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Ghana climbs up the Absa Africa Financial Markets Index (AFMI) despite Covid-19 stalling progress across much of Africa

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Abena Osei-Poku - MD, Absa Bank Ghana_111
Abena Osei-Poku - MD, Absa Bank Ghana Limited

Ghana has moved into the top five ranking in the Absa Africa Financial Market Index report, placing fourth with an overall score of 62 out of the maximum 100 score – a recognition of the positive strides in the development of the Ghanaian market.This is an improvement on last years’ sixth position with a score of 59.

 

Remarkably, Ghana scored 50 and above in 5 out of the 6 pillars measured. The policies and initiatives that contributed to Ghana’s improved performance include – adoption of and enforceability of standard master agreements, improved access to foreign exchange through forward FX auctions by the Bank of Ghana and market transparency works through daily publication of financial asset prices. Ghana’s weakest link however, is the Capacity of Local Investors where it recorded a score of 21.

 

The Absa Africa Financial Markets Index is produced annually by the Official Monetary and Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) – an independent think tank for central banking, economic policy and public investment through extensive quantitative research and data analysis in association with Absa Group Limited. The index, now in its fifth year, throws light on Financial Markets across Africa and benefits from continued engagement with policymakers, regulators, market participants and industry experts; providing the latest information about developments in the region.

 

The Absa Africa Financial Market Index (AFMI) evaluates and ranks Financial Market development in 23 countries, highlighting the opportunities and challenges within the economies. The aim is to show present positions, as well as how economies can improve market frameworks to bolster investor access and drive sustainable growth. The index assesses countries according to six pillars: Market Depth; Access to Foreign Exchange; Market Transparency, Tax and Regulatory Environment; Capacity of Local Investors; Macroeconomic Opportunity; and Enforceability of Financial Contracts.

 

South Africa, Mauritius and Nigeria maintained their lead on the index despite recording lower overall scores compared to the previous year mainly due to the impact of Covid-19. Ghana and Uganda entered the top five for the first time, both earning points especially for the progress in the enforceability of standard master agreements.

the budget. Ghana recorded 65 points under this pillar.

Commenting on the report, Absa Ghana’s Managing Director, Abena Osei-Poku said “Expanding and deepening Ghana’s financial markets is vital to our economic development, and it’s great to note that Ghana is moving in the right direction with recognizable progress. Ghana’s strong performance across pillars with scores above 50 in 5 out of the 6 pillars, shows that stakeholders, led by the Ministry of Finance and the Bank of Ghana have sustained development initiatives through the Covid period”.

Kobla Nyaletey - Director and Head of Global Markets, Absa Ghana and Nigeria

Kobla Nyaletey – Director and Head of Global Markets, Absa Ghana and Nigeria

The Director and Head of Global Markets of Absa Ghana and Nigeria, Kobla Nyaletey noted that “to score full marks of 100 on the pillar of Enforceability of Financial Contracts signifies the quantum and speed of work by stakeholders in the last few years in adopting ISDA, GMRA to underpin financial market transactions and the formal recognition of netting in the new Corporate Restructuring and Insolvency Act 2020 (Act 1015). Market participants now need to appropriately reflect this in pricing via a risk adjusted pricing framework. I look forward to similar speedy reforms in other areas, especially in enhancing the capacity of local investors to sustain Ghana’s upward climb on the index in the coming years”.

The Macroeconomic opportunity (Pillar 5) assesses countries’ economic prospects using metrics on growth, debt, export competitiveness, banking sector risk and availability of macro data. Countries collectively performed best in this pillar, scoring an average of 62. Despite constrained growth and deteriorating credit quality in a number of countries in 2020, improvements in financial and fiscal transparency kept scores steady. The International Monetary Fund (IMF) identified Ghana as one of the index countries at risk of debt distress as of end-June 2021. Ghana among other African countries issued Eurobonds in the first half of 2021, funding from the Eurobond helped the country to finance maturing debt obligations, infrastructure projects and support the budget. Ghana recorded 65 points under this pillar.

 

Pillar 6 evaluates countries based on the enforceability of close-out netting rules and use of standard financial markets master agreements. Ghana alongside Nigeria and South Africa earned full 100 points for their commitment to Financial Master agreement and enforcement of netting and collateral positions which is a primary means of credit risk mitigation especially for Over the Counter (OTC) derivatives. Earlier this year, the Bank of Ghana issued notice recognizing netting arrangements for transactions using global standard documentation.

 

 

 

Ghana’s Performance

Ghana’s Market Depth recorded a 50 score.  Ghana was also recognized for further refinement in its Primary Dealer system with the Bond Market Specialist group as well as the framework for issuance of green or sustainable bonds in future. The availability of sustainability-focused products in the domestic markets is a new indicator forming part of Market Depth (Pillar 1) scores. In May, Ghana’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) launched its Capital Market Master Plan to implement product diversification and widen its investor base over the next 10 years The Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) has also partnered with the London Stock Exchange to support Ghana’s capital market development. This partnership will focus on executing several initiatives which will lead to upgrading Ghana’s classification from a Frontier to an Emerging Market and supporting cross-listings between both exchanges. The GSE, working with other exchanges from ECOWAS is also developing a system to enable brokers to trade across the different markets of the sub-region.

 

To accelerate the digitization of the financial market, the Bank of Ghana (BOG) launched a payments-focused sandbox in February 2021. The BOG also established the Fintech and Innovation Office to drive cash-lite, e-payments and digitalization. The BOG is further exploring the possibility of issuing a digital currency. All these efforts were duly recognized and contributed to the improvement in Ghana’s score on Market Depth.

 

Ghana scored 59 out of 100 on the Pillar of Access to Foreign Exchange, a 2.8-point decline from the prior year, partly due to weaker reserve positions relative to net portfolio flows. Despite a decline in its interbank FX market turnover, Ghana climbed five positions on the ranking in this pillar, driven by more frequent official exchange rate reporting and wider adoption of the FX Global Code – important works towards market transparency and adoption of global best standards. In 2020, the Ghana Cedi remained relatively stable against the US Dollar on account of reduced FX demand, structural changes such as the increased use of forward FX auctions.

 

On Pillar 3 of Market Transparency, Tax and Regulatory Environment, Ghana scored 75 points. Earlier this year, parliament passed a legislation to waive tax on capital gains for listed securities, making permanent the incentive established in 2020, thus making Ghana one of the generous tax regimes for investors. On encouraging sustainable markets, the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA) released guidelines for incorporating Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) factors in investment decisions, with up to 5% of a pension scheme’s assets under management invested in green bonds not counting towards its maximum allocation for securities. Ghana is working with the Global Reporting Initiative to introduce sustainability reporting in its market by the end of the year.

 

Pillar 4 evaluates Local Investor Capacity based on the size of the pension fund market and its potential to drive market activity. Across the 23 countries on the index, scores dropped by 6.3 points, with 17 countries falling down the rankings. Aggregate pension fund assets in the index declined by 1.9%. With a low score of 21, the report concluded that in Ghana, many pension funds and asset managers tend to have a short-term view of investments, making them more risk-averse and unlikely to invest in unfamiliar sectors. Pension funds in Ghana are encouraged to invest in sustainable financial products. More funds will move in this direction if trustees and investment managers have the confidence to evaluate new kinds of investment opportunities.

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Rocky Dawuni’s Grammy Nomination Concert set for +233 Jazz Bar & Grill, December 11

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“We need songs and hymns that can touch our emotional nerve,” Rocky says. Musical offerings that serve as timely reminders that “love and hope are an indestructible aspect of the human experience that no amount of fear can take away.” – #RockyDawuni speaking to “Music in Africa”

Rocky Dawuni’s “Voice of Bunbon Vol. 1” has been nominated for “Best Global Music Album” for the 64th Annual GRAMMY Awards which will be held in Los Angeles on January 31, 2022! Femi Kuti & Made Kuti, Wizkid, Angelique Kidjo and East West Players featuring Daniel Ho have all been nominated in the same category. This is Rocky’s second GRAMMY nomination as he was previously nominated for “Best Reggae Album” for his “Branches of the Same Tree” (Cumbancha) in 2016 making him the first Ghanaian musician to be nominated for a prestigious GRAMMY award!!

