A Comparative Analysis of Ghana and Malaysia with Respect to the U.K.

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Half a century ago, the Republic of Ghana and the Federation of Malaysia had a lot in common. Though in different parts of the world, they both had been colonies of the United Kingdom and neither gained their independence until 1957. While both nations possessed a mix of resources that should have bestowed them with prosperity, they both started off on an "economic par" – meaning both were equally poor and equally dependent on the export of raw materials. Today, the two nations have very little left in common. While Ghana is still one of the poorest developing nations in the world, Malaysia has established a thriving, industrialized economy. In this comparative analysis, I will attempt to explain the factors that have caused a divergence in the countries' economic development. I will argue why Ghana is still at the bottom of the barrel and what the nation needs to do to catch up with Malaysia, its once-counterpart. Specifically, I will focus on geographic location, stability of government, human capitol, the role of local citizens, and economy diversification. The Republic of Ghana (formerly known as the Gold Coast) is a nation in West Africa. It is bordered by Côte d'Ivoire to the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo to the east, and the Gulf of Guinea creates its southern coastline (Wikipedia contributors). The lack of cooperation and the sometimes hostile relationships between the former European colonies during the early years after independence failed to generate a favorable investment and commercial environment for the nations concerned in West Africa. Furthermore, there is no power in West Africa that could act as an economic catalyst to surrounding nations in the region. Nigeria, the dominant country in West Africa, has not prospered in economic development. Recent conflicts in the Ivory Coast, Sierra Leone, and Liberia have damaged economic performance in the region. It would be in these nations' interest to effectively cooperate with one another in order to promote the economic development of the area and create a unified market. The Federation of Malaysia is a country in Southeast Asia. It consists of two geographical regions divided by the South China Sea. West Malaysia on the Malay Peninsula shares a border on the north with Thailand and is connected by the Johor Causeway and the Tuas Second Link on the south with Singapore. East Malaysia occupies the northern part of the island of Borneo, bordering Indonesia and the Sultanate of Brunei (Wikipedia contributors). The thriving performance of the Malaysian economy is clearly linked to surrounding nations in the East Asia region. For over thirty years, the economic growth in East Asia has been swifter than any other region in the world. Malaysia has benefited from close association with regional economic powers such as Japan, Taiwan, South Korea, Singapore, and Hong Kong. With the help of more industrialized nations, Malaysia was able to build a strong industrial and manufacturing sector. Much like other countries in the region, Malaysia converted itself into an export-based economy. This made it easier for the nation to attract foreign investors from outside the region because no one wanted to be left out of the region's growing economy with a large and expanding market potential (Creffield 1990). After gaining independence in 1957, both Malaysia and Ghana inherited British political structures from the United Kingdom. However, the political direction of each nation was in limbo. Even though Malaysia looked less promising at first due to the threat of communism and tension between racial groups, the nation has been able to enjoy political stability since gaining independence (Creffield 1990). On the other hand, Ghana has been plagued by several rebellions. Ghana was the first nation in black Africa to escape colonial rule. On July 1, 1960, the nation became a republic with Kwame Nkrumah winning the presidential election. Soon after, he was appointed president...
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