On Thursday 8th March 2018, a research seminar on “Improving Resource Governance to Finance Development: Curbing Illicit Financial Flows (IFFs)” was held at Alisa Hotel in Accra. It was organized by the Institute for Statistical Social Economic Research (ISSER) in collaboration with Centre on Conflict, Development and Peace Building (CCDP), Graduate Institute of International and Development of Geneva. There were about 40 participants from various government and academic sectors such as the Ghana Revenue Authority, Ministry of Trade and Industry, the University of Ghana Business School, the Ghana Audit Service, Africa Centre for Energy Policy (ACEP), Public Interest and Accountability Committee (PIAC), the Ghana Standards Authority (GSA) and the National Development Planning Commission (NDPC). Additionally, there were representatives from the various media houses such as the Ghana News Agency (GNA), Citi FM, Myjoyonline.com, Radio Univers, Pink FM, Top Radio, Daily Searchlight, National Guide and Rite FM.
The seminar began with an introduction by Dr. Fred Dzanku, a research fellow at ISSER and the co-ordinator of the research project in Ghana. Dr. Dzanku highlighted the importance of finding ways to raise more resources within the country in order to fund the SDGs and other development activity. This was followed by a welcome address from Dr. Simon Bawakyillenuo on behalf of the Director of ISSER. He welcomed all participants and stated that the project has come at a good time for Ghana since the government is pushing for a Ghana beyond aid. He also highlighted the importance of having a stakeholder engagement exercise at the beginning, not only after implementation when results are presented.
Prof. Gilles Carbonnier, lead applicant of the r4d.ch project on Curbing Illicit Financial Flows from Resource-rich Developing Countries provided an overview of the project, highlighting the motivation for the research, which is to contribute to a world where the rules of the game are fair for everyone in order to allow resource-rich countries like Ghana to derive maximum benefit from natural resources for economic transformation and development. He indicated that the research project is interdisciplinary in nature and the research team consists of economists, lawyers and political scientists. Dr. Rahul Mehrotra then presented some more details on the methodology to be used for the economics aspect of project after which the floor was opened for discussions. Presentations resumed with the in-country economics and legal researchers taking their turns to outline the research issues to be addressed under their work packages. General discussions about the project followed with various stakeholders asking questions and seeking clarifications as well as contributing to how they research should be implemented in Ghana.
Aside the March 8 event, members of Ghana research team (Dr. Fred Dzanku, Dr. Ama Ahene-Codjoe, Martin Kpebu and Angela Alu) together with Prof. Gilles Carbonnier and Dr. Rahul Mehrotra conducted a series of meetings with government agencies and international organizations from 5th to 9th March 2018 to discuss the IFF research project and develop collaborations. The agencies visited included the Ghana Revenue Authority, the Bank of Ghana, the Minerals Commission, Precious Minerals Marketing Company (PMMC), Ghana Chamber of Mines, Cocobod, the Ghana Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (GHEITI) and the National Resource Governance Institute (NRGI). All stakeholders expressed keen interest in the project and indicated their willingness to support by providing the required information and data. Public sector stakeholders in particular expressed interest in following the progress of the research.
Below are some images from the Research Workshop: