Business24 Newspaper 20 May 2022

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News Desk Report

ECA outlines key path for African sovereign debt liquidity and sustainability at the 03 Com2022 02

The dice is loaded against Africa as ministers call for reform African economy, finance and planning ministers, businesses and economists attending a conference in Dakar, Senegal, have made an impassioned case for a complete overhaul of the global financial architecture. The Conference of Ministers (CoM2022) -- organised by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) and hosted by the government of Senegal – heard from economists and executives who argued that these global arrangements, ostensibly meant to maintain stability in the international financial system, were outdated and unfair to many developing countries. In Africa, they are “not fit for purpose,” said Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary General and Executive Secretary of UN Economic Commission for Africa. Giving the keynote speech at CoM2022, President Macky Sall of Senegal, said Africa was being dictated to although it had over a decade

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of good growth, only suffering a reversal, like the rest of the world, because of the coronavirus pandemic. Funds are loaned to African countries at a higher rate of interest than other comparable countries and their credit-worthiness hinges on the decisions of opaque credit ratings agencies. “Sometimes we feel sad,” President Sall said. “We ask ourselves: what can we do, where do we stand, what is our place?” He said African countries had asked for a re-allocation of Special Drawing Rights (SDRs) but “they said they couldn’t re-allocate. So we now have to ask for new ones…They talk about deficits and debt ratios while we need money like a Covid patient needs oxygen.” Extending the analogy, the President said “and then they say they don’t have the instruments” like a patient denied oxygen because the instruments to administer it aren’t available.

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Be intentional about market access for MSMEs – expert to 04 gov’t By Eugene Davis Banks will continue 05 to innovate to meet customers’ expectations - Victor Asante

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Skills-based training remains critical to job creation agenda Ghana’s rising unemployment remains a hanging albatross on the neck of government as it poses serious security and economic concerns to the national development. Scores of graduates are in constant search of jobs but the question is whether they are well-skilled for the kinds of jobs that they seek. What makes it a conundrum is the incessant demand from the business sector for a more employable or skilled workforce. It clearly tells that the lack of wellequipped graduates or persons with employable skills plays a big part in the high rate of joblessness in the country. According to Statista, Ghana’s unemployment rate is above the worldwide unemployment rate, and compared to other Sub-Saharan African countries and other regions, Ghana has a relatively average rate of unemployment. There is the urgent need for skills-based training in our training institutions to build a competent and employable workforce to drive the nation’s socioeconomic aspirations. Another concern has been the preference for white-

collar jobs instead of having graduates venturing into entrepreneurship with innumerable opportunities almost every aspect of the Ghanaian economy. A 2020 World Bank report titled “Youth Employment Programs in Ghana: Options for Effective Policy Making and Implementation” identified agribusiness, entrepreneurship, apprenticeship, construction, tourism and sports as key sectors that can offer increased employment opportunities for Ghanaian youth. It also called for more investments in career guidance and counseling, work-based learning, coaching, and mentoring to equip young people with the skills needed for work. The report suggested that although these are not new areas, the government could maximize their impact by scaling-up these priority areas in existing youth employment interventions and improve outreach to the youth. We need a practical and sustainable approach to tackling the alarming unemployment rate in the country and we can start with correcting the persistent industry-academia mismatch.

The dice is loaded against Africa as ministers call for reform News Desk Report - continued from page 1

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There was consensus among participants at CoM2022, including Michael Camdessus, the former managing director of the IMF, that fundamental change was required. Mr Camdessus said reform of the global financial architecture was “crucial for Africa. We cannot be paralysed by the texts of our statutes.” Concluding CoM2022, ministers said their targets for the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as well as Agenda 2063 had suffered “significant setbacks”. African countries’ annual expenditures just to meet the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are expected to rise by $154 billion because of the pandemic. An additional $285 billion will be needed for the next five years to ensure an adequate response to COVID-19. Ministers attending CoM2022 pointed out that the continent also needed between $130 billion and $170 billion annually for infrastructure projects and about $66 billion a year to invest in health systems and health infrastructure. Apart from the pandemic, economic recovery is being hampered by rising food, oil and fertilizer prices caused by the war in Ukraine. 29 African countries are expected to face a severe food crisis. To add to these needs, over $3 trillion is required by 2030 to address the challenges of climate change. And with 640 million Africans lacking access to electricity, they said energy infrastructure was urgently required. In a communique issued at the end of the conference, the 26 ministers acknowledged that

bilateral and multilateral support had been forthcoming during the pandemic. But they argued it was “grossly inadequate” for lowerincome countries and too narrowly targeted to help vulnerable middleincome ones. They urged G20 countries to extend the Debt Service Suspension Initiative (DSSI) for two more years to help “create fiscal space for urgent spending”. They also asked for the Common Framework to be modified to make debt restructuring effective and broad-based to include commercial creditors. A key demand was that developed countries support the recycling of $100bn in Special Drawing Rights (SDRs), of which they said $60 billion should be allocated to the Poverty Reduction and Growth Trust (PRGT) and to the new Resilience and Sustainability Trust (RST). In addition, they asked for new SDRs and drew attention to the ECA’s Liquidity and Sustainability Fund (LSF), which they said should be established to allow African countries to use SDRs to improve liquidity, stabilise currencies and reduce the costs of credit. CoM2022 questioned the surcharges imposed by the IMF on countries with large borrowings, which they pay in addition to interest payments and fees. Ministers said these are estimated to be in the range of $4bn for African countries this year alone and have asked the IMF to waive them for another 2 to 3 years during the war in Ukraine. In addition, they urged the IMF to use its Catastrophe

Containment and Relief Trust (CCRT) to offer debt service relief to poor countries. There was an admission from ministers present that the continent simply loses vast amounts of domestic funds. The communique said ministers were “deeply troubled” by illicit financial flows (IFFS). An estimated $83billion is siphoned out of Africa, denying the continent desperately needed resources that it could have used “for the people”. It also acknowledged that Africa had underdeveloped capital markets, “due in part to a large informal sector, low saving rates and weak regulatory and governance regimes”. But, ministers said, they were very disappointed that there continues to be an “African premium”, which ranges from 100 to 260 basis points, for funds raised in external capital markets. “Interest rates charged to our countries are higher than those charged to our peers outside our continent with similar or worse economic fundamentals,” the communique said. With central banks in advanced economies raising their interest rates to restrain rising inflationary expectations, these costs would rise further. Among the demands made by African ministers to ease liquidity issues, was the on-lending of SDRs – where countries which don’t need them can loan them on to those which do. The ministers commended China for its decision to pass them on and urged other bilateral donors to follow suit.


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continued from page 2 “The on-l ending of $100 billion in SDRs to Africa would be a costeffective means of financing the continent’s recovery,” they said. On the subject of sustainable and climate financing, ministers commended the ECA and the Pacific Investment Management Company for launching the Liquidity and Sustainability Facility (LSF), which would allow African countries to attract investments in sustainabilitythemed-financial products, including green bonds. They also said African countries should be compensated for the efforts they put in safeguarding some of the planets most important carbon sequestration assets. The ministers said multilateral and regional development banks should make climate finance more readily available, so that they could “adapt and mitigate against the growing

impacts of climate change” and fund green projects. Development partners were urged to replenish the African Development Fund (ADF), and to support recapitalising PDBs among other measures, to address a looming crisis due to the RussiaUkraine conflict. For their part, the African ministers gathered in Dakar made a commitment to increase their efforts to mobilize domestic resources and “implement policies that create an enabling environment” to attract the private sector and institutional investors. They said resources would be directed towards priority areas, including infrastructure, health, education and climate change, including renewable energy to reduce dependence on foreign oil and gas. Oil-exporting African

countries were urged to use the windfall caused by the Ukraine crisis to support economic recovery. Noting that full implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) would boost Africa’s GDP by an estimated $55billion by 2045, ministers said countries which had ratified the agreement should mainstream it and those that had not should do so. They also promised to strengthen their efforts to implement a “comprehensive and unambiguous tax policy” and improve capacity in combating tax-motivated illicit financial flows (IFFs). The ECA was requested to continue to provide its assistance in designing tax policies and their implementation. The ministers’ statement commended the African ExportImport Bank (Afrexim Bank) for

launching the Pan-African Payments and Settlement System to support the operationalization of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), “enabling instant, crossborder payments in local currencies between markets on the continent” at low cost and “reducing the dependence on hard currencies”. The Economic Commission for Africa was praised for successfully implementing its work programme for 2021 despite the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic and was requested to assist countries to respond to the impact of the Ukraine conflict and help them prepare for the next global climate summit, COP27. COP27, “Africa’s COP”, will be held in Egypt from 7th - 18th November 2022.

