Category Archives: Ghana

The agriculture sector, which is the leading employer in the country, is still very far from the stage where it can attract needed funding from the private sector, Alhassan Andani, Managing Director of Stanbic Bank

The agriculture sector, which is the leading employer in the country, is still very far from the stage where it can attract needed funding from the private sector, Alhassan Andani, Managing Director of Stanbic Bank, has said.

According to him, banks and financial service providers are cautious of lending to the sector because the country has yet to come up with a clear plan for sustainable development and transformation of the agriculture value chain.

“From where we stand,” he said, “we are very, very far away from where agribusiness can attract the most important resource that every sector needs, which is money.”

Mr. Andani said this at a breakfast meeting organised by Stanbic Bank and Graphic Communications Group in Accra.

“We have to collaborate to create the enabling environment that enables farmers, agribusiness people to access the most important resource—money—in a very competitive manner. So, we have to have a national level organisation that makes agribusiness something that people will look up to.

We have to have, within the national economy, an agri-sector organisation that makes agribusiness very attractive, and we must have – at the farmer or business unit level – an organisation that makes the deployment of capital into these units profitable,” he added.

Currently, the sector – which contributed 11.5 percent to GDP in the second quarter of the year – is confronted with several challenges, notable among which is lack of financing.

The Bank of Ghana’s Annual Percentage and Interest Rate report shows that the average lending rate for the sector is at 31 percent, with some banks refusing to even lend to the sector.

However, Mr. Andani who was speaking under the theme ‘Securing the Economy with Agriculture’, described the sector as the first line of national security and defence, hence the need for closer collaboration among all stakeholders to overcome the various hurdles that confront the sector.   

“There are banks around the world that finance agriculture, and Stanbic Bank has financed agriculture in economies where the country knows where they are going with the sector; but we are very far away from this.

“It is our intent to support the sector; that is why we are part of this platform, so that we can come to a national consensus with regard to what we are doing with the sector. We can come to an industry consensus on how we can work together in an integrated manner to make it a good business, and how the individual farmers can organise themselves to attract the most important resource, which is money.”

Dr. Yabuku Alhassan, a former Deputy Minister of Agriculture and one of the discussants, agreed that closer collaboration among various ministries and other government agencies is key to solving some of the sector’s challenges.

“The Ministry of Agriculture is only a coordinating agency and does not have all the capacity to deal with everything that is impacting on agriculture. For instance, if you are talking about roads, the ministry doesn’t have the mandate to construct roads; so, it must work with Ministry of Roads in identifying priority roads that can support the sector.

“Likewise, the Ministry of Health should also work with the Agric Ministry to identify what crops can impact on the people’s nutrition. This is how we must work, and I believe that as we institutionalise and move forward this will become the case,” he said.

The IMF approved a $666 million, three-year extended credit facility in June for Cameroon

Cameroon’s economic growth rate is expected to slip to 3.7 percent this year, down from an earlier estimate of around 4 percent, due to falling oil production, the International Monetary Fund said on Friday.

The IMF approved a $666 million, three-year extended credit facility in June for Cameroon, which has been hit hard by the global decline in crude prices. Economic growth came in at 4.5 percent last year.

In a statement at the end of a 10-day review mission, the IMF said that it had reached an agreement with the government on economic and financial policy ahead of the first review of the programme, which is expected in mid-December.

“The economic programme of the country remains on the right track despite the difficult context. All the quantitative benchmarks established in the programme…have been fulfilled,” said mission head Corinne Delechat.

The government has been forced to concentrate resources on combating Islamist Boko Haram militants along its northwestern border with Nigeria. It has also faced unrest in two predominantly English-speaking provinces since late last year.

The IMF, meanwhile, said that inflation would remain low this year at 0.5 percent.

Ghana to confirm participation in Dubai Expo 2020 …as GPIC holds talks with organisers

Ghana is to confirm its participation in the biggest world expo – to be held in Dubai, UAE in 2020 – following fruitful discussions between the Chief Executive Officer of Ghana Investment Promotions Centre (GIPC) and the organising committee of Expo 2020.

“We have had a meeting with the CEO of Dubai Expo 2020; we haven’t yet confirmed our participation, but in principle we are very engaged. We are going to do what we need to do to be here,” Mr. Yoofi Grant, CEO of the GIPC, said at a media interaction at the Dubai Expo 2020.

The World Expo is one of the world’s oldest and largest international events, taking place every five years and lasting six months.

It is a festival for all, where everyone can learn, innovate, create progress and have fun by sharing ideas and working together.

Each Expo revolves around its own theme to leave a lasting impact on the path of human progress. Expo 2020 Dubai’s core theme is ‘Connecting Minds, Creating the Future’.

At the 154th Bureau International des Expositions (BIE) in November, 2013, Dubai defeated rival bids from Turkey’s Izmir, Brazil’s Sao Paolo, and Russia’s Yekaterinburg following three rounds of voting.

The hosting of Expo 2020 will generate approximately 277,000 new job opportunities between 2013 and 2020.

Expo 2020 Dubai is the first World Expo to be held in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA) region, and the first to be hosted by an Arab nation.

Over 25 million visitors are expected to attend the 6-month long event, with 70 percent expected to be international visitors – the highest proportion in Expo history.

Mr. Grant said, given the profile of investors and visitors expected, “It is a great opportunity for Ghana to showcase itself to the world”.

He added that: “As Ghana positions to be a regional hub in West Africa, we also need to show the investing public what we have. We need to start preparing from now. As GIPC, leading this effort with Ministry of Trade and Industries and other agencies, we will try and put our best foot forward”.