Ghana's new finance minister likely to be investment banker

PUBLISHED: Mon, 09 Jan 2017 07:27:50 GMT

Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo is likely to name investment banker Ken Ofori-Atta as finance minister, three sources close to the presidency told Reuters on Sunday.

Akufo-Addo defeated incumbent president John Dramani Mahama in elections last month and assumed office on Saturday, pledging to cut taxes to boost the ailing economy while protecting the public purse.

Ofori-Atta, 57 and co-founder of the Africa-wide investment banking group Databank Group, was Akufo-Addo’s nominee to assess the health of the economy during the transition period after the election.

Ghana which exports cocoa, gold and oil is halfway through a three-year $918 million aid deal with the International Monetary Fund to restore fiscal balance to an economy dogged by slumping growth, high deficit and public debt.

“Ken has the credentials of a successful economist and the president is set to name him as finance minister … he’s the guy to steer the economy out of the current challenges,” said one aide with direct knowledge of the decision.

The announcement could come early this week, another aide said.

“The new president is in a hurry to hit the ground running with the economy because there are expectations to meet,” he said.

A graduate of Yale and Columbia universities, Ofori-Atta previously worked with Wall Street investment bank Salomon Brothers and Morgan Stanley on debt and equity management.

He co-founded Databank in 1990 and was its executive chairman until February 2012.

Akufo-Addo has named his former rival Alan Kyerematen as nominee for the trade ministry and Albert Kan-Dapaah, a former Energy minister, as minister for national security.

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