ADVERTISEMENT

Inaugural 3i Africa Summit kicks off in Accra

Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari, the esteemed First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana, is eagerly anticipating the forthcoming 3i Africa Summit, recognizing its potential to drive digital economic growth across the continent.

Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari, First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana

With an emphasis on collaboration among stakeholders, Dr. Opoku-Afari, who is leading the all-important summit, highlighted the opportunity for collective action to overcome obstacles and propel the expansion of the FinTech industry.

The inaugural 3i Africa Summit is a three-day gathering with the goal of advancing technology and digitalization in the financial industry to improve inclusion. It is an effort by Bank of Ghana, Development Bank Ghana and supported by Elevandi set up by the Monetary Authority of Singapore. Approximately 4,000 corporate executives from about 80 nations are anticipated to attend from May 13 to May 15.

The summit's topic, "Unleashing Africa's FinTech and Digital Economic Potential," will centre on how long-term, sustainable capital allocation can change Africa's economic environment.

The purpose of the event is to offer a forum for policy discussions, international intellectual resource alignment, entrepreneurial efforts, and investment networking. Other topics that will be covered at the summit include artificial intelligence (AI), how it's employed in daily life, and how it may be used ethically to safeguard customer data.

ADVERTISEMENT

Catalyzing FinTech Growth and Regulatory Innovation

In preparation for the summit, Dr. Opoku-Afari outlined the Bank of Ghana's pivotal role in catalyzing FinTech growth and regulatory innovation. Emphasizing the institution's commitment to fostering an environment conducive to innovation, he cited initiatives such as the regulatory sandbox and eCedi as crucial drivers of progress in the financial technology sector.

Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Afari: A Beacon of Leadership in Ghana's Financial Sector

He delved into his illustrious career journey, leadership principles, and the pivotal role he plays in shaping Ghana's financial landscape in a candid conversation with Business Insider Africa.

Inspiration and Career Trajectory

ADVERTISEMENT

Dr. Opoku-Afari's journey into economics and banking was spurred by a curiosity cultivated during his secondary school years. Reflecting on his academic path, he shared, "I was introduced to the subject of economics way back in secondary school and have never left it since then." This initial spark led him to pursue a multidisciplinary approach, combining economics, statistics, and political science during his undergraduate studies. His academic pursuits culminated in a specialization in applied macroeconometrics during graduate studies, setting the stage for his impactful career in central banking.

Guiding Principles in Leadership

As the First Deputy Governor, Dr. Opoku-Afari emphasized the importance of evidence-based policymaking and talent development. He stated, "I am always guided by strong analytical and evidence-based policymaking." Furthermore, he underscored his commitment to nurturing human capital within the Bank of Ghana, recognizing it as a cornerstone of organizational success.

Navigating Challenges

Dr. Opoku-Afari recounted a pivotal moment in his career—the revocation of bank licenses in Ghana. Despite the complexity of the task, he and his team successfully executed the initiative under the guidance of the Governor. He remarked, "Working as part of the Management team... tested all our skills... But under the guidance of the Governor, we were able to have a seamless exercise."

ADVERTISEMENT

Contributions to Economic Advancement

Dr. Opoku-Afari's contributions to Ghana's economy are multifaceted. He played a pivotal role in establishing the Ghana Integrated Payment and Settlement Systems (GHIPSS), revolutionizing the country's payment landscape. He highlighted initiatives such as payment interoperability and digital innovation as key drivers of financial inclusion and economic growth.

Profile: Maxwell Opoku-Afari, First Deputy Governor, Bank of Ghana

Maxwell Opoku-Afari is a distinguished economist and policymaker with almost three decades of experience in central banking and international finance and has held senior positions at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the Bank of Ghana. He was appointed the First Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana on August 7, 2017, and currently serves in this role.

Before he was appointed First Deputy Governor, Dr. Opoku-Afari worked in various positions at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for nearly a decade, where he rose to the positions of Deputy Division Chief and Mission Chief. In this role, he led program negotiation missions and numerous Article IV consultations at the IMF.

ADVERTISEMENT

He was Mission Chief for São Tomé Príncipe and Mauritius and also worked in Rwanda, Zambia, and Jamaica during his time at the IMF.

In addition, as the Deputy Division Chief in the Regional Studies Division in the African Department of the IMF, he led the production of the Regional Economic Outlook for sub-Saharan Africa, one of the IMF’s flagship publications. He also participated in IMF negotiations in several African and Caribbean countries and was a reviewer of policy documents for many developing nations during his time as a Senior Economist in the Strategy, Policy, and Review (SPR) Department of the IMF.

Dr. Opoku-Afari’s work at the IMF focused on monetary policy modernization, macro-financial linkages, and debt restructuring. He also co-authored several IMF policy papers on these topics. He has also published extensively on monetary policy, inclusive growth, short-term output indicators in low-income countries, aid effectiveness, capital flows, and real exchange rate dynamics. And more recently, on the role of digitalization in supervision, fintech, innovation, and financial inclusion.

Before his tenure at the IMF, Dr. Opoku-Afari worked for 13 years at the Bank of Ghana, where he rose to the position of Head of the Special Studies Division in the Research Department and later served as Special Assistant to the Governor. He was also a member of the Ghana Government’s Capital Markets Committee from 2006 to 2008 and played an integral part in the first Eurobond issuance by Ghana in 2007.

Dr. Opoku-Afari holds a first degree in Economics and Statistics, an MPhil in Economics, both from the University of Ghana, Legon, and a PhD in Economics from the University of Nottingham in the United Kingdom. His expertise and leadership have been widely recognized, and he has received numerous awards and honours throughout his career.

ADVERTISEMENT

He is currently a Fellow (FGA) of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, an honorary fellow of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (CIB), the Institute of Directors, Ghana (IoD), and chairs the Advisory Board of the College of Humanities at the University of Ghana.

JOIN OUR PULSE COMMUNITY!

ADVERTISEMENT

Eyewitness? Submit your stories now via social or:

Email: eyewitness@pulse.com.gh

ADVERTISEMENT