For a community, or country, to grow and develop its economic, social and political fabric in a sustained way, its financing strategies, policies and institutional structures must be tailor-made to fit the needs and aspirations of that community or country.
“At its core, these are the aspects that drive development finance,” explains Charles Adjasi, professor of development finance and economics at the University of Stellenbosch Business School (USB).
“My focus has largely been on understanding the following: Household finance, as well as micro, small and medium enterprise finance; the role that capital flow, and in particular foreign direct investment, plays in spurring productivity; the growth of firms in developing countries; and, lastly, the structure and form of financial markets for growth and development.”
While substantial work had been done by his forbearers and senior colleagues on financial markets in Africa, he recalls, by the late 1990s however there appeared to be a premature closure to this all-important work.
“I, together with others, picked up the mantle to resuscitate this work and move it in other previously unexplored dimensions. It is gratifying to now see a re-emergence of financial sector development in Africa as high on the agenda of policy interventions and at the advice of major international institutions.
“Associated with this is financial inclusion, or financial access for all, at an affordable cost, which has become an accepted global principle or standard for humanity.”
Charles has several professional projects and research topics in the pipeline, including an investigation into those structures of African financial markets that are optimal in enhancing intra-African trade, economic growth and development.
“I’m also interested in looking at how to attract complementary and innovative development-oriented capital flows into Africa, as well as learning from the past statehood, politics, philosophy, financial systems, international trade, and economic development in the pre-colonial African states.
“Finally, I’m working on a public community engagement project on history, culture, traditions, politics and development dialogues in Africa.”
He describes the career of an academic as having a one-to-one correspondence with the state and activity of one’s mind.
“Thus, the office lives in your mind, and your mind in the office all the time. Of course, it is difficult to switch off your mind in that sense, since any observation or discussion can trigger new work, a new set of inquiry, or research agenda.
“When I don’t find any free time, I create that time in order to spend with family and loved ones. In such moments I do a multitude of activities— including cooking traditional Ghanaian meals; playing and dancing to music (which reminds me of my days as a DJ); reading up on topics such as history, applied physics and applied biology; and play basketball, soccer and table tennis with my sons.”
There have been several personal and professional moments during his time at the USB so far.
“The rich intellectual discourse that always prevails in seminars and corridors, right from my days as a doctoral student, for instance, or the personal feel of belonging to a family of people with a common goal, which is the inquiry into society’s ways, in order to educate, improve and sustain humanity.
“The Matie identification and communion is another example. The bonding that occurs when one Matie meets another Matie at a global conference always strikes me as touching and heart-warming.”
- By By Steyn du Toit -