Nigerian central bank moves to push banks to increase lending will be a damp squib, meaning an interest-rate cut is in prospect, says John Ashbourne, senior emerging markets economist at Capital Economics in London.
Ghana’s leading business executives
The business leaders who are ahead of the curve in Ghana
Freda Duplan: Clouds with chocolate linings
Nestlé’s managing director for Ghana, Liberia and Sierra Leone faces a comparatively smoother ride this year as a rebound in consumer confidence and economic growth in Ghana is set to raise demand. Appointed in April 2015 as the first Ghanaian to run Nestlé’s Ghanaian operations, Duplan has had the difficult task of guiding the company through Ghana’s turbulent economic times. Switzerland’s Nestlé will have to step up its marketing campaigns to convince consumers from switching to relatively cheaper substitutes that have recently flooded the Ghanaian market. On the positive side, the government’s focus on agriculture and industrialisation could also help to strengthen the company’s raw material base and to reduce its operational costs.
Joseph Boahen Aidoo: Crafty cocoa chief
The recent fall in the cocoa price has been a challenge for the Cocobod chief. He is looking to secure a deal with Côte d’Ivoire to see if the two countries can influence prices through strategic interventions. Aidoo has also made clear that he does not see smuggling from Côte d’Ivoire as much of a challenge, insisting that border controls will stop any influx into Ghana. He is also finalising a $750m loan to fund the board’s rehabilitation, mass spraying and artificial pollination.
Patrick Akorli: Fending off the smugglers
Ghana Oil Company managing director Patrick Akorli is looking to boost revenue while keeping expenditures low as dwindling margins and fuel smuggling threaten the company’s growth agenda. The measures are needed to keep the company’s revenue growth on the strong trajectory of 2015 and 2016. Information gleaned from 2017 quarterly results points to a slowdown. Smuggling is estimated to have slowed growth in the downstream petroleum subsector by about 10% and costs the country close to $100m per month.
Kwabena Duffuor II: Banking boss
In 2017, Duffuor became chief executive of UniBank after four years as chief operating officer. Duffuor, son of a former finance minister, previously worked for Ghana International Bank and Standard Chartered. In 2015, UniBank was Ghana’s sixth-largest bank by assets. It is expected to attain a capital base of close to ¢1bn ($221.5m) before new minimum capital requirements take effect in December.
Ernest Addison: Streamlining the banking sector
Central bank governor Addison is keeping a watchful eye over the financial sector. In his first year, he has initiated an internal reorganisation of the bank, closing six out of 26 departments. Following the collapse of UT Bank and Capital Bank, Addison says he will issue a whistleblowing policy to encourage transparency and accountability. The two banks are to be integrated into Ghana Commercial Bank in the coming months, and analysts foresee further mergers.