ACCRA– The World Bank says that with the right reforms, Ghana’s agricultural sector has the potential to be one of the leading sectors for a more diverse economy, which can be transformed to become an engine of growth and job creation.

The Bank says agriculture had a very large multiplier effect on employment, creating more than 750 jobs for every additional one million dollars of output.

Kwabena Gyan Kwakye, an economist at the World Bank, said when presenting the 3rd edition of the Ghana Economic Update report here that as the importance of the extractive sector had risen, it appeared that the agriculture sector’s growth had slowed.

On options to strengthen the agricultural sector, he said, improving the quality and effectiveness of public expenditure in the area would be important in the context of limited fiscal space. Improving the environment for agricultural businesses was also key to adding value to the existing production and for jobs creation, he said.

Government needs to fix the challenges in the cocoa sector, given the large size of the cocoa economy, he added.

He said the Update, which focused on agriculture as the engine of growth and jobs creation, indicates that the service sector had bounced back, and the fiscal consolidation was paying off. The inflation rate is also down, to close of 10 per cent, he added.

Henry Kerali, the World Bank Country Director for Ghana, said: The macro-economic outlook was largely positive based on the 2017 performance; GDP growth for 2017 is estimated to have almost doubled from the 3.7 percent in 2016, and is expected to stay at that elevated level through 2018.

He said the external position had improved as the trade balance had shifted to a surplus with Ghana making good progress in macro-stabilisation in 2017.

However, Ghana needs to sustain the fiscal consolidation efforts. According to the report, inflation is likely to fall within or be close to the Bank of Ghana’s medium-term target range of six to 10 per cent in 2018 and based on the 2017 trends, and with sustained fiscal consolidation, the report expects that the fiscal deficit could fall within the Government’s target of below five per cent of GDP from 2018 onwards.