“Voice of Bunbon, Vol.1” is available on all major platforms https://tinyurl.com/yy7xo2nf

Rocky Dawuni will be celebrating the GRAMMY announcement with a home town show on Saturday, December 11, 2021 at +233 Jazz Bar & Grill in Accra, Ghana!! Rocky be playing with his full 10-piece band so please come and support LIVE music in Ghana. Tickets are GHC77 and will be available at the door. The concert is kindly supported by Asaase Radio, TV3, Ghana Music, Ghana Web, BeenieWords.com, Kobby Kyei News Live, Ameyaw Debrah, Blagogee.com, OnePlayAfrica.com.

The Voice Of Bunbon has spoken! Those who like Rocky Dawuni’s former works will love this EP – it adds a new flavour to the artist’s output without losing his characteristic style. Well done, Team Rocky!” #Reggaeville

Rocky Dawuni “Woara” Video:

https://youtu.be/NQbuYWSXzsU

Rocky Dawuni “Beautiful People” Video

https://youtu.be/Upb7bjyZJeA

Rocky Dawuni “Ghost Town” Video

https://youtu.be/WIGe4-YjWWQ

Reggaeville Review:

https://www.reggaeville.com/artist-details/rocky-dawuni/releases/mode/review/release/rocky-dawuni-voice-of-bunbon-vol1/

Music In Africa Review:

https://www.musicinafrica.net/magazine/rocky-dawuni-talks-about-his-new-ep-voice-bunbon-vol-1

For more information and social media connects, please follow Rocky Dawuni at:

http://www.rockydawuni.com

http://www.youtube.com/rockydawunimusic

http://www.facebook.com/rockydawuni

http://www.instagram.com/rockydawuni

http://www.twitter.com/rockydawuni

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Collaboration is the New Competition – Absa Bank Ghana MD

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Abena Osei-Poku - MD, Absa Bank Ghana_111

Managing Director of Absa Bank Ghana, Abena Osei-Poku says collaboration is the new competition in the digital financial services space across the continent. She made the comments during a panel discussion on how Africa can build resilience and drive differentiation in the financial sector at the ongoing Financial Times Global Summit.

 

Africa’s financial services sector has transformed from a decade ago with digital technology leading a revolution that is impacting every facet of human life. Three players in the ecosystem – Banks, Fintechs and Telecoms – are at the forefront of this unique opportunity. Whilst the orientation of these three players is diverse in several ways, the overall assessment has been for them to collaborate with their complementary skills in creating an ecosystem that reflects scalability, accessibility, and convenience for the customer.

 

Fintechs and telecom companies have consistently displayed creativity, agility and an innovative mindset that tend to cause positive disruption for the benefit of the customer. Banks, on the other hand, have a robust system of stringent governance and stability at their disposal, which is critical to the partnership.

 

Taking her seat alongside Sim Tshabalala, Chief Executive of Standard Bank Group and Aishah Ahmad, Deputy Governor of Nigeria’s Central Bank, Abena Osei-Poku said:

“Collaboration will always prove to be the way forward for these key stakeholders to co-exist and create sustainable synergies for the benefit of customers, clients and the financial inclusion agenda. It is a shared responsibility and there is no one size fits all. Regulation is also of extreme importance in this dynamic and already we are seeing Central Banks continuously proving assertive, proactive and transformative in their work in this space. Thanks to the global pandemic as well, awareness around digital payments and collaboration is becoming mainstay, which is a good thing. Essentially, we continue to see a gradual harmonisation of the ecosystem thanks to the understanding of all key stakeholders and this is quite satisfying.”

