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Chapter | Capital Markets from The Report: Ghana 2020

Sector stabilisation and reform are key focuses within the capital markets arena. While the regulator is taking steps to shore up market confidence in light of recent banking and asset management reforms, the long-term ambition of authorities is to introduce new products and services to attract the capital flows necessary for a deeper and more sustainable market. Ghana’s principal exchange is the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), which as of the first quarter of 2019 had 33 companies listed on its main board. In terms of market capitalisation, the GSE is dominated by the mining and petroleum sectors, which accounted for 52.5% of the total in 2018. The financial sector is the second-biggest component, contributing 23.85% to total market capitalisation, followed by ICT (15.88%), food and beverages (2.71%), and distribution (2.66%). This chapter also contains interviews with Cecilia Hesse, Managing Director, Temple Investments; and Ekow Afedzie, Managing Director, Ghana Stock Exchange.

Chapter | Banking from The Report: Ghana 2020

A regulatory crackdown on poor business practices and weak capital positions in Ghana’s banking sector has resulted in a series of market exits since August 2017. The outcome is a smaller but more sustainable banking industry, though this has come at a price. The Bank of Ghana puts the total cost of its clean-up operation at GHS10.98bn ($2.1bn), equivalent to over 3% of the nation’s GDP in 2019. The central bank’s reform effort means that Ghana’s banks will have greater capacity to respond to rising demand from the private sector, thanks to larger capital bases and improved corporate governance structures. Demand for credit is likely to be driven by growing sectors such as manufacturing and mining, as well as the government’s need for debt financing to cover its fiscal deficit. This chapter also contains interviews with Ernest Addison, Governor, Bank of Ghana; and Julian Opuni, Managing Director, Fidelity Bank.

Chapter | Economy from The Report: Ghana 2020

Ghana’s economy is one of the fastest growing in Africa, and its recently established oil and gas industry has made it a target for foreign investment. However, while prospects for continued expansion are good, the state faces a stubborn fiscal deficit and the longer-term challenge of reducing the nation’s reliance on a small number of exports. Fiscal and economic reform, therefore, remain top of the agenda in the election year of 2020. Ghana is Africa’s biggest producer of gold and second-biggest producer of cocoa. Since the 2007 discovery of significant oil reserves, hydrocarbons exports have been added to the roster. A reliance on export commodities, however, means that the economy has in the past been vulnerable to crop failures and falling prices. This chapter also contains an interview with Yofi Grant, CEO, Ghana Investment Promotion Centre; and Yaw Adu Gyamfi, President, Association of Ghana Industries.

Chapter | Country Profile1 from The Report: Oman 2020

Located in the south-eastern quarter of the Arabian Peninsula, Oman is the only member of the GCC situated outside of the Gulf. To leverage its strategic location, Oman has invested in infrastructure with the goal of becoming a global logistics centre. Given that the country is less hydrocarbons-rich than its GCC neighbours, diversification efforts are a driving force behind economic growth. The sultanate’s long-term development strategy, Oman Vision 2020, is coming to a close, and in January 2019 the Vision 2040 conference set the stage for a new plan. Vision 2040 will continue to emphasise diversification, privatisation and Omanisation, with the goal to increase tourism, modernise agriculture, and foster technology and research and development.

Report | The Report: Oman 2020

The year 2020 marks the 50th anniversary of the establishment of the Sultanate of Oman, making it the longest continually independent Arab country in modern history. The year also marks the passing of Sultan Qaboos bin Said Al Said, who died on 10 January. He is succeeded by his cousin and the former minister of culture, Sultan Haitham bin Tariq Al Said.

Report | The Report: Bahrain 2020

Bahrain pioneered oil production in the Middle East beginning in the 1930s, establishing the region’s initial framework for the petroleum industry. Some 90 years later oil and gas operations comprise 18% of GDP, with the economy well diversified to host established financial services and industrial sectors, as well as unique tourism offerings.