The Department of Finance at the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), held the Covid, Business and Society Seminar (COBUSS) series via the Zoom app on June 11th, 2020. The seminar was organised to discuss problems emerging from the global pandemic, with a special emphasis on finance and the global effect and reaction. Dr. Vera Fiador, a Senior lecturer at the Department of Finance, UGBS, Prof. Javed Ghulam Hussein of Birmingham City University, UK, and Mr. Michael Andoh, the Deputy Commissioner of Insurance in Ghana, were the seminar's guest speakers.
Mr. Michael Andoh, the first speaker, spoke on the subject "Impact of Covid-19 on the Insurance Industry" and started by indicating that Covid-19 had influenced all aspects of our lives and the insurance industry was no exception. He went on to provide an overview of the performance of the insurance industry. Addressing the impact of Covid-19 on the insurance industry, he stated that it would also affect claims, expenses, sales, and revenues. Moreover, he hinted that sectors such as the shipping, airline and tourism industries may be seriously affected by the closure of borders, and thus a fall in trade volumes and prices due to disruption of global supply chains. Mr. Andoh also talked about the effect on the NIC (National Insurance Commission), where it will postpone implementation of certain elements of strategic plans and create costs for implementing mitigation measures. Regarding the economic impact, he noted that the GDP growth rate was projected to slow down as well as global GDP growth and Africa's GDP for the year 2020.
The topic “Entrepreneurial Learning in Teams for the Engaged Scholar’s Development” was presented by Prof. Javed Ghulam Hussein. He began by explaining that an engaged scholar is an academic with the working and learning relationships with businesses and local community. As such, more engaged scholars are needed, as they fill the gap between science and practice and merge the academic disciplines. He further said academics find it difficult to become engaged scholars because they rely too much on theory and less on experience, are also fixed on how they work in silo and are not in collaboration with various stakeholders, industry or society. Ultimately, Prof. Hussein noted, it was necessary to be an engaged scholar because academics would understand that investing their time in working with other academics, industry partners and beneficiary communities will help them develop their work, change their mindsets, attitudes and research practices, which contributes to a more impactful way of conducting research.
The final speaker, Dr. Vera Fiador, addressed the theme "Business Continuity Planning & Recovery Strategies for Covid-19." She began by defining the contextual setting, explaining the crises that are affecting the health, economic and business sectors. According to her, a small number of companies are threatened with bankruptcy; for many companies, it had become difficult or even impossible to carry out the usual day-to-day operations, with some going out of business entirely in general.
She indicated that SMEs are especially weak, and the economy will inevitably suffer as a result. Speaking on the path forward, she suggested that there should be Business Continuity Management, which involves staff, strategies and procedures needed to ensure the business can continue to operate in the event of an operational interruption. However, she noted that for a number of businesses, raising questions about the feasibility of current business models could well expose the need for the Turnaround Management. She averred that an assessment was required to determine whether to trigger the business continuity or a turnaround management strategy. Finally, Dr. Fiador advised that companies needed to be cautious in reacting to the Covid-19 consequences for corporations if economic catastrophe is to be prevented.
The seminar was chaired by the Dean of UGBS, Prof. Justice Bawole, and open Question and Answer sessions followed each presentation.
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