The Researcher

The Bi-Annual Newsletter of ISSER. Issue: 2015 Vol. 3. Period: January-June 2015

Perspectives from Dr. Edward Nketiah-Amponsah, Economist and Senior Lecturer, Economics Department, University of Ghana

Many development indicators are still in the state of a low-income  country, yet to reflect Ghana’s new  status as an MIC.

Middle Income Countries

These are countries with a per-capita gross national income in 2012 between $1,036 and $12,615. Middle-income countries (MICs) constitute one of the income categories that the World Bank uses to classify economies for operational and analytical purposes.

The World Bank classifies every economy as low, middle or high income; it uses Gross National Income (GNI) per capita as the basis for this classification because it views GNI as a broad measure that is considered to be the single best indicator of economic capacity and progress. As of 2012, there were 103 MICs, further subdivided into 48 lower-middle-income economies (GNI between $1,036 and $4,085) and 55 upper-middle-income economies (GNI between $4,086 and $12,615).

Ghana’s status as an MIC 

 “Ghana, at a per capita income of about $1,820, is an MIC alright, but this classification masks wide gaps in infrastructural and human development,” said Dr. Nketiah-Amponsah.  He explained that Ghana’s position is at the lowest ebb of the lower-middle-income countries. What this means is that the country has only but transited by a small margin from a low-income to a middle-income economy status. Many development indicators are still in the state of a low-income country, yet to reflect Ghana’s new status as an MIC.


While Dr. Nketiah-Amponsah agreed that the MICs are a very diverse group by size, population, income and development levels, Ghana’s current position is too precarious for comfort. Rather than become complacent, government, and Ghanaians at large, must use Ghana’s lower middle-income status as launch pad to propel the economy to the next level, he urged. African countries like Angola, Gabon, and Botswana have already risen to upper middle-income status and share membership with the likes of Malaysia and South Africa. Such rising must be Ghana’s aspiration, he added.

Areas needing improvement

Reaching MIC status is not an end in itself – sustaining growth and making development inclusive must be the ultimate goal. To make this happen, Ghana must address the challenges of: infrastructure, human capital development, management of national resources, corruption – all of which are dependent on effective governance. Also important is the need to increase productivity, promote the development of private enterprises (via access to credit/finance and constant supply electricity inter alia) and public-private initiatives, and ensure accountability of public sector workers. We must get these things right, if Ghana is to experience the social and transformational effects of its middle-income status, Dr. Nketiah-Amponsah concluded.