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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.

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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.

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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.

 

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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.

 

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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.

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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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Delta Airlines is focused on being reliable with its business in Ghana

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Delta Airlines

One of America’s major Airlines, Delta Airlines has reaffirmed its unwavering commitment to the Ghanaian market, signaling a strong dedication to fostering air travel connectivity in the country.

As a major player in the global aviation industry, Delta acknowledges the importance of the Ghanaian market and underscores its commitment to providing top-notch services for passengers traveling to and from Ghana.

The Managing Director of International Communications for Delta Airlines, Rahsaan Johnson in an in interaction with Ghanaian media at the Atlanta Headquarters of Delta,  emphasised the airline’s commitment to reliability within the Ghanaian market. Dispelling rumors circulating mainly on social media platforms that the aircraft serving African routes, particularly Ghana, are obsolete or unsuitable for travel, Rahsaan highlighted Delta’s strategic focus on ensuring a dependable and consistent air travel experience for passengers in Ghana.

Read Also: Lifestyle: Delta And Virgin Atlantic To Form Strategic Alliance

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He further touched on the several awards Delta Airlines has received, highlighting its consistent recognition as the most distinguished airline in the United States for customer service, satisfaction, reliability, and punctuality.

“I would say Delta is first of all the most awarded airline in the United States of America. For several years, at least 10 years, Delta has had the highest ranking in customer service, customer satisfaction, reliability, fewest cancellations and most on-time performance,” he said

Rahsaan Johnson to a greater extent disclosed that customers traveling from Accra have consistently rated Delta among their top choices for satisfaction across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East.

“Our focus in Ghana is to uphold the already high levels of customer satisfaction. Passengers flying with Delta from Accra consistently provide us with some of our highest satisfaction ratings across Africa, Europe, and the Middle East,” he emphasized.

While addressing concerns about aircraft selection, Rahsaan, made known that the multiple award-winning airline operated a diverse fleet capable of serving global destinations, stressing that the planes deployed on Ghana routes are also used for flights within the United States, Europe, South America, and beyond.

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He specifically asserted that the Boeing 767-300 aircraft used for flights to and from Ghana, also caters to some of Delta’s most valued customers on routes like New York to Los Angeles.

In the words of the director, “The 767-300 airplane that we fly to Ghana carries some of our highest-paying customers en route between New York and Los Angeles for example. The aircraft that we fly to and from Ghana, is the right size aircraft for us to be financially successful in Ghana.”

“What we want to do is to have a strong business that allows us to give the right amount of service to the community so that we can fly that route every day, so we can fly that route and be successful. The alternative is a larger airplane for fewer flights a day or fewer flights per week,” he added.

With air travel playing an integral role in connecting nations and fostering economic and cultural exchanges, reliability becomes a cornerstone for airline success. As Delta continues to operate in the Ghanaian market, its commitment to reliability is not only a commitment to punctuality but also an assurance of consistent service quality. The airline industry is highly competitive, and Johnson’s statement signals Delta’s intent to distinguish itself through a reputation for reliability.

Delta has operated nonstop service from Accra to New York-JFK since December 2006. Delta currently operates a daily flight and has overall, transported more than 1,350,000 customers between Ghana and the United States since 2006.

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Africa Games Armwrestling: Golden Arms to grab Golden Gold for Ghana, receives boost from NHIS, HD+, KOFATA and others.

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The National Armwrestling team, Golden Arms has set an ambitious target of securing a third of Ghana’s total medal haul at the forthcoming Africa Games scheduled for March 08 to 23,2024.

Coming into the Games for the first time, the Golden Arms are poised and ready to make history again in order to add up to Ghana’s medal haul towards its host and win agenda.

Mr. Charles Osei Asibey, President of the Ghana Armwrestling Federation (GAF) said the team being  in camp since February is unprecedented in their preparation for any major championship thus super ready to deliver at the continental stage on promise.

