Why hate and demonize Ghanaian-owned companies for political reasons?

In Ghana we have very few successful companies, and most of these are foreign-owned companies which are not even listed on the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE). Successful companies such as Coca-Cola Ghana, MTN Ghana, Vodafone Ghana, Airtel Ghana, etc. are all foreign concerns that are not listed on the GSE. In other countries, these same global players are either forced to list locally, or do so on their own.

The Ghana Stock Exchange has about 36 listed companies. And if Ghana is serious about economic development, that is where our focus should be. The ability of a country to develop a very strong and robust stock market will go a long way to determine how well such a country will perform economically. In the United States for instance, the New York Stock Exchange (NYSE) is seen as the barometer of the US economy. The GSE is worth only about 0.0006% of the NYSE, unfortunately. We should be thinking about building our stock market.

So why the emphasis on the stock market? The emphasis on the stock market is very important and significant in at least two respects. Firstly, when we encourage more companies to list on the stock exchange, more Ghanaians will have the opportunity to own shares, effectively becoming part owners of those companies. There is also the possibility of a strong balance sheet for the companies – which means they can employ more people and provide more services. Secondly, more Ghanaians will be inspired to start companies that will eventually list on the stock exchange.

Unfortunately, there is this growing negative trend of demonizing our own local champions. When it comes to our local success stories, we can talk about companies such as Zoomlion, rlg Communications, Engineers & Planners, DataBank, UT Group, Antrak, MultiMedia Group, etc. Although these companies are not listed on the GSE, they are still owned by Ghanaians.

However, some Ghanaians have now made it their profession to run down some of these companies for political reasons. Owners of these companies have been painted in Green and Blue colours. This trend is worrying and disturbing, and Ghanaians should desist from it. We cannot build a very solid nation without the massive contributions of the private sector. It is no more fashionable for governments to be running businesses. The private sector should be encouraged and incentivized to lead our economic development agenda.

We cannot encourage them by demonizing them. Those doing that should desist from doing so!

Mahmoud Jajah
Bachelor of Laws (LLB) Student
MountCrest University College