ECA outlines key path for African sovereign debt liquidity and sustainability at the Com2022 In the context of its African Ministers of Finance conference, CoM2022, the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) has given the details of a path for African international sovereign debt liquidity and sustainability -the Liquidity & Sustainability Facility (LSF) it established and with the support of BNY Mellon and Amundi. Addressing debt sustainability In an environment characterized by increasing debt burdens, historically high cost of borrowing, difficult post- Covid recovery, climate change related issues and energy and food shortages, there was a consensus among participants at the conference that tackling debt sustainability was a key issue. Guest speaker Vincent Mortier, CIO of leading asset management firm Amundi highlighted the role instruments such as Sovereign bonds can play in managing debt sustainability provided a liquiditysupportive framework is in place. The LSF established in 2021 by the ECA replicates the dynamic of a repo market for African sovereign Eurobonds, providing investors with competitive funding through repurchase agreements (“repo“). It aims to support improved ways for African States to raise money from investors in a transparent market driven framework and at competitive rates. “As a global asset manager, Amundi is proud to support the LSF. This mechanism will foster the emergence and the structuring of the African sovereign debt market, on par with the best international standards,” Vincent Mortier, CIO of Amundi commented. “It represents an important milestone for investors, as the African continent offers promising opportunities in terms of sustainable fixed income investment, in particular green bonds.” Repo markets as a way of increasing liquidity for African Sovereigns and private investors

with a focus on financing sustainable development Finance and development ministers from throughout the continent, together with the ECA, have been at the forefront of discussions on innovative mechanisms that can be added to the mix of tools used to address their various financial challenges. While a fledging repo market exists for the bonds of some African nations, a mature repo market, like that which exists in most major economies, has been missing. Guest speaker Brian Ruane, CEO of Clearance & Collateral Management at BNY Mellon, unveiled the firm’s collaboration with the LSF as its triparty collateral management provider. He said that the facility would address the gap in market infrastructure for financing Africa’s international sovereign debt, helping to promote a more stable repo market on the continent. “With our wealth of experience in the field, we are well placed to support a financial infrastructure solution for African Sovereign Eurobond debt,” said Ruane, whose business settles

and administers approximately $5Tr in financing transactions globally each day. “A more robust and liquid repo market should lead to more demand from buyers, more refinancing and lower costs of servicing that debt.” Boosting the issuance of sustainability-linked bonds Private sector demand for investment products that promote sustainable development has been rising steeply in recent years. These “sustainability-themed products” were worth $3.2 trillion in 2020. Despite the vast green resources of Africa and increased investor demand for sustainability-themed products, the continent accounts for less than 1 per cent of global green bond issuances. The LSF can incentivize green bond issuances by offering preferred repurchase agreement rates to institutional investors that refinance their positions using African green bonds as collateral. As such, the LSF can be used to mobilise capital investment towards key sustainable efforts and a green and sustainable recovery for Africa. “Today Africa needs more

liquidity than ever before to finance its recovery and transform the continued threat of the pandemic into an accelerator of growth and global prosperity,” said Vera Songwe, United Nations Under-SecretaryGeneral and Executive Secretary of the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA). “In the current environment high inflation impacts on essential commodities such as food, energy and fertilizers and places an additional strain on numerous African households. More than ever before, we need mechanisms such as the LSF to help African governments deal with the situation in a bold way and at affordable conditions. With the CFTA, we already have a blue print for the recovery; now we need the financing to go with it.” “We are very pleased to establish this new market infrastructure,” said David Escoffier, Board Director and Head of the LSF Secretariat. “This is a great opportunity to upfront finance and mobilise the private sector to change the development trajectory towards a new development model for the African Continent”.


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Be intentional about market access for MSMEs – expert to gov’t By Eugene Davis

The co-founder of Rancard Solutions, Kofi Dadzie has asked government to create a secured market access for work which will empower the MSMEs particularly the youth. According to him, secured market access is the best guarantee for financing and leads to more targeted and relevant skills acquisition. Speaking as a panelist at the Ishmael Yamson and Associates: 2022 Business Roundtable in Accra, he indicated that there should be an intentional state policy for local businesses to grow. “I don’t think skills and financing is the fundamental one, the fundamental one to supporting MSMEs and the youth is market access -if as a state we define clearly the sectors we want to focus on and therefore these are the large scalable market opportunities, the first and the next step is who are the local businesses whom we want to bring up and grow, if you have the market, skills and capital is not a problem.

For him, as a nation if we intend to solve “our national problem, one of the things at the heart of economic transformation is if young people can find sustainable dignified work and we are not going to see that, unless we are intentional about market access, own the value chains around the most important sectors where we want to consume.” He also added that roping in the informal sector to engage more should be aligned on the national agenda, creating policies to prioritise youth development, opening up internships. Joe Jackson, Director of Strategy and Business Operations, Dalex Finance urged government to “use its market power for MSMEs” by taking a bet on it -awarding contracts to them. He also expressed concern about the myriad regulations MSMEs have to encounter which he says discourages them. According to him, the country is in the midst of economic turmoil and “we will be saved by the MSMEs not the big corporate

and government” Mr. Jackson also highlighted the challenges being faced by MSMEs, such as poor financials, lack of technology and research, stressing that “sometimes research conducted by CSIR that is sitting and unused can change the face of agric. Locally we have technology that we are not utilizing.” The CEO of Horseman Shoes, Tonyi Senayah stated that focus on intervention should be qualitative results rather than quantitative and maintained that apprenticeship should be revived given that “a trained and skilled hand can produce to feed himself

and others.” He also bemoaned the huge skilled labour deficit across vocations from capentry, masonry, mechanic “it is more difficult in getting skilled labour in these areas rather than getting money to do business. “Technical training should not be the last resort, we should re-orient our minds and get the best brains into that sector. TVET schools deserve equal attention as the grade A schools” Research show that seventy percent of Ghana’s economy is informal, whiles 92percent of businesses is MSMEs.


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Banks will continue to innovate to meet customers’ expectations - Victor Asante The Managing Director of FBNBank Ghana, Mr. Victor Yaw Asante has reiterated the commitment of banks in the country to continuously innovate to keep up with the pace of changing customer behavior and expectations. According to him, this will ensure that the industry remains relevant and competitive, especially in product development, personalization and customer service delivery. “Our industry needs to remain efficient and competitive, at least in the sub region particularly in the face of AfCFTA and innovation especially in the areas of product, processes, and marketing is a key part of the process.” Mr. Asante’s comments come at a time when the world economy is going through challenges; real incomes are down because of inflation, input and commodity prices are rising and there is a general “war” on liquidity by central banks to fight inflation. These could alter customer behavior, needs and expectations. In the opinion of Mr. Asante, banks generally are aware of what customers want – easy accessibility, real time assistance, personalized services and data security among others and

innovation and digitization provides the best means to keep the customer happy. He made these remarks when interacting with some customers of the bank’s Abossey Okai and Kaneshie branches. In the opinion of Mr. Asante, the digital age is transforming almost every sector and aspect of daily life - the way we work, trade, learn,

bank and access information with innovation becoming crucial in the process. Particularly, the use of financial technology to provide digital financial services supports individuals and businesses to live in the digital economy. Ghana’s National Financial Inclusion and Development Strategy (NFIDS) 2018–2023 has innovation as the main underlining theme in its five pillars of financial sector development: Financial Stability; Access, Quality, and Usage of Financial Services; Financial Infrastructure; Financial Consumer Protection; and Financial Capacity. Ghana however dropped in the 2021 Global Innovation Index (GII). Ghana ranks 112th among the 132 economies surveyed compared to 108 and 106 in 2019 and 2020 respectively. While Ghana’s position has declined over the period, it is worth noting that almost every country increased the pace of innovation when COVID - 19 hit. The banking sector has witnessed its share of innovation within the time, with everything movable online moved to meet the needs of customers. However, the Managing Director of FBNBank Ghana, believes

that “although the pandemic moved up the time for planned investment in digitization, banks cannot slow the pace because customers’ tastes, product and service technologies continues to change. Therefore, to keep up with customer expectations and new technologies banks should must be highly innovative”. A study from Fraedom, a global financial technology company, showed that 95% of business customers who use digital banking in their personal lives expect the same digital experience for business. This means, retail/personal banking received more attention on digital innovations than commercial/ business banking and there is the need to replicate the feet in the personal banking space. According to Mr. Asante, this is likely to apply to the Ghanaian market. “Even though this situation and many others present opportunities to banks in Ghana to create more value for customers and other stakeholders, without continuous innovation, it will be difficult to effectively and efficiently derive the right value from the opportunities”, he added.

Leveraging Technology to Improve Accessibility for the Hearing Impaired – Vodafone Super Care

Today, 19th May, is Global Accessibility Awareness Day (GAAD), a day set aside to raise awareness about digital access and inclusion. The day, which is celebrated every year on the third Thursday of May, was first observed in 2012, with the objective of ensuring accessibility is built into the product development lifecycle for technology and digital products. While technology innovation is moving at an unprecedented pace, it has become even more imperative, to include accessibility as a core requirement in order not to leave behind the more than one billion people with disabilities or impairments worldwide. People with disabilities in Ghana make up an estimated 3% of the

population of over 31.07 million, according to the Ghana Statistical Service. People living with various forms of disabilities or impairments struggle to access various digital and technological services, including telecommunications. In most cases, they are compelled to seek the help of family, friends, or loved ones, which sometimes becomes a great inconvenience. In Ghana, one organisation that has shown outstanding leadership in driving accessibility and inclusivity through a modelled product and service is Vodafone Ghana. In 2017, Vodafone Ghana launched its groundbreaking SuperCare initiative, to enable the speech and hearingimpaired community to access dedicated services and customer experience support. Angela Mensah-Poku, Director of Digital Transformation and Customer Operations in a quick comment said: ‘’ Our strategy is grounded in our purpose to connect for a better future, and this is focused on three key pillars – ‘’Digital Society’’, ‘’Inclusion for All’’, and ‘’Planet. ‘’Inclusion for All’’ enjoins us to create an enabling digital society that is accessible to all, with no one left behind. We believe that we have a role to play in helping to ensure that people with disabilities have accessible products and technologies that allow them to participate in modern society. This is the thought that goes into our product development process, which also birthed SuperCare.’’

