On Thursday, 27th May 2021, Professor Joshua Yindenaba Abor from the Department of Finance, and the immediate-Past Dean of the University of Ghana Business School (UGBS), delivered a guest lecture dubbed “COVID-19 Pandemic and Africa’s Financial Systems: How do we reform the post-COVID 19 Financial Systems?” at the Simon Diedong Dombo University of Business and Integrated Development Studies (SDD UBIDS), Wa. The event was chaired by the Vice Chancellor of the university, Professor Philip Duku Osei.
Addressing the audience, Professor Abor gave a detailed overview of Africa’s financial systems where he indicated, among other things, that financial systems allow for financial transactions and the exchange of money between surplus units and deficit units. According to him, financial systems involve complex relationships among financial services, markets and institutions. Financial systems operate at the global, regional, national and firm levels. Additionally, he emphasised governments’ interventions in the financial system and economy, where they act as the financial intermediary through direct lending, guarantees, sponsored enterprises and ensuring equitable redistribution of income and resources.
Professor Abor gave a brief comparison between past pandemics and the current Covid-19 pandemic. He then added that responses of African governments’ policies to Covid-19 pandemic include lowering taxes/ granting tax exemptions or tax holidays, the introduction of measures to promote the use of electronic payments, provision of business support scheme, provision of free food and subsidy on the consumption of utilities (water and electricity) and release of prisoners. He further commended the steps taken by the Government of Ghana to establish the Development Bank of Ghana, but also admonished that the modelling behind the setup be looked at carefully so as to achieve the desired impact at the highest optimal levels.
As part of his presentation, Professor Abor addressed some reforms that financial systems can undertake. He noted that encouraging international remittance flows, improving institutional quality, promoting the adoption of FinTech to further drive inclusive finance and promoting the establishment of development finance institutions to support specific sectors. He, therefore, cautioned African central banks to not only show interest in regulations and monetary policies, but to invest in financially literacy pursuits as well as support under-privileged sectors of the economy to develop.
Professor Joshua Abor ended his presentation indicating that the COVID-19 pandemic has had both non-economic and economic impacts. He finally emphasised that there have been tragic loss of lives across the globe and widespread impact on economies and financial systems across the globe, hence there is the need for other policy actions to reform Africa's financial systems to spur growth on the continent.
The Vice-Chancellor, at the end of the session, also thanked Professor Abor for donating 40 copies of his book on "Financial Markets and Institutions" to some faculty and the University Library. He expressed his profound appreciation to Professor Abor for gracing the occasion with his presentation as well as his donation to the school.
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