Most Ghanaian banks can’t establish international branches due to low asset base – GITFiC

The low asset base of Ghanaian banks is a major contributor to their inability to penetrate internationally like other foreign banks have penetrated into the Ghanaian market.

“Most of the banks owned by Ghanaians have a low asset base compared to their counterparts from other African countries.

“The language barrier is another factor that prevents some Ghanaian investors from operating in international markets. Most of the countries surrounding Ghana are Francophone countries hence the need for trusted persons who can interpret French for Ghanaian investors when they visit Francophone markets.”

This was in a statement signed by Mr Selasi Koffi Ackom, Chief Executive Officer of the Ghana International Trade and Finance Conference (GITFiC) and copied to the Ghana News Agency in Accra on Friday.

It was in reaction to a rhetorical questioned posed the Trade Union Congress a couple of weeks on why there were no Ghanaian banks in other countries.

“During a press conference in Accra on Monday 18th July 2022, The Secretary General of the Ghana Trades Union Congress, Dr. Yaw Baah, threw a question to the public on why Ghanaian-owned banks are not operating internationally.

According to GITFiC, most of the commercial banking space was occupied by foreign banks mostly from Nigeria and South Africa among other countries.

“There are 23 registered commercial banks in Ghana as of 2021. Out of the 23 banks, nine of them are Ghanaian-owned institutions, while the rest of the 14 are foreign-owned banks. Four out of the nine Ghanaian owned-banks are state-owned banks. Cal Bank also has its major shareholder to be Social Security and National Insurance Trust (SSNIT) is also a state-owned institution.

“This implies that the solely private Ghanaian-owned banks are Universal Merchant Bank, Prudential Bank Limited, OmniBSIC Bank Ghana Limited, and Fidelity bank.

The GGITFIC said the primary goal of businesses is to make profits for its stakeholders.

“Growth in market shares is one of the major tools that businesses use in increasing their profit. The banking sector is a highly competitive sector, where the ability of a bank to increase and maintain market share is key to the survival of the bank as well as meeting the profit targets of the bank.

“The Ghanaian economy is one of the largest economies in Africa. The Ghanaian economy, currently, is the 8th largest economy in Africa, behind Nigeria, Egypt, South Africa, Algeria, Morocco, Kenya, and Ethiopia.

“Nigeria has nominal GDP of $480.482 billion as of 2021, followed by Egypt with $396.328 billion. Ghana has a GDP of $75.487 billion as of 2021. It will be expected for businesses from countries with higher economic standing to participate in international business by establishing operations in other countries.

The statement said before the 2017 recapitalisation and subsequent banking sector cleanup in Ghana, more than 10 private Ghanaian-owned banks were operating in Ghana, but due to the recapitalisation demand of GH¢400 million in 2017, some of them were merged, taken over by the government, with some closing down.

The statement said Ecobank Ghana had the highest asset base of GH¢15.8 billion, followed by Ghana Commercial Bank with an asset base of GH¢15.4 billion.

It said none of the Ghanaian-owned private banks had an asset base of more than GH¢10 billion Ghana.

“Comparing the assets of banks owned by Ghanaians and those owned by foreigners, Ghanaian banks will not be able to compete internationally.”

Mr Ackom said the nature of an investor is also another factor that affects the ability of an organisation to move into international markets.

“The calm and peace-loving nature of Ghanaians turn to increase the tendency of Ghanaian investors to be more risk averse as compared to some of their Nigerian and South African partners. The fear of the unknown situation to befall the fate of investment increases the risk-averse nature of Ghanaian investors.”

The GITFiC CEO said although there was a need for Ghanaian-owned banks to expand into international markets, their inability to raise GH¢400 million during the recapitalization few years back was evidential that they were still struggling to break even.

The Ghana International Trade & Finance Conference (GITFiC) is a Private Sector Initiative working with the Private and Government sectors in the sub-region, and Africa at large to drive the Continental Free Trade Agreement (CFTA), broader development agenda of Africa, (as defined in the AU’s Agenda 2063) global trade issues at large, and other Trade, Finance, Trade-Finance ,and Logistics Agreements.

Source: GNA

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