The telecommunication heavyweight launched a dedicated customer experience unit for the hearing impaired in the country. The initiative makes it possible for people who have trouble hearing or speaking to use the network’s services without any problems. In addition, Vodafone Ghana came up with a unique package that gives customers access to heavily discounted data. Neglected for so long, Vodafone Ghana is the first and only mobile network catering to the needs of that community. Emmanuel Sackey, the President of the Ghana Association for the Deaf, stated that this was the first time that a special package had been created for them, and that he was excited about it. Registered members of the Ghana National Association for the Deaf and their close families use data that is highly subsidised and SMS bundle packages designed to help them communicate effectively by way of video and SMS applications. Angela explained that the specialised customer centre had trained agents who are able to communicate with the speech and hearing impaired through digital means such as video services. ‘’The speech and hearing impaired could dial the short code *494# and request a customer care official who would call back to give them the service support they require. Additionally, customers could request either a video or WhatsApp call, which would be returned by

Vodafone for the customer to be assisted.’’ Hearing-impaired employees have been hired by Vodafone Ghana to work in the specialised SuperCare contact centre and some Vodafone retail shops, where they can sign and provide assistance to hearingimpaired customers. As a result of this intervention, people with this impairment no longer need to rely on the assistance of their relatives and friends when it comes to making basic inquiries or subscribing to offers. Vodafone has also demonstrated a strong commitment to improving the lives of people with disabilities through skills development. Its charity arm, Vodafone Ghana Foundation, organises digital and technology-related training for people with disabilities as part of its Birthday Stars initiative. Last month, the foundation trained over 50 girls in recycled arts, 3D printing, and digital skills. ‘’At Vodafone, our core purpose is to connect people for a better future. Driving inclusivity is part of a broader strategy to help reduce inequality, which is captured under Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 10. We are working to extend our unique services under SuperCare to people with other disabilities or impairment groups. We believe that technology innovations are incomplete if they fail to meet the accessibility-related needs of everyone.’’ She added.


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CBG calls on Chief Imam to deepen ties with Muslim Community The Managing Director of Consolidated Bank Ghana (CBG) Daniel Wilson Addo, has paid a courtesy call on the National Chief Imam, His Eminence Sheikh Dr. Osman Nuhu Sharubutu at his residence in New Fadama. The visit is to congratulate the Chief Imam on his charity work and promotion of peace among religious groups, the calm celebration of Eid Ul Fitr, seek prayers for CBG as a positive business brand and to cement the long-standing relationship with the Muslim community. Sharing the purpose of the visit, the Managing Director of CBG, Mr. Daniel Wilson Addo said: “His eminence is the spiritual head of a large part of the population of this country, and he has consistently promoted the fact that we are one people even if we belong to different religions. We are also very much aware of his eminence’s works in feeding the poor, and helping the disadvantaged in society; we strongly identify with those principles. So, we are

here today to pay respect, and pledge our assistance to him in all of his humanitarian work. We also do businesses in some of the communities that have the concentration of his people and we have consistently found that the environment is very conducive and we will like to thank him and introduce the Bank to him.”

According to Daniel Addo, “CBG values the relationship and impact of the Chief Imam and the entire Muslim community to the development of the Bank. In line with our brand promise, we pledge that we will continuously stand with you.” The National Chief Imam, on his part, expressed gratitude to CBG

and prayed for the success of the Bank and its staff. He said, “I am excited and really happy about your visit. I am praying to Allah that he will shower his blessings into the Bank and individually as staff of this bank, and collectively, I pray that God will bless your lives and all your endeavours. I am also praying that God enhances the peace of our country just like we are living in a country of different religions and yet we live in peace, we pray that God will enhance our peace.” The other members of the CBG delegation, Deputy Managing Director (DMD) for Corporate Resources, Nana Ama Poku; Chief Financial Officer, Charles Appiah; Director of Operations, Samuel Chiatey Barketey; General Manager, Ahmed Ibrahim TijaniTanko and other Heads of Departments. The delegation also presented some items to the Chief Imam.

Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi honoured with the Atlantic Council’s prestigious Distinguished Business Leadership Award Eni CEO Claudio Descalzi received the 2022 Distinguished Business Leadership Award from the Atlantic Council yesterday. This prestigious honour was awarded for the “extraordinary role” he has assumed in the energy sector at an international level, for the technological transformation of the company aimed at complete decarbonisation by 2050 and for his contribution to the new challenge of Italian and European

energy security. This is the first time that an Italian representative has been honoured in the Business Leadership category. On the same evening, Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi received the Distinguished International Leadership Award. Introduced by Sultan Ahmed Al Jaber, United Arab Emirates Special Representative for Climate Change and Minister of Industry

and Advanced Technology, and in the presence of top leaders from the US political, economic and financial community, Claudio Descalzi commented: “I am honoured to receive this award right after our Prime Minister and I want to share it with all the people at Eni who, together with me, are making a great effort in contributing to ensure energy security in Italy and Europe at this time of great crisis. However, this is the time when we need to pursue the vital goal of a just transition to a zeroemission world with just as much effort. The challenges of climate change must coexist along this path with guaranteed widespread access to energy and the economic and social development of all communities. This is the just transition we believe in”. Eni’s CEO received the award in the presence of Italian Prime Minister Mario Draghi. During the ceremony, two additional awards

were handed out, to the Ukrainian Ambassador to the United States, Oksana Markarova, who received the Distinguished Leadership Award - for the first time ever awarded to an entire nation, honouring the Ukrainian people for their extraordinary courage and resilience - and to Ukrainian singer Jamala. The Atlantic Council is a nonpartisan organisation with a mission to “shape the global future together” and promote US leadership and engagement around the world, in collaboration with allies and partners, to shape solutions to global challenges. In the past, the Atlantic Council has recognised the leadership of personalities such as Ursula Von Der Leyen, José Manuel Barroso, Kristalina Georgieva, Christine Lagarde, George Bush, Ashraf Ghani, Hillary Clinton and Ban Ki-moon. The Distinguished Business Leadership Award was previously conferred on Albert Bourla (Pfizer), Özlem Türeci and Ugur Sahin (BioNTech), Frederick W. Smith (FedEx), Howard Schultz (Starbucks), Thomas Enders (Airbus).


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“We are grateful for completing Sunyani Airport Phase 1” The President of the Bono Regional House of Chiefs, Osagyefo Oseadeayo Agyeman Badu II has on behalf of the Chiefs and people of the Region expressed gratitude to President Nana Akufo-Addo for the prompt completion of the first phase of the Sunyani Airport. “Nananom are rightly informed that Phase 1 is now fully complete and will be fully functional after it is officially commissioned,” Agyeman Badu II said when he led a delegation of the House to pay courtesy call on President Akufo-Addo at the Jubilee House in Accra. “Mr. President, we thank you for the re-construction works on the Sunyani Airport. Sometime past, we all remember the deplorable state of our airport. It took the shine off our region significantly. That’s is why we are here to thank you”, he emphasized. On other government policies, Oseadeayo Agyeman Badu II also said “We as Chiefs and the citizenry, have all been massive beneficiaries of the Free Senior High School Policy. The 1D1F has also been of great benefit to us as well. In fact, Mr. President, I will lose focus if I begin to enumerate all the developmental projects that you have undertaken, and continue to undertake for the good people of this country” Using the visit to address a number of issues in region, the President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, disclosed that Passion Air has already indicated its readiness

to fly that route and that Phase Two works on the Airport will be captured in the mid-year budget with works scheduled to begin in July. On roads, he said, “the total road network in Bono is 4554km. These include Trunk roads, Urban Roads, Feeder Roads. 81 road projects are currently ongoing in the region with 19 of them being most active. These include the Menje – Bui Road, Sunyani Inner City Roads; which is under the Sinohydro, Antwi kurom – Adiembra – Bakoniaba Road, Droboso – Kenyasi – Akrobi Road, Wamfie - Adiembra Phase One, Upgradiing of Nkran Nkwanta Kaase Road, Dormaa Ahenkro – Nkran Nkwanta and Nkran Nkwanta Town Roads.” He added that, Asphaltic Overlay of Dormaa Ahenkro roads, Wamfie -Adiembra Phase Two and Seketia – Goka roads are all part of the 81 ongoing roads. Though some of the others have stalled due to payment challenges that we are trying to resolve, the 19 active roads represent 262 km of roads whilst the 81 roads represent 1210 km. “The lecture block at the Dormaa Ahenkro campus of UENR is 95% complete, just as the other blocks intended for Offices, laboratories and IT Auditorium are about 60% complete. So, some of the infrastructure there is being put in place and will provide us with the opportunity for more. The Foundation Stage of the Lecture Hall and Theatre

at the Sunyani Campus is being addressed at the moment, library is 70% complete, Office Block is 70% complete, with the new school gate also at the same level of completion. It is hoped that by the end of this year, all of that part of the UENR will be completed. The Minister of Education and I, will look at raising the needed financing to work rapidly on the Nsoatre campus.” On the expansion of the Coronation Park, President Akufo-Addo stated that a meeting

was held today by the Ministry of Sports and CK Engineering Company; who have produced the designs of the proposed Sunyani Sports Stadium. The idea is of a 15000 capacity stadium, plus the financing arrangements. He concluded with a hint of a joint memorandum between the Ministries of Health and Education to be submitted before cabinet on the elevation of the Sunyani Regional Hospital to a Teaching Hospital status.

