A Minute With Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku

Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, the former Commissioner of Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Research of the ECOWAS Commission, former Member of Parliament for Offinso North, former Minister of Trade and Industry and former Minister of Regional Cooperation and NEPAD, completed his secondary school at the Tweneboa Kodua Secondary School at Kumawu. He subsequently completed high school education at South Albany High School in 1973 in Albany, Oregon, USA, after winning an American Field Service Competitive Scholarship Award in 1972.After completing High School, he was awarded a scholarship and enrolled atOregon State University, graduating with a Bsc and Msc degrees inEconomic development and Agricultural Economics in 1977 and 1979respectively. He received his PhD degree in 1983 at the Ohio State UniversityOhio, USA.Dr. Apraku taught in three American Universities as Economics and FinanceProfessor from 1983 to 1996.At the University of North Carolina he was granted a Tenure position in1995, and was the runner up to the Teaching Excellence award in I995.In 1991 Dr. Apraku published his first book “African Emigres in the UnitedStates: A Missing Link in Africa’s Economic and Social Development.’’ Theseminal book published by Greenwood Press, New Jersey, outlined theeconomic and social contributions that could be made by Africans in thediaspora to help African’s development efforts.The book caught the attention of Professor Albert Adu Boahen who wasthen a visiting Professor at Cornell University in the USA. He invited Dr.Apraku for a meeting at ltaca, in New York to discuss a future economicagenda for a post Rawlings democratic Ghana.It was decided after the meeting that Dr. Apraku would proceed to Ghanaand join the struggle for democratic change that had started, and providean economic input into the agenda for change.Consequently, in 1991 Dr. Apraku took a one-year sabbatical leave from theUniversity of North Carolina and came to Ghana to work at the Ministry ofAgriculture as the Head of Policy, Planning and Monitoring Unit, while atthe same time working closely with Prof. Adu Boahen and other politicalactivists to form the Danquah-Busia Club and eventually, the NPP.Dr. Apraku served actively on a Research Committee that wrote theConstitution, the Manifesto, and selected the name and symbol of the Party -now the New Patriotic Party.Dr. Apraku became a close collaborator, advisor, personal spokesman andchef du cabinet” of Prof. Adu Boahen from 1991 to 1996 while Prof. AduBoahen was in active polities.Dr. Apraku was selected as the NPP Parliamentary Candidate for OffinsoNorth in 1992 but with the boycott of the 1992 Parliamentary elections, hereturned to the University of North Carolina in May 1993 to continue hisacademic work.In 1994 he was appointed by the United Nations as one of the Team Leadersto lead a UN Election Monitoring Team to South Africa to help prepare andconduct the First all Race democratic elections in South Africa. Dr. Aprakuspend 6 months in South Africa, distinguishing himself and receiving thehighest staff evaluation there.Acknowledging his high leadership and professional skills, Dr. Apraku wason his return from South Africa again selected to go to Croatia to help thereconstruction efforts of the UN after the war. Selected initially as anEconomic Officer, Dr. Apraku was eventually appointed as the Head of theEconomic Reconstruction Unit.Dr. Apraku was in Croatia for nearly two years, retiring from the UN and The University of North Carolina in 1996 to return to Ghana and ran forParliament. Wining the Offinso North Parliamentary seat in 1996 Dr.Apraku was appointed as the Shadow Minister for Finance and led the NPPFinance and Economic Team in Parliament from 1996 to 2000.In between all this, Dr. Apraku published his second book “Inside LookingOut: An African Perspective of the American Pluralistic Society” in 1995.After the 2000 elections, he was appointed by H.E. President Kufuor as theMinister of Trade and Industry.Dr. Apraku was the Minister of Regional Cooperation amd NEPAD,Chairman of ECOWAS Council of Ministers that included the Ministers incharge of Integration, Finance, and TradeHe was governor of the ECOWAS Bank for Investment and Development(EBID). Dr. Apraku has published in several professional journals and doneconsulting work for the World Bank, USAID, and the Institute for Economic Affairs (IEA) of Ghana.Dr. Apraku was in January 2006 elected as a Member of the International Trustees of the American Field Service Inter-Cultural Organization (AFS).ACHIEVEMENTS AT THE MINISTRY OF TRADE & INDUSTRY1) Established and operationalized the Export Development and Investment Fund which is providing great support to the Private Sector of the economy.2) Restructed the Ghana Export Promotion Council which gave an added impetus for the export of non-traditional products. It is instructive to a result of this initiative, non-traditional exports increased about 20% each year between 2001 and 2002.3) Worked for the passage of the Ghana Investment Fund Bill which was meant to assist and reactivate distressed companies in Ghana. Even though it has beenpassed by Parliament, it is yet to be operationalized. Equally, he championed the preparation of the Domestic Content Bill which requires Businesses to use aminimum of 20% of domestic raw materials for their production which was yet to be passed by Parliament.4) Championed the implementation of the AGOA initiative which enured the benefit of the 1st Visa that allowed about 100 Ghanaian products to enter and compete in the US market with easeSought and received funding from UNIDO and worked for the AGOAs asresult of which Ghana implemented the first ever industrial census in the countryLed the delegation which signed the Ghana-Libya Trade Agreementsleading to the establishment of the Ghana Trade House which facilitatedand continues to facilitate trade activities between Ghana and LibyaLed the Ghanaian delegation to Doha where he was one of the Spokespersons for African Trade Ministers, to promote