A Kingston University economics lecturer is helping to steer his home country through one of the most severe financial crises in its history. Dr José Sánchez-Fung is working as the Director of Monetary Programming and Economic Research at the Central Bank of the Dominican Republic. His role puts him at the centre of economic policy-making in Latin America.
Dr Sánchez-Fung was asked to make changes to the way the bank operated after his homeland was forced to seek assistance from the International Monetary Fund. He has taken a year’s leave of absence from the University and moved his family back to the Caribbean while he undertakes the project. “I’ve always maintained close links with economists in the Dominican Republic and devoted a lot of time to understanding the macro and monetary aspects of the economy. I’m now hoping to use this knowledge to help the Central Bank design and implement a more scientific monetary policy to stabilise the economy,” he said.
Heading a department of more than 40 people, Dr Sánchez-Fung regularly contends with a number of make-or-break decisions. “A typical day can involve anything from briefing the monetary policy committee to holding conference calls with Wall Street investment banks. I’m also constantly developing my network of contacts among Latin American and Washington-based central bankers and international policy-makers,” he said.
Dr Sánchez-Fung intends to share his experiences with his students when he returns to Kingston in September. “Teaching economics can only be made more relevant by showing students how it affects their day-to-day lives. My time with the Central Bank will radically increase my ability to explain real life problems and demonstrate how economics can be used to solve or mitigate them,” he said.