ACCRA, Ghana, October 30, 2013/African Press Organization (APO)/ – Naoyuki Shinohara, Deputy Managing Director of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), visited Accra on October 27-29, 2013. Mr. Shinohara participateed in the conference on Opportunities and Challenges of Financial Integration in West Africa, co-hosted by the Government of Ghana and the IMF, which brought together policymakers from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS). Mr. Shinohara also met with President Mahama, Vice-President Amissah-Arthur, Finance Minister Terkper, and Bank of Ghana Governor Wampah, to discuss Ghana’s economic prospects. He exchanged views with the Speaker and other members of the leadership of Parliament, and with representatives of the private sector, think tanks, and civil society. Mr. Shinohara also visited the New Horizon Special School, where he made a donation on behalf of the IMF.
Mr. Shinohara issued the following statement in Accra at the conclusion of his visit:
“It has been a great pleasure to participate in the conference and exchange views with finance ministers, central bank governors, and other policymakers from the ECOWAS countries, industry specialists, and a cross section of the Ghanaian society. I want to thank the Ghanaian authorities for superbly hosting this conference and ensuring a high quality of discussions.
“During this conference, representatives from the region reviewed the progress made in financial integration. While some headway has been achieved, further advances in regional integration are needed to help lift the region to the next stage of development. Financial integration can significantly contribute to economic development by providing access to a deeper pool of funding and more diverse instruments. It can also help countries in the region meet their large infrastructure needs. However, financial integration poses challenges with respect to cross-border financial sector regulation and supervision. The IMF can offer advice and expertise through our extensive program of technical assistance (TA), which can help strengthen national supervisory arrangements and foster international collaboration.
“I also welcomed the productive discussions with the Ghanaian authorities on the country’s economic challenges. Although medium-term prospects are favorable, some short-term risks and challenges need to be addressed. I agreed with the authorities on the need to tackle the problems in the energy sector and the need to reduce fiscal risks and provide space for higher social spending and investment in critical infrastructure. To support these priorities, I encouraged the government to strengthen its ongoing efforts to improve revenue collection, reduce the high public wage bill, and rebuild foreign exchange reserves. I am encouraged by the renewed momentum for reform. The IMF stands ready to support Ghana in its efforts to meet macroeconomic challenges.”
International Monetary Fund (IMF)