 

Led by David Pilling, Africa Editor of the Financial Times, the panellists covered several areas, including impact of the Omicron variant of COVID-19 on African economies, financial sector regulation and cross-border transactions aided by digital currency.

 

On her views around blockchain technology and cryptocurrencies, Abena Osei-Poku said:

“We continue to take a closer look at the cryptocurrency concept as a Bank. It seeks to disrupt the entire financial system by driving regulation away from the Central banks into the hands of individuals aided by a web of computer connections. Most opponents to the model worry about the risk of decentralisation to the financial system. There is also the other important point of price volatility, which becomes an issue of concern to most mainline actors in the sector. At Absa Bank, we are still accessing the diversity of information and structure of the concept and are yet to conclusively devise a direction around it. Again, issues around closing legal loopholes to prevent cybercrime and fraud are of immense importance to us and we shall continue to keep an eye on this area.”

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Safety Tips for Pets during the Christmas festive season

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‘Tis season is here and as a joyful season which is marked with a lot of loud noises, it can be stressful for pets and frustrating for pet parents especially first timers. It is always important to inform guests about your pets prior to their arrival, don’t startle  them. Below are some  other guidelines that would help you and your pet this holiday season.

Keep your pet inside to avoid harsh weather

Christmas is here again with the harmattan weather conditions which mostly present extreme dryness and cold temperatures especially at night times. Your pets should be keep indoors and inside warm caging to ameliorate the precarious weather conditions. Ensure water is always present for pets to prevent dehydration and to increase humidity  within their environment.

Avoid foods that are poisonous to pets

This season is associated with several feasting bouts and pet owners might sometimes want to invite their fury-friends  to the party by dolling out food from  their plates to the pet animal. Most of these food components like onions can be toxic to your pet which may result in a medical emergency. Table leftovers especially bones are not advisable for pets.

Control your pet during outdoor socializations

You may want to take your pet out for outdoor events around the neighborhood, to the beach or other activities. Ensure to keep your pet on leash to avoid it attacking people or other pets. Unrestraint access to other pets can also allow your pet pick up ectoparasites like ticks from the other animals.

Clean up wrapping papers and gift packages

Christmas is characterized with shopping sprees, and various kinds of gift items. It can be stressful and tiring after the day’s activities but one must ensure that all wrappings or packages gifts, food items came in with are immediately dispose off properly to prevent access by once pet.

Create a safe, quiet place for your pet to relax away from the party

As the celebrations and bustling unfold with a home party, it would be safe to provide a safe, quiet place for your pet to relax away from the party to prevent it getting too excited, especially with cats, in the midst of the people.

 

By Daniel Baba Abiliba, Emmanuel D. Piiru

Ghana Animal Welfare Society

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5 marketing tips from the digital space experts

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There have never been so many ways to communicate with businesses. Phones, e-mails, messaging, but also chatbots, which are on the increase. With the Covid-19 epidemic, discussions have multiplied, giving an even stronger reach to conversational marketing and to these bots, which make it possible to automate part of the exchanges and provide clear and rapid answers to your customers and prospects. But to take advantage of this emerging discipline, you will need to continue experimenting in 2022, starting by determining precisely what issues you want to respond to, with what tool but also on what criteria you will judge the success of your action.

Market research

Positioning yourself against your competitors and arousing the interest of consumers requires regular market research. In 2021, they will continue to be of great importance, in a context where competition is intensifying and where positioning your brand has never been more important. Consistency will make the difference: it’s not just about measuring, it’s also about doing it regularly. The data collected should help companies to base their decisions, but also to set up performance indicators.

Make sure your website is mobile-friendly

Due to the COVID pandemic, the use of mobile devices increased sharply in 2020  . It is very important that your website is optimized for mobile. This will make the user experience easy and convenient for the customers. Time flies when you’re having fun or having a good time, and that’s what you want for your users. A mobile-optimized website will also help you with Google’s Core-Web-Vitals, helping you measure speed, visual stability, and responsiveness. In 2021, paying attention to these metrics will help your Google search rankings accordingly. Remember, you want to be accessible to your customers on mobile and desktop. Most users will find you on mobile devices in 2021, so let’s make sure they enjoy the experience.