President Akufo-Addo receives Jamaican Foreign Affairs Minister The President of the Republic, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo received Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith, Minister for Foreign Affairs and Foreign Trade of Jamaica today, Saturday 14th May 2020, at the Presidential Lodge in Peduase. The Minister, who is on a tour of selected African Countries, called on the President to inform him of the Government of Jamaica’s decision to nominate her as candidate for the position of Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, and to seek Ghana’s support for her candidature and presented to him her campaign material. President Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo - Addo in his response, welcomed Hon. Kamina Johnson Smith to Ghana and recalled the longstanding historical relations

between Ghana and Jamaica. On the issue of her candidature for election as Secretary-General of the Commonwealth Secretariat, the President informed the Jamaican Foreign Minister that Ghana was in the process of consulting with the African member states and other member states of the Commonwealth on the issue, and that Ghana’s position would be communicated through the usual diplomatic channels once a decision is made on the matter. President Akufo -Addo congratulated the Minister on her nomination by her government for such a high-profile position and wished her luck with her campaign.


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FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2022

China’s golden tech grab By Angela Huyue Zhang Hopes are rising that China’s embattled tech giants will finally get a reprieve from the severe legal and regulatory crackdown that has wiped out over $1.5 trillion of their shares’ value. Amid mounting challenges to economic growth, some Chinese government officials have signaled a possible shift to a new strategy: the acquisition of a 1% equity stake – or a so-called golden share – in major tech firms. But will this approach really brighten the outlook for China’s tech industry? A new approach is certainly needed. The authorities’ effort to discipline Chinese tech firms over the last 18 months has been clumsy and highly costly, featuring a raft of opaque and unpredictable regulations. The abrupt suspension of Ant Group’s initial public offering in late 2020, the record antitrust fines imposed on Alibaba and Meituan, and the surprise cybersecurity investigation into Didi Chuxing all spooked investors and sent share prices tumbling. China’s government now seems to hope that the goldenshare arrangement will give it the information and influence it craves while avoiding the economic costs of ham-fisted regulations. A 1% equity stake would normally enable the state investor to appoint a director to the board, ensuring insider access to important corporate decisions and the power to veto them. This would go a long way toward assuaging government fears of the “disorderly expansion of capital.” At the same time, China’s leaders apparently hope that the

arrangement would help tech firms manage their regulatory risk, as it would enable them to ensure their alignment with the state’s agenda and policies. Any disagreement would be handled internally at the firm, eliminating the need for the state to intervene after the fact and offering greater clarity and certainty to investors. This might have helped the ride-hailing giant Didi Chuxing. When the firm decided to list its shares on the New York Stock Exchange, China’s powerful internet regulator, the Cyberspace Administration of China, advised it to conduct a cybersecurity review first. Didi ignored the CAC’s advice, and raised $4.4 billion in its initial public offering in June 2021. Within days, the CAC announced that it had launched an investigation into Didi. The regulatory pressure continued over the ensuing months, and Didi was ultimately driven to delist from the NYSE, sending its share price plummeting and triggering a global selloff of Chinese internet stocks. With a golden share in Didi, the government representative might have vetoed the firm’s initial decision to list on the NYSE, averting all the subsequent tumult. The golden-share arrangement thus appears to be a win-win for the government and tech firms. And steps have already been taken in this direction. In April 2020, Weibo – a social-media platform with over 500 million active users – sold a 1% stake to an entity owned by the China Internet Investment Fund, which

was established by the CAC and the Ministry of Finance in 2017. Since then, the CIIF has invested in more than 40 Chinese tech firms, including ByteDance (which owns Douyin and TikTok), the popular video app Kuaishou, the podcast firm Ximalaya, the artificial-intelligence start-up SenseTime, and the truck-hailing company Full Truck Alliance. While most of these investments do not appear to be goldenshare arrangements, the CIIF or its affiliates have taken a board seat in at least two companies, ByteDance and Weibo. But, when it comes to enabling firms to avoid regulatory hassles, this arrangement is hardly a silver bullet. For starters, the golden share empowers the state investor to veto only decisions that are deliberated by the board; it would have little to no impact on the company’s day-to-day operations. Yet those are the activities that regulation tends to target. Approaches to issues like competition with rivals, treatment of employees and gig workers, the distribution of value among platform participants, and the collection, processing, and sharing of user data are unlikely to be vetted by the firm’s board. But they all fall within the ambit of regulation. Moreover, regulatory powers in China are divided among a number of government departments and agencies, which often engage in fierce competition with one another. Direct or indirect ownership by one government department may do little to protect the firm from

intervention by other government departments, especially if the ownership stake is held by a lower-tier government entity. A regulatory body might even target a firm in which it has an ownership stake. There is precedent for this. Though a CAC-backed entity has held a board seat at Weibo since 2020, the CAC imposed 44 fines on the platform, totaling just over $2 million, between January and November 2021. In December, the CAC summoned Weibo executives to impose another fine and reprimand them for their content-moderation failures, in what was apparently a deliberate attempt to inflict reputational damage. The firm’s stock fell by almost 10% on the day the new fine was announced. Likewise, the CAC’s indirect investment in Full Truck Alliance did not spare the firm from a surprise cybersecurity review last July. The CAC’s move sent the company’s shares plunging, just two weeks after its IPO in New York. Golden-share arrangements might serve the Chinese government’s interests, but those who believe they will protect tech firms from the costs of continued regulation are likely to be disappointed. And this is to say nothing of the risks of state ownership, such as the corruption and regulatory capture that have long plagued China’s bureaucracy. Far from saving China’s tech golden goose, golden-share arrangements are likely to tarnish it further.


| AGRIBUSINESS

FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2022

9

Depreciation of the Cedi: Causes, Challenges and Remedies By Jesreal Dsane Prior to Independence, the British West African Pound was the currency used in Ghana. From 1958 to 1965, The Ghanaian Pound was used as the nation’s first independent currency after independence to replace the British West African Pound. Later that year, the Nkrumah-led government adopted the Cedi as the main currency for the then Gold Coast. The introduction of the Ghanaian Cedi, was evidence of Ghana’s establishment as a sovereign and independent nation. Over the years, the Ghanaian economy has faced several challenges. One of the major challenges we have had to deal with for so many years is the depreciation of the Cedi against foreign currencies especially the US Dollar, British Pound and Euro. Successive governments have tried their best to salvage the situation. Some of these measures were seen as short-term measures by some school of thought. Some of the measures included sale of our foreign assets to shore up our international reserves, adoption of different exchange rate systems: fixed exchange rate system, floating exchange rate system and the cedi rebasing just to mention few. All these interventions implemented by successive governments have not yielded the needed results. The depreciation of the Cedi is mainly due to demand of foreign currencies far exceeding supply. One way or the other, our inactions have led to the cedi depreciation which includes but not limited to the following: Pricing in foreign currencies: Most projects like government contracts, real estate, equipment or capital projects are priced in foreign currencies especially the dollar. People who patronize these projects mostly pay for the projects with foreign currencies hence putting pressure on the currency. Just recently, The Central Bank of Ghana had to issue a directive to desist people from pricing items in foreign currencies. Repatriation of profits of foreign entities: Ghana does not have strict policies and regulations that compel large foreign companies that make huge profits to keep some amount of their profits in the country. During end of year and the first quarter of the new year, these companies repatriate their huge profits to their respective countries. This contributes to the high demand for foreign currency hence causing the cedi to depreciate. Sadly, most of the top brands in Ghana are not Ghanaian owned. Import driven economy: One

of our woes as a country is that we rely heavily on importation – even to the basic essential commodities. Our trade balance position is always in negative as a country because our imports far exceed our exports. We do not patronize our own, we do not develop our own and we do not grow our own. Our taste for foreign goods has dire effects on our currency. Since we demand more of foreign goods and do not export more, the high demand for foreign currencies to import our

causing the cedi to depreciate. Some stakeholders in this market also through speculations have caused demand for foreign currencies to exceed supply causing the cedi to depreciate. They do this by telling their clients that the price of this foreign currency is going up hence the need to buy the currency immediately. This causes panic attacks and importers who deal with the players in this market demand more of the currency hence causing cedi depreciation.

should set the pace for the others to follow. The only way to go is to crack the whip. Government should also introduce policies that will prevent foreign companies from repatriating all their profits to their country. This measure will help boost the economy as these companies will be compelled to roll back monies in the economy. This will help the cedi appreciate and also government can use these funds from these foreign companies to promote

preferences has resulted in the constant depreciation of the cedi. Inadequate proceeds from exports: As a country, we are blessed to have a lot of natural resources like cocoa, oil, timber, gold, diamond, bauxite among others. We do export these resources in their natural forms hence we do not get the muchneeded proceeds as expected. Despite the large quantities of resources exported, the country makes close to nothing when compared to imports. This is a major challenge affecting the cedi. Maturity of debt: This is also another major factor that has also contributed to the cedi depreciation. Government borrows both internally and externally. External debts like euro bonds are in foreign currencies hence repayment must be made in those currencies. These debts are huge and a lot of foreign currency will be needed to meet this debt repayments. The demand for these foreign currencies to meet loan repayment has dire consequences on our economy. Another factor which has contributed to the cedi depreciation is the activities of the black market. Most players in this market buy foreign currencies in large quantities and hoard them causing artificial shortages. This artificial shortage causes demand to far exceed supply hence

