Who is Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia?

By The Statesman
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By The Statesman

8/15/2008 10:39:43 AM -

Mahamudu Bawumia is an economist and banker of international distinction and repute. His political pedigree in the Danquah-Busia tradition goes back to the very foundations of the United Party from which the New Patriotic Party draws inspiration.

He was born on October 7, 1963 in Tamale to the late Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia, former Chairman of the Council of State (1992 - 2000) and Hajia Mariama Bawumia.

Dr. Bawumia's father, the distinguished Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia, was a teacher, lawyer and veteran politician who devoted virtually all his life to public service.

The late Alhaji Mumuni Bawumia was a Mamprugu Royal and Paramount Chief of the Kperiga Traditional Area at the time of his passing in September 2002. He was a founding member of the Northern Peoples' Party alongside such political stalwarts as Chief S. D. Dombo, Yakubu Tali, the Tolon Naa, and J. A. Braimah, Kabachewura.

The Northern Peoples' Party, together with the National Liberation Movement and other opposition political parties later metamorphosed into the United Party.

Alhaji Bawumia was a member of the Northern Territories Council, the Gold Coast Legislative Assembly, a Member of Parliament of the First Republic, Northern Regional Minister, and Ghana's Ambassador to the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. For his distinguished public service, Alhaji Bawumia was in March 1999 awarded the nation's highest honour at the time – Member of the Order of the Star of Ghana.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia's mother, Hajia Mariama Bawumia, is a native of Kpasenkpe in the West Mamprusi District. She was a brilliant student, and was one of the first northern female students to gain admission to the prestigious Wesley Girls High School, Cape Coast.

Born into a large family, Mahamudu Bawumia was the twelfth of his father's 18 children and the second of his mother's five. Growing up in Tamale, Mahamudu was a precocious and affable child who pestered adults with too many incisive questions.

Mahamudu Bawumia attended the Sakasaka Primary school in Tamale, and gained admission to Tamale Secondary School in 1975, where he quickly established a strong reputation for his exceptional academic performance. He was awarded the prize for Best Overall Student in Form 3.

He continued to excel in his studies, and dazzled his audiences with his superb debating skills as a member of the Tamale Secondary School Debating Team, which was adjudged the best in the Northern and Upper Regions competition in 1981.

Dr. Bawumia also had a keen interest in sports and represented Tamale Secondary School in Table Tennis at inter-school sporting competitions. His leadership skills and abilities were noted earlier on, and he was appointed as the Wemah House Prefect during his Sixth Form at Tamale Secondary School. Mahamudu Bawumia was also President of the Ghana United Nations Students' Association (GUNSA) for the year 1981.

After graduating from Tamale Secondary School, Mahamudu proceeded to the United Kingdom where he undertook professional banking studies and obtained the Chartered Institute of Bankers Diploma (ACIB) with distinctions in Banking Law, Monetary Economics, Accounting and Banking within the rather short period of 18 months!

He subsequently undertook undergraduate study at Buckingham University where he topped his record of academic brilliance with a First Class Honours Degree in Economics in 1987.

He subsequently gained admission to Oxford University, Lincoln College, where, one year later, he obtained a Master's Degree in Economics. He pursued his doctoral studies in economics at the prestigious Simon Fraser University in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, where he obtained a Ph.D. in Economics in 1995. His areas of specialization include Macroeconomics, International Economics, Development Economics and Monetary Policy. He has numerous publications to his credit.

From 1988 to 1990, Dr. Bawumia worked as a lecturer in Monetary Economics, and International Finance at the Emile Woolf College of Accountancy in London, England. He also served as an economist at the Research Department of the International Monetary Fund in Washington, DC, USA.

Between 1996 and 2000, Dr. Bawumia served as an Assistant Professor of Economics at Hankamer School of Business, Baylor University, Texas, USA, where he also received the Young Researcher Award in 1998. As a result of Dr. Bawumia's commitment to excellence in teaching, he made the list of "Who is Who Among America's Teachers' in 1999.

Dr. Bawumia returned to Ghana in 2000 to work as an economist at the Bank of Ghana. He rose through the ranks from Senior Economist to Head of Department, and subsequently as Special Assistant to the Governor of the Bank. His Excellency President J.A. Kufuor appointed Dr. Bawumia as Deputy Governor of the Bank of Ghana in June 2006.

Since joining the Bank of Ghana, Dr. Bawumia has established himself as a skilled policy maker with a reputation for being a doer, a hands-on technocrat, and a professional with a remarkable ability to successfully handle complex issues.

Dr. Mahamudu Bawumia's professional accomplishments include the following:

* As head of the Monetary Policy and Financial Stability Department, he implemented the analytical framework that guides monetary policy and the workings of the Monetary Policy Committee at the Bank of Ghana. The inflation targeting framework established was successful in reducing inflation from over 40% in 2000 to 10.2 % by 2007 (i.e., before the recent oil price shock) while maintaining relative exchange rate stability.

* Was instrumental in designing and implementing policy initiatives such as the abolition of the secondary reserve requirements and the opening up of the banking sector to competition. This has resulted in a major increase in the availability of credit to the private sector from 12.5% of GDP in 2001 to 28.5% of GDP today.  

* Led Bank of Ghana's technical negotiation team and has been part of Government team that has negotiated with the World Bank and International Monetary Fund since 2001 through HIPC and PRGF. Partly as a result of these negotiations, Ghana has, for the first time since 1983, successfully ended its dependence on IMF assistance and this allows Ghana to pursue more independent Policies. 

* Served as a member of the Government technical negotiating team on HIPC Paris Club and Completion Point Negotiations. Ghana completed the HIPC process successfully with significant debt relief of close to $4 billion.

* Was a member of the Government Team to Negotiate the Millennium Challenge Account Compact with the US Government.

* Was responsible for drafting the financial sector component of the MCA Compact. The MCA Compact yielded financing for $547 million of projects. 

* Was a member of the Government Technical Team on the Deregulation of the Petroleum Sector. Successful deregulation has subsequently saved Government over $700 million over the last three years. 

* As Chairman of the Capital Markets Committee, was responsible for the strategy for accessing the international capital markets with a debut $750 million dollars, which was four times oversubscribed.

* Was a member of the Government team that undertook the successful road show to market Ghana to foreign investors. The bond proceeds have been critical in undertaking investments in the energy sector and have also been earmarked for the Kumasi-Accra Dual Carriage way as well as the Western Railway Line. Ghana won the Euromoney Award for best bond issue for Emerging Markets.

* Was part of the team that designed and implemented the successful redenomination of the cedi which has been hailed globally. Through this process, the cedi has been considerably strengthened as Ghanaians have found renewed confidence in their currency. 

* Played a key role in the design and implementation of the e-zwich common platform for all banks, savings and loans companies and rural banks. This common platform will result in inter-operability across different financial institutions. The first nationwide technologically-driven platform for monetary transactions across the country, the e-zwich has put Ghana on the map as a world leader in the application of biometric smartcard technology for banking the unbanked. 

* As the deputy Governor in charge of financial stability, has successfully maintained oversight over the soundness of the banking sector which has continued to be stable and sound.

Dr. Bawumia is married with three children.

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