Focus on User Experience

According to Google, users show they prefer sites with a great page experience. That makes sense, because who wants to spend hours wrestling online, right? Prioritizing user experience (UX) means that visitors will likely stay engaged with your business website rather than visiting your competition. To help businesses measure their website’s user experience, Google has rolled out a new set of metrics called “Core Web Vitals” that help measure website speed, responsiveness, and visual stability.

Create content to answer your users’ questions

The content of the best and most attractive always answers questions from your users. If a user feels they can’t find the answers to their questions, they’ll leave.  You want this content to be informative or to enhance the user experience and ultimately help solve their problems. TikTok is another way to answer users’ questions. You can buy TikTok views and wait for the viral-nature of the video. Most of the videos on TikTok go viral because of the easy-to-use interface.

Take advantage of paid ads

Traditionally, businesses have used radio, television, print, or other forms of media to increase the visibility of their business. However, the pandemic has affected the efficiency of most of these platforms. Digital was the least affected of these and in fact improved during the pandemic. To reduce costs and increase returns, companies are allocating less to their traditional marketing strategies and more to their digital marketing strategies. This improves traffic to the company’s website, and more traffic means more people find you, which means more sales and potential long-term profits.

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Moving Apps and Services, that will help you

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Moving houses is a challenge, even if you’re a rigorous planner. During the pandemic, it became especially difficult to navigate the logistics. However, this was also the time when mobile apps became increasingly popular. Having moving services and apps at the tip of your fingers is perhaps one of the most convenient things technological advancements have enabled.

From packing to transportation, you can figure out the whole moving process through your smartphone using moving services apps with efficiency and ease. Here are some apps to consider when you’re moving houses, so it is not only COVID-19 safe but a smoother, more consolidated process.

 

1- Zumper – to Save the Day

If your lease is up and you’ve decided to move out of your current home instead of renewing it, the first step to moving is finding a place to stay. More often than not, apartment hunting is a tiring and tough process, where you have to go and look through each open house before making a list of the potential apartments you like.

Zumper gives you a highly convenient option of looking them up through its app to eliminate that process. With over a million listings, you’re going to get real-time alerts about new apartments even before other rental sites have their ads. Moreover, it gives a landlord the option to review digital credit reports and get an e-application ready right away. The app is available for both IOS and Android.

 

2- Dolly Moves You

If you’re moving to a new place with minimal belongings but enough to require some moving services, then Dolly is your answer. The app connects you to your local truck owners, movers, or helpers for your moving needs. This is a great idea, especially if you live in a fully furnished apartment and only have to move essentials like clothes, kitchen gadgets, plants, and other décor.

Decluttering is part of moving. Dolly’s helpers help move items you want to donate to shelters, pick and drop off, or move things into storage units. The app is available on Android and IOS, both for ease of use for anyone.

 

3- TaskRabbit Hopping to Your Help

Regardless of how big or small your moving needs are, whether you want helpers to unpack, pack, or move items to and from houses, TaskRabbit is your best friend. Whether you use the app or the website, you can state the purpose of your move and what task you need to be done. TaskRabbit matches you with a freelancer, i.e., “Taskers” available at that moment who can do the work for you.

You can coordinate with them on the app, let them know in detail all that you want to be done regarding your moving process. The pricing for the freelancers is per hour or per job, depending on the nature of the job. It is also available on both IOS and Android.

 

4- Sortly to the Rescue

You’ve likely been in a situation where you needed something, but you couldn’t recall which box you packed it in. But if you haven’t, there is a high chance that you will experience it – unless you decide to use Sortly to organize all your boxes.

The app offers the chance to use customizable tags, off-the-shelf QR tags, and labels that can be searched, so you don’t have to keep guessing. Just write what you’re looking for, and the app will help you navigate which box you’ve kept it in so you don’t make a grand mess of things, adding to your move-out, move-in stress.

