Officials of GCB Bank and Cambridge University
Officials of GCB Bank and Cambridge University

GCB Bank, Cambridge University partner on conference - Ghana's political economy discussed

The country's first indigenous bank, GCB Bank PLC, has sponsored an authors' conference on the country's political economy.


Organised in collaboration with the King’s College and the Faculty of History of the University of Cambridge, the two-day conference was characterised by presentations by

Ghanaian scholars from the universities in Ghana, as well as in the United Kingdom (UK), supported by presentations from resources from other universities.

The sponsorship, which is part of the Thought Leadership programmes of GCB's Platinum anniversary celebrations, was on the theme 'Political Economy of Ghana in the Long Twentieth Century, 1891-2010', and aimed at comprehensively examining Ghana's political economy.

The historical era under review at the conference spans the commencement of regular cocoa exports in 1891 and the beginning of petroleum exports in 2010.

A former Vice-Chancellor of the University of Ghana, Professor Ernest Aryeetey, who was the keynote speaker, was joined by several scholars specialising in development studies, economics, economic history, history and political science for the two-day event.

Professor Gareth Austin and Dr Kofi Adjepong-Boateng from the University of Cambridge, who were key to the organisation of the conference, also presented papers on the “Dynamics of Cocoa Cultivation in Ghana, 1891-2010” and “Foundational Debates on Central Banking in the Gold Coast”, respectively.

Other scholars who presented papers included Cyrelene Amoah-Boampong, Nana Yaw Sapong, Emmanuel Abbey, Emmanuel Adu-Danso, (all from the University of Ghana), Professor Akua Opokua Britwum (University of Cape Coast).

Other speakers from universities in the United States (US), South Africa, the UK, Sweden and Germany also participated, including Ravi Kanbur (Cornell) and Paul Nugent (Edinburgh).

They presented papers on topics such as the unevenness of the distribution of benefits of economic growth, the evolving share of female ownership in different economic sectors, the apparent paradox of economic growth in Ghana with only very limited structural change, while the role that small-scale gold mining had played in Ghana was established.

A statement from GCB Bank said the conference proceedings would be revised for publication and form part of GCB's 70th Anniversary celebrations heritage contributions to the development of banking in Ghana.

"The published book will be a significant source of information and knowledge for scholars, researchers, academics, policymakers and policy analysts in Ghana and other parts of the world," the statement added.

Thus, the conference outcomes would serve as a foundation upon which Ghana's economy could accelerate and pave the way for further progress, it said.

Why sponsorship

Speaking to the sponsorship, the Chairman of GCB Bank Board of Directors, Jude Arthur, stated that, "the bank had been part of Ghana's history and economic development since its inception in May 1953.

"As part of our 70th anniversary celebrations and our general efforts to share information on the bank’s impact and contribution going forward, GCB Bank has been exploring collaboration opportunities with reputable institutions for Thought Leadership Programmes which will help shape the conversations and actions relating to our economy," he explained.

Through the collaboration with the University of Cambridge, Mr Arthur said: "We aim to leverage the university's expertise, reach and resources, as well as the bank’s role as a key player in Ghana’s financial history, and our contributions and plans for the future to highlight the relevant commitments which Ghana needs in order to register a significant improvement in its development".

The GCB Bank board chairman added that the collaboration would be sustained and built upon beyond the 70th anniversary celebrations to continue to improve on the bank's contribution to the general development of the country.

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