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Restoring the Value of the Cedi

Restoring the Value of the Cedi

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Published by Mahamudu Bawumia
Lecture by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia at the Central University College
Lecture by Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia at the Central University College

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Published by: Mahamudu Bawumia on Mar 25, 2014
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08/19/2014

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RESTORING THE VALUE OF THE CEDI
DISTINGUISHED SPEAKER SERIES LECTURE by:
 
Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia Visiting Professor of Economic Governance Central University College Ghana
 
MARCH 25, 2014
 
 
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Mr. Chairman Pro-Chancellor for Central University Members of the Board of Regents President J.A. Kufuor Members of the Council of State Members of Parliament Excellencies, Members of the Diplomatic Corps Representatives of Political Parties Captains of Industry and Finance Distinguished Invited Guests Faculty Students Members of the Media Ladies and Gentlemen I would like to begin by thanking all of you who have taken time out of your busy schedules to make the journey to this beautiful and serene campus this evening. For me, it is an honor and a privilege to be delivering my first public lecture as visiting professor at Central University College on a topic that is literally on the minds of most Ghanaians today. What can we do about what appears to be a perpetually declining value of our currency, the cedi? I would like to say from the outset that this subject is very much one of economics and not politics. It is therefore important that we stick to
 
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the empirical evidence and data
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 in reaching conclusions. I am hoping that at the end of this lecture, some light would be thrown on the issue for a dispassionate and non-partisan discussion by all stakeholders that would inure to the benefit of Ghana. Mr. Chairman, the exchange rate is a price, just like the price of any good or service. It is the price of one currency relative to another. How much of one currency does one need to give up to get one unit of another currency? The rate of exchange generally reflects the purchasing power of one currency relative to another 
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. Countries have a choice between two basic types of exchange rate regimes (fixed or floating and variations in between). A fixed exchange rate regime is one that is administratively fixed by the government or monetary authority with fiscal and monetary policy deployed to maintain the fixed exchange rate. In practice, countries devalue or revalue their currencies in line with changes in the economic fundamentals. The other type of exchange rate regime is the floating exchange rate regime where the exchange rate is determined by the forces of demand and supply in the foreign exchange market
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. Mr. Chairman, at independence, Ghana was operating a fixed exchange rate regime in under the colonial international economic arrangements. The British West African Currency Board (WACB) was constituted in 1912 to control the supply of currency to the British West African Colonies. The exchange rate of the West African Pound to sterling was fixed. Under this fixed exchange rate regime, a government could only increase its
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Data from the Ghana Statistical Service, Ministry of Finance, Bank of Ghana, IMF and World Bank, are the primary sources of data for this lecture.
 
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 See Michael Mussa
(984): “Theory of Exchange Rate Determination in John F.O. Bilson and Richard Martson, eds,
Exchange Rate Theory and Practice, University of Chicago Press, for a detailed discussion of the determination of exchange rates.
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See Michael D. Bordo (2003)“Exchange Rate Regime Choice in Historical Perspective” NBER working Paper No.
9654

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