Dr Henry Akpenamawu Kofi Wampah has assumed the position of Acting Governor of the Bank of Ghana (BoG) following the nomination, and subsequent swearing-in of Paa Kwesi Bekoe Amissah-Arthur, the Governor of BoG, as the Vice President of Ghana on August 6 this year.
Pundits say Dr Wampah, the former First Deputy Governor, is very much qualified to be confirmed the substantive Governor but there are reports of other serious contenders like Alhaji Alhassan Andani, Managing Director of Stanbic Bank, intensely lobbying for the position. They believe a new Governor will be appointed in 2013, implying Dr Wampah will be in charge for five months.
The post of Governor of the country's central bank is purely a normative political appointment as Section 17 (1) of the Bank of Ghana Act, 2002 (Act 612) stipulates that "The Governor and the two Deputy Governors shall be (a) persons of recognised financial or banking experience; and (b) appointed by the President acting in consultation with the Council of State."
Dr Wampah's assumption of the office of acting Governor is in conformity with Section 20 (2) of the Act 612 which provides under the heading, "Functions of the Deputy Governors," that "In the absence of the Governor, the First Deputy Governor shall have authority to perform the functions of the Governor under this Act and in the absence of both the Governor and the First Deputy Governor the Second Deputy Governor shall have authority to perform the functions of the Governor."
Dr Wampah is scheduled to chair his first Monetary Policy Committee meeting which begins on September 10 with the intent of reviewing the performance of the economy and recommending solutions for the arrest of the fast depreciating cedi. That will be his first major duty since he took over as acting Governor. Economic, financial and monetary experts are eagerly watching the strategies that Dr Wampah would bring on board to effectively and efficiently manage the economy as the country prepares for elections in December.
But who is the new BoG Governor? Dr Wampah is an experienced economist who taught at foreign universities and later became a consummate technocrat. He was the Director of the Research and Statistics Department of the West African Monetary Institute (WAMI) responsible for the overall supervision and co-ordination of the work programme of the Department. He supervised the planning and implementation of the Macroeconomic Convergence Monitoring Programme of the West African Monetary Zone (WAMZ). He was extensively involved in preparing the five countries of the zone (The Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Nigeria and Sierra Leone) for monetary union in the areas of macroeconomic convergence and policy harmonisation (monetary policy, statistics, fiscal policy and exchange rate management).
Dr Wampah was the Head of the Research Department of BoG, a position he held from February 1996 to February 2001 until he was seconded to WAMI. He also served BoG in various capacities such as Head of the Statistics Office and Head of the Public Finance Office of the Research Department. He began his career at BoG in September 1986 as a Deputy Manager, rising through the ranks to become a Director in 2006.
While being with BoG, Dr Wampah worked at the International Monetary Fund in the United States as a Special Appointee from May to December 1998 at the Monetary Operations Division of the Monetary and Exchange Affairs Department and the Africa Department. He participated in the Technical Assistance Mission on Monetary Operations and Banking Soundness to The Gambia. In addition, he worked on a project on economic integration in East Africa. He has participated in numerous international and local conferences, seminars and workshops.
Dr Wampah has held teaching appointments with McGill University, Montreal, Canada. He also taught and undertook research in Economics, Statistics and Mathematics at the Institute of Statistical, Social and Economic Research (ISSER), University of Ghana, Legon. As an academic, he has authored several publications and working papers.
He obtained a Bachelors of Arts (Hons) in Economics and Statistics in 1977 from University of Ghana, Legon. He was awarded both a Masters' degree (1983) and a Ph.D (1986) in Economics with specialisations in econometrics and public finance by McGill University. He attended Hohoe E. P. Secondary School where he got his General Certificate of Education (GCE) Ordinary Level. He then went to Konongo-Odumase Secondary School and gained his GCE Advanced Level. Dr Wampah is married with six (6) children.