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    Ghana's Soft Power: Assessing Her Global Influence In 2023

    The Global Soft Power Index 2023 by Brand Finance was released in March 2023, ranking 121 countries based on their ability to influence others through attraction or persuasion. Soft power refers to a country's ability to influence others through its cultural, social, and political attributes, rather than through military or economic means. 

    The United States of America again claimed the top spot with a score of 74.8 out of 100 followed by the United Kingdom (67.3), and Germany (65.8). The index considers various factors such as business and trade, governance, international relations, culture and heritage, media and communication, education and science, people and values, and sustainable future.

    The report named Africa's 10 Most Powerful Countries, and the list includes some expected and surprising names. Egypt topped the list, followed by South Africa and Morocco in second and third place, respectively. While countries like Mauritius and Seychelles, known for their stunning beaches and tourism, made it to the list, some notable African countries like Nigeria and Kenya missed out. Ghana made it to the 10th spot on the list.

    Ghana's overall score in the 2023 Global Soft Power Index is 35.5, which places it in the 92nd position out of 121 countries. This is an improvement from its 86th position in 2022, where it scored 30.3. Despite the improvement, Ghana still ranks relatively low in the index.

    Looking at the different elements that make up the Soft Power Pillars, Ghana's performance was mixed. 


    The first pillar of the soft power index is familiarity. Familiarity assesses how well-known a country is among people in other countries. Ghana’s familiarity score remained unchanged at 4.0, placing it in the 82nd position in both 2022 and 2023. This score suggests that Ghana's brand recognition remains low globally. The government of Ghana and the country's tourism industry could work to improve its brand recognition by promoting Ghana's unique cultural and natural attractions to potential visitors and investors. 


    Reputation is another crucial aspect of soft power, measuring how positively a country is perceived by others. In the 2023 ranking, Ghana's Reputation score improved slightly from 5.3 to 5.4, but this was not enough to improve its ranking as it dropped from 84th to 95th. This score suggests that Ghana's global image still needs improvement. The government of Ghana and other stakeholders could consider investing in public diplomacy initiatives, such as cultural exchange programs, international conferences, and business forums, to improve Ghana's global image. 


    Influence refers to a country's ability to shape global discourse and policy, and in the 2023 Global Soft Power Index, Ghana ranked 100th with a score of 3.3, a slight improvement from its 2022 ranking of 89th with a score of 2.8. This score suggests that Ghana has limited influence in the international arena, and the government of Ghana could consider investing in diplomatic initiatives, such as increasing its participation in multilateral organizations, to increase its global influence. 

    Business and Trade

    Business and Trade is another essential aspect of soft power, and it measures how attractive a country is to investors and how well its companies perform on the global stage. In the 2023 ranking, Ghana's Business and Trade score improved from 2.6 to 3.9, with a rank of 76th out of 121 countries. This score is not surprising as Ghana has made significant strides in recent years to improve its business climate, making it easier to do business in and with the country. This score further suggests that Ghana is increasingly becoming an attractive destination for investors, and the country's government could consider implementing policies that foster a more business-friendly environment, such as reducing bureaucratic procedures and improving infrastructure. 


    In the 2023 ranking, Ghana's Governance score improved from 2.1 to 2.9, but its rank remained low at 87th out of 121 countries. This score suggests that Ghana needs to continue implementing measures to improve the quality of its governance, such as enhancing transparency and accountability, tackling corruption, and strengthening its institutions.

    International Relations

    International Relations measure a country's diplomatic relationships with other countries and its involvement in international organizations. In the 2023 ranking, Ghana's International Relations score improved from 2.3 to 3.3, with a rank of 89th out of 121 countries. This score suggests that Ghana is gradually improving its international standing, and the government of Ghana could continue enhancing its diplomatic relations with other countries and actively participating in international organizations to improve its international relations score. 

    Culture and Heritage

    Ghana's Culture and Heritage pillar has shown some improvement in the 2023 Global Soft Power Index, with a score of 3.5, placing it at 66th rank, compared to 2.3 and 78th rank in the 2022 index. Ghana's rich cultural heritage, music, dance, and festivals have been an essential part of the country's soft power appeal. The Ghanaian culture is known for its vibrant, colorful, and diverse traditions, which reflect the country's history, religion, and customs. Brand Finance data proves that being viewed as a “great place to visit” can boost a nation’s performance on tourism. 

    Media and Communication

    Ghana's score in the Media and Communication pillar improved from 2.1 in 2022 to 3.0 in 2023, resulting in a decrease in rank from 92nd in 2022 to 97th in 2023, indicating a decline in the country's influence in the global media landscape. This suggests that Ghana needs to work on improving its performance in this area, particularly in terms of building trustworthiness and enhancing ease of communication.

    Education and Science

    Ghana's score in the Education and Science pillar increased slightly from 2.0 in 2022 to 2.3 in 2023. However, this was not enough to significantly improve Ghana's rank, which remained at 108. Ghana has a strong educational system, but there is still room for improvement in terms of leadership in science and technology.

    People and Values

    Ghana's score in the People and Values pillar increased from 2.6 in 2022 to 3.7 in 2023, resulting in an improved rank of 84, up from 72. This suggests that Ghana on the global stage is increasingly viewed as a friendly, trustworthy, and tolerant country, with a fun and generous culture.

    In conclusion, the 2023 Global Soft Power Index shows that Ghana's overall performance improved, but there were mixed results across the different Soft Power Pillars. Ghana performed well in business and trade, culture and heritage, and people and values. However, the country's governance score declined, and it still ranks low in reputation, influence, media and communication, education and science, and sustainable future. Ghana needs to focus on improving its performance in these areas to improve its ranking in the Global Soft Power Index.

    By: Jibril Salifu, PhD Student at Middlesex University London

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