Until last year, “Kofi Brokeman”, a streetside snack of roasted plantains and peanuts, was an everyday treat for many of Ghana’s 33 million people. 

Then prices began rising, almost doubling in some places to 5 Ghanaian cedis ($0.43 cents) per slice. So some locals jokingly rechristened it “Kofi Richman”.

But the situation is no laughing matter for Lovelace Ayittey, 59, who sells the snack on Lagos Avenue, a stretch in the wealthy East Legon enclave of Accra.

“The price of the plantain bunches has risen sharply from 10 to 50 cedis,” she told Al Jazeera. “I cut them the same size but I have to squeeze my hand and suffer the loss.” Last week, Ayittey said she had to toss out 800 cedis ($69) worth of plantains that went unsold.

As the West African nation endures a spiralling economic crisis, the cost of living is skyrocketing.

For years, Ghana positioned itself as a stable economy and land of opportunity for all. Since 2019, it has also marketed itself as a home for Africans in the diaspora, targeting them with a campaign of pan-African fellowship and festivity, whose end-of-year highlights locals now call “Detty December”.

A World Bank report last June revealed that 850,000 Ghanaians had been pushed into poverty, joining the six million already in that category. 

Between January and December 2022, year on year inflation rose from 14 to 54 percent, reaching levels unseen since the early 2000s. The currency, the cedi, has lost more than half its value against the dollar.

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