GEF 2023 kicks-off today

The stage is set for the Ghana Economic Forum’s (GEF) 2023 edition – widely considered one of the most crucial events on the domestic economic calendar – today, Tuesday, October 10, 2023 at the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel, Accra.

The forum’s 12th edition is set against a backdrop of the toughest macroeconomic period in over a decade; the US$3billion Extended Credit Facility (ECF) from the International Monetary Fund (IMF); and ensuing actions such as the Domestic Debt Exchange Programme (DDEP). It also comes ahead of the 2024 budget presentation.

Themed ‘Build back better: IMF support, strategies to build a sustainable economy and dynamic business environment’, GEF 2023 will take centre-stage as a stellar lineup of experts and thought-leaders delve into crucial topics that shape the country’s economic landscape.

Dr. Godwin Aquaye, Chief Executive Officer-B&FT, organiser of the GEF and Africa’s foremost source of business information, conveyed his optimism regarding the event’s substantial influence, drawing from its proven historical track-record.

“GEF 2023 is more than just an event; it is a platform to reshape Ghana’s economic future. Today is the day when we gather to gain insights, network with industry leaders,and contribute to the economic dialogue,” he added.

“Mark your calendar and stay tuned. Your participation matters as we endeavour to build a stronger, more resilient Ghanaian economy together,” he further stated.

Economic performance so far this year has shown modest improvement. The gross domestic product (GDP) has experienced recovery, with an average growth rate of 3.2 percent during the first two quarters of 2023.

Conversely, inflation has been steadily decreasing – reaching 40.1 percent by August 2023. Additionally, the cedi’s stability has been maintained, with a cumulative depreciation of approximately 23.5 percent since beginning of the year, versus a 37.6 percent weakening over the comparable period in 2022.

On the fiscal front, there was a surplus of approximately GH¢2billion in first-half 2023, surpassing the set target of approximately GH¢4billion deficit.

This development has prompted projections of a rebound in year-end growth – even as the finance ministry announced a successful staff-level agreement (SLA) with the Fund, following a review of the first leg of the IMF-supported Post COVID-19 Programme for Economic Growth (PC–PEG).

To build up and ensure the nation is better prepared to handle potential external shocks, the first session will feature remarks from Anthony Sarpong, Senior Partner-KPMG; while Dr. John Kwakye, Director of Research-Institute of Economic Affairs, will present a paper on ‘Looming global recession: A myth or an Awakening?’; and ‘Build Back Better: IMF support, Strategies to build a sustainable economy and dynamic business environment’.

A panel of discussants will subsequently embark on a deep dive into the IMF programme, with discussions about ‘Ghana’s US$3billion IMF support: debt sustainability, macroeconomic stability and business growth’.

Esteemed panellists include Seth Terkper, former Minister of Finance; Dr. Richmond Atuahene, banking consultant; Dr. Humphrey Ayim-Darke, President-Association of Ghana Industries (AGI); Dr. Joyce Afriyie, former Vice President-Bank of America; Professor Godfred Bopkin, economist-University of Ghana Business School (UGBS): and Abena Amoah, Managing Director-Ghana Stock Exchange.

The session will be moderated by Alfred Ocansey of TV3, offering insights into how Ghana can fortify its economic foundations and be transformed to attain its potential.

Participants will also have the privilege of hearing from Dr. Daniel MacKorley, Executive Chairman of McDAN Group, who will share his insights on ‘Ensuring business growth amid turbulent economic times’. His presentation promises to provide valuable perspectives from an entrepreneur on thriving amid challenging economic conditions.

A second plenary session will revolve around the intriguing topic, ‘Looming global recession? A myth or an awakening reality considering present challenges facing the financial sector and the business environment’.

Doing justice to the topic will be a distinguished panel of speakers including Kate Djankwei Abbeo, deputy CEO-Ghana Free Zones Authority (GFZA); Dr. Priscilla Twumasi Baffour, Lecturer-Department of Economics, UGBS; Julian Kingsley Opuni, Managing Director-Fidelity Bank Ghana; Andrew Akoto, Partner and Head Advisory-KPMG; Richmond K. Frimpong, financial advisory consultant; and Edward Forkuo Kyei, Group CEO-Glico Group.

Prince Moses Ofori-Atta of Asaase Radio will adeptly moderate this session, providing valuable insights into the current financial landscape and its potential impact.

The third session will focus on a matter of paramount importance – ‘Food sustainability and security’. Engaging in the discussion will be influential speakers including Dr. Kwesi Korboe, CEO-GIRSAL Ltd.; Fred Kukubor, CEO-Farmer Global; Christiana Anim Asare, Brands Manager-Olam Agric; Madam Emilia Ghansah, Head of Training-General Agricultural Workers Union of Ghana (GAWU); Fatima Alimohamed, African Tribe Warrior; and Yaw Njorgnab, Manager-Agribusiness, Stanbic Bank.

Winston Tackie from Metro TV will lead this session, where innovative ideas and solutions for a sustainable agricultural value chain will be explored.

Organised in partnership with KPMG, GEF 2023 is sponsored by Stanbic Bank, Fidelity Bank, Olam Agri, Ghana Free Zones Authority, Republic Bank and Ghana Stock Exchange.

Other sponsors include Jospong Group of Companies, Access Bank, Ghana Revenue Authority and GLICO, with Asaase Radio, YMF, Happy FM and Citi FM as media partners.

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The stage is set for the Ghana Economic Forum’s (GEF) 2023 edition – widely considered one of the most crucial events on the domestic economic calendar – today, Tuesday, October 10, 2023 at the Mövenpick Ambassador Hotel, Accra.