Ghana has exhibited rather strong economic growth since the 1980s, but little transformation of the productive structure of its economy. The paper argues that ruling elites' policy choices are shaped by their political survival strategies. In turn, these strategies are shaped by (1) the characteristics of the ruling coalitions, which include a high degree of vulnerability in power, strong lower-level factions of the ruling coalition, and a substantial amount of fragmentation among the higher factions of the ruling coalition; (2) the weak capabilities and political influence of the nascent productive capitalists; and (3) easy access to financing for the state and the ruling coalition from foreign aid, mining and cocoa bean exports. As a result, ruling elites' policy actions did not prioritize the development of new productive sectors (or upgrading of old ones), but were geared towards delivering benefits to the higher and lower levels of the ruling coalition, as well as delivering a small amount of visible goods and services to as much of the population as possible in an effort to 'swing' voters their way at election time. Neither of these political survival strategies resulted in significant productive sector investments.