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Key Lessons From Ghana's Economic Challenges

10 Feb, 2023
  • Written By: Frederick Arkoh

Ghana is facing what some economists term the worst-ever economic crisis since the 1980s. The country is engulfed with high inflation, cedi depreciation, high public debt rising to 95% of GDP, and on top of it all debt distress. What has even made greater waves and has been a major topic for discussion is the government domestic debt exchange program, which has been referred popularly as 'haircut'.

These issues have not only caused hardships for Ghanaians but have also affected investment and growth in the country. Despite these challenges, there are several important lessons that we can learn from Ghana's economic situation. In this article, we will explore key takeaways from the current economic situation in the country and how they can help us in making financial/investment decisions.

I. There is no Risk-Free Investment.

Most of us were taught in school that investing in government securities like bonds and treasury bills came with no risk. Almost every piece of literature on finance equates government securities to a risk-free investment. We were made to believe that government is the safest borrower. You will sometimes hear finance professionals saying that "when a current government borrows and is not able to pay another government will come and pay". The current economic crisis has "lifted the veil" on this assumption and highlighted the fact that every investment comes with a certain level of risk. That is why you receive returns on your investment as compensation for postponing your consumption. The government's Domestic Debt Exchange program means that investors will not be able to realize all the returns on their government bonds. What you should have in mind as an investor is that every investment vehicle carries a form of risk, no matter how juicy the returns may be.

II. Know your Risk Appetite

When it comes to taking risk to earn returns, different people have different attitudes. Investments giving lower returns normally come with lower risk. On the other hand, investment with higher returns involves taking higher risk. How did you react as an investor when you first heard about the government's debt exchange program or you saw a drop in your investment returns? This is the best time to understand your risk appetite and the kind of investment suitable for you. Every investor will either be a risk lover, risk averse or neutral to risk. A good understanding this will help you to choose a suitable investment portfolio that will give you financial peace of mind even in a period of economic turmoil. Speak to a trusted financial advisor to understand your risk appetite.

III. You MAY NOT always have Positive Returns.

Investing money can be both rewarding and risky. It can bring financial security and freedom, as well as a sense of accomplishment. Unfortunately, when it comes to investing, there are not always positive returns. Understand that the investment market can be unpredictable and the potential for losses is real. Even the most experienced investor can find themselves in a difficult situation if the market takes a sudden turn. It’s important to understand that there are no guarantees when it comes to investing and that it’s important to be prepared for a range of outcomes. Due to the country’s economic problems, a lot of investment schemes are making losses which are really expected in a period like this. However, it does not call for making panic withdrawals by liquidating your investment. Once the economy returns to normal and there is growth, your investment will start having appreciable returns. Knowing your objectives, the risks involved and having a strategy in place can help to minimize losses and maximize returns. Armed with this knowledge, you can make smart investment decisions that will help you stay on track to reach your financial goals.

IV. Diversify your Investment

The main objective for investing your hard-earned money is to create a financial cushion and build wealth over time. Ghana's economic woes have widened the need for proper diversification of your investment. You might have heard the popular saying "do not put all your eggs in one basket". You may have been a victim of the current economic situation if you had all your funds in one investment instrument. It is very important to diversify your investments to ensure that your money is well spread across different financial securities to minimize market volatility and potential. Diversifying can be one of the most important steps in successful investing, as it allows you to spread your money across different asset classes, industries, and even countries. With careful planning and research, a diversified portfolio can help you to reach your financial goals.

V. The need for Liquidity in financial planning.

Liquidity is an essential factor in investing, especially during challenging economic times. It helps investors to maintain flexibility and manage risk, ensuring that they are better equipped to navigate market uncertainties and make informed investment decisions. Liquidity simply refers to the ease with which an asset or financial instrument can be bought or sold for cash without affecting its market price. As the investment environment continues to evolve, the need for liquidity has become increasingly important for investors, businesses, and financial institutions. Whether it is for managing risks, meeting cash flow needs, or making investment decisions, the availability of liquid assets can play a crucial role in financial success. In uncertain times, the availability of liquid assets can help investors to meet their short-term cash needs, such as paying bills or covering unexpected expenses, without having to sell investments at a loss. One surest way to ensure you have liquidity in uncertain times is to have an emergency fund that is easily accessible.

The country is going through economic challenges which has caused a lot of uncertainties especially in the investment space. These key lessons will help shape your financial and investment decisions. It is very important that you speak to a financial advisor to assist you make a well informed decision in this period of economic uncertainty.

 

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