 

Conclusion

Of course, moving is never an easy process, but to ease the burden of having to figure it out all by yourself, you can use the moving services listed above to your advantage and for a smoother move!

 

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MTN Presents Another GHc 5 Million to Covid Trust Fund

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CEO of MTN Ghana Selorm Adadevoh presents the dummy Cheque to Justice Sophia Akuffo Chairperson of the Fund and the Trustees -1

MTN Ghana Foundation has donated GHC5Million to National Covid Trust Fund to support government’s effort in combating Corona Virus pandemic in the country. This presentation brings MTN’s total contribution to the National COVID Trust Fund to Ghc10 million.

 

Speaking at a ceremony to present the cheque to Trustees of the Fund at the Jubilee House, the CEO of MTN Ghana, Mr. Selorm Adadevoh expressed his gladness at the opportunity given to MTN to demonstrate its commitment to the people of Ghana by supporting the Trust Fund in their fight against COVID-19.  He said, “Our support to the Trust Fund is to ensure the Government’s strategy in combating the pandemic is fully achieved”.

 

“We believe this will help immensely to provide the needed PPES, education and other services for the people of Ghana and most importantly to brighten lives as we celebrate our 25th Anniversary”, he added.

 

Receiving the cheque on behalf of the Trustee of the National Covid Trust Fund, the chairperson of the Fund, Justice Sophia Akuffo, said, “The contributions have dwindled over the past year. I’m happy that MTN Ghana has come through. MTN Ghana has been a key supporter of the Covid Trust Fund and has contributed a total sum of 10 million Ghana cedis. It is one of the few organizations to have contributed this much to support the fight against COVID-19 in Ghana. We are truly grateful for their assistance.”

 

She added that, “There seems to be this false notion among the public that the pandemic is gone. The fact is the extent of the pandemic has been quite devastating and continues to cause death. There seems to be evidence of a new variant developing. We continue to encourage the Ghanaian citizenry to continue to adhere to all the COVID-19 protocols. We also strongly encourage that you get vaccinated. We are grateful to MTN and we hope other organizations will follow their example as we all work to fight his deadly virus.”

 

The donation to the National COVID-19 Trust Fund is one of the many interventions by MTN Ghana to help stem the COVID 19 pandemic. At the time when the nation was highly in need of PPEs, test kits and PCR Machines in 2020, the MTN Ghana Foundation donated 44,000 Personal Protective Equipment, four (4) Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) Machines and Test Kits to the National COVID Trust at the cost of GHS 5 Million. The donation was to help the National Covid Trust Fund enhance the protection of all health personnel in the fight against COVID -19 in the Country.

 

Some of the other key interventions include: Collaboration with the National Information Technology Authority (NITA) to offer all Government workers free access to the Smart Workplace Portal to support Government’s work from home program, protecting the customer through the provision of critical health information, providing free internet access to over 200 websites for online education for public and private institutions, free MoMo transfers up to Ghc100 a day and revision of MoMo wallet limits. MTN Ghana supported the infection monitoring and contact tracing team through the provision of 800 SIM Cards and 8 Terabytes of data to National Security and 10 TurboNet fixed wireless devices with over 2 terabytes of data to the COVID-19 Response Team for use by contact tracers. MTN has also deployed mobile money merchant accounts as collection conduits to support Government institutions such as the Ministry of Finance and the First Lady’s mobilization fund for COVID-19.

 

MTN Ghana also contributed three educational campaigns aimed at getting people to live responsibly. “Be Wise”,  Wear it for me” and “One More Push” campaigns  were to encourage people across the continent not to give up in the fight against COVID-19, and to continue to wear their masks, wash their hands and practice social distancing.

 

On the vaccination front, MTN Group donated USD$25million to support AU’s vaccination rollout across 55 member states to cover 7 million vaccine doses for health workers.

 

MTN Ghana Foundation will continue to support efforts aimed at mitigating the impact of COVID -19 in Ghana.

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