By Yawa Osebreh, Class of 2006
Friday June 13, 2003 was an eye-opener for many in the Ashesi Class of 2006. Professor Sitsofe Enyonam Anku led his Calculus class on a trip to the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE). The foremost objective of the trip was to learn at first-hand the operations of a stock exchange in the economy of a country and to relate operations used at the stock exchange to mathematical concepts taught in Calculus.
The Public Relations Manager of the company, Mrs. Diana Okine, explained that the stock exchange is an organized market that unites buyers and sellers of securities (shares, bonds and stocks). The GSE is relatively new, incorporated in November 1990, and only twenty five companies are currently listed. GSE is not a government-owned entity, but privately held. It has no shareholders but is incorporated as a public company limited by guarantee, with members who are either corporate bodies or individuals contributing to the promotion of the stock exchange. However, the government and the Bank of Ghana (BoG) have oversight responsibility over its operation. Furthermore, the activities of the GSE are regulated and overseen by the Securities and Exchange Commission. (SEC), whose head is appointed by the Minister of Finance. This compelled some members of the class to question whether the GSE is indeed devoid of governmental control.
The class also had the opportunity to observe trading carried out on the trading floor. Trading was visibly slow on that day; traders were seen placing their bids and offers on various boards that represented trading equities. Most of the trading is done manually in this manner. Teaching Assistant, Tristan Hromnik, who accompanied the group, wanted to know whether the GSE has plans to computerize the trading process. Mrs. Okine in response, disclosed that computerization is part of their development agenda and tireless efforts are being pursued to raise funds to undertake that venture.
She explained that after each trading day, the GSE All Share Index is calculated. This Index is a measure of market performance expressed in percentages as a ratio of Market Capitalization and Average Market Capitalization. The GSE All Share Index gives an indication of the performance of various listed securities assisting investors in taking investment decisions. This discovery satisfied our curiosity to appreciate real life applications of mathematics as Professor Anku strives to establish.