Euromoney brought together over 450 policymakers, businessmen, financiers and key overseas investors at its inaugural Ghana Finance and Investment Conference, held in Accra on 7-8 February. With a solid, stable and predictable economic outlook, high levels of growth, a profitable banking industry and good governance practices, participants argued that Ghana is ripe for foreign direct investment and can expect to see a smooth transition after the presidential and parliamentary elections to be held later on this year. But all of that was set against a backdrop of continuing concern and frustration that Ghana has still not seen the fullest transformation expected from its new found oil and the wealth of natural resources at its disposal.
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Opening the conference, Mark Mobius delivered an insightful address on investing in Africa and other emerging markets in the current climate. Africa will grow at 5.5% this year, he stated, compared to less than 1% in developed markets. Almost 40% of all global IPOs currently come from emerging markets, reflecting much faster expansion. With Ghana’s plans to increase sugar production, Mr. Mobius highlighted that he is looking to invest in commodities.
Dr. Yamson, Chairman of the Economic Advisory Council, pointed out that apart from growth in GDP, single digit inflation has also been sustained since June 2010 while the cedi has relatively stabilised against all the major currencies, making Ghana an attractive partner for trade and investment across many sectors. He said oil discovery and production have propelled the country into a new era with great opportunities, and at a level where the country’s integration into the global economy is critical. In a one-to-one interview, Hon. Fifi Kwetey of the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning highlighted gas as a key priority due its more immediate impact on the economy than oil. He also stated that while the aim is to further international bond issuance, they will not be tapping the market in 2012. Both government representatives re-affirmed their resolve to not overspend this year, but to stay within the projected 4% fiscal deficit in order not to derail from a stable macroeconomic environment.
|Euromoney Conferences Director, Mr. Christopher Garnett, interviewing The Hon. Fifi Kwetey, Ministry of Finance.|
Taking a closer look at the country’s economy, panellists warned that Ghana can ill afford to get it wrong. With Ghana becoming increasingly more dependent on commodity prices, a diversified economy is key, coupled with sustainable growth. This can be achieved, they argued, by taking advantage of regional markets and integration in the West African space.
Speaking on the role of the banking sector in developing the Ghanaian capital market, the central bank Governor, Mr. Amissah-Arthur, said the re-capitalisation policy provided a much-needed boost to the economy with the near quadrupling of bank capitalisation from GH¢445.8 million to about GH¢1.65 billion between December 2008 and 2011, enabling banks to take on large transactions vital to the economy. He also highlighted that the Bank of Ghana is encouraging banks to list in the local stock market because of the benefits to the wider economy.
Over the two days, panellists from around the globe focused on key investment areas including banking, capital markets, oil and gas, SMEs, infrastructure and PPPs, mining, soft commodities and agribusiness. While obstacles to a full transformation of Ghana’s economy were exposed such as transport inefficiency, an agricultural model based solely on cocoa and an air of uncertainty with raising money on the stock exchange, speakers were positive about the steps being made to ensure that Ghana stays on a sustainable path to guarantee steady FDI inflows over the coming years. Steps to register concessions in the mining sector, a newly formed PPP unit within the Ministry of Finance and high rule of law were among some of the key aspects mentioned.
With a top quality line up of speakers, this conference provided a unique platform for analysis and debate on the finance and investment environment in Ghana at just the right time of year.
Many thanks go to all of our sponsors, and in particular our co-host, the Ministry of Finance and Economic Planning, for their support for our inaugural Ghana Finance and Investment Conference.
For sponsorship opportunities at the Ghana 2013 Conference, please contact Raya Hubbell: firstname.lastname@example.org
For speaking opportunities, please contact Sara Leech: email@example.com
Conference Presentations and Slides:
- Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur: The Role of the Banking Sector in Developing the Ghanaian Capital Market