Institute For Policy And Biographical Research (IPBR)
The Institute for Policy and Biographical Research was founded in 2018 as an affiliate think tank within the Central University in Ghana. On the University’s Council decision, it is to serve as an intermediary between academic research and opinions of leading individuals and institutions, their public memoirs and how they had over the years affected public policy or intellectual inquiry. In the concept paper of establishment, the Vice-Chancellor, Prof. Bill Buenar Puplampu’s concern was that, the “major gap in this area is the absence of deep historical analysis of the lives, times and contributions of known, not-so-known, unknown, notable and not- so- notable persons to the development of our nation and region.”
With biographical research and data preservation we look at:
- Presidential, parliamentary/legislative leadership,
- Economic governance,
- Science and scientists,
- Academics and public intellectuals,
- Business and economic leaders.
- Inter-faith leadership
This is of the past and present and how they have inspired or otherwise general policy advocacy. It is based on research and review of critical thinking that leads to peoples’ well-being.
In the subsidiary policy implication of such critical thinking, we focus on two main strands:
The role of governance structures, challenges and prospects of soft commodities in economic growth:
- Shea crop
Secondly, the role of China or the China-Africa Multilateral Cooperation. The objectives are:
- China’s role in Sub-Saharan Africa’s economic development policy formulation.
- How does the cooperation shape commodity policy in Ghana?
- Tracking or mapping of grants, loans and technical advice.
Thoughts and memoirs that define nationhood.
- To serve as a leading institute for the collection and preservation of individual and institutional biographical works from 1957 and the publication of some of such works.
- As fulcrum of history and memoirs in policy formation including commodities structures and growth.
Jumah ADUSEI is also Associate Professor and Acting Dean of the School of Graduate Studies. Before joining CU, he was Economics Advisor with the UNDP from 2009 to 2011. Prior to that, he was Assistant Professor of Economics at the University of Vienna from 2001 to 2009.
Adusei has been Senior Economist at the Institute for Advanced Studies, Vienna 1998 to 2006, Visiting Economist with the Economics Analysis Division at the Oesterreichische Nationalbank, Vienna 2000 to 2001, Economist Statistician with the Money and Banking Statistics Division at the European Central Bank, Frankfurt 2001 to 2002.
He has worked as Research Fellow at the Federal Institute of Agricultural Economics, Vienna 1994 to 1996 as well as Senior Research Fellow at the Martin Luther University Institute for Agricultural Development in Central and Eastern Europe, Halle/Saale, Germany 1996 to 1998.
Adusei has consulted for UNIDO and UNIPSIL. His research interests are in commodity markets, international finance, development economics and applied econometrics.
He holds a Bachelor in Agricultural Economics from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, Kumasi and a Masters in Agricultural Economics and Doctorate in Agricultural Economics and International Economics from the University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna.
Ivor AGYEMAN-DUAH is a development specialist and former special advisor on international development cooperation to the Ghanaian President, John Agyekum Kufuor. Previously Head of Public Affairs at the Ghana Embassy in Washington, DC and Culture and Communication Advisor at the High Commission in London, he was a member of the World Bank Institute that looked at the role of African diaspora in economic growth, a consulting advisor to the African Center for Economic Transformation and the Institute for Fiscal Studies in Accra.
He is a visiting Associate Professor at the University of Johannesburg and author and co-editor of, Pilgrims of the Night: Development Challenges and Opportunities in Africa, Africa – A Miner’s Canary into the Twenty-First Century – Essays on Economic Governance and An Economic History of Ghana- Half a Century of Challenges and Progress.
A Member of the SDGs Philanthropy Platform of the UNDP(Ghana), he has done development work in Rwanda, on commodities in Cote D’Ivoire for Novel Commodities and in fifteen other African countries.
He has served as visiting Research Scholar at the Exeter College of the University of Oxford and the Hutchins Institute at Harvard University. He holds graduate degrees from the London School of Economics, the School of Oriental and African Studies, London and the University of Wales.
Librarian and Archivist
George Clifford YAMSON
Yamson’s career began with a stint as a Junior Library Assistant in 1999 soon after he completed Senior Secondary School Certificate Examination. He subsequently obtained a Diploma in Business Studies from Accra Polytechnic, Diploma in Librarianship and Bachelor of Art degree in Information Studies and Sociology from the University of Ghana, Legon. He holds a Masters degree in Information Studies and a Post Graduate Diploma in Teaching and Learning in Higher Education from University of Ghana, Legon and University of Education, Winneba respectively.
He worked with the Ghana Library Authority and rose through the ranks to become the Assistant Library Officer and an Assistant Head of Catalogue Department. Yamson is also a managing partner at K & G IT Consult and has rendered consultancy services to a number of institutions and Churches across Ghana. Yamson is a researcher; an Assistant Librarian and Head of school of Architecture and Design Library, Central University, Miotso.
