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Ghana Belgium

Ghana Belgium

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Published by alexiazj
A Development Case Study on Ghana and Belgium
A Development Case Study on Ghana and Belgium

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Published by: alexiazj on Apr 04, 2009
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Jablonski & Venugopal What’s Belgium Ghana do?
Issues regarding development: A comparative study of Belgium and Ghana
While some countries enjoy a high level of economic wealth and superior livingstandards, many others do not have the same level of economic development. To analyzethis disparity, two countries will be examined: Belgium, a powerful MEDC in WesternEurope with an HDI of 0.946 (13
in the world), and one of the wealthiest LEDCs inAfrica, Ghana, which has an HDI of 0.553 (135
in the world) (UNDP, 2008). This casestudy will evaluate the economic wealth, trade and debt, education, health care, equalityand environmental status in both countries.In general, the GDP reflects the economic wealth of the country. This is evidentlytrue for Belgium, which has a real GDP per capita of $36,500, and for Ghana, where theaverage inhabitant has a much lower income of $1,400 (CIA, 2008). With more moneyto spend, Belgians can afford a better quality of life than their Ghanaian counterparts,with the ability to cover all their basic needs such as clothing and shelter, and to indulgein certain luxuries such as world-famous Belgian chocolates. In Ghana, such materialamenities are simply unaffordable. Often, adequate shelter is inaccessible, especially for many rural to urban migrants who live in shanty settlements (Levy, 1999). Belgium’shigher GDP and relative economic prosperity is due to several factors, one of them beingthe diversity of its industries: the production of engineering and metal products,transportation equipment, scientific instruments, and processed food and beverages areonly some of its many industries (CIA, 2008). With a diverse economy, it is lessvulnerable to the fluctuations in prices on the world market. Despite this diversity, someof Belgium’s industries – particularly heavy industries – are stagnating due to decline in1
Jablonski & Venugopal What’s Belgium Ghana do?demand (Elliot & Pateman, 2006). Ghana, on the other hand, has less diversity in itsindustries: mining, lumbering, cement and light manufacturing are its main industries(CIA, 2008). Another important factor to consider is the composition of each country’sworkforce. Belgium is more industrialized with an urban population: 73 percent of thelabor force works in services, 25 percent in industry and only 2 percent in agriculture(CIA, 2008). Ghana’s population is still mostly rural, meaning that its economy isagriculturally based: 56 percent of the workforce is in agriculture, 15 percent is inindustry and 29 percent is in services (CIA, 2008). Therefore, Ghana relies onsubsistence farming, which brings in few profits compared to services and industry.Belgium has few natural resources, so it imports large quantities of primary products and exports secondary (manufactured) products (Elliot & Pateman, 2006).Inversely, resource-rich Ghana exports many raw materials, such as cocoa and gold, andimports manufactured goods and food. Interestingly, 5.2 percent of Ghana’s exports go toBelgium, and 4.7 percent of its imports come from Belgium (CIA, 2008). Thisdependence on trade is problematic since both countries’ economies could be negativelyaffected by international events. Both Belgium and Ghana have serious debt: the former has 86.1 percent of its GDP as public debt, and the latter owes $3.387 billion in externaldebt (CIA, 2008). Belgium’s debt comes largely from the costs of its generous services.Consequently, the government has imposed high taxes, which has resulted in high rates of tax evasion (Elliot & Pateman, 2006). Ghana is in debt towards the IMF and MEDCs because of previous international loans to finance projects, which in the long term failedto meet expectations (Levy, 1999). Since much of the governments income goes2
Jablonski & Venugopal What’s Belgium Ghana do?towards paying off the debt, it has less money to spend on services, which has greatlyhampered the standards of living of the population. Ghana’s receives about one billiondollars in aid every year, which accounts for 10 percent of its GDP. As helpful as thismoney has been in reducing debt, it makes Ghana dependent on foreign nations without providing a long-term solution to the economic deficit (BBC, 2006). Belgium provides$1.978 billion in aid to foreign countries every year, which only adds to its economicdeficit (CIA, 2008).Education is a significant factor of economic development; a more thoroughlyeducated population is able to pursue higher-level employment, and thus to stimulate theeconomy. With an adult literacy rate of 99 percent, the majority of Belgians are welleducated. Ghana’s lower rate of 57.9 percent indicates that a large percentage of itsinhabitants do not receive the education necessary to prosper economically (CIA, 2008).The level of education received by the population can be traced back to primaryschooling. Elementary schooling is free and mandatory in Belgium and Ghana betweenthe ages of 6 and 12 (Levy, 1999). However, Belgium’s education system is superior toGhana’s, with better facilities and more qualified teachers, as well as kindergarteneducation for children aged 3 to 6 (Elliot & Pateman, 2006). The greatest difference ineducation begins in secondary schools. In Belgium, schooling is paid by the governmentand mandatory until the age of eighteen. High schools are specialized, so that studentscan take more courses in the areas in which they show the most proficiency (Elliot &Pateman, 2006). This has the benefit of making students ready for specific careers in thefuture. In Ghana, high school education is optional and it costs a fee. Since school fees3

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