AfDB to release $100m to boost infrastructure, agric sector
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is working to advance some additional funds to support on-going infrastructure projects and the agricultural sector in the coming months.
President of AfDB, Akinwuni Adesina, says the move is part of its efforts to help the government overcome some of the financial challenges facing the country.
“Hopefully once that (facility) is approved by the AfDB board, it is going to allow [government] to cope with some of the fiscal imbalance” that government is facing, said AfDB President, Mr Adesina.
AfDB funds SMEs to list on GAX
The African Development Bank (AfDB) is to support the listing of Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs) on the Ghana Alternative Exchange (GAX) with an interest-free funding of $600,000 over a two-year period.
The amount, which is to be channeled to the Listing Support Fund established by the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) – with assistance from the Venture Capital Trust Fund with seed money of Ȼ760,000 will facilitate the pre-listing processes for interested companies.
Mr. Kofi Yamoah, Managing Director of the GSE said: “AfDB decided about two years to join. All the paperwork is in place. Between October 2015 and April 2017 it is making available $600,000.
“The idea is that it will come to the Listing Support Fund established by the Exchange and Venture Capital Trust Fund with Ȼ760,000. If any company comes seeking application to the GAX, it can tap into this fund to pay advisory services; these are essentially the financial valuation, legal advisory services, and sponsoring brokers so that they can prepare such companies to list. At the end of the day, the company repays the amount into the fund at no interest so that others can tap into it.”
Africa slowdown should not stop infrastructure plans — World Bank
Africa should press ahead with plans to develop its transport and energy networks despite a recent slowdown in GDP growth, because better infrastructure is key to long-term development, the head of the World Bank said on Friday.
To this end, governments need to maintain macro-economic stability to attract capital that remains willing to commit to the continent, even though investment in emerging markets is at its lowest level in around 35 years, said Jim Yong Kim.
Gross domestic product growth in sub-Saharan Africa in 2015 is expected to stand at 3.7 percent, its lowest level since 2009 and lower than the average growth rate of the last two decades, according to World Bank figures.
The continent’s commodities producers, such as Ghana, have been especially hard hit by lower global prices and there is a real danger over-production, he said.
At the same time, a surge in Africa’s population makes it imperative for countries to put their economies on a sound footing if they are going to absorb young people entering the labour market in the decades ahead.
“Right now we have to do everything we can to bring together the bankable (infrastructure) projects that — even in a period of low growth — will attract private investors,” Kim told Reuters.
Ecobank increases lending to agric sector
Ecobank says it is increasing investment in the agriculture sector, although many financial companies sideline the sector.
Despite employing majority of the country’s workforce, many banks and financial institutions hold that lending to the sector is risky.
Ecobank’s Head of Small and Medium Enterprises Department Abdulai Abdul Rahman said the bank’s engagement with farmers in the sector shows that the sector is not dangerous at all.
Over the past year, Ecobank has given over $5 million dollars in credit to farmers within the maize, rice and soya value chain, Abdul Rahman revealed.
He said loses incurred in lending to the farmers are much lower than other sectors.
“This money [$5 million] has demonstrated to us that farming is not necessarily the risky business that people think it is”, he said.
He adds that sometimes the risks involved in lending to farmers is lower than to other sectors like commerce and construction.
Exim Bank to address challenges
The Minister of State in charge of Private Sector Development, Mr Abdul-Rashid Pelpuo, is optimistic the establishment of the proposed Export-Import (Exim) Bank will help address the financial challenges entrepreneurs face in their operations.
Mr Pelpuo said this to the GRAPHIC BUSINESS at the launch of a new programme dubbed: “Enhancing Development of Ghanaian Entrepreneurs (EDGE)” in Accra.
He said the government planned to use the bank to strategically position Ghana as an export-led economy.
“The Ghana Exim Bank is expected to be a vehicle for the consolidation of the current export finance activities of the Export Development and Agricultural Investment Fund (EDAIF), Exim Guaranty Company and Export Finance Company,” he said.
Robust economy crucial to national development plan
In order to make inroads into desired achievements from the proposed long-term National Development Plan, first it is crucial to develop a robust economy to serve as the bedrock for all other policies to bear fruits.
Ghana needs to revolutionise its current economic position which is more import-based to a vibrant export-driven economy to free itself from neocolonialism. This can only be achievable through radical economic policies, very necessary to facilitate industrial transformation so as to change the country’s fortunes.
This was the premise on which almost all speakers at a consultative forum in Sunyani developed their statements. The two-day thought-provoking meeting was the Brong Ahafo Regional forum to solicit inputs for preparation of the long-term National Development Plan. It was attended by representatives of all relevant institutions and identifiable groups.
The participants called for the creation of a congenial business environment for the private sector to flourish. They said the private sector is the lifeblood of developed economies, and therefore it’s important for Ghana to put premium on private sector development.
The speakers emphasised the country’s need to exploit areas with competitive advantage such as agriculture. Mechanised agriculture and vigorous agro-processing, they stated, must be the avenues used to cushion the industrialisation agenda.
Mrs. Cecilia Baffoe-Appiah, a Sunyani-based poultry farmer, in her submission said Ghana in the next 40 years should be self-sufficient in the provision of poultry products.
Spio-Garbrah pushes local goods agenda at hotels
The Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, has said the government will consider passing a legislation that will compel hotels and restaurants to display made-in-Ghana products if they fail to comply with the President’s directive to promote Ghanaian products.
“The time is coming when people will go round hotels and certain restaurants and if they don’t see these made-in-Ghana products, they will have a case to answer,” he said.
Mr Spio-Garbrah gave this warning when he paid a working visit to familiarise himself with the operations of GIHOC Distilleries.
He said it was true that the country was operating in a free enterprise environment “but the government and the people of Ghana have a stake in ensuring that the investments they make in factories like this will not go waste and not denied patronage,” he mentioned.
He added that state institutions that failed to offer similar products at state functions would also be sanctioned.
Dana Air to begin operations in Ghana on November 10
Nigerian airline Dana Air is set to begin operations in Ghana on November 10, 2015. The airline which is looking to ply the Accra-Lagos route and later Accra – Abuja route as well has hinted to Citi Business News of starting of passenger operations on November 10 after approval by the Ghana Civil Aviation Authority (GCAA). This comes after the Dana Air signed a formal agreement with Guaranty Trust Bank Ghana (GT Bank) to receive payment for the Lagos-based airline’s tickets purchased in Ghana.
Credit: Joy Online, Citi Online, BFT, Graphic