He has a number of publications and currently pursuing a Doctor of Philosophy in Information Science from the University of South Africa. Yamson lives in Tema with beautiful and lovely wife Eugenia and their three daughters, Nyameyie, Akyedzepa and Ewura Abena.
Enoch JACKSON-OKINE a Senior Administrative Assistant at the office of the Vice Chancellor, Central University. He joined Central University in 2009 through the National Service scheme. Through successfully managing both internal and external relationships, he positioned himself as a valuable resource in a variety of situations.
As a person with strong positive human values who takes-charge and able to develop plans and successfully implement them, Mr. Jackson exhibits high level of integrity and trustworthiness. His enthusiasm to work has made him a preferred translator in many situations.
Through hard work, dedication and good sense of direction, Enoch has worked in the Faculty of Arts and Social Science, Public Relations Unit, Central Business School and the office of the Pro Vice-Chancellor Academic Affairs of Central University. He has and severs on various committees within the University including; Statutes Review Committee, Strategic Plan Implementation Committee, Church-University Relations Committee etc.
- Archival and biographical data preservation
- Conversations with distinguished biographical guests’ series.
- Quarterly review workshops.
- Annual stalk-holders’ meetings.
IPBS has Digibooks, an Accra-based publishing company as its associate publishers of its policy papers, journals, anthologies and monographs reflecting its works in biographical research and policy.
- Policy Briefs
- Biographical essays and other articles
Subscription for newsletter and programmes
By Their Fruits: Memoirs and National Development.
Nations are built by individuals but prosperous and respected ones by those with exceptional ideas that improved on human conditions. They are remembered because their ideas of transformation endured.
Western political thoughts and cultures that helped with mental –liberation and partly championed by philosophers like John Locke, Adam Smith, Thomas Paine and from religious leaders that included John Wesley in Britain were built upon by later generations because they endured. These ideas defied colour or race as Wesley’s evangelism in Britain and consequences in the world.; ideas of the pilgrims who landed in the new world and contributions of people like Alexander Hamilton from the little island of Nevis in the Caribbean to the stock exchange economy of the US.
The Anglo-Saxon culture of course transcended Europe into empire and later the thinking of economists and philosophers like Karl Marx, V.S. Lenin, John Maynard Keynes would influence many African anti-colonial leaders in the 1940s. Ideals of universal values could be adopted to suit local challenges. The intellectual history of Africa and Ghana can hardly disconnect from these universals and for half a century since independence, these ideas (with huge African contributions) in science, humanities- liberal and neo-liberal, Anglo-American or traditional African, have influenced policy and national development.
How were some of these thoughts formed and under what circumstances? Of what effect did they have and continue to have? How do we get access to these and how are they preserved since they have become part of the living culture in Ghana?
One of the things Kwame Nkrumah did and very well, was preservation of his thoughts through public memoirs. He wrote more than any other African leader of his time. He influenced many anti-colonial movements in the 1960s. There were many others great minds he worked with or who independently lived around his era or before- economists JH Mensah, JH Frimpong Ansah, post-colonial jurists and giants of the Mensah Sarbah, Casey Hayford types through to the times of Kobina Arku Korsah, medical scientists of known disposition of the likes of Charles Odamtten Easmon, and of the quiet in profile neurosurgery specialist, Buenor Puplampu, Presidents of the Ghana Academy of Arts and Sciences, Emmanuel Evans-Anfom, RP Barfour, and other cultural and literary activists such as Michael Dei- Anang, Ephraim Amu, Oku Ampofo, Alex Kyerematen, J.H. Kwabena Nketia, Efua Sutherland and others. Some left memoirs, scattered thoughts and commentaries all of which give insights into their public service.
“By their fruit you will recognize them. Are grapes gathered from thorn bushes, or figs from thistles?” When Jesus asked this question in the book of Matthew, it was predicated on a living inquiry into our times.
Some of the Ghanaian nationalists did not leave much but had their obituaries done and what defined them known. Of course not all public servants- be they politicians, technocrats, scientists, cultural activists like some self-declared heroes, have sufficient fruits in public interest to merit elaborate preservation.
But what is the state of those who are and those we should take interest in their past contributions? The prosperity of the book industry, biographical data preservation and archival materials is invariably dependent on the state of the economy in Ghana. Low government investments in state publishing, little budget support and poor conditions of service are reflected in those institutions tasked with these national services.
The emergence and still developing civil society and think tanks in the frame of public-private partnerships however, open possibilities for rescue whether through greater democratic space of flourishing multimedia outlets, legislative support or international partnerships.
Through this democratic space for instance, biographical data of the late JH Mensah since August 2018 sheds light on his intransigence against the cabinet decision of Prime Minister K A Busia on devaluation of the cedi. This decision eventually led to the overthrow of Ghana’s Second Republic by the military in 1972 from which the country would suffer brutal military dictatorships thereafter.
