Ghana is often viewed as an oasis of stability in a turbulent West African neighbourhood.

But sharp rises in inflation, frequent power cuts, crumbling roads and a dramatic plunge in the value of the currency brought out the crowds to the streets of Ghana's capital city, Accra, in July 2014.

[It is] better to get some street protests against measures you are taking and protect the overall economy than let it crash.

John Mahama, Ghana's president

The protests were organised by the unions to express anger about the government and what they claim to be its mismanagement of the economy.

John Mahama, Ghana's president says: "There are some things that you have to do when you are faced with economic challenges ...  and it involves austerity.... You must be prepared to pay any price to ensure that the economy of your country is retained to stability and growth. And that is what I have been doing.

"There are measures that have been difficult to take, but as a leader I had to take them in order to protect the economy and ensure that the economy continues to grow and create jobs for young people. The alternative is unacceptable."

"So [it is] better to get some street protests against measures you are taking and protect the overall economy than let it crash and create a more politically unstable situation going forward," says Mahama.

In August 2014, Ghana officially requested a bailout from the International Monetary Fund (IMF).

It was not long ago that Ghanaians were ecstatic at the discovery of vast oil reserves off its Atlantic coast. In 2007, there were grand promises not to go the way of the other big African oil producers whose industries qulickly became riddled with corruption and whose people remained in poverty.

So what has gone wrong in Ghana? And what is the government going to do about it?

John Mahama, Ghana's president, talks to Al Jazeera about the condition of Ghana's economy, protests, Ebola, and the challenges facing his country and the region.