Notwithstanding these challenges, I believe in the prospects of our country, however, we need the collaboration of all stakeholders, the government and the public to implement longlasting policy measures to protect the cedi and our economy. It may take time to achieve the needed results but urgent action needs to be taken. Some of these measures include: Industrialization: It is time for us to take a critical look at developing our industries. Government must enter into full scale industrialization in order to help us produce in large quantities to meet local demand and foreign demand. Achieving this will require public and private sector partnerships. Heavy industrialization will help solve our trade deficits and in the long run will lead to the appreciation of the cedi. Strict government policies: Government must enforce stricter laws and regulations that will make Ghanaians patronize locally manufactured goods. This is not to say that importation should be banned but high import duties should be placed on goods that can be produced locally. Also, government must crack the whip on stakeholders who price their items in foreign currencies. These stakeholders must desist from such actions and the Government

development. Government will be able to do this because funds will be placed in banks and government can borrow from locally owned banks to promote development. Most importantly, repayment will be in cedi. Development of natural resources- It is important for us to add more value to our natural resources. This can be achieved by building factories to process our natural resources into semifinished or finished goods for exports. We need to build jewelry factories in order to process our diamonds and golds into jewels for export. VALCO and TOR need to work at full capacity. Cocoa processing plants and factories need to be established to produce more goods like pomade, soaps among others. When these goods in their semi-finished or finished forms are exported, it will bring enough foreign exchange which will help our cedi appreciate. We are still far from dollarizing our currency because our rate of depreciation is not abnormal as compared to some countries in the world. That notwithstanding, the country, various stakeholders and actors need to demand more from government in adopting strict measures and policies that can save the cedi. We all have a collective duty to play as government, as citizens and as Ghanaians.


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| FEATURE

FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2022

Who is afraid of free SHS? By Elizabeth Ohene

I am not sure I can work out which part of the Free SHS it is that seems to rile up some people quite so much. I don’t think there is any argument that we all agree that the shortest route to achieving our development goals is to get an educated workforce, an educated population. Since independence, every government has tried to introduce measures that would bring about the realisation of this dream of an educated workforce. We had the FCUBE, (Free, Compulsory, Universal, Basic Education) it was a good start but not what would take us to the Promised Land. We needed to make secondary education universally available to achieve rapid development. Unfortunately, the majority of parents couldn’t afford the cost of sending their children to secondary schools. Let me list some of the interventions by past governments aimed at increasing equitable access and participation in secondary education: • Free Secondary Education for students from the North • Free Secondary Education for students of Northern extraction • Feeding Grants • Cocoa Board scholarships and bursaries • Merit scholarships for secondary schools • Hardship scholarships, • Senior High School Subsidy, And then, who would forget the Progressively Free Secondary Education programme? All these interventions worked to some extent but the effect was slow and the majority of children did not gain access to secondary education. It was obvious to anyone who cared to look that some dramatic

intervention other than these programmes would do the trick. Enter Free SHS. We had an important thing to cook and we found an important pot in which to cook; if I might be allowed to make a literal translation of an Ewe proverb to make the point. Free SHS Free SHS at one go removed the main obstacle to the children getting secondary education and the numbers increased dramatically. Okay, Free SHS was political, a programme that sought to do something so dramatic would necessarily be political, someone had to take a chance, someone had to put his or her neck out there and be ready to be crucified if it didn’t work. And precisely because it was political, it meant that it was bound to attract criticism, disbelief and distrust. If it worked, if at one go, the number of Ghanaian children with high school education was quadrupled and we could look forward to every child having a minimum qualification of a high School diploma, we could say the long-anticipated transformation of our society was finally happening. The first reaction that greeted the policy said it was impossible, it cannot be done, it won’t happen and it was a deliberate fraudulent ploy, dreamt up by the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and its presidential candidate AkufoAddo to deceive the Ghanaian public. It might well be that the Free SHS, as envisaged, was too radical, too revolutionary for some to take in. It might well be that the Free SHS posed a challenge to the comfortable existence that some had created for themselves.

It might well be that some people were frightened that a successful Free SHS would change the country as we know it and with it, a lot of unforeseen consequences. It would not be easily admitted, but some people did not take kindly to what they saw as the posh schools they attended being “diluted and made available to everybody” (and for that, you can read the poor who went to Syto and not the fancy private primary and JHS schools they had attended). When fees were being charged and paid in senior high schools, there was overcrowding, there was lack of critical school equipment, there were periodic demonstrations by students against the food served in the dining hall, there were dissatisfied teachers. In other words, problems in senior high schools did not start with the introduction of the Free SHS; what is true is that never has there been so much money spent on education in Ghana. All the interventions that had been brought throughout the years to help the poor have access to secondary education had routinely been subverted by wellconnected people in society. COCOBOD scholarships went to the children of senior civil servants and not the children of cocoa farmers. Suddenly, every child could go to secondary school and the question of scholarships for needy students had disappeared. So, some people were determined to oppose the Free SHS, come rain or shine. Nobody imagined, of course, that the Free SHS would be an easy thing to pull off. The financial implications of the scheme on the treasury were huge and the Minister of Finance always looked hauntingly anxious as more and more items were added to the list of things that would be absorbed in the Free part of the Free SHS. What then constituted the sum of what the charges were that a child had to pay to be able to attend a secondary school? 1. General Stationery 2. Maintenance (vehicle and building) 3. First Aid 4. Sports Fees 5. Culture Fees 6. Sanitation Fees 7. Practicals Fees 8. Postage

9. Maintenance (machines and tools) 10. Furniture Maintenance 11. Utilities 12. Examination Fees 13. Library Fees 14. Entertainment Fees 15. SRC Dues 16. Co-curricular Activities (clubs, cadet, etc.) 17. ICT 18. Development Levy 19. National Academic Completions 20. Laboratory Supply 21. taff Motivation 22. House Dues 23. Technical training materials for TVET Students 24. Feeding fee for Boarding Students 25. One hot meal for Day Students Translated into money, the SHS Boarding fees cost the taxpayer, GH¢1,088.20, SHS Day, GH¢543.10, TVET Boarding, GH¢1,131.20, TVET Day, GH¢543.10 Interest Just in case there are some who don’t know, I declare an interest. I was there at the making of Free SHS. Maybe I even contributed to its evolution from an idea to the formulation of the policy, to selling it to the public and cheering on at the implementation. I am an interested party. I have been reluctant to join in the public debate about the policy. I believe that like motherhood, Free SHS is innately a good thing, it speaks for itself and is robust enough to withstand whatever is thrown at it. The size of the Free SHS budget is its biggest difficulty and for a country that is not awash with money, every time we are scraping around for money to do something, Free SHS comes into the frame as a monster that takes in far more money than we can afford. Argument The argument has been made that there are many parents who can pay for their children and such children should not be beneficiaries of Free SHS. I am venturing into the Free SHS debate mostly because two of my favourite people have recently spoken on the subject. The Asantehene, Otumfuo Nana Osei Tutu II, and Archbishop Charles Palmer-Buckle have called for a review of the policy. The Archbishop says some parents are reneging on their responsibility. I shall be back to the subject next week, Insha Allah, as my dear friend Otanka Obetsebi Lamptey would have said.


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| NEWS

FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2022

Vodafone’s female engineering programme inducts 10 brilliant girls Ten brilliant female engineering final year students have benefited from Vodafone Ghana’s Female Engineering Students Sponsorship Programme (FESSP). The initiative is part of the organisation’s diversity and inclusion drive. Every year, Vodafone partners with leading Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) institutions to select brilliant female engineering graduates and allow them to become leaders in their spheres of influence. In a brief ceremony on 12th May 2022 at Vodafone’s headquarters in Accra, each beneficiary received an award package comprising tablets with six months of airtime and data. The package also came with mentoring, funding of final year fees, and a token for books. Ms Torikubu Omar, a beneficiary from the University of Ghana, expressed her appreciation to Vodafone saying, “I think it’s a very nice initiative. Especially the fact that Vodafone is willing to help young women shape futures. The

tablet and free data will make my learning easier. Thank you very much, Vodafone for motivating us.” Speaking during the ceremony, the Human Resources Director at Vodafone, Ashiokai Akrong, congratulated the beneficiaries and encouraged them to maintain their focus. “Throughout the years, we have seen a great number of beneficiaries who have benefited from our programme achieve success within Vodafone and across the Vodafone Group. We believe that these brilliant young engineers would seize the opportunity to make their mark. The programme, which is in phases, begins with internship rotation programmes in several different

divisions within the organisation. This will provide them with information gained through first-hand experience on how the company operates. After completing the internship and national service, they will be offered full-time employment with any of Vodafone’s operational companies.’’

Launched in 2011, the Female Engineering Students Sponsorship Programme (FESSP) has so far sponsored 72 young women from institutions such as the University of Science and Technology (KNUST), University of Mines and Technology (UMaT), University of Ghana, and Ghana Technology University.