Again long before the liberalization of the telecommunication industry in Ghana from the mid- 1990s, one of the world’s leading physicists, Prof. F.A. Alottey had written scholarly and public papers about the importance of such benefits to Ghana’s development at the University of Michigan in the US. Were they known and did these influence the pivotal Accelerated Development Programme (of the country’s Structural Adjustment Programme ) from 1994? Would the country have had to engage expensive consultants for policy formulation if these data preservations had immediately been available to government?
Memoirs, biographical data are not just about the ideas or thoughts of those who have expired and their times. To the extent that some of their propositions were not fulfilled, timeless and unknown, they have become valuable not only as part of national memory bank but fodder into the research and development of public policy.
And research and development whether of a scientific product or social engineering of the mind have always been layers for progressive countries that engage in them.
Commodities that Measure Us
Crops and especially precious ones have defined wealth of nations. From 1957 when Ghana took over the management of its post-independent economy- including cocoa, coffee, rice and others in the so-called soft commodities category, they have defined our human well-being, infrastructure in all forms- education, health-care services, and in international trade of receipts of surplus export, import for which we do not have the comparative advantage of technology and other goods and services.
Economics is circuitous and you give what you have sometimes in return for what you do not have. Capital formation and accumulation is multi-purposed and where in the imperial past people lacked this for international trade, they colonized others, as the British and French in particular did in the 1800s- of the marine ‘wars’ of ‘discoveries’.
Geographic location has always been important in the cultivation of such cash crops and in the economic-geography in this era of globalization, it is even more so. Science and technology, discoveries of forms of hybridity are defining new patterns of crop value: cocoa now takes between two to four years to bear fruits compared to the previous seven and eight years. By-products of pods, grains from rice fields serve as well, medicinal purposes. These crops have ceased to be for human-nourishment only and become global products perhaps as they have always been.
If they are crops of wealth and have global histories- like cocoa’s coming to the Gold Coast-Ghana, they have also had constraints from planting, fertilizer application, diseases, farm-gate transportation, unknown markets leading to post-harvest loses, absence of a running or advanced commodity exchange, over-exploitation by middle-men and lack of value addition to products in a long anticipated agric-value- chain.
And where they have shown some prosperity, some causes of instability may undermine them. At its peak as the world’s largest producer of cocoa and when the world market price was high, Kwame Nkrumah decided to create reserves on the foreign exchange. It however led to a producers’ price war locally as cocoa producers in Ashanti, Brong Ahafo and parts of the Eastern regions demanded more tonnage money. The agitation from 1954-1957 which led to the formation of the federalist agitation of the National Liberation Movement was the nearest the country entered into a civil war phase. And it was because of cocoa policy and politics.
It was not in fact a local matter as world producer of cocoa and so these events were discussed in the House of Commons and editorialized at length in The Economist to the extent to which it affected the British and European economy. Political economy could be far-reaching.
Multilateral organizations from the UN World Trade Organization, UNCTAD through many trade talks and rounds, the World Bank/International Monetary Fund, development banks, governments and ministries of agriculture, development partners and donor-budgetary support systems and with democratic opening –up in Africa from the early 1990s, multiple civil society and think-tanks, are all looking at many of these constraints, challenges and prospects. The commodity guides like World Cocoa Foundation, International Coffee Organization have interest in this wealth process.
Private Foundations with benefits of philanthropic money like the Howard Buffet, Bill Gates are also engaged in poverty- reduction through investments in some of these agrarian and supportive macro-economic measures.
Yet, the potential of crops as stimulus to growth is seemingly inexhaustible. The Netherlands Development Cooperation years ago did a proposal attesting to the importance of the shea crop, like cocoa, in the northern parts of Ghana. Others like the Cashew Initiative have done similar reports and it is estimated that with the growing pattern of cashew in Ghana, it could become a growth pillar. This could have taken place years ago in the 1960s as in Cote d’ Ivoire which is now a world producer with India. The evidence lies in Ghana’s Structural Adjustment Programme during which time in 1983 it identified cashew as a non-traditional export worth cultivating. It would register though a timid growth in terms of export, from 1997 of nearly 4,000 to a little over 50,000 tonnes in 2016.
Between cashew and shea crops alone, it is estimated that over 500,000 jobs in the agricultural sector in Ghana could be created in addition to the 800,000 livelihoods through cocoa. It is however a medium to long term planning issue which our political economy system and policy orientation do not give the patience to cultivate. The time boundlessness and political neutrality of the National Development Planning Commission of Ghana with long-term planning status should have ample studies on this as do think tanks that are supported locally by donors.
Obviously, conversion of potential stimulation of growth with crops is a challenge for politicians, development specialists, workers and people.
This field like other human endeavors is huge.
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