The alternative exchange established in Ghana to promote the growth of Small and Medium-scale Enterprises (SMEs) has received high patronage In its first year of operation.

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Managing Director of the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) Kofi Yamoah disclosed this to Xinhua in an interview on Tuesday when an indigenous agro-processing company, Hords, became the second agro-processing equity listing on the GAX.

While three equities and four debt instruments have already been listed on the Ghana Alternative Market (GAX), three more equities and four debt instruments are being worked on for listing during the year.

?We want to help the SMEs grow because while many big companies have reached the plateau in their employment avenues, the more we develop SMEs, the more the employment that they can offer,? he explained.

According to Yamoah, Ghana stands to gain when more SMEs are supported to grow because there are more SMEs than large companies operating in various sectors of the country?s economy.
He said more interest was being generated in the GAX because the GSE was engaging identified companies one-on-one and selling the idea to them.

Various data by both government and private sector institutions say the SME sector constitutes around 80 percent of businesses in Ghana and offers the highest number of jobs.
However, this sector is forced to operate on short-term shark loans which mostly eat up their capital and make a lot collapse in due course.

?Although we have made the conditions for listing on the GAX easier than on the main bourse, we make it clear to the institutions that the GAX is not inferior,? Yamoah explained.
The GAX is a parallel market to the GSE First Official List focusing on businesses with potential for growth. The GAX will accommodate companies, both small and medium, including start-ups and existing enterprises, at various stages of their development.

Whereas a company needs to be at least three years old to be able to list on the main bourse of the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), SMEs need only a year to do that.
Meanwhile, the GAX, the investment advisory firm promoting the listing, is to underwrite the minimum offer to be raided.

The GSE also offers a Listing Support Fund for companies wishing to list for the payment of their legal, advisory and media fees towards the listing on the bourse.
Hords is a local beverage company that produces pure cocoa powder, said to be of high nutritional and health value, from Ghana?s premium cocoa.

Former President of the Association of Ghana Industries (AGI) Nana Owusu Afari commended the GSE for initiating the GAX.
He urged local SMEs to take advantage of the GAX to raise long-term capital for expanding their businesses.

Source: Justice Lee Adoboe, Xinhua

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