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Opinions of Thursday, 30 May 2024

Columnist: Dr Andrews Ayiku

Free fall of the Ghana cedi and Small & Medium Enterprises

Cedi and dollar notes Cedi and dollar notes

The Ghanaian economy has faced challenges in recent years, one of the most pressing being the depreciation of the Ghana cedi.

The depreciation of the currency has had far-reaching consequences for numerous sectors of the economy, particularly small and medium-sized firms (SMEs). These businesses are the backbone of Ghana’s economy, generating significant employment and GDP growth.

However, the falling cedi has made it more difficult for SMEs to function successfully and compete in the market.

These enterprises frequently operate with thin profit margins and insufficient means to hedge against currency changes, making them more vulnerable to the negative effects of the cedi’s depreciation. The following article describes how the free fall of the Ghana cedi is influencing SMEs operations.

Increased production cost

The depreciation of the Ghana cedi has increased the prices for SMEs who rely on imported inputs for their operations. Businesses in industries such as manufacturing, agriculture, and construction are particularly affected because they rely on imported raw materials, machinery and equipment. Rising import costs are compressing SMEs’ profit margins, making it difficult for them to compete in the market. Some businesses have been obliged to pass on the additional expenses to customers by raising prices, further depressing demand.

Difficulty in getting credit

The decreasing cedi has made it more difficult for SMEs to obtain credit from financial institutions. Banks and other lenders are increasingly leery of financing to enterprises that face currency risk, as the cedi’s devaluation might reduce the value of loan repayments.

This has made it difficult for SMEs to obtain the finance required to expand their firms and invest in new projects. Without access to capital, many SMEs are unable to expand or innovate, limiting their long-term growth possibilities.

Challenges with cash flow

Ghanaian SMEs are facing cash flow issues as the cedi weakens. Businesses that rely on imported goods are seeing increasing costs, placing pressure on their financial reserves. The volatility of input prices and currency fluctuations makes it difficult for SMEs to successfully manage their cash flow, since they struggle to forecast their expenses and revenues.

This has made it more difficult for firms to fulfil their financial responsibilities, such as paying suppliers, employees, and lenders. The cash flow issues that SMEs face limit their ability to invest in new projects, grow their operations, and weather economic downturns.

Volatility in input prices

The fluctuating value of the Ghana cedi has caused concern among SMEs in businesses that rely on imported inputs. Businesses that import raw materials, machinery, and equipment face input price volatility because import costs can change quickly due to currency fluctuations.

This makes it difficult for SMEs to accurately anticipate manufacturing costs and plan their budgets. The unpredictability surrounding input costs is also making it difficult for firms to negotiate contracts with suppliers and form long-term relationships, since both parties are concerned about the risks connected with currency fluctuation.

Decreased competitiveness in export markets

The depreciation of the Ghanaian cedi has made it more difficult for SMEs to compete in export markets. Businesses that export goods and services face increasing rivalry from foreign competitors, since the weakening cedi raises the cost of Ghanaian items for worldwide buyers. This has resulted in a drop in export sales for many SMEs, as they battle to maintain market share in the face of fierce competition. Reduced competitiveness in export markets limits SMEs’ growth potential and restricts their capacity to enter new markets and diversify their revenue streams.

Inflationary pressures

The depreciation of the Ghana cedi has exacerbated inflationary pressures in the economy, since the cost of imported goods and services has increased. Higher inflation rates are eroding consumers’ purchasing power in Ghana, causing a drop in demand for products and services. This has had a severe impact on SMEs, as they struggle to acquire clients and create money in a difficult economic climate. Inflationary pressures are also placing strain on SMEs’ profit margins, with growing expenses hurting their bottom lines.


The depreciation of the Ghana cedi is having a substantial impact on SME activities in Ghana. Businesses in areas such as manufacturing, agriculture, and construction are facing increasing expenses, lower competitiveness, and cash flow issues because of the weakening currency. The constraints posed by the cedi’s depreciation are limiting SMEs’ growth potential and hindering their capacity to compete in the marketplace. Policymakers and stakeholders must address the core causes of currency depreciation and undertake steps to promote SMEs and boost economic growth. Only focused interventions and strategic actions can enable Ghanaian SMEs to overcome the problems posed by the Ghana cedi’s depreciation and survive in a competitive global market.