-class reservoir and under development for start-up in October next year, has been shown to be larger than expected. Results last month from two ‘bold step-out’ wells, one in Kosmos' licence and one in Tullow's, have shown extensions to the southeast and to the northwest, while also confirming the excellent production characteristics of the reservoir. The Mahogany-3 appraisal well in Kosmos' West Cape Three Points licence – but drilled by Tullow as overall operator for the field – found the hoped-for oil column in the Jubilee reservoir, but also found light crude in a deeper target. The Jubilee reservoir was thicker than expected, at 16 metres, ‘confirming a significant extension to the southeast’, says Tullow. The lower zone found 17 metres of reservoir sandstones holding crude of 35°API, opening up further potential.” Ghana: 'World-class' Jubilee oilfield larger than expected www.petroleum-economist.com/
While the idea of future revenues bodes well for Ghana, there are rumors that Kosmos Energy is seeking to sell its’ license. “Texas based oil and gas exploration company, Kosmos Energy is keeping silent over news regarding the sale of its stake in the Jubilee field in the West Cape Three Points Block in Ghana. News first broke in February this year saying the oil company had appointed advisers to handle the sale of its two blocks that span the Jubilee oil field in Ghana. The reports said the field was estimated to fetch $3 billion. Quoting an unidentified source, the reports listed a number of companies that were showing interest in the offer; these are Chevron Corp., ExxonMobil Corp., Italy’s Eni SpA, India’s Oil & Natural Gas Corp., and China National Offshore Oil Company (CNOOC) Ltd. But officials of the company denied the reports claiming it was false.” http// ghanabusinessnews.com This has set off a scramble to buy/secure Kosmos Energy’s stake in the project. “ACCRA, Ghana, July 8 (UPI) -- Ghana is courting international investors to bid on a stake in the Jubilee offshore oil field as the U.S.-funded Kosmos equity firm goes on the auction block. U.S. private-equity corporations Warburg Pincus and Blackstone, the backers of Kosmos, hold a 31 percent stake in one of the license areas for the offshore Jubilee field. Ghana is soliciting bids through next week from bidders ranging from Royal Dutch Shell to the China National Offshore Oil Corp.; Ghana's National Petroleum Corp., meanwhile, has emerged to express its own interest in Kosmos. The deal, estimated at anywhere between $3 billion and $6 billion, would give the winner access to one of the richest oil fields in Africa with potential reserves eclipsing 1.8 billion barrels.” Ghana seeks bidders on Jubilee oil field www.upi.com/Energy_Resources/2009/07/08/
You can bet your bottom dollar the US elites are getting nervous because the Chinese are rumored to be interested in buying Kosmos Energy’s license in an offshore oil reserve that is now being touted as much larger than originally expected. Small wonder the IMF stepped in to offer Ghana a billion dollar loan. In fact I wouldn’t be surprised if Obama’s recent visit to Ghana had everything to do with pressuring the Ghanaian government up to accept the IMF deal. Sadly Barack Obama "the candidate of change" is what our African brethren call a coconut, brown on the outside but white on the inside. He is actually the stalking horse for Wall Street, big oil , big pharma, and the military industrial complex. In other words he is a shill, a front man, the smiling buck dancing Negro for white corporate interests. If the usual pattern holds true this will be the beginning of a downward spiral for what’s left of Ghana’s sovereignty.
The IMF is in essence a global loan shark agency for the West. But the IMF makes the Mafia look like boy scouts. They come into a country offer a loan that contains small print which says the IMF will dictate domestic policy and eventually gain control over the country’s financial system, their infrastructure and natural resources. The countries usually have difficulty paying back the loans mainly because of collusion and manipulation of the prices of the country’s cash crops on the global markets where they cannot compete with the subsidies the West pays its farmers nor the price rigging the West engages in. The IMF also places onerous conditions on the loans: prioritizing their policy decisions in favor of Western interests, forcing them to spend money on Western arms or technology and dictating the country’s domestic policy. Already the IMF is telling Ghana what to do: rethink pay raises for civil servants, reexamine taxes policies and raise interest rates. “The IMF has already identified areas of improvement, such as being more ‘cautious’ with civil servant pay increases and doing away with some excise and tax exemptions, Allum said. Ghana will also have to implement ‘quite large’ electricity tariff increases, he added. The West African nation’s budget deficit was 2.8 percent during the first five months of the year. Most ministries have had their budgets cut to between 50 percent and 60 percent of the funds they requested because the ‘fiscal imbalance was so big so we had no other option,’ Duffuor said in June.” http://ghanabusinessnews.com/2009/07/17 .
We don’t need a crystal ball to tell where this is headed. Ghana has been relatively stable but the discovery of oil off its coast a few years ago is certain to bring mischief and problems when the Western oil companies and their muscle in the form of the IMF and US military come into the picture. The fact China and India are interested in the Jubilee field give the Western imperialists added incentive to do their dirty work. The IMF could care less about a countries stability, instability is what they really want; they want them to fail. If they don’t fail due to the IMF imposed “structural adjustments”, the IMF puts the squeeze on them to get what they want by bribing their leaders. It’s the same play-book the corporation use here in the US, bribe or white-mail all three branches of government so they do their bidding. If that doesn’t work they assassinate or topple the country’s leaders. If per chance that doesn’t work they call in the CIA MI6 and Mossad to covertly destabilize the country. If that doesn’t work they invent some pretext for a full military invasion to gain access to and pillage their natural resources and infrastructure.
Mark my words, Ghana will be no different. What we will see in the not too distant future is oil production increasing, internal strife escalating even where none previously existed and the country will be rife with increased corruption, poverty and political bedlam. Like Nigeria and Angola, Ghana could soon devolve into a state of antagonistic infighting sub-groups which will be instigated, armed and funded by the West. I hate to be the barer of discouraging predictions. I’m like the title of Charles Barkley’s book, I could be wrong, but I doubt it.