Mano River Union

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Economic Growth Case Studies

One example of a country that experienced a rapid shift in economic growth during the 80s and again in the last 5 years was Ghana.


BACKGROUND: 1960-1988
  • In 1988, a chain of comprehensive reforms was initiated in Ghana. These reforms led to decades of transition from an interventionist financial sector policy regime to a liberalized one.
  • Between 1960 and 1985, deposit mobilization and credit allocation to various economic agents were not effective. Repressive financial policies in the form of interest rate ceilings discouraged savings culture and inhibited financial deepening while slowing the growth of the private investment.
  • At the time, banks were directed to channel credit to sectors of the economy deemed unproductive by combining a policy mix of interest rates and selective credit controls and ceilings.
  • By 1980, it had become clear that previous financial policies had failed to mobilize resources for economic growth and didn’t provide enough room for the financial system to grow.
  • The effect of those policies could be felt in performance indicators, such as the money supply that fell from 24% in 1977 to 12% in 1984. Deposit demands also fell from 11.6% to 4,6%, while savings and deposits went from 7.1% to 2.6%, and domestic credit plummeted from 38% to 15.6%. GDP growth also averaged at 3.04% between 1961 and 1970 and only 0.52% between 1971 and 1980.
  • In 1988, the Financial Sector Adjustment Program (FINSAP)was launched and implemented as part of efforts to liberalize and restructure the financial sector. Seven banks were restructured and their non-performing assets were eviscerated to restore the profit and viability of the banking system.
  • The program also launched initiatives such as right-price setting, structural reform initiation, privatization (to some degree), abolishing of directed credit and credit controls, improvements in the regulatory and supervisory framework, and development of money and capital markets.
  • In 2001, a successor program called FINSSP (Financial Sector Strategic Plan) was implemented, looking to consolidate gains made under the FINSAP and further deepen the sector with better financial service delivery.
  • Economic growth indicators showcase the effectiveness of the measures. GDP growth was 2.28% between 1981-1990 and kept on growing, reaching 8.01% in 2010.
  • GDP per capita also shows improvement, going from -1.76 in the period between 1971-1989 to -0.77 in 1981-1990 and 1.64 from 1991 to 2000, eventually reaching 5.5 in 2010.
  • The banking system also felt the positive impact, seeing a significant increase in the number of banks from 10 banks in 1988 with 405 branches to 27 banks with 696 branches in 2009 (with majority foreign investor ownership).
  • Total banking system assets also grew from 0.31% of GDP in 1993 to 0.66% in 2008. Asset concentration and quality, as well as financial deepening indicators and interest liberalization, have also shown improvements following the FINSAP and FINSSP.
  • Broad money supply to GDP ratio (M2+/GDP) rose from 16.50% between 1981 and 1990 to 31.5% (2001–2005) and 29.79% in 2010.
  • Some issues are still a cause of concern, such as non-performing loans and the fact that credit to private has outpaced credit to the public sector in the last decade. With an average of 3.12% (1981-1990), private sector credit stands at 15.71% in 2010.
  • Real interest rates and real savings rates did not immediately turn positive following FINSAP and FINSSP.
  • In 2011, Ghana attained middle-income country status. However, in 2010, the country experienced a reduction in GDP growth from 14.0% in 2010 to 4.0% in 2014 and an increase in inflation from 13.9% to 16.7% in the same period.
  • In 2017, the government announced new measures toward fiscal consolidation, including reforming expenditures, intentions to fund infrastructure development and policies to ensure fiscal discipline, further guaranteeing that public deficit will not stop the pursuit of growth.
  • Three years ago, the government took a loan from the IMF of $925.9 million. The deal, which ended in 2019, intended to restore debt sustainability and macroeconomic stability in the country with the purpose of foster a return to high growth and job creation while protecting social spending.
  • In 2019, the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) predicted that Ghana’s economy would grow again, at an 8.8% growth rate, which would make Ghana the fastest-growing economy in the world, after being in the 6th position in the previous year with a 5.6% growth rate.
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Funding Part 1, NGO & Internationally Funded Development Programs

NGOs or government-funded international development programs that have allocated and/or are currently allocating significant funds to countries in the Mano River Union include USAID's West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) Program, German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)'s Regional Resource Governance West Africa, African Development Bank Group's Mano River Union Road Development and Transport Facilitation Programme, World Bank Organization's Ebola Emergency Response Project, and International Union for Conservation of Nature's Mano River Union Ecosystem Conservation and International Water Resources Management (IWRM) Project.

