June 22 (Bloomberg) -- Ghana’s economic growth accelerated to an annual 23 percent in the first quarter as the West African nation began producing oil for export, the country’s statistics agency said.
Growth compared with 9.5 percent in the fourth quarter, Grace Bediako, head of the Ghana Statistical Service, told reporters in the capital, Accra, today.
“The commencement of oil production will accelerate the growth momentum,” Yvonne Mhango, a sub-Saharan Africa economist at Renaissance Capital, said in an e-mailed note yesterday. “In addition to that we are likely to see an increase in activity in the industrial and construction sectors, the transportation sector, and financial and business services sector.”
Ghana began production of oil from its offshore Jubilee field in December. Output is about 70,000 barrels a day and may climb to 120,000 next month, according to the field’s operator, London-based Tullow Oil Plc. Growth may taper off in 2012 as the boost from oil settles, while remaining above the sub-Saharan Africa average of 5 percent, Mhango said.
The economy expanded 7.7 percent last year, up from 4 percent in 2009, the statistical agency said May 11.
Faster growth does not pose a threat to the Bank of Ghana’s monetary policy, Sampson Akligoh, an economist at Accra-based Databank Financial Services Ltd., said in an e-mailed note yesterday.
“Monetary policy has enough room to accommodate the growth target of 2011, especially with the ongoing disinflation process,” Akligoh said.
The inflation rate fell for a third month in May, reaching 8.9 percent, the statistical service said June 15. The central bank cut its key lending rate to 13 percent from 13.5 percent last month, after leaving it unchanged for three consecutive meetings.
--Editors: Emily Bowers, Philip Sanders
To contact the reporter on this story: Moses Mozart Dzawu in Accra at email@example.com.
To contact the editor responsible for this story: Antony Sguazzin at firstname.lastname@example.org.