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| NEWS

FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2022

Statement by PIAC on its regional engagements and project inspections The Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), the statutory body with oversight responsibility of the management and use of the country’s petroleum revenues, has over the years embarked on its statutory activities which include engaging the public and inspecting projects that have received funding from the Annual Budget Funding Amount (ABFA). The public engagement is in line with the second mandate of PIAC, which is to provide space and platform for the public to debate on whether spending prospects and management and use of revenues conform to development priorities. PIAC also carries out inspections on projects that have received funding from the ABFA in line with its third mandate, which is to provide independent assessment on the management and use of petroleum revenues to assist Parliament and the Executive in the oversight and the performance of related functions. The inspection is to verify the existence and progress of

In the Western North Region, the Committee inspected the construction of a 3-storey Regional Coordinating Council (RCC) Administration Block in Sefwi Wiawso, construction of three Senior Staff Bungalows at Sefwi Wiawso and a rural market in Amoaya in the Bodi Constituency. The construction of the RCC building received GH₵10,591,533.09 from the ABFA in 2020 and 2021. During the visit, the Committee found that the building had been completed, commissioned, and in use. Members were generally of the view that the project had been well executed. The senior staff bungalows received a total of GH₵1,779,660 from the ABFA in 2020. The project was reported to be 90 percent complete with bungalows erected and roofed, internal finishing virtually completed, and external works ongoing. At the time of the Committee’s visit, the project was found to have reached the reported stage of completion and work done

release of funds by government. Members of the Committee were however informed that the District Assembly was exploring other options to get the market fully constructed for use by the community. The Committee recommends that government should disburse funds for speedy completion of the project to serve the community as the project was executed at the request of the Assembly. In the North East Region, PIAC together with officials of the East Mamprusi Municipal Assembly and RCC, inspected a 1,000-metric tonne warehouse with ancillary facilities at Gambaga, which had received GH₵1,330,932.11 from the ABFA in 2019 and 2020. Although the facility was commissioned in 2021, it became operational in 2022. The Committee recommends the execution of more of such projects and the installation of adequate systems and equipment for effective operation of the facility. The upgrading of the Nalerigu - Gbintri road, which had been

the projects, and assess their usefulness to the community, if completed. The Committee’s latest activity in line with its mandate took place simultaneously in the Western North and North East Regions from Sunday, 24th to Friday, 29thApril, 2022.

was satisfactory. The Committee looks forward to the expeditious completion of the project for use by RCC. The rural market, situated in Amoaya, received GH₵107,327.70 from the ABFA in 2020, but work had stalled due to the delay in the

allocated GH₵20,000,000 from the ABFA in 2020, was also inspected by the PIAC Team and officials of the Ghana Highway Authority. Outstanding works include clearing and road widening works on some sections, with earthworks and culvert

works ongoing. The 40-km road spans over 15 communities, and when completed would ease transportation within these communities. The physical progress of the project stands at about 32 percent. Work done was assessed to be satisfactory. The third project inspected by the Committee in the company of officials of the RCC was the construction of a 3-Storey Administration Block for the Council, located in Nalerigu. Construction commenced in 2019, and the project was expected to have been completed in 2021. Outstanding works include painting, tiling, electricals, and furnishing. A total of GH₵8,604,336.59 from the ABFA went into financing the project in 2020 and 2021, with the project currently at a physical completion stage of 78 percent. The Committee recommends the timely completion of the project to end the continuous rental of office by RCC. In both Regions, the Committee held regional public fora on the 2021 PIAC Annual Report, which brought together stakeholders from the traditional council, religious groups, security agencies, traders, educational institutions, among others to deliberate on the management and use of petroleum revenues. One of the issues raised was the fact that most participants were unaware of projects funded with ABFA. The participants also called for more projects to be executed with petroleum revenues. The Committee recommends the labelling of ABFA-funded projects for identification. As part of activities in both Regions, the Committee carried out a monitoring of the implementation of the Free Senior High School policy in selected schools, and engaged students and faculty of the following educational institutions: Gambaga College of Education, Nalerigu College of Nursing and Midwifery both in the North East Region, University for Development Studies- Nyankpala in the Northern Region, and the Wiawso College of Education in the Western North Region. Tertiary students advocated that petroleum revenues should fund infrastructure and policies to enhance tertiary education. The Committee reiterates its commitment to carrying out its mandate to ensure the prudent management and use of petroleum revenues in Ghana.


| FEATURE

FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2022

13

The Clash of Asia’s Titans By Brahma Chellaney With global attention focused on Russia’s war in Ukraine, China’s territorial expansionism in Asia – especially its expanding border conflict with India – has largely fallen off the international community’s radar. Yet, in the vast glaciated heights of the Himalayas, the world’s demographic titans have been on a war footing for over two years, and the chances of violent clashes rise almost by the day. The confrontation began in May 2020. When thawing ice reopened access routes after a brutal winter, India was shocked to discover that the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) had stealthily occupied hundreds of square miles of the borderlands in its Ladakh region. This triggered a series of military clashes, which resulted in China’s first combat deaths in over four decades, and triggered the fastestever rival troop buildup in the Himalayan region. India’s counterattacks eventually drove the PLA back from some areas, and the two sides agreed to transform two battlegrounds into buffer zones. But, over the last 15 months, little progress has been made to defuse tensions in other areas. With tens of thousands of Chinese and Indian troops standing virtually at attention along the long-disputed border, a military stalemate has emerged. But stalemate is not stagnation. China has continued to alter the Himalayan landscape rapidly and profoundly in its favor, including by establishing 624 militarized border villages – mirroring its strategy of creating artificial

militarized islands in the South China Sea – and constructing new warfare infrastructure near the frontier. As part of this effort, China recently completed a bridge over Pangong Lake – the site of past military clashes – that promises to strengthen its position in a disputed area of India’s Ladakh region. It has also built roads and security installations on territory that belongs to Bhutan, in order to gain access to a particularly vulnerable section of India’s border overlooking a narrow corridor known as the “Chicken Neck,” which connects its far northeast to the heartland. All of this, China hopes, will enable it to dictate terms to India: accept the new status quo, with China keeping the territory it has grabbed, or risk a full-scale war in which China has maximized its advantage. China’s expansionism relies on deception, stealth, and surprise, and on apparent indifference to the risks of military escalation. The aim of its brinkmanship is to confound the other side’s deterrence strategy and leave it with no real options. China learned from its strategic folly of invading Vietnam in 1979 and has become adept at waging asymmetric or hybrid warfare, usually below the threshold of overt armed conflict. This enables it to advance its strategic objectives, including land grabs, incrementally. Coercive bargaining and overt intimidation also help to overcome resistance. This salami-slicing strategy has already enabled Chinese President Xi Jinping to redraw

the geopolitical map in the South China Sea. And the terrestrial application of this approach being deployed against India, Bhutan, and Nepal is proving just as difficult to counter. As India is learning firsthand, countries have virtually no options other than the use of force. One thing is certain: simply hoping that China will stop encroaching on Indian territory will do India little good. After all, India got into this situation precisely because its political and military leadership failed to take heed of China’s military activities near the frontier. On the contrary, while China was laying the groundwork for its territorial grabs, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi was bending over backwards to befriend Xi. In the five years before the first clashes flared in May 2020, Modi met with his Chinese counterpart 18 times. Even a 2017 standoff on a remote Himalayan plateau did not dissuade Modi from pursuing his appeasement policy. Seeking to protect his image as a strong leader, Modi has not acknowledged the loss of Indian territories. India’s media enables this evasion by amplifying government-coined euphemisms: China’s aggression is a “unilateral change of status quo,” and the PLA-seized areas are “friction points.” Meanwhile, Modi has allowed China’s trade surplus with India to rise so rapidly – it now exceeds India’s total defense budget (the world’s third largest) – that his government is, in a sense, underwriting China’s aggression. But none of this should be

mistaken for unwillingness to fight. India is committed to restoring the status quo ante and is at its “highest level” of military readiness. This is no empty declaration. If Xi seeks to break the current stalemate by waging war, both sides will suffer heavy losses, with no victor emerging. In other words, Xi has picked a border fight that he cannot win, and transformed a conciliatory India into a long-term foe. This amounts to an even bigger miscalculation than Modi’s policy incoherence. The price China will pay for Xi’s mistake will far outweigh the perceived benefits of some stealthy land grabs. In a sense, China’s territorial expansionism represents a shrewder, broader, and slower version of Russia’s conventional war on Ukraine – and could provoke a similar international backlash against Xi’s neoimperial agenda. Already, China’s aggression has prompted IndoPacific powers to strengthen their military capabilities and cooperation, including with the United States. All of this will undercut Xi’s effort to fashion a Sino-centric Asia and, ultimately, achieve China’s goal of global preeminence. Xi might recognize that he has made a strategic blunder in the Himalayas. But, at a time when he is preparing to secure a precedentdefying third term as leader of the Communist Party of China, he has little room to change course, and the costs will continue to mount.