1. USAID's West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) Program:

  • The program is designed to support activities to combat wildlife trafficking, increase coastal resilience to climate change, and reduce deforestation, forest degradation, and biodiversity loss in crucial transboundary forest and coastal landscapes in the MRU member states.
  • The goal is to improve conservation and climate-resilient, low-emission growth across West Africa.

Total Funding:


2. German Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ)'s Regional Resource Governance West Africa:

  • The framework conditions for the welfare-oriented use of mineral resources in the fragile states of West Africa, which have been shaped by the state, the private sector, and civil society, have improved.
  • The project's objective is for the MRU countries to organize extraction of their mineral resources more effectively, making them less reliant on foreign assistance in the future.

Total Funding:


3. African Development Bank Group's Mano River Union Road Development and Transport Facilitation Programme:

Total Funding:


4. World Bank's Ebola Emergency Response Project:

  • The project's objective is to make short-term contributions to the control the outbreak of the Ebola Virus Disease (EVD), ensure the availability of selected essential health services, and alleviate the socioeconomic impact of the disease in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone.

Total Funding:


5. International Union for Conservation of Nature's Mano River Union Ecosystem Conservation and International Water Resources Management (IWRM) Project:

  • On account of the expected impacts of climate change, the objective is to conserve, sustainably use and manage ecosystems, biodiversity, and natural resources globally.




The research team began by going through the list of government-funded international development programs to see if they were allocating funds for MRU countries and found that USAID and BMZ were the only organizations on the list that have allocated funds to MRU countries.

Then we look for a list of funding for MRU countries from reviews, blogs, and articles, but found no compiled list. So we searched for publications from websites of major donor-funded programmes that invite proposals from businesses (and other stakeholders) and award financial, technical and/or additional support on a competitive basis to facilitate inclusive business operations and investments in MRU countries and publications, as well as news and press releases of nonprofit organizations that have invested in MRU countries to complete the list of NGO & Internationally Funded Development Programs.

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Funding Part 2, Private Investments & Public Sector Contracts



  • Dikembe Mutombo is a Congolese-American former NBA basketball player who is well-known for his philanthropic efforts.
  • The investment is for the design, construction, financing, installation, ownership, and operation of 270 water purification and distribution systems in Liberia's rural communities. The investment's ultimate goal is to meet the clean water needs of Liberia's estimated one million inhabitants through the vending of affordably-priced purified water.


  • John Andrew Henry Forrest is an Australian businessman, philanthropist, and the former CEO and current non-executive chairman of Fortescue Metals Group (FMG). Mr. Forrest has a wide variety of business interests and a reported net worth of $6.84 billion.
  • This investment is for upgrading Liberia's railways and constructing new lines intended to run from the Guinea-Liberia border to a Liberian coastal port. FMG is spearheading the venture in concert with Sheikh Ahmed Dalmook Juma al Maktoum of the United Arab Emirates.


  • TLG Capital is a private investment firm that mainly focuses on business growth opportunities in Africa.
  • This investment is for launching two additional clinics in the capital city of Monrovia. The investment is also intended to increase Monrovia's annual healthcare capacity from the current level of 15,000 patients to over 50,000 patients.


  • Robert Martin Friedland is a Canadian businessman and entrepreneur.
  • This investment is for the development of the Nimba iron ore deposit located on the Guinea-Liberia border.


  • This investment is part of an agreement between Alliance Miniere Responsable (AMR) and SMB (a Franco-Asian consortium) for the exploitation of bauxite reserves in western Guinea.
  • Two French businessmen and major shareholders (e.g., former Areva CEO Anne Lauvergeon and French telecoms tycoon Xavier Niel) founded AMR. AMR has commenced its investment in Guinea.


  • Beny Steinmetz is an Israeli businessman with a portfolio in diamond-mining, engineering, and real estate.
  • This investment of roughly $50 million is for extending the Koidu mine's operating lifetime by converting it from an underground to open-pit setup. The mine has increased its annual production capacity to 400,000 carats, with the potential for that figure to increase to 650,000 carats.


