The nation’s foremost gathering of economic minds – the Ghana Economic Forum (GEF) – commences today with the aptly named Youth Economic Forum (YEF), sponsored by the Mastercard Foundation, at the Kempinski Gold Coast Hotel in Accra.
In the previous 10 editions, the flagship programme of Africa’s leading provider of business information, the B&FT, has served as a rallying point for seasoned experts to deliberate on the most pertinent socioeconomic issues; proffering workable solutions to prevailing and anticipated issues.
Speaking ahead of the three-day hybrid event, which has as its broad theme ‘Building a robust and resilient economy through Technology, Finance, Investment, Trade and Entrepreneurship’, the Chief Executive Officer of B&FT, Dr. Godwin Aqcuaye, stated that the Forum has assumed added importance owing to the current state of global and local economies.
In light of the current fiscal and monetary meltdown occasioned by high inflation, a weakening local currency and tightening financing conditions, the 11th edition of this meeting might be its most important yet, he noted.
Despite these conditions, Dr. Acquaye offered assurance that GEF 2022 will not be a time for unproductive complaints – saying the Forum and its participants will stay faithful to the pattern set forth in previous editions; which has seen the central government adopt most of the policy recommendations emanating from the meetings.
“GEF will not be a platform for lamentation, but rather involve all stakeholders and policymakers to dialogue and find solutions. We should be thinking proactively and looking at the positives during times like these,” he emphasised.
The sentiments expressed by Dr. Acquaye were echoed by the B&FT’s Director of Operations, Daniel Anim Prempeh who said: “The Ghana Economic Forum, over the years, has been very impactful, with government leveraging ideas shared to start some policies”.
Day 1 – YEF
Current official data show that Africa has the youngest population in the world, with 70 percent of sub-Saharan Africa under the age of 30. Ghana’s population is growing in tandem with this trend; however, the youth unemployment rate, according to a 2021 census, is at an all-time high of 13.4 percent – almost three times higher than it was in 2010.
With the potential available to the teeming young population, especially in an increasingly globalised, yet competitive world, the B&FT sought to provide young persons with a credible platform to engage policymakers Dr. Acquaye said, providing the rationale for the YEF.
“Young people have their own peculiar challenges and want to be given the opportunity to find solutions while they engage policymakers,” he explained.
The first day will see youth-focused engagements, with particular emphasis on agriculture and entrepreneurship.
The second day will expand the conversation to the broader economy, with insightful and thought-provoking remarks from Kofi Adomakoh, Managing Director-GCB Bank; Kwame Oppong, Head, Fintech &Innovation-Bank of Ghana; Managing Director, Anthony Sarpong, Senior Partner-KPMG; Daniel McKorley, CEO-McDan Group; and former President, John Agyekum Kufuor.
It will also feature two expert-heavy plenary sessions, the first of which will be on the subject ‘Reducing the fiscal gap: An approach to improving government revenue’. Speakers on this panel include Dr. Ammishaddai Owusu-Amoah, Commissioner General-Ghana Revenue Authority (GRA); Dr. John K. Kwakye, Director of Research-Institute of Economic Affairs (IEA); Seth Terkper, Former Minister of Finance; and Professor Godfred Bokpin, Finance Lecturer-University of Ghana.
The second plenary will see Nana Yaw Owusu Banahene, Country Manager-AZA Finance; Philip Twum, KPMG Ghana; Ankit Tandon, Director-Regulus Investments and Financial Sevices; Eric Coffie, Chief Digital and Marketing Officer-GCB Bank; Richard Nunekpeku, Managing Partner-Sustineri Attorneys; and Chris Ofikulu, Managing Director-UBA Ghana discussing Fintech and the Future of Finance.
The final day will kick-off with ‘Women in Business: Overcoming critical hurdles to Building Sustainable Products and Brands for National Development’, a subject that will be dissected by Dzigbordi Kwaku-Dosoo, CEO/Founder-Dzigbordi Consulting Group; Helene Wessie, Managing Director-Guinness Ghana Brewery PLC; Theresa Ayoade, CEO-Charterhouse
Productions; and Odelia Ntiamoah, CEO-SNB Group.
Others include Janet Sunkwa-Mills, CEO-AFRBIZ Group; Jessie Jacinto, Legal Counsel-GCB Bank; and Tucci Goka Ivowi, CEO-Ghana Commodity Exchange (GCX).
Agriculture will once again come into focus as Fred Kukubor, CEO-Farmer Globale; Yaw Frimpong Addo, Deputy Minister-Ministry of Food and Agriculture; Kwesi Korboe, CEO-GIRSAL; Fatima Alimohamed, Chairperson-Agribusiness Association of Ghana Industries; and Kofi Kyeremateng Nyanteng, Agribusiness, Development Finance and M&E Consultant delve into the topic ‘Ensuring Food Sustainability and Security: an analytical overview of the ‘Planting for Food and Jobs’ policy and the implications for economic growth.
GEF 2022 will conclude with a session on ‘Trade and Industrialisation: Catalyst for economic growth and development’, wherein Maame Awinador-Kanyirige, International Trade
Expert; Anthony Morrison,CEO-Agribusiness Chamber; Andy Akoto, Partner & Head of Advisory-KPMG; Linus Kumi, Head of Corporate Banking-GCB Bank; and Kwame Jantuah, CEO-Energy Consortium, will provide insightful contributions.
The sessions will be moderated by Winston Amoah of Joy FM and Prince Moses, General Manager-Asaase Radio; Foster Akugri, CEO-Hacklab Foundation; Alfred Ocansey of TV3; Anthony Morrison, CEO-Agribusiness Chamber; and Godfred Akoto Boafo of Citi FM respectively.