Societe Generale Ghana organised a Business Banquet for the Bank’s Chinese clients at the Tang Palace Hotel. The event which took place on Friday 25th November 2016, had in attendance of over 80 major Chinese Companies.
A host of dignitaries from both the Diplomatic Corp and the Chinese Business community were in attendance. Some of these distinguished guests were the Chinese Ambassador to Ghana, H.E. Ms. Sun Baohong; the Counsellor of the Economic and Commercial Office of the Chinese Embassy, H.E. Mr. Chai Zhijing; and the Chairman of Chinese Enterprises Chamber of Commerce in Ghana and the Managing Director of Huawei, Mr. Lui Kang.
Welcoming the guests to the event, Mr. Sionle Yeo the Managing Director of Societe Generale Ghana gave an overview of the current business environment stating that, “In today’s fast changing business environment, it had become increasingly important for businesses to study and adjust to emerging economic and developmental trends towards identifying emerging investment and business opportunities” Mr. Yeo said that the Bank was poised to ensure that all the unique needs of its clients were well catered for and was organising this forum to deepen its relationship with the Chinese business community in Ghana and support of their business development with a host of new tailor-made and innovative solutions.
Mr. Yeo further assured the Chinese Business community that the Bank will continue to put the Group’s international expertise in support of their businesses to enable them to take full advantage of the opportunities that the Ghanaian economy offers for their financial prosperity. He thanked all the guests for their attendance and ushered in the Chinese Ambassador to give her address.
Addressing the forum, Her Excellency, Mrs. Sun Baohong iterated the Chinese Government continued support of the Ghanaian Economy and the growth of the existing relationship between the two countries. H.E. Mrs. Sun Baohong spoke about the new drivers of international economic growth and the current downturn being experienced by most of the bigger economies. H.E. Mrs. Sun Baohong iterated the goal of the Chinese government to increase bilateral trade and Investments between both countries; the possibility of new projects with medium and long-term impact. She stated that better cooperation between both countries would lead to a win-win cooperation with mutual benefits for all. Finally, H.E. Mrs. Sun Baohong thanked Societe Generale Ghana for its platform and asked the Chinese business community to take advantage of this forum.
In his address, the Chairman of Chinese Enterprises Chamber of Commerce in Ghana, Mr. Lui Kang, spoke about the oil prices pressures and its strain on the economy, but praised Ghana’s stability and conducive business environment. Mr. Kang commended the bank for creating this platform and urged the Chinese community in Ghana to use such platforms to grow their businesses through partnerships. He further stated that Chinese businesses within the country can only thrive when they cross collaborate with the local Ghanaian businesses to the benefit of the economy at large.
The address from the Head for the China-Africa Desk of Societe Generale, Mrs. Cai Shujue followed the address of the Chinese Ambassador. Mrs.Shujue spoke on the prospects for “Sub-Saharan Africa entering the turbulence zone after the take-off”, and on this she discussed three (3) main topics;
How the difficulties being experienced in the three (3) main economies within the region (South Africa, Nigeria and Angola) were hiding the good performance of the net oil importing countries;
The deterioration of fiscal and external accounts which comes along with a higher cost of debt as investors become more sensitive to the African risk; and
That even though the depreciation of the currencies has relatively little impact on Franc zones, the depreciation of FX reserves creates tension in liquidity.
Mrs. Shujue indicated that Africa’s take-off had been fuelled by a combination of structural and cyclical reasons and despite current headwinds, growth remains strong. These structural factors remain real and will continue to foster growth in the medium term. In the long term, challenges will need to be addressed to create the needed opportunities for financial institutions.
Dr. James Sackey, a Consultant at the China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) spoke on, “the opportunities and challenges for Chinese Businesses in Ghana going into 2017”. Dr. Sackey spoke on the recent economic developments, priority issues, and emerging investment and business opportunities for Chinese Businesses.
The stability and accessibility of foreign exchange is the life blood of many foreign companies operating within the country. Regarding this critical issue, Mrs. Irene Owiredu-Akrofi, the General Manager for Treasury at Societe Generale Ghana, assured the audience good management of treasury at the bank in terms of Foreign Exchange availability to meet obligations, price uncertainty and volatility, and the drivers of spot market prices. Suffice to say that this particular session was very engaging for all the companies present.
The final presentation of the evening was on the Bank’s “Product Offering’ under its Global Transaction Banking Team and this was done by Mrs. Celestine Amison-Addy the Department Head. Mrs. Amison-Addy spoke about innovative solutions the bank makes available to its clients like Leasing and Finasia. Mrs. Amison-Addy said that Finance Leasing allows for a better usage of business capital, tax benefits, balance of cash outflows, better planning, and Off-Balance Sheet debt.
Mrs. Amison-Addy said that the Societe Generale Group’s Finasia offer would enable the pre-financing of any Asian Exporter’s Letter of Credit, and specially the Chinese exporters, as soon as the goods are shipped, while the importer in Ghana will only pay when the Letter of Credit matures. This improves the liquidity of the Client’s business in Ghana and frees up capital to invest in other areas of growth.
The last address of the evening was given by H.E. Mr. Chai Zhijing, the Counsellor of the Economic and Commercial Office at the Chinese Embassy. H.E. Mr. Chai Zhijing spoke on the increasing cost for businesses, depreciating currency (the Ghana Cedi) and the importance of the Banking industry in ensuring stability. H.E. Zhijing stressed on businesses to cultivate a better understanding of the role banks play in the Economy, assuring that Chinese businesses will continue to collaborate with Societe Generale Ghana in the future.
The evening’s event was brought to a close by Mr. Francois Marchal, the Deputy Managing Director of Societe Generale Ghana. Mr. Marchal expressed the Bank’s gratitude to the guests for taking time off their busy schedules to participate in the evening’s business forum. Mr. Marchal said that Societe Generale Ghana will continue to go above and beyond what is offered by the competition to bring customers the very best of what Banking has to offer with tailor made solutions to support their business.
Societe Generale Ghana is encouraging all Chinese businesses to come over and enjoy the best service from its highly professional Relationship Banking Team.