  • Tony Onyemaechi Elumelu is a Nigerian investor and entrepreneur. Mr. Elumelu is also the chairman of Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa, Transcorp, and the founder of The Tony Elumelu Foundation.
  • This donation was made to support the victims of a mudslide in Sierra Leone. Additionally, the donation was intended to assist in recovery efforts and the construction of permanent settlements for those affected.


  • Barry Callebaut (a Switzerland-based company) is one of the world's largest cocoa producers and grinders.
  • This investment is for the opening of a cocoa grinding unit in Ivory Coast using a new processing unit that will increase the grinding capacity to 40,000 tons while doubling the annual volume of bean milling.


  • Aliko Dangote, reputably Africa's richest man, is the founder and chairman of Dangote Cement, Africa's largest cement producer.
  • This investment is for the construction of a cement plant projected to double the total capacity of local cement production in Ivory Coast. The plant is also expected to provide both direct and indirect jobs for over 3000 people in Ivory Coast and other West African countries.

From Part 02
  • "In a bid to further strengthen the working relationship between the Mano River Union (MRU) and the West Africa Biodiversity and Climate Change (WA BiCC) Program, the two organizations signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) in Freetown, Sierra Leone on February 20, 2019. The MOU was designed to support activities to combat wildlife trafficking; increase coastal resilience to climate change; and reduce deforestation, forest degradation, and biodiversity loss in key Transboundary Forest and Coastal Landscapes in the MRU Member States (Liberia, Sierra Leone, Guinea and Cote d’Ivoire). In the presence of Madam Nabeela Tunis, Sierra Leone’s Minister of Planning and Economic Development, the MOU was signed by Ambassador Medina Wesseh, Secretary General of MRU, and Mr. Stephen Kelleher, Chief of Party of WA BiCC, a program funded by the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) and implemented by Tetra Tech ARD."
  • "The Minister of Finance and Development Planning, Mr. Samuel D. Tweah on Wednesday, October 3, signed on behalf of the Government of Liberia the Loan and Grant Agreement with the African Development Bank (AfDB) totaling US$41.58 million for the second phase of the Mano River Union Road Development and Transport Facilitation Program."
  • "The World Bank Group’s (WBG) Board of Executive Directors today approved a US$105 million grant to finance Ebola-containment efforts underway in Guinea, Liberia, and Sierra Leone, help families and communities cope with the economic impact of the crisis, and rebuild and strengthen essential public health systems in the three worst-affected countries to guard against future disease outbreaks. The new grant is part of the US$200 million Ebola emergency mobilization first announced by the WBG in early August. "
From Part 03
  • "Championed by American retired professional basketball player, US billionaire Dikembe Mutombo, a memorandum of understanding for the collaboration to establish a joint venture in Liberia was signed between the LWSC represented by its MD Duanah A Kamara on the one hand and American Venture Group, LLC, a company duly registered and incorporated under the laws of Delaware, USA and Quest Water Solutions, Inc, a company also duly incorporated under the laws of Nevada, USA."
  • "According to him, the joint venture agreement will require the companies to design, build, finance, install, own and operate 270 water purification and distribution systems in rural communities throughout Liberia for the purpose of meeting the country`s clean water supply by vending and selling the purified water to approximately 1,000,000 residents in Liberia at an affordable rate."
  • "John Andrew Henry Forrest (born 1961), nicknamed Twiggy, is an Australian businessman and philanthropist. He is best known as the former CEO (and current non-executive chairman) of Fortescue Metals Group (FMG), but also has interests elsewhere in the mining industry and in cattle stations."
  • "With an assessed net worth of A$6.84 billion according to the 2017 Financial Review Rich List, Forrest was ranked within the top ten richest Australians. He was the richest person in Australia in 2008. In 2013, Forrest and his wife, Nicola, were the first Australians to pledge the majority of their wealth to charity in their lifetimes"
  • "The investment will be used to launch two additional clinics in the city and increase capacity to serve over 50,000 patients a year – from 15,000 currently. "
  • "Steinmetz’s BSG Resources Ltd. is said to have spent about $50 million to extend the life of the mine by converting it from an open pit to underground operation. Biesheuvel writes that the site can now produce about 400,000 carats a year, and that could be increased to 650,000 carats. "