By: Franklin ASARE-DONKOH
Mr. Boakye Kyeremateng Agyarko, born in 1956, is a Ghanaian economist, politician, and former banker. He also served as the vice president of the Bank of New York, and he is currently among ten strong stalwart presidential aspirants of the ruling New Patriotic Party (NPP) seeking to lead the party into the 2024 general elections.
Mr. Agyarko, unlike the former General Secretary of the party, Mr. Kwabena Agyei Agyapong, Mr. Alan Kwadwo Kyeremateng, Mr. Francis Addai-Nimoh, and Dr. Kofi Konadu Apraku, who are giving their second or third shot at the NPP Presidential Primaries, is entering the race to see if luck will shine on him.
My interactions with some members of the NPP seem to indicate there is a very herculean task ahead of him, as his name is missing from the top five names of possible candidates echoed across the country.
Although Mr. Kyeremateng Agyarko had served the NPP in various positions, his premature exit from government as a minister of energy seems to be negatively affecting his bid to lead the party.
Even though, prior to the presidential primaries, the former minister of energy, came out forcefully to explain the circumstances that led to his premature exit from the Akufo Addo-Bawumia-led government, many political watchers think Mr. Kyeremateng Agyarko’s long-dead silence on the matter will affect his presidential ambition negatively.
Even prior to Mr. Agyarko’s ministerial confirmation in February 2017, he was accused by Mahama Ayariga at the parliamentary appointment committee of bribing members of the minority to facilitate his approval as a Minister of energy. Mr. Ayariga reported on Radio Gold that Agyarko, through Muntaka Mubarak, the minority chief whip, had tried to influence the decision of the Appointments Committee of Parliament by giving each minority member a bribe.
The then Speaker of Parliament, Rt. Hon. Aaron Mike Oquaye, established an ad hoc parliamentary committee to investigate the matter. After the investigation, the Joe Ghartey committee exonerated Agyarko. The committee found Mr. Ayariga guilty of being in contempt of parliament for making false allegations against a colleague and bringing the parliament into disrepute.
Mr. Ayariga was made to render an apology on the floor of parliament and warned to be mindful of his actions in the future.
Early life and education
Mr. Kyeremateng Agyarko was born in 1956 in the Ashanti Region, to Mr. Kwasi Agyarko. His father was a merchant and United Party activist from Jamase in the Ashanti Region, and his mother was Jane Ladze Padi from Krobo Odumase in the Eastern Region.
He is the brother of Dedo Difie Agyarko-Kusi and Emmanuel Kwabena Kyeremateng Agyarko.
He attended the K. O. Methodist Primary School in Ashtown and the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology Primary School in Kumasi. He then proceeded to Mfantsipim School in Cape Coast for his secondary education, where he had both his GCE Ordinary Level and GCE Advanced Level certified.
He obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics and Political Science from the University of Ghana, Legon. He immigrated to the United States of America as a political refugee. While there, he obtained an Advanced Professional Certificate in Banking from the American Institute of Banking and a Master of Business Administration in Financial Economics from Pace University, New York.
After graduating from the University of Ghana in 1980, Agyarko did his mandatory national service at the Ghana Union Nation of Students as the National Coordinator.
When the national service ended in 1981, he was employed as a junior economist with Management and Investment Consultants in Accra. He worked there till 1984, when he was forced to flee Ghana due to an attempt on his life.
After a failed coup d’état led by Lance Corporal Halidu Giwa and Sergeant Abdul Malik, the military high command assumed that he was part of the coup plotters. This was due to his high political activism and criticism of the economic policies adopted by the country’s military leaders, led by the late Ft. Lt. Jerry John Rawlings.
He was arrested by men from the Ghana Armed Forces, who took him to the Air Force Base at Burma Camp in Accra. He was shot at the base and sent to the 37 Military Hospital morgue. At the morgue, a nurse realised that he was not dead and rushed him to the emergency services, where he was operated upon by Henry Koku Akpalu.
After the surgery, he fled the country with the help of a friend, Monsieur Le Veloire, and his two sisters.
The Former Energy Minister emigrated to the United States as a political refugee and enrolled at Pace University.
Bank of New York
After graduating from Pace University, he was employed by the Bank of New York, the oldest bank in the United States. He spent over twenty years at the bank and worked at senior levels in various departments of the Bank.
The positions he held included operations management and analysis, product development, global network management, international banking and asset management, and the Year 2000 (Y2K) Management Group. He had oversight responsibilities for various sectors and departments, notably trade, finance, loan syndications, asset securitization, and structured finance.
He was the principal negotiator in the establishment of the Bank of New York in Mexico. While working in New York, he became a member of the American Economic Association and an Associate Member of the American Institute of Bankers.
He rose through the ranks of the bank and became vice president and Head of Global Network Management for the Americans in the Investment Management and Services Division. He left the bank after 22 years so he could contest elections in Ghana.
While in the US, he wrote a weekly column in The Statesman Newspaper titled Letter from America from 1993 through 1998.
Agyarko entered politics at an early age and was the National Coordinator for the Ghana Union of Students and Youth Associations from 1979 to 1980. He was a founding member of the NPP in 1992.
Within the party, Mr. Agyarko has held several positions, including chairman of the Danquah Busia Club of North America and briefly serving as a trustee of the Busia Foundation.
He was elected the coordinator for the New Patriotic Party in North America. Mr. Agyarko was appointed National Campaign manager of the New Patriotic Party in the 2012 Presidential election. He was appointed the Policy Adviser to the Presidential Candidate of the New Patriotic Party during the 2016 election.
In January 2017, Agyarko was appointed the minister of energy in the Akufo-Addo administration. He was approved by Parliament in February 2017. As the Energy Minister, Mr. Agyarko had supervisory responsibility for fifteen major agencies under the ministry.
In May 2017, President Nana Akufo-Addo named Boakye Agyarko as one of the nineteen ministers who would form his cabinet. The names of the 19 ministers were submitted to the Parliament of Ghana and announced by the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Prof. Mike Ocquaye. As a Cabinet minister, Mr. Agyarko was part of the inner circle of the president and aided in key decision-making activities in the country.
Will the NPP Super Delegates count him worthy among the top five party faithful considering his rich background both in politics and economics?
Time will tell.