Ghana Vote Halts Plan to Sell State’s Agricultural Bank

Ghana’s government put a plan to sell its stake in Agricultural Development Bank Ltd. on hold as leaders of the West African nation focus on their election campaigns, according to the Finance Ministry.

President John Dramani Mahama and his ministers are preparing for the Dec. 7 presidential and parliamentary votes, Yvonne Quansah, acting director of the ministry’s financial sector division, said by phone yesterday from the capital, Accra.

“Because of time constraints, the discussions have been put on hold so that the party that comes to power next year would take it up,” she said.

Since the 1996 stock market listing of Ghana Commercial Bank Ltd., the government of West Africa’s second-biggest economy has been selling stakes in financial institutions to boost investment and support growth in the country. GCB’s stock has gained 10 percent this year, outpacing a 3.1 percent increase in the Ghanaian bourse’s financial-stocks index.

ADB has written a proposal to the government for it to sell its 52 percent stake, allowing the bank to list on the Ghana Stock Exchange, Quansah said last month. The Bank of Ghana, which owns the remainder, said last year it would sell its holding.

ADB’s net income rose fourfold to 48.6 million cedis ($25.9 million) in 2011, according to its annual report published on its website. It boosted its branch network in the period to 76 from 65. The bank is “keen to follow through the necessary processes to enable it list on the stock exchange,” Managing Director Stephen Kpordzih said in the report.

Mahama will seek a second term for the ruling National Democratic Congress party in the election, where he faces opposition leader Nana Akufo-Addo of the New Patriotic Party.

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