Executives Largely Positive About Near-Term Outlook

OBG Business Barometer

……. Ghana CEO Survey 2019 Indicates

Executives interviewed for the 2019 edition of the Business Barometer: GhanaCEO Survey carried out by Oxford Business Group (OBG) were broadly positive about the country’s prospects.

As part of its survey on the economy, the global research and advisory firm asked around 100 C-suite executives from across Ghana’s industries a wide-ranging series of questions on a face-to-face basis aimed at gauging business sentiment. The results are now available to view in full on OBG’s Editors’ Blog at:https://oxfordbusinessgroup.com/blog/souhir-mzali/obg-business-barometer/ghana-ceo-survey

The survey was launched at the fourth quarterly GIPC CEOs’ breakfast meeting on Thursday December 12, titled “Ghana On the Go!” Organised by the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, in collaboration with OBG and Impact Investing Ghana, the event took place at the Marriott Hotel, Airport City, Accra, in the presence of high-profile representatives from the private and public sectors.

From those interviewed, 71percent of respondents described their expectations of local business conditions as positive or very positive for the coming 12 months, while 68% viewed the level of transparency for conducting business in the country relative to the West African region as high or very high.

Executives were also upbeat about the Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA), which will be headquartered in Ghana’s capital Accra, and the benefits it could bring to the region, with 73% expecting it to have a positive impact on intra-regional trade levels.

Reactions to the banking reform agenda were mixed with almost half (44%) of the survey participants describing local sentiment surrounding the reform agenda as positive or very positive, while 43 percent described it was negative or very negative. The banking sector reforms have formed a key part of the government’s efforts to restore macroeconomic stability in recent years, and the ambivalence observed in the survey results can be explained by the fact that while most people agree the reform agenda is a much-needed measure to reap longer-term benefits, many remain preoccupied by its short-term implications, particularly on liquidity and credit availability.

OBG’s survey also highlighted business leaders’ concerns over the destabilising impact on the economy of commodity price fluctuations. A plurality (43%) of those interviewed chose volatility in commodity prices as the top external event they felt could impact Ghana’s economy in the short to medium term, well ahead of instability in neighbouring countries (selected by 13%) and weak infrastructure and transport networks (11%).

Commenting in her blog, Souhir Mzali, OBG’s Regional Editor for Africa, said that Ghana has taken bold steps in recent years, earning it a clean bill of health from the IMF in 2019 after successfully concluding a three-year credit deal with the institution in April to improve fiscal management and strengthen public finances.

“Our survey results point to a striking bullishness on behalf of Ghana’s business community and this is indicative of their confidence in the ongoing reforms despite some of the short-term preoccupations like the impact these are likely to have on credit availability, particularly for small and medium-sized enterprises,” she noted. “The short term pains resulting from the ongoing reform agenda are required to produce much-needed longer-term benefits”

Mzali added that OBG’s survey also reaffirmed the need for Ghana to maintain momentum in its efforts to steer growth away from traditional export commodities including gold, cocoa, and hydrocarbons, and continue diversifying the economy. “As with our previous survey findings, volatility in commodity prices continues to be the main preoccupation of business leaders,” she said.

Turning to the AfCFTA, Mzali noted that although expectations were high in Ghana for the role it could play in boosting trade within the region, business leaders were aware of the challenges that could delay or limit the initiative’s success.

“While 73% of participants have positive or very positive feelings about the impact of the AfCFTA on regional trade levels, most pointed to the need to address the many pressing obstacles to its implementation, among them infrastructure, which requires up to $170bn in investment annually across the continent, according to the African Development Bank,” she said.

Mzali’s in-depth analysisof the survey’s results can be found on OBG’s Editor’s Blog,

titled ‘Next Frontier’. All four of OBG’s regional managing editors use the platform to share their expert analysis of the latest developments taking place across the sectors of the 30+ high-growth markets covered by the company’s research.

The OBG CEO Surveys feature in the Group’s extensive portfolio of research tools. The full results of the survey on Ghana will be made available online and in print. Similar studies are also under way in the other markets in which OBG operates.

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