BoG Organizes Financial Literacy Training for Journalists

Bank of Ghana staff with Journalists in Tamale

The Bank of Ghana (BoG), has organized a media training workshop for selected journalists in the five regions of the North in Tamale, the Northern region.

The journalists were selected from JBA, PRINPAG, and IFEJ for the training themed, “Sustaining the recovery: The role of the journalist in building confidence”.

The journalists were taken through topics such as monetary policy practice in Ghana; understanding inflation dynamics; balance of payments dynamics; understanding foreign exchange rate markets; central bank digital currency (e-cedi); and introduction to the summary of economic and financial data.

The media training forms part of the Bank of Ghana’s strategic measures aimed at building the capacity of business and financial journalists to improve understanding and communication of monetary policy issues.

Dr. Philip Abradu-Otoo, Director of Research, BoG who delivered a keynote address on behalf of Dr. Maxwell Opoku-Acari, First Deputy Governor, BoG , indicated the role the financial and business journalist can play in sustaining the economic recovery through confidence building noting that it is generally acknowledged that the behaviour of economic agents is influenced by the economic and financial environment, which is largely shaped by the media.

“The media’s role in influencing the economic narrative is even more important during periods of heightened uncertainty when all kinds of news including fake news are rife on social media, even at times within mainstream media. The spread of such misinformation has the potential to jolt financial markets and create panic among the general public with dire implications for financial stability. Under such instances, business and financial journalists have additional responsibilities to help financial market participants and the general public to draw a clear distinction between facts and fiction and decide the newsworthiness of the information at hand for accurate reportage, a crucial ingredient for confidence building.”

According to him, beyond dealing with personal biases, business and financial journalists need to develop analytical skills necessary to understand the complex relationships between financial and economic variables adding that training workshops can help equip journalists with the relevant knowledge of the financial sector and the nature of risks and incentives facing the sector.

He stated that the Bank of Ghana views transparency as key in promoting credibility of the Bank’s policies.

“Transparency is possible when the media accurately and in the right language informs and educate the public of the exact nature of developments in the economy as well as the real implications of actions taken by policymakers. Hence, such training workshops, which seek to equip financial journalists to play key roles in the dissemination of economic and financial information to the public, should be taken seriously. Engagements with stakeholders also foster the creation of an informed public, whose accurate grasp of economic and financial issues are important in ensuring calm financial markets and seamless functioning of the economy.”

Dr. Abradu-Otoo is optimistic that since journalists have been taken though topics such as monetary policy practice in Ghana; understanding inflation dynamics; balance of payments dynamics; understanding foreign exchange rate markets; central bank digital currency (e-cedi); and introduction to the summary of economic and financial data as well as hands-on exercises, BoG has put together some of the finest brains in the central bank to take them through the discussions.

“It is my hope that by the time you leave here, a firm foundation in central bank reporting will have been laid here in the northern zone of the country. let me indicate that the coming months will be challenging for media reporting and the country will need your support in navigating the interactions between the Government of Ghana and the IMF. As you are all aware on 1st July 2022, the Government of Ghana announced its intention to seek support on an IMF Funded Program. This process is not going to be a smooth sailing and I can assure you that there are going to be news worthy issues arising out of the engagement. Your role is to begin to have authentic sources of obtaining information on the process and report these to the public in a manner that will seek to bring about confidence in the process. We need to remember that Ghana is a Market Access Country and economic news affect sentiments. We need at all times to have the interest of the country above all what we do. As journalists, you must also demand a mechanism for having an update on the process and overtures can be made to Government to have a structure to brief journalists on the process.”

The Director of Research, Bank of Ghana,reiterated that the Bank’s sponsorship of the training workshop speaks to its commitment to improving the quality of financial and business journalism in Ghana and that it is their believe that a critical mass of financial and business journalists are capable of dissecting complex financial and economic data and in an accurate manner on Ghana’s macroeconomic and financial situation to help sustain the economic recovery in this period of heightened uncertainties.

Mr. Mohammed Murtala, a journalist with Ghana Broadcasting Corporation(GBC) who spoke on behalf of the journalists said Business and Financial Reporting are often neglected by regional correspondents.

“ The reasons are the fact that, you report every event in the region and therefore have limited opportunity to focus and obviously, the capacity gap, where you need to mine data and analyse it for your report so this is the part that makes the BoG training an important one for journalists like us who report from the regions.”

FROM Eric Kombat, Tamale