College of Humanities Holds International Research Conference with Focus on COVID-19 and Inequalities


Group photograph featuring participants at the Conference

 The College of Humanities (COH) of the University of Ghana has hosted its 5th International Research Conference on the theme, Perspectives on Inequalities: Challenges and Prospects for Sustainable Development before, during and after COVID-19. 

Noting the timing of the conference, the Chair for the Opening Ceremony, Prof. Felix Ankomah Asante, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation, and Development (RID) in his remarks stated that the COVID-19 pandemic has worsened the existence of inequalities and created new forms of inequalities at different levels globally. He, therefore, emphasised the relevance of the theme and the fact that it was in line with the University’s mission to contribute to intellectual discourses on global issues.  

Prof. Felix Ankomah Asante, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Research, Innovation, and Development

I am hopeful that you will enjoy these two days, while having fruitful discussions and building networks that will culminate in cutting-edge research and viable policies in the quest to address the challenges of inequalities exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic”, Prof. Asante said. 

He added that the University of Ghana through the Office of Research, Innovation, and Development, is currently reviewing the University’s Research Strategy with the vision of making the University the preferred choice for collaborative research and industry partnership.  

Delivering the Keynote address, Prof. Augustin Kwasi Fosu of the University of Ghana’s Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER) and former Deputy Director of the United Nations University World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER), Helsinki, indicated that the ability of most developed nations to afford the transfer of money during COVID-19 is one of the reasons why they have been able to minimise inequalities in their economies. 

Prof. Augustin Kwasi Fosu, Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, delivering the Keynote address,

Prof. Fosu, in stressing ways to reduce inequalities in the post-COVID-19 era, suggested the promotion of labor-intensive productivity, which would likely involve greater export diversification, reduction in imports and insurance against health-related risks for low-income groups. He added that, improving agricultural productivity by ensuring complementarity of production supply and distribution among others are possible solutions to managing rising inflation in Ghana and by extension, Africa. He charged the Conference participants to critically explore lasting solutions to inequalities on the African continent. 

Solidarity messages were also delivered by the sponsors of the Conference. Delivering the message on behalf of Mr. Sebastian Tiah, Regional Head of Programmes, West Africa, Oxfam International, Mr. Mohammed-Anwer Sadat Adam, the Head of Programmes and Campaigns, Oxfam International, Ghana Office, said he was optimistic that the Conference would bring to the fore the importance of collaboration between academics and civil society practitioners in advancing progressive policy change to tackle and equally contribute to wider social and political transformations in our societies.  

Earlier, in his welcome address, Prof. Daniel Frimpong Ofori, Provost, College of Humanities, explained that as the largest of the University’s four Colleges, the College of Humanities is implementing initiatives to boost postgraduate education and faculty research to cement the University’s eminent position of leadership and global relevance. He expressed immense appreciation to the College Research Board, Conference Organising Committee chaired by Prof. William Baah-Boateng, Head, Department of Economics, and the Conference sponsors.  

Prof. Daniel Frimpong Ofori, Provost, College of Humanities

In attendance at the Conference were presenters from South Africa, United Kingdom, United States of America, Senegal, and Nigeria among others, as well as participants and presenters from different institutions in Ghana. Also in attendance was the Provost of the College of Education, Professor Samuel Nii Ardey Codjoe, Deans, Heads of Departments of the College, staff, and members of the University Community, Civil Society Organisations and the Media.

The three-day Conference comprised paper presentations in 33 sessions covering different aspects of the conference theme such as Youth and Inequalities; Vaccine Diplomacy; Poverty and Inequality; Cultural Expressions and Inequality; Group-Based Inequality; Education and Inequalities; COVID-19 Rich and Poor; Economic Inequalities; among others, including three Panel Sessions.  

Awards were also presented to Dr. Joshua Jebuntie Zaato, Department of Political Science and Dr. Geraldine A. Ampah, Department of Sociology for winning the male and female categories of the Early Career Best Published Work, respectively. Additionally, the Mid-Career Best Published Work award was presented to Dr. Thomas Kojo Stephens, School of Law. The Late Career Publisher award was won by Professor James Baba Abugre, Department of Organisation and Human Resource Management. The award for Overall Best Researcher went to Dr. Ebenezer Forkuo Amankwaa, Department of Geography and Resource Development. 

International participants at the Conference in a group photograph

At the end of the conference plenary sessions, presentations and discussions, the three parties to the Conference, the College of Humanities, Oxfam International and Star Ghana Foundation in striving to influence policy at the international level through the College of Humanities International Research Conference, developed a document dubbed, “ACCRA CONSENSUS ON INEQUALITY” to help shape discussions on COVID-19 and inequalities, whilst addressing the inequalities confronting the African continent.

The Conference ended with a tour of the University of Ghana Main Campus, offering international participants the opportunity to observe at first hand the history of the University with its distinctive Japanese architectural designs amongst the elegant tree-lined avenues.  Some of the places visited include the University of Ghana Medical Centre, Noguchi Memorial Institute for Medical Research, the Museum of Archeology, the Institute of African Studies, the Botanical Gardens and the famous Legon Hill

The 5th International Research Conference of the College of Humanities was organised in partnership with Oxfam International and supported by STAR Ghana Foundation, the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), Building A New Generation of Academics in Africa (BANGA-Africa), the Department of Economics, Centre for Migration Studies, University Guest Centre, Regional Institute for Population Studies (RIPS), Volta Hall, University of Ghana, West African Centre for Cell Biology of Infectious Pathogens (WACCBIP) and other Units in the University.