Dr. Paul Acquah, the governor of Ghana’s central bank will bow out of office as governor, and he would be doing so satisfied, knowing that he would be remembered as one of the remarkable bankers of the century.
When he walks out of his offices on the Accra High Street on September 30, 2009, Dr. Acquah would end his two four-year terms as governor of the Bank of Ghana which started on October 1, 2001 after spending 25 years in Washington.
The soft-spoken Dr. Acquah who hardly talks to the media about his achievements because as a bank official said, “he doesn’t want to be seen to be blowing his own horn” has achieved so much visible results for all to see. And these achievements were in difficult times.
The two-time Central Bank Governor of the Year award winner was born in Juabo, a village in the Central Region of Ghana. He was first given the award in 2005 at the Emerging Markets award for Central Bank Governor of the Year and in 2008 he was awarded at the African Banker Awards.
Dr. Acquah is not only a thorough professional banker, he is also passionate and nationalistic in the pursuance of his job as the chief banker of Ghana.
His decisions some of which were difficult have for the best part been for the good of the country.
It is no wonder he made such great strides during his tenure at the central bank.
To prepare for his carrier, he obtained his first degree in economics at the University of Ghana, Legon and then proceeded to the US to do a master’s degree at Yale University.
After a brief stint at the UN, he studied for his PhD at the University of Pennsylvania.
After his PhD he got his first job as a young economist at the IMF. Rising through the ranks, he eventually became deputy director for the Africa department in 1998.
It was at the IMF that Dr. Acquah built the skills required to prepare him for his illustrious carrier as central bank governor.
He told one journalist, Sophia Hoffmann in 2005, “as a senior person in the Fund, you develop the knack to look at issues from the other’s perspective.”
Dr. Acquah in 2005 described the Ghana government’s relation with the World Bank and IMF as “very good and cooperative” and pointed out that Ghana’s own solutions to economic problems are reflected in the IMF’s reports.
He focused on achieving a robust economy for Ghana and always worked at attaining economic stability. These objectives he has achieved to some extent despite the challenges and the current global economic crisis.
For instance in 2005, Dr. Acquah worked so hard to achieve a 5% growth rate for the country.
The following landmarks were achieved under his leadership:
– The Monetary Policy Committee was launched in September, 2002.
– The Secondary Reserve Requirement was reduced from 35% to 15% in July 2007.
– Secondary Reserve Requirements were abolished in August 2006 and the Bank of Ghana formally adopted the Inflation Targeting Framework in May 2007.
– He led the re-denomination of the cedi in July 2007 with excellence.
– Dr. Paul Acquah led his team to introduce the Universal Banking Licence in the first quarter of 2003.
Under his leadership, the central bank granted a General Banking Licence to Barclays Bank of Ghana to operate the first offshore banking services in Ghana in September 2007.
And he also introduced higher minimum capital requirements for enhanced operations of banks and non-bank financial institutions in February 2008.
With him at the helm of affairs, the Bank of Ghana issued the first provisional licence for Credit Reference Bureau in May 2008.
His leadership led the central bank to score a first in Africa. The Bank of Ghana became the first in Africa to secure an ISO/IES certification.
The bank secured the ISO/IES 27001:2005 certification, in March 2009.
The ISO/IEC 27001:2005 certification is the world’s highest accreditation for information protection and security making Bank of Ghana the most secure bank in Africa.
And ISO 27001 is the only auditable international standard which defines the requirements to ensure that sufficient security controls are instituted within the certified organization.
His exploits have been valuable and for a long time to come his name will occupy a respected position in the global banking industry.
Well done, Dr. Paul Acquah.
By Emmanuel K. Dogbevi