Kofi Arkaah, a Ghanaian entrepreneur and development finance specialist is accusing the Bank of Ghana of stealing his intellectual property right in the implementation of the famous Gold Purchase Programme.
The domestic gold purchasing programme, launched by the Central Bank in June 2021 was primarily rolled out to grow the Bank’s foreign exchange reserves to foster confidence, enhance currency stability, and create a more attractive environment for foreign direct investments and economic growth.
It also aims at enabling the Bank to leverage its gold holdings to raise cheaper sources of financing to provide short-term foreign exchange liquidity.
Almost three years after its launch, Mr Arkaah has laid claim to the idea accusing the Bank of plagiarism.
In a write-up bringing to public view the accusation against the Bank, Bright Simons, the vice-president, in charge of research at IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, said Mr Arkaah “is accusing the Bank of Ghana of basing a major policy initiative on a technical model he developed and shared with one of their most senior officials, but doing so in a sneaky and dishonest way in order to avoid acknowledging his contributions”.
“Mr Arkaah has shown a trail of correspondence to this author which establishes clearly that he did share with a very senior official at the central bank a draft model, and underlying data, of how to develop an optimal gold reserves policy for Ghana. One that would complement the country’s inflation-targeting regime and bolster the national currency by carefully managing the ratio between gold reserves and overall gross international reserves. The trail of correspondence shows the senior official initially expressing a willingness to help Arkaah refine the model before abruptly terminating the engagement.”
According to him, Arkaah’s need for research support to benchmark the model with data from the Eurozone and WAEMU led to the abortion of the collaboration in 2017 but not too long after this, some research assistants dug into Arkaah’s data and initial model leading to the launching of the Gold Purchase Programme four years later.
Three years down the line, Mr Arkaah has broken his silence not for “cheap fame or monetary compensation” but to ensure the right thing- acknowledgement- is done to encourage innovative thinking, a sound competition of ideas, and professional integrity.
“He is peeved however that rather than seeing an opportunity to engender dialogue with the policy community so that the model could be refined for Ghana’s benefit, the Bank of Ghana stealthily appropriated his ideas, and that its officials are busily making unnecessary partisan-political capital out of it.
“To Arkaah’s mind, that kind of conduct does not become a technical organisation that must stay above politics, guard its institutional independence jealously, and nurture the sharpest technocratic thinking and practice. Moreover, the documented allegations of appropriation of intellectual property, without even the basic trivial courtesy of acknowledgement, reinforce a pattern of impunity, which the Ghanaian central bank has been often accused of perpetrating.”