The 2018 Absa Africa Financial Markets Index report has revealed that Ghana now ranks fourth in market-depth, moving up by eight places from last year’s rankings.
The second edition of the Absa Africa Financial Market Index report also revealed that Ghana made significant progress in Market Transparency, Tax & Regulatory Environment as compared to the ratings of last year.
According to the Managing Director of Barclays Bank Ghana – now Absa, Madam Abena Osei-Poku, the report shows that Ghana is one of the best frontier markets in Africa, displaying significant in-roads in deepening and creating a more transparent and well-regulated market.
The Index tracks financial market development in 20 countries across a range of indicators and provides benchmarks against which countries can measure their progress; and also aids in the development of their financial market frameworks to enhance investor access and sustainable growth.
It again provides information about the maturity and accessibility of Africa’s financial markets. The report supports policymakers, investors, regulators and other market participants to identify the areas and initiatives which will drive the most significant improvements.
Madam Osei-Poku said even though Ghana is taking the right steps toward achieving its aspiration of becoming an International Financial Centre for West Africa, there is a need to empower local investors and boost their capacity.
She said it is important that stakeholders work together to bring closure to ongoing reforms in the financial market, including adoption of relevant global legal standards and passage of an Insolvency Act, and pension reforms. These, she said, will go a long way to improve the capacity of local investors and reduce our apparent over-reliance on offshore investors in driving our economic agenda.
“The significant investments we have made in partnership with the Official Monetary & Financial Institutions Forum (OMFIF) and our commitments going forward are premised on our firm belief that we will remain a force for good in Ghana and on the entire African continent,” she added.
The report also revealed that sub-Sahara African economies are under pressure from various domestic and external headwinds – such as depreciating currencies, political uncertainty, capital flight, rising interest rates, declining commodity prices, and lower than projected growth rates to name a few.
She said: “As a bank, we are aware of the critical role that financial markets must play to cushion our economies by channeling the wealth of savers to those who can put it to long-term productive use. As aptly captured by the IFC: Efficient local capital markets create access to long-term, local currency financing, which is the foundation for a thriving private sector – the key driver of jobs and growth”.
She added that developing local capital markets is a strategic focus for Absa Group, because the group sees this as a prerequisite for transformative economic growth on the continent.
Managing Director of Barclays Bank – now Absa Group Limited, Madam Abena Osei-Poku