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Business News of Monday, 16 December 2019


Industry captains positive about business conditions in 2020

A report expects local business conditions to be positive in the coming year A report expects local business conditions to be positive in the coming year

Industry captains interviewed for the Third Oxford Business Group (OBG) Chief Executive Officers report expect local business conditions to be positive in the coming year.

They were also upbeat about the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which would be headquartered in Ghana, and the benefits it could bring to the region.

About 100 CEOs' from across Ghana's industries were asked a wide-range of questions on a face-to-face basis aimed at gauging the business sentiment.

The findings indicate that most CEOs in Ghana are broadly positive about the country's prospects.

Seventy-one per cent of respondents described their expectations of local business conditions as positive or very positive for the coming year; while 68 per cent viewed the level of transparency for conducting business in the country relative to the West African region as high or very high.

The Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, (GIPC) in collaboration with Oxford Business Group (OBG) and Impact Investing Ghana, on Thursday, launched the report of the survey at the Fourth Quarter CEOs' Breakfast Meeting, in Accra.

The survey, which was conducted on a face-to-face basis across the full range of industries, company sizes and functional specialties, was designed to assess business sentiments amongst business leaders (Chief Executives or equivalent) and their outlook for the next 12 months.

Mr Rig Moore, the Editorial Manager, OBG, who launched the report, said 73 per cent of the interviewees expected the AfCFTA to have a positive impact on intra-regional trade levels.

OBG is a global research and advisory company with a presence in more than 30 countries, from Africa, the Middle East and Asia to the Americas.

"Reactions to the banking reform agenda were mixed with almost 44 per cent of the survey participants describing local sentiment surrounding the reform agenda as positive or very positive; while 43 per cent described it as negative or very negative," he said.

He said the banking sector reforms formed a key part of the government's efforts to restore macroeconomic stability in recent years.

The survey results could be explained by the fact that while most people agreed the reform agenda was a much-needed measure to reap longer-term benefits; many remained were preoccupied by its short-term implications, particularly on liquidity and credit availability.

The survey highlighted business leaders' concerns over the destabilising impact on the economy of commodity price fluctuations.

Again, 43 per cent of those interviewed chose volatility in commodity prices as the top external event they felt could impact the economy in the short to medium term, well ahead of instability in neighbouring countries selected by 13 per cent.

Weak infrastructure and transport networks were selected by 11 per cent.

The report was based on data from private, international, regional and local companies and the data generated allowed for analysis of sentiment within an individual country, as well as regionally and globally.

Mr Moore said the survey was conducted under the Chatham House Rules to encourage frank discussion and engagement between parties present.

Mr Carl Nelson, Chief Operating Officer, GIPC, said the Centre's CEOs Breakfast Meeting series was a flagship vehicle for effective engagement between the government and the private sector.

The first edition of the report, published in 2017, focused on the stabilisation of the economy following a somewhat challenging period of weak oil prices and sluggish economic growth.

He said the second edition assessed the events of the year 2018 as Government worked towards exiting an IMF credit deal, amidst fiscal and monetary reforms, alongside a historic consolidation of the banking sector.

Mr Nelson said the latest survey carefully examined how the various reforms and programmes implemented by the Government in 2019, as well as the 2020 General Election, had impacted the Business Community and the prospects for the next 12 months.

He said: "Since teaming up in December 2010 for OBG's first country report, the OBG-GIPC partnership has produced comprehensive accounts that provide holistic and accurate analyses of political, macroeconomic and sectoral developments.

"It has also showcased opportunities available in Ghana to both the domestic and foreign investor community."