The role of leadership in driving the prosperity of our economic is crucial, especially given exigencies of the nascent opportunities within the Ghanaian economy and the dynamics in the sub-region – Mr. Martin Ofori, Acting Managing Director of First Atlantic Bank has said.

?Leadership is a key driver of economic progress. It?s leadership that bears the vision and define the objectives that can transform the economy. Leadership is expected to create opportunities out of the given situation that will lead to the desired economic growth, and create employment for our people.?

Today, there is a real game changer of our economy – oil & gas and its value chain. Economic prosperity is transformational and requires courageous long-term decisions by selfless leaders. The role of leadership is therefore much more imperative to help translate the opportunities into prosperity for all Ghanaians.

With the recent focus on the private sector as the engine of growth, visionary leadership not only at the policy level but also at the institutional and individual levels is the key catalyst that can create significant wealth within the given enabling environment.

He said that at the policy and institutional level ?we need strong leadership who will create opportunities out of given situations and translate those opportunities into wealth for our people. This requires leadership that is focused on its objectives and devoid of rent seeking. This is why deliberations like the Ghana Economic Forum (GEF) are important.?

Mr. Ofori was speaking to the Business and Financial Times ahead of this year?s edition of the Ghana Economic Forum 2013 slated for March 12 in Accra.

The theme for this year?s edition, ?The Role of Leadership in Driving National Economic Prosperity,? will address the current leadership challenges and the role of leadership in driving the economic prosperity of the country.

Mr. Ofori said First Atlantic Bank, which aims at being among the top five banks operating in the country within the next five years, is a key player in the market and well placed to contribute to the discussion as the Forum mirrors the bank?s established process of incorporating the views of its stakeholders at its policy formulation and implementation stages.

?The objective [to be among the top five banks] is very steep. In setting this objective, the views of all stakeholders?customers, staff, management and the general public?were captured. First Atlantic Bank?s established processes mirror the very concept of Ghana Economic Forum and we are better placed to contribute to the discussion.?

?The concept of the Ghana Economic Forum (GEF) is a good one as it provides the platform for discussion of policy and for people who are affected by the policy to be able to contribute to policy at the formulation stage. It brings on-board the views and expectations of economic agents into policy making right at the formulation stage so that it will better inform the objective, the implementation and the evaluation of the policy. That is why we are sponsoring the Forum,? Mr. Ofori said.

At the end of the Forum, Mr. Ofori said, ?most businesses concerns will take the outcome of the deliberations into their own institutions and allow the process to trickle down.

First Atlantic Bank, erstwhile known as First Atlantic Merchant Bank, was established in 1995. Following re-branding in October 2012, the bank now offers full scale commercial and retail banking , and other customised services to its cherished clients.

Its core value has been redefined in line with the new name and new business focus.
?We are aiming to double our balance sheet with an aggressive liability-driven strategy by the end of the year. We have now brought on-board the retail banking proposition and would deepen our corporate banking as well as provide support to Small and Medium Scale Enterprises (SMEs),? he said.

Panellists at this year?s Forum will discuss the topic ?What Kind of Leadership Does Ghana Need to Maximize Her True Economic Potential. Speakers expected at the forum include Professor Kwaku Atuahene-Gima, CEIBS Africa Programme; Mr. Kofi Amoabeng, UT Bank; Mrs. Nadine Rix, Nyansa Africa; and Mrs. Doreen Owusus-Fianko, MD Ghana Airports Company Limited.

By Dominick Andoh

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