investment and Trade between Ghana and EuropeHe negotiated the establishment of Agro-processing, salt production, exports of crafts as special priority products to be supported by Export Development and Investment Fund (EDIF)In support of this, craft villages were established at Aburi in the Eastern Region, Salaga in the Northern Region, Bolgatanga in Upper East Region, Kpando in the Volta Region and Ahwea in KumasiEstablished the Textiles Training Centre at the Accra Technical Training Centre to train potential textiles producersWorked hard to establish a Commercial Attaché in Brussels to promote trade and investment between Ghana and the European Union.5) Brought the first textile (Belin Textiles during his investment trip to Mauritiuswhich led to the designation of Ajabeng as the textile enclave or Gnana.AT THE MINISTRY OF REGIONAL CO-OPERATION & NEPADWorked hard to ensure that Ghana went through the APRM process (as the 1st Country to have acceded to the process)Elevated ECOWAS to a new level when he was the Chairman of ECOWAS Council of Ministers for 2 terms. He visited 12 countries with the Executive Secretary of ECOWAS at that time only 20% of the ECOWAS Fund was Contributed by the member countries to the ECOWAS Fund. Through his Initiative, today member states contribution amount to about 80% of the fund.Brought the NEPAD Initiative from obscurity to a national levelEnsured the creation of NEPAD E-Schools and School Feeding Programme to aid Ghanaian children in their academic pursuits/activities and increase the enrolment in all state schools. The School Feeding Programme is now part of the Government agenda against poverty.Carried out massive sensitization on the NEPAD initiative and APRM for the various Ministries, Department, and Agencies Championed the introduction of the Second Monetary Zone (ECO). Led a Government Team to Burkina Faso and Cote d’Ivoire to sign Bilateral Agreements which resulted in the reduction of officially sanctioned roadblocks between Accra to Paga from 25 to 4, Ouagadougou it is now 2 from 4.Through his initiative the Ministry of Regional Cooperation and NEPAD has, for the last three years, been working closely with the Private Sector. To this end, the Ministry participated in a Trans-ECOWAS Business interactive meeting organized in Accra in May last year for businessmen and women from Nigeria and Ghana. He also facilitated the participation of Ghanaian Companies in solo exhibitions held in Burkina Faso and ECOWAS Trade Fairs held in Lome and Nigeria in 2003 and 2005 respectively.He also established a National Approvals Committee to review applications of companies that apply to join the ECOWAS Trade Liberalisation Scheme. The establishment of the Committee has shortened the period required for the admission of companies to the Scheme from one-year to three months. An orientation seminar was organized by the Ministry for newly approved Companies in 2005.Dr. Apraku has also been involved in several impactful activities and national delegations overseas that have impacted greatly. For example, in 2001 just after the victory of President Kufuor, he invited me to his office and informed me he had not been sworn in as President, and that he will not be able to attend the inauguration of President George Bush. He has decided to send a three-member delegation to represent him at the inauguration. The delegation consisted of Mr. Odoi Sykes, then the Chairman of NPP, Mr. Kwabena Darko, a successful businessman, and my humble self, Kofi Konadu Apraku. The purpose of the trip was to attend President George Bush’s inauguration and meet with some prominent senators and leaders of the Christian community to immediately discuss financial support for his administration. He especially also directed that we discuss the HIPC initiative. As an economist with nearly twenty years of experience in the US, I played a role in laying the foundation for the subsequent discussion and the US delegation to Ghana that granted Ghana the HIPC benefits that gave fledging Npp government the immediately required resources from HIPC to get the government moving.Not too long after, the President again selected another delegation that included Mr. Kwabena Darko H.E Adusei the Ambassador to the United States, and myself to visit Houston Texas in the United States to attend a major conference of oil producers. During the visit, I made a strong presentation that outlined the need for services for Major oil producers to engage in major exploration activities in Ghana. One of the major companies that were at the conference was Tullow oil which is today producing oil in Ghana. My twenty years of experience in the USA impacted the two important decisions that have and continue to have a profound impact on these two important decisions of President Kufuor’s administration and his achievements.As President, I will have even greater opportunities to attract investments from numerous countries.The President also asked us to see Dr. Paul Amoako Acquah and explore his suitability as the central Bank of Ghana Governor. In the United States, Mr. Kwabena Darko and I met Dr. Paul Amoako Acquah who was then a senior official at IMF. Both of us unanimously strongly recommended to the President appoint him as the Governor of the Central Bank of Ghana. Indeed, he was appointed the Governor and did excellent work for Ghana.I am ready to put my vast experience and international contacts at the service of my country GhanaECOWAS ACTIVITIESHe later went on to African leadership in 2009 with his appointment as Chairman of the ECOWAS Independent Organ for Assessment of ECOWAS Structures.He has since served several positions in the ECOWAS including Deputy Coordinator of ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to Nigeria, Zonal Coordinator for the ECOWAS Election Observation Mission to Togo.Dr. Konadu was until July 7th 2022, the Commissioner, Macroeconomic Policy and Economic Research.When not at work Dr. Konadu Kofi Apraku is a Father and a husband who spends time contributing his quota to the development of the younger generation.

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