On Thursday 8th March 2018 at the Swiss Spirit Hotel in Accra, the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, in collaboration with the Centre on Conflict, Development and Peace-building (CCDP), of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, Switzerland, held a one-day stakeholder workshop on a project aimed at identifying ways of gathering information on illicit financial flows in Ghana and of studying trends world-wide.
The project titled, “Improving Natural Resource Governance to Finance the SDGs in Resource-Rich Developing Countries,” is for three years and is funded by the Swiss Programme for Research on Global Issues for Development, a joint initiative of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation, and the Swiss National Science Foundation (SNSF), in collaborationwith ISSER.
Key stakeholders represented included the National Development Planning Commission, Ministry of Trade and Industries, Ghana Standard Authority, Economic and Organised Crime Organisation, Cocoa Marketing Board, Ministry of Finance, Ghana Revenue Authority.
Opening the Workshop, Dr Fred Dzanku, Research Fellow at ISSER, noted that Pesident Nana Akuffo-Addo's vision of Ghana Beyond Aid could be achieved if the nation’s natural resources were properly protected without such vices as illicit financial flows. Dr. Dzanku made a strong case for Ghana to find the resources to finance SDGs in the face of declining domestic resource mobilization, negative trade practices, and the country’s massive dependence on ODAs.
Standing in for Prof Felix Asante, Director of ISSER, Dr Simon Bawakyillenuo, Senior Research Fellow and Head of the Statistical and Survey Division at ISSER, noted that if Ghana loses about $340m annually through illicit financing, then success of the project could go a long way in indicating how to curb illicit flows of the much needed money for development.
He commended the bottom-up approach being used, namely, consultingwith stakeholders for information first before proceeding to undertake the project.
In his presentation, the Project Lead, Prof. Gilles Carbonnier of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva, disclosed that the project team consisted of economists, lawyers and political scientists who would look at the data critically from the perspectives of their respective disciplines. He was confident that in two years the team would come out with robust findings on the basis of which recommendations on new and significant policy directions would be made.
Other presenters included Mr. Rahul Mehrotra of the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva,who gave a presentation on research and data needs; Dr Ama Asantewaah Ahene-Codjoe, Economics Researcher, ISSER,who gave an economist's perspective on the project; and Mr. Martin Kpebu, whomade a similar presentation from a legal perspective.