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| NEWS

FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2022

Rising inflation in Ghana is a complicated issue – BoG Governor Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG), Dr Ernest Addison, has said that the rising inflation rate in Ghana is a complicated economic matter. Dr Addison appeared worried over the upward trend despite the measures that have been instituted by the central bank to tackle the situation. He said the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) of the BoG is meeting this week to decide on the way forward. Speaking in interview with Bloomberg ahead of the MPC meeting, he said All of us know that a year ago inflation in Ghana was 7.5 per cent and then we find ourselves a year later in a high double digit. “It is a very complicated environment as you are aware, we have just come out from Covid. Ghana fortunately, is able to weather the impact of covid. “At the central bank, we have anticipated this in November last year, we raised the policy rate by a 100 basis points and then we were rather surprised by the inflation rate later which came on after that in February in particular, which triggered the 200 basis point adjustments in the policy rate. This week, the MPC will be meeting, I do not want to preempt what the Committee would decide but I think it is a very complicated situation.” On the issue of the rising inflation rate in Ghana, Director of Research at the Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA) Dr John Kwakye said the MPC) faces a difficult decision at its meeting. The Ghana Statistical Service (GSS) announced on Wednesday May 11 that the national yearon-year inflation rate was 23.6% in April 2022, which is 4.2 percentage points higher than the 19.4% recorded in March 2022. The month-on-month inflation between March 2022 and April 2022 was 5.1%, the GSS said on Wednesday May 12. The Minister of Finance, Ken Ofori-Atta attributed the rise in inflation to import. Speaking at a press conference in Accra on Thursday May 12, Mr Ofori-Atta said “Today, 41 African economies are severely exposed to, at least, one of three concurrent crisis, rising food prices , rising energy prices , tightening financial conditions Finance Ministers now call it the dreaded three Fs; Food, fuel and financial conditions. “That is just a ripple through in all Africa, and food prices easily about 34 per cent higher

, crude oil prices some 60 per cent higher and global inflation has risen , we saw our numbers yesterday moved to 23.6 per cent, a good chunk of it being imported inflation.” At the next meeting of the MPC on May 18-20, Dr Kwakye said the central bank is expected to take critical decision to response to the sharp increase in the inflation rate. At its previous meeting, the Committee raised the policy rate

Dr Kwakye in a statement said “The MPC faces a difficult decision at its next meeting. In principle, the Committee bases its decisions on how it perceives the balance of risks between inflation and growth. Taking growth first, there is evidence of a fledgling recovery from the pandemic, with 2021 growth estimated at about 5.4%, as against the mere 0.5% recorded for 2020, and a further growth of 5.8% is projected for 2022, although the outlook is clouded

by as much as 250 basis points, bringing the cumulative increase during the past year to 350 basis points. So far, the policy tightening has not been able to slow down the inflation. Other major central banks, like the US Federal Reserve, Bank of England and the European Central Bank as well as central banks of some emerging market economies have raised their interest rates in recent months in response to the surging inflation, although by smaller margins, mostly in the range of 25-50 basis points. They have also struggled to bring their inflation under control. The question is: what should the Bank of Ghana do to arrest the skyrocketing inflation and the cost of living?

by the Russia-Ukraine war. “Growth should, therefore, not be an immediate concern to the Committee. On the other hand, inflation has more than tripled from 7.5% in May 2021 to 23.6% in April 2022. Fuel and food prices have been the major drivers in addition to the exchange rate. The role of fuel and food is evident in the fact that items like Transport (33.5%), Food and Non-alcoholic Beverages (26.6%), and Housing, Water, Electricity and Gas (25.0%), among the thirteen major divisions of the CPI basket, recorded much higher inflation than the average of 23.6%. Meanwhile, the inflation outlook is on the upside, given that the effects of the pandemic and the Russia-Ukraine war still linger on. At 23.6%, not only is inflation substantially above the

BoG target of (8+/-2) %, but it has also markedly outstripped the current PR of 17.0%.” I have argued previously—and repeat now—that in the Ghanaian context, a more comprehensive approach going beyond the IT framework is needed to stem inflation on a durable basis. In particular, BoG should engage with Government and relevant agencies to target directly the key sources of inflation pressures, in particular, fuel, food, transport and the exchange rate. The country should be prepared to mitigate oil price shocks that may occur due to geopolitical developments. This should require that BOST maintain strategic oil reserves that could be released to cushion pump prices in the midst of shocks. Government should also be ready to use some of its windfall earnings from higher oil prices to cushion domestic prices and also suspend or reduce some of the numerous fuel taxes and levies amidst oil shocks. For food, it is necessary to increase production and ensure storage and preservation of excess produce especially during the peak seasons so that buffer stocks may be released to cushion prices amidst shocks and during the lean seasons. For transport, the public transport system should be improved and the availability of intra- and inter-city public transport increased. The public transport system should be subsidised to cushion the masses that mainly use it. For the exchange rate, it is necessary to leverage capacities and opportunities for earning foreign exchange, including through greater processing of export commodities and increasing earnings from natural resources. The institutional and legal framework regarding remittances should be reinforced to promote inflows from the Ghanaian diaspora. At the same time, demand for foreign exchange should be curtailed through policies that promote production of import substitutes domestically. “In addition to the supply or cost drivers of inflation, fiscally-fuelled demand is also an important driver. It is, therefore, important to institutionalise fiscal discipline, including through adherence to the Fiscal Responsibility Act that limits the deficit to 5% of GDP, so that the demand side of inflation can also be restrained.”


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Africities 2022 Summit: backbone of the continent, intermediary cities absorb most of the urban population growth On the occasion of the Africities 2022 Summit, taking place from May 17 to 21, in Kisumu (Kenya), the African Development Bank and Cities Alliance released on Wednesday in Nairobi (Kenya), a major report entitled “Dynamics of Secondary Cities in Africa: Urbanization, Migration and Development” which provides a comprehensive overview, enriched with case studies, on intermediary cities of the continent. “Intermediary cities are the backbone of the continent. They absorb most of urban population growth in Africa. Yet they face a significant investment gap and have very little financial resources of their own,” said Nnenna Nwabufo, the African Development Bank’s Managing Director for East Africa. Intermediary cities are home to about 15% of Africa’s population. But their growth is accelerating. By 2040, two-thirds of the people who move to urban areas will be moving to intermediary cities. Consequently investment needs are growing. The challenge is now to guarantee basic social services and to turn these cities

into economic growth hubs to rebalance the territories. “The rural exodus towards the hypertrophied national capitals is generating enormous challenges. It is crucial to redirect part of these flows to intermediary cities, in order to reduce the pressure on the capitals,” says Babati Mokgheti, in charge of Urban Development at the African Development Bank. “By investing in mediumsized cities, we create a territorial network that strengthens integration between metropolises and the countryside,” he added. Over the past decade, the African Development Bank’s annual investments in urban areas have more than tripled. Intermediary cities have been recipients of these investments. In Senegal, for example, the “Promovilles” program initiated in 2017, supports thirteen intermediary-sized cities through the strengthening of transport networks and the consolidation of the technical capacities of municipalities. Approved by the African Development Bank in 2019, the guidelines for supporting sub-national financial actors

should help to change the legal and regulatory frameworks of member states by promoting good decentralization practices. For local actors, these guidelines have made it possible to access a new range of financing tools and direct support from the Bank. In Morocco, for example, the Municipal Equipment Fund was able to benefit directly from a line of credit from the Bank, these funds were transferred to the municipalities. Finally, the new Urban and Municipal Development Fund should approximate the African Development Bank and the municipal actors. The objective is to support them in developing coherent urban strategies. The “City Program” launched by the Urban and Municipal Development Fund supports municipalities in the long term, enabling them to carry out a complete diagnosis of their situation, identify strategic investments and, above all, assist them in financing their projects. The city of Kisumu, which is hosting the Africities conference, is currently joining the “City Program” which includes

intermediary cities such as Bizerte in Tunisia and Dodoma in Tanzania. “Beyond the support provided to structure urban projects, the “City Program” will gradually build a network for the exchange of best practices between municipalities sharing the same vision,” says Marcus Mayr, Coordinator of the Urban and Municipal Development Fund at the African Development Bank. The African Development Bank also co-led another report with the Sahel and West Africa Club (SWAC) of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) and the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) on the influence of large African cities. Published on April 26, the report is entitled: “Dynamics of Urbanization in Africa: The Economic Influence of African Cities”. To access the publication: “Dynamics of Secondary Cities in Africa: Urbanization, Migration and Development” (PDF link to full version)


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WEEKLY MARKET REVIEW FOR WEEK ENDING - MAY 13, 2022 MACROECONOMIC INDICATORS Q3, 2021 GDP Growth

7.0%

Average GDP Growth for 2021

5.4%

2022 Projected GDP Growth

5.5%

BoG Policy Rate

17.0%

Weekly Interbank Interest Rate

18.05%

Inflation for February, 2022

23.6%

End Period Inflation Target – 2022

8.0%

Budget Deficit (% GDP) – Dec, 2021

9.7%

2022 Budget Deficit Target (%GDP)

7.4%

Public Debt (billion GH¢) – Dec, 2021

351.8

Debt to GDP Ratio – Dec, 2021

74.4%

STOCK MARKET REVIEW The Ghana Stock Exchange weakened for the week on the back of declines in share prices of 2 counters. The GSE Composite Index (GSE CI) lost 129.11 points (-4.80%) to close at 2,561.83 points, reflecting year-to-date (YTD) loss of 8.16%. The GSE Financial Stocks Index (GSE FI) also lost 2.92 points (-0.13%) to close at 2,206.32 points, reflecting year-to-date (YTD) gain of 2.53%. Market capitalization declined by 2.12% to close the week at GH¢62,508.52 million, from GH¢63,859.57 million at the close of the previous week. This reflects YTD decrease of 3.08%. Trading activity registered a total of 631,248,142 shares valued at GH¢580,516,363.55 changing hands, compared with 10,671,215 shares, valued at GH¢10,716,327.61 in the preceding week. MTN dominated both volume and value of trades for the week, accounting for 99.88% and 99.87% of volume and value of shares traded respectively. The market ended the week with 1 leader and 2 laggards as indicated on the table below.

