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FONAA INSTITUTE PRESENTS
PERSON OF THE WEEK

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Kenneth "Ken" Ofori-Atta

Economist, Investment Banker, and Politician

Kenneth "Ken" Ofori-Atta (born 7 November 1958), is a Ghanaian economist, investment banker, and politician as well as the co-founder of Databank Group, a Ghanaian investment firm. He currently serves as the Minister for Finance and Economic Planning in the cabinet of Nana Akufo-Addo. He was appointed by President Nana Akufo-Addo on 10 January 2017 and assumed office on 27 January 2017.

On 22 January 2020, a man named Nuetey Latif Ahinguah was slapped with a 12-month prison sentence with hard labour for impersonating Ofori-Atta on social media.

Early Life and Education

Ofori-Atta was born on 7 November 1958 in Kibi, a small town in the Eastern Region of Ghana. He is a member of the prominent Ofori-Atta family of Ghana that has been influential in politics, law, chieftaincy and business.

Ofori-Atta had his education at Achimota School in Ghana, after attending the Accra Newtown Experimental School. He proceeded to have a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Columbia University (1984) and an MBA from the Yale University School of Management in 1988.

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Career in the Private Sector

Ofori-Atta co-Founded Databank Financial Services with Daniel Ofori-Atta, Keli Gadzekpo and Togbe Afede XIV in 1990; he served as its Executive Chairman until February 14, 2012 when he went on retirement.

 

He also worked at investment banks Salomon Brothers and Morgan Stanley on debt and equity management. He has other business interests in Insurance, Retail Banking, Private Equity, Micro-finance, Pharmaceuticals and Real Estate.

In 1997, Ofori-Atta was the first African to testify at the US Congress Ways and Means Committee to support the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA.)

Ofori-Atta served as a director for numerous companies and as a member of some other boards as well. He was a Director for Enterprise Group Ltd and Trust Bank Ltd of The Gambia of which he is the Chairman. He also was a Director at the International Bank and is also a Board Member of the Acumen Fund.

Political Career

Ofori-Atta was President Nana Akufo-Addo’s nominee to assess the health of the economy during the transition period after the 2016 elections.

In May 2017, Akufo-Addo named Ken Ofori-Atta as part of nineteen ministers who would form his cabinet. The names of the 19 ministers were submitted to the Parliament of Ghana and was announced by the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Prof. Mike Ocquaye. As a Cabinet minister, Ken Ofori-Atta is an integral part of the inner circle of the president of Ghana,Nana Akufo-Addo, and is to aid in the key decision making activities in the country and he brings to the Ministry over 30 years' experience in the Ghanaian and international financial sector.

 

Ofori-Atta was elected Chair of the World Bank/IMF Development Committee at the 2018 Spring Meetings and also Chairs the Governing Board of African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF). In addition, he Chairs the African Caucus at the World Bank.

Other Activities

Joint World Bank-IMF Development Committee, Chair (since 2018)

African Development Bank (AfDB), Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Governors (since 2017)

Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), World Bank Group, Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Governors (since 2017)

World Bank, Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Governors (since 2017)

Awards and Recognition

Ken is a Henry Crown fellow of the Aspen Institute. Ken was adjudged as the 2nd most respected C.E.O in Ghana.

 

Ken is a Donaldson Fellow at Yale University in 2010 and a recipient of the John Jay Award from Columbia University in 2011. He is a Co-Founder of the Aspen Africa Leadership Initiative.

He was honored by PriceWaterHouse Ghana twice as one of the Top 5 Most Respected CEOs in Ghana.

In May 2018, he was adjudged Best Africa Finance Minister of the year by London-based magazine, The Banker.

Personal Life

Ofori-Atta is married to Professor Angela Lamensdorf Ofori-Atta, a clinical psychologist) at the University of Ghana Medical School. The couple has four children.