Editorial: Business confidence remains significantly low


Optimism among Ghanaian businesses remains low, apparently significantly lower than it was six months ago, the Africa Trade Barometer (ATB) report by Standard Bank Africa indicates.

The main contributing factor to this decline, the report states, is the high prices on products and the perception of a poor-performing economy linked to the poor-performing Ghanaian cedi.

In addition, the perception of the government’s support of trade is also significantly lower.

According to the report, Ghanaian firms have seen a significant decline in business confidence as a function of economic performance.

“Over the past six months, Ghanaian firms have shown a downward trend in business confidence, driven mainly by the corporate segment. Business confidence is driven by perceptions of the economy, with firms who believe that the economy is stable being more optimistic, while those who perceive the economy to be in a poor state are less optimistic,” the report said.

Meanwhile, Ghana’s currency, in the second half of 2022, declined significantly, making it the worst-performing worldwide.

While the sectoral strength in oil and gas does not necessarily translate into benefits for its other sectors, businesses are potentially looking forward to an IMF bail-out scheduled for 2023, bringing with it stability and economic discipline.

However, the report also indicates that there is slight optimism about future prospects for exporting among Ghanaian firms, but Ghanaian firms have become less-optimistic about future prospects for importing.

The perception of government support of trade is significantly lower among Ghanaian firms, and high import/export tax rates contribute to the belief that foreign trading is difficult, part of the report reads.

In view of this, firms are expecting the government to provide some relief on business tax, and lower customs duties. Additionally, access to credit has become tougher for firms in Ghana, which is a stumbling block to stimulating the local economy.

The Africa Trade Barometer report is aimed at providing a source of reliable data and insights on African markets and economies for businesses and entrepreneurs as well as businesspeople, students, governments, NGOs, and investors considering the continent.

The objective of the Standard Bank Africa Trade Barometer is to provide dynamic and insightful understanding of trade in Africa.

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