“We are ready to give the rest of Africa a tough competition as always. We have medals targets for Ghana, my hardworking team has had enough preparations and I am convinced they will show up to put up a good show.”

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Currently in camp at Legon, the Golden Arms have received major boost from the Armwrestling board, development partners National Health Insurance Authority (NHIA) through their sports is good health agenda spearheaded by CEO Dr. Oko Boye, SES HD Plus through the Kids Armwrestling future champions program, Kofata Motors, the Ghana Olympic Committee (GOC) through the federations support, Minister and Ministry of Youth & Sports who ensured Armwrestling is well placed, the Local Organizing Committee and friends, all to get the team thrive at the 13th Africa Games in Accra. The various support directed towards training equipment, medics, team preparation, kitting and other logistical needs.

Mr. Osei Asibey urged Ghanaians to rally behind the team as they go in to conquer the rest of Africa on March 15 and  16, 2024 at the Cedi Hall, University of Ghana.

The Ghana National Armwrestling Team, the Golden Arms having dominated the continent for the past yeare, will hunt for Gold and bring Ghana that glory it deserves.

Source www.ghanaarmwrestling.org

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Holy Child alumni illuminate the path forward amidst national school power crisis

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HOPSA SOLAR PANEL 1

In recent times, the narrative of power challenges in Ghanaian schools has escalated, with numerous public institutions such as Mfantsipim School, Accra Academy, and Mondo Senior High Technical School among others facing abrupt electricity disconnections. 

This persistent issue highlights the dire need for sustainable solutions in powering educational facilities, crucial for maintaining the quality of education.

Stepping into the spotlight with a pioneering initiative, the 1999 alumni of Holy Child School have set a remarkable precedent.

 In a bid to combat these electricity woes, these visionary women have successfully funded the transition of their alma mater to 75% solar energy. This initiative not only addresses the immediate problem of power outages and financial strains on the school’s budget but also serves as a beacon of climate-positive action with the potential for carbon credit benefits.

Founded in 1946 by the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, Holy Child School has long stood as a bastion of educational excellence and societal impact in Ghana. Its alumni include distinguished personalities such as Ghana’s Ambassador to France, Anna Bossman; Goldman Sachs Vice President, Sabina Dankwah; and University of Ghana’s Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Nana Aba Amfo, to name a few.

The Solar Project

This solar project, a gift from the 1999 alumni commemorating their 25th anniversary and coinciding with the school’s 78th speech and prize-giving day, symbolizes a profound act of giving back and forward.

 In an exclusive interview with the Business and Financial Times, engineer Ing. Mrs. Sheila Enyonam Akyea, president of the year group, shared:  “This project builds on the foundation laid by our predecessors. We’re thrilled to extend their initial contribution, ensuring every corner of our school benefits. It’s our way of ensuring current and future students receive the same level of empowerment and opportunity we had.”

Project’s Committee Chair Ing. Mrs. Teresa Kyei-Mensah, mentioned the substantial investment the solar installation demands, emphasizing ongoing fundraising efforts.

she said: “Once completed, the initiative promises significant savings for the school and, by extension, the Ghana Education Service, redirecting funds towards essential educational resources,” she added.

Solar power, increasingly recognized for its affordability and environmental benefits, stands as a viable solution for Ghana’s educational sector and its broader climate goals. With abundant sunshine year-round, Ghana is ideally positioned to harness solar energy, reducing the financial burden on public resources while contributing to global carbon reduction efforts.

The project was completed in January 2024 after a 1-month testing phase. The year group eagerly anticipate the handover ceremony at the 78th Speech and Prize-Giving Day of Holy Child School in Cape Coast on Saturday, 9th March 2024 marking a significant milestone in their commitment to sustainable development and quality education in Ghana. 

This initiative not only lights the way for other schools grappling with similar challenges but also underscores the powerful impact of alumni engagement in shaping a brighter future for the next generation.