Ghana Stock ExchangeThe Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE) says it has deferred launch of the Alternative Exchange as it is still in talks with small- and medium-scale enterprises to convince them to list on the new market.

In an interview with the B&FT, GSE General Manager Elizabeth Mate-Kole said the Ghana Alternative Exchange (GAX) will only be launched when it receives listings.

?We cannot launch the market when we don?t have any listings. We want to launch the market with one or two listings,? she said.

Mrs. Mate-Kole was speaking on the sidelines of an Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA)-GSE Conference in Accra on Thursday.

The GAX is a new market with weaker listing rules targetting SMEs with high growth potential and desirous of raising equity capital.

The launch of the market was initially mulled in 2012, but its launch was rescheduled to allow some outstanding issues, such as creation of a governance committee, to be resolved.

Last month, GSE Deputy Managing Director Ekow Afedzie told B&FT the bourse had finally resolved all outstanding issues which prevented GAX?s full enrolment in 2012.

?What delayed the launch of GAX was the absence of a governing committee; now the team has been formed. After their first meeting, we will go all out to start promoting GAX,? Mr. Afedzie said.

The GAX will accommodate companies at various stages of development, including start-ups and existing enterprises — both small and medium.

Access to affordable capital is one of the most critical challenges of the SME sector, and bank credit often tends to be expensive — if available at all.

Companies considering listing on the GAX must have minimum capital of GH?250,000 (US$146,600), lower than the GH?1million required for the main market. They must also have a minimum of 20 shareholders, compared with 100 for the main bourse.

Companies listed on the GAX will also be able to access the SME Listing Support Fund — which will be used to assist companies meet their listing expenses. The fund has been set up with an initial GH?1million contribution from the African Development Bank, the GSE and the Venture Capital Trust Fund.

By Richard Annerquaye ABBEY

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