THE CURRENCY MARKET The Cedi marginally depreciated against the USD for the week. It traded at GH¢7.1163/$, compared with GH¢7.1132/$ at week open, reflecting w/w and YTD depreciations of 0.04% and 15.60% respectively. This compares with YTD appreciation of 0.51% a year ago. The Cedi appreciated against the GBP for the fourth consecutive week. It traded at GH¢8.7022/£, compared with GH¢8.7859/£ at week open, reflecting w/w appreciation and YTD depreciation of 0.96% and 6.61% respectively. This compares with YTD depreciation of 2.51% a year ago. The Cedi also appreciated against the Euro for the week. It traded at GH¢7.4001/€, compared with GH¢7.5280/€ at week open, reflecting w/w appreciation and YTD depreciation of 1.73% and 7.73% respectively. This compares with YTD appreciation of 1.57% a year ago. The Cedi further appreciated against the Canadian Dollar for the week. It opened at GH¢5.5235/C$ but closed at GH¢5.4975/C$, reflecting w/w appreciation and YTD depreciation of 0.47% and 13.75% respectively. This compares with YTD depreciation of 4.28% a year ago.


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BUSINESS TERM OF THE WEEK

COMMODITY MARKET Crude oil prices rose up again on Friday but registered a third successive weekly loss on concerns that global demand will be hit by subdued economic growth. Brent futures traded at US$111.55 a barrel on Friday, compared to US$113.12 at week open. This reflects w/w loss and YTD gains of 1.39% and 43.42% respectively. Gold prices plunged for the week on the back of a resurgent dollar which scaled fresh 20-year highs. Gold settled at US$1,808.20, from US$1,883.50 last week, reflecting w/w and YTD decline of 4.00% and 1.12% respectively. Prices of Cocoa inched up for the week. The commodity traded at US$2,483.00 per tonne on Friday, from US$2,471.00 last week, reflecting w/w gain and YTD loss of 0.49% and 1.47% respectively.

GOVERNMENT SECURITIES MARKET Government raised a sum of GH¢1,248.67 million for the week across the 91-Day, 182-Day and 364-Day Treasury Bills. This compared with GH¢2,130.58 million raised in the previous week. The 91-Day Bill settled at 18.23% p.a from 17.88% p.a. last week whilst the 182-Day Bill settled at 19.26% p.a from 18.81% p.a. last week. The 364-Day Treasury Bill settled at 21.55% p.a from 20.65% p.a last week. The table and graph below highlight primary market yields at close of the week.

INTERNTIONAL COMMODITIES PRICES

Price Skimming: Price skimming is a product pricing strategy by which a firm charges the highest initial price that customers will pay and then lowers it over time. As the demand of the first customers is satisfied and competition enters the market, the firm lowers the price to attract another, more price-sensitive segment of the population. The skimming strategy gets its name from “skimming” successive layers of cream, or customer segments, as prices are lowered over time. Source: https://www.investopedia.com/ terms/p/priceskimming.asp

ABOUT CIDAN CIDAN Investments Limited is an investment and fund management company licensed by the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC) and the National Pensions Regulatory Authority (NPRA).

RESEARCH TEAM Name: Ernest Tannor Email:etannor@cidaninvestments.com Tel:+233 (0) 20 881 8957 Name: Audrey Asiedua Wiafe Email:aaudrey@cidaninvestments.com Tel:+233 (0) 57 840 2700 Name: Moses Nana Osei-Yeboah Email:moyeboah@cidaninvestments.com Tel:+233 (0) 24 499 0069

CORPORATE INFORMATION CIDAN Investments Limited CIDAN House Plot No. 169 Block 6 Haatso, North Legon – Accra Tel: +233 (0) 26171 7001/ 26 300 3917 Fax: +233 (0)30 254 4351 Email: info@cidaninvestmens.com Website: www.cidaninvestments.com Disclaimer The contents of this report have been prepared to provide you with general information only. Information provided on and available from this report does not constitute any investment recommendation. The information contained herein has been obtained from sources that we believe to be reliable, but its accuracy and completeness are not guaranteed.


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NO. B24/317 | NEWS FOR BUSINESS LEADERS

FRIDAY, MAY 20, 2022

Danish companies to help Ghana combat postharvest losses Eight Danish companies in agriculture and logistics value chain have started exploring market opportunities and expanding commercial partnerships with local firms to help Ghana resolve its postharvest food loses. The companies are Arla Foods, TITAN, Maersk, Cimbria, Danfoss, DanBred, Foss analytics and Orana. It is estimated that more than 50 percent of production in selected value chains is lost through postharvest food loses and waste before the produce reaches the consumer. The companies will provide cold chain logistics, transport, food safety and processing, as well as storage facilities, to support Ghana to solve its postharvest loses in return for income and increase sustainable economic growth. It is to also help Ghana create a more green, safe and prosperous food and agric economy. Mr Tom Nørring, Ambassador of Denmark to Ghana, said: “Through a focus on innovation and learning, Danish companies are well positioned to collaborate with Ghanaian agroproducers to boost productivity and yields for the Ghanaians businesses.” He added that the Danish companies were eager to meet and engage with the Ghanaian businesses and form fruitful collaborations and close the ties between Danish and Ghanaian companies. The Ambassador noted that though Ghana had been seeing increases in food production: “Postharvest food

loss and waste is a major challenge in Ghana, and it is estimated that more than 50 percent of the production in selected value chain goes to waste.” He stated that the magnitude of food loss in the country, which had negative climate impacts, was also a business opportunity that could be capitalised on to turn the current loss into value. He was speaking at a business to business (B2B) meeting between representatives of the eight companies and Ghanaian businesses and other stakeholders in the agric value chain in Accra on Thursday. Mr Nørring indicated that postharvest losses was partly due to the lack of investments in cold chain, low efficiency in livestock production, and underscored the need for coordination and better regulation. Mr Seth Osei-Akoto, Director of the Crop Services Directorate, Ministry of Food and Agriculture (MoFA), said, the Government had observed that public-private partnerships had enormous prospects in developing the agric and food sectors. “It has, therefore, engaged in public-partnerships in the last five years to run its flagship programme, ‘Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ). “Under the PFJ, agro-inputs companies have been engaged by the Ministry of Food and Agriculture to supply improved seeds, inorganic and organic fertilisers, and agrochemicals to farmers across the country for food crop production,” he said.

Mr Osei-Akoto said the Ministry was at the frontline of modernising the agri-food systems to transform the economy through an agenda called “Investing for Foods and Jobs.” He noted that despite investments by the Government in the agric sector, majority of the agric value chain, including the food sector remained unexploited. He urged Ghanaian companies to form strong partnerships with the Danish companies to help drive the agenda of modernising and transforming the food and agric sector. Mr Bob Sheriffs, Director, Arctic Store, one of the Danish companies, told GNA that: “We’ve seen that there are huge opportunities and demand in cold chain infrastructure and we have a unique solution that will fulfill the requirements in Ghana.”

He added that: “In the last one and half years, we’ve been exploring solutions with a local partner in agro-processing, export and cold chain, which will also provide job opportunities, reduce food losses, and increase the demand for Ghanaian products globally.” Mr Kwarshie Darkudzi, Chairman, Datsfield Village Farms and Outgrowers, said: “Once they (the Danish companies) come to Ghana to partner those of us who are also on the ground, we will work together and all these will be addressed.” Mr Darkudzi called on other companies in the value chain to consider investing in solarempowered technologies to preserve perishable food crops and vegetables.

Ghana must focus on export-oriented SMEs, agribusinesses

Economic experts say Ghana must target specific Small and MediumSized Enterprises (SMEs) and agribusinesses with export value and a competitive advantage and support them with financial and material resources. That, they said would contribute in making the economy resilient against inflationary shocks while creating sustainable employment,

particularly for the youth and address the economic challenges currently facing the country. They have also asked the Government to create the enabling environment that would support the growth and expansion of export-oriented entrepreneurs and agribusinesses that had the potential to develop into large scale enterprises. They asked the Government to also ensure that its flagship programmes, including the Planting for Food and Jobs (PFJ), One District-One Factory (1D1F), and YouStart initiative (yet to be implemented), were well coordinated and made export oriented. Dr Patrick Asuming, and Dr Daniel Amateye Anim-Prempeh, both Economists, observed that the programmes were good on paper, but their implementation had not yielded the expected result on the economy, particularly, creation of

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sustainable jobs. They said this in an interview with the Ghana News Agency in Accra regarding the current economic situation in the country. Since the start of the year, Ghana has been experiencing inflationary challenges, such as rise in food commodities, fuel and transport fares, exchange rate and depreciation of the Cedi. These have led to high cost of living and worsened the plight of individuals (especially workers who have seen no increase in salaries), as well as industry and traders, who have been seeing increment in their production and import cost. Dr Asuming, who is a Senior Lecturer at the University of Ghana Business School, noted that all those happenings in the country, pointed to the fact that though there had been some growth in the economy it had not yielded the required outcome. He said: “Although there’s been

EDITOR: BENSON AFFUL editor@business24.com.gh | +233 545 516 133.

some growth in the economy, from 0.4 percent in 2020 to 5.4 in 2021, the growth has not been fast enough, and we’re not creating enough jobs…also, the public finances have deteriorated.” He explained that to come out of the current economic hardship, there was the need to help small businesses grow at a faster pace, and boost agriculture and agribusinesses, which had the potential to create a lot of jobs. “We should identify and target specific promising business enterprises that have the capacity to export and employ more people, because there are enough innovations around us (in agribusiness for example) that we can help scale up,” Dr Asuming said. He also asked the Government to ensure that the general cost for doing business and other issues that prevented businesses from growing were addressed.