Business News of 2014-02-02

Investors converge on Ghana

The Standard Bank Group, the parent company of Stanbic Bank Ghana, is assembling portfolio investors and pension fund managers from Europe and America to meet listed companies in Ghana, Nigeria and selected African countries.

Dubbed “The Standard Bank Investors’ Conference portfolio,” investors would have the opportunity to meet face to face with listed companies and a few non-listed ones to scrutinise their numbers and outlook, as well as listen to policy makers to make decisions to invest on the Ghana Stock Exchange.

The Head of Stanbic Bank Ghana’s brokerage subsidiary, SBG Securities Ghana Ltd, Mr Fouad Idun-Ogde, told the media that the investors coming from the United States, the United Kingdom, South Africa, Denmark, Singapore and Portugal are pension funds with appetite for viable markets across the world.

The Deputy Minister of Finance, Mr Cassiel Ato Forson, and the Director-General of the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), Mr Adu Anane Antwi, are billed to speak at the conference to provide information on policy directions of the economy.

This year, some fledgling companies with potential to list on the Ghana bourse, have also confirmed participation in meeting the more than 16 portfolio investors at the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel in Accra next Monday, February 3.

Last year, the Ghana Stock Exchange returned a little over 70 per cent year-to-date yield, almost tripled its return for the previous year. Coupled with the continued political stability and the appreciable growth in the gross domestic product (GDP), investors across the world have shown interest investing in Ghana.

This year’s Standard Bank Investors’ Conference, the second consecutive edition, already looks like a marked success over the previous session, with 12 listed companies confirming their participation as against last year’s five.

Although the country is running large fiscal and current account deficits due to ballooning public sector pay, government overspending, cuts in donor inflows, as well as the country’s strong appetite for imported goods, managers of the economy and many economists consider the challenges temporary.

The government has also outlined measures in the 2014 budget, including efforts to raise more revenues domestically, as well as infusing efficiencies in public expenditure.

Mr Idun-Ogde and his colleague, Mr George David Allotey, believe that the conference will eventually lead to more transactions on the local bourse this year as was the case last year.