He is so respectful and disciplined that, at 6:00 am on 31st July, 1993, on the morning that his wife’s waters broke and he was driving on top speed to the hospital to have his first child, Ken stopped at the sight of a red traffic light even though no one was watching. What a man does, when no one is watching, is the truest evidence of his real character.
The humility, intellect, discipline and fierce reverence for the Lord as lived by Ghana’s Finance Minister; Ken Ofori-Atta is offensively revolutionary and subtly disarming for any opposing thought or party. He is the gentleman’s gentleman. Indeed, if Ken Ofori-Atta is a member of the mythical Akyem mafia, then he is a kind hearted and good spirited mafia.
Following the recent takeover of two indigenous banks, Finance Minister, Ken Ofori-Atta said the toughest decision he has had to take since becoming a public officer, was authorizing the takeover of Capital Bank and UT Bank.
“It was difficult [for me] because these are also indigenous firms with entrepreneurs who take risks,” Mr. Ofori Atta told Joy Business.
Mr. Ofori Atta said despite the challenge he faced giving the approval, he had to act in the interest of the state and save the investments of “about some 300,000 or so depositors”.
“That really for me is what the Ministry should exemplify. Looking at the big issues; what is good for Ghana and then we’ll solve the little personal things that may come up,” he said.
The lines above pretty much describe the man, Ken Ofori-Atta; an accomplished entrepreneur, investment banker and a proud husband and father of three; Katakyie, Ohemaaa and Nana Yirenkyi.
He, together with his lovely Angela has had their fair share of life’s pain and challenges. Right from conception through fatherhood, Ken has faced virulent challenges but he’s always prevailed.
A few months ago, the Director, Faculty of Academic Affairs & Research, at the Kofi Annan International Peace-Keeping Centre (KAIPC) Dr. Kwesi Aning said he admires Finance Minister, Ken Ofori Atta’s sterling performance since assuming office.
According to him, Hon. Ofori Atta has been the most impressive Minister so far among the 110 ministers of the Akufo Addo led-government.
“His mastery over his porfolio, his humility…and you see, his humility is not a put-on. It is driven by a conviction that knowledge, wealth and privilege must be used to serve to improve people’s life,” Dr Aning told Bola Ray on Starr Chat when he was asked which minister has impressed him most. Ken had his education at Achimota School in Ghana. He proceeded to have a Bachelor of Arts in Economics from Columbia University (1984) and an MBA from the Yale University School of Management in 1988.
He founded Databank with Daniel Ofori-Atta, Keli Gadzekpo and Togbe Afede XIV in 1990.
Ken is a fellow of the Aspen Institute. He was adjudged as the 2nd most respected C.E.O in Ghana in May 2008.
Ken is a Donaldson Fellow at Yale University and a recipient of the John Jay Award from Columbia University.
President Akufo Addo has in a well calculated leadership move, recruited some of the finest brains the nation has been blessed with. Some of these geniuses were party-political neophytes at best; but authorities in their various fields of expertise. They have through a dent of hard work and a stroke of genius transformed and sustained the Ghanaian private sector. They are the movers and shakers of the industry. The captains and architects of our economic vibrancy and I dare say, the stoppers of our Bukum Banku (inflation, i.e. economic bleaching).
One of such rare gems is 58 year old Kenneth Nana Yaw Kuntukununku Ofori-Atta. Well known in financial circles the world over as Ken Ofori-Atta; Ken is an astute Christian who ascribes to the theories of St. Francis of Asissi that “one must preach the gospel of Christ at all times and when it becomes necessary, they should use words”
Character communicates credibility, harnesses respect, creates consistency and earns trust. It is instructive to note that, as intimated by Dr. Aning, Ken’s disarming humility, warm personality and clean working record is not a days old façade. He has lived like that all his life. It is an ethos he ascribes to. A creed he lives by. It is what sets him apart from the crowd and puts him in a comfortable lead. It is what makes him a darling of the average Ghanaian, a friend of the international business community and secretly admired by the smartest brains in the main opposition party.
His intellect, confidence and mastery of the real economic situation of Ghana coupled with his fierce integrity is only paralleled by his disarming humility and perhaps his love for white shirts.
A story is told of one of the numerous sharp toothed baby ministers in the ex-while Mahama administration that had three official Personal Assistants. Needless to say, but it was his first job after university education. One PA carried his smart phones; another carried his crocodile leather bag and a third, opened the door of his government issued V8 land cruiser.
I do not know if such open display of opulence and wanton dissipation of state resources that culminated into the unprecedented defeat of a sitting government as captured in the classified Dr. Kwesi Botchwey report still exist under the present government. We should pray it doesn’t.
KOA, the accomplished entrepreneur cum celebrated intellectual at age 58 years, still carries his relatively heavier Kantamanto bag, stays in his own apartment with his professor wife, Angela Ofori-Atta, drives in his own Toyota Camry car and often runs like a school boy to cabinet meetings. Observe the contrast.
I end by saying to all that; children are a precious gift from The Lord. And, indeed, the good Lord is able to use a glimmer of light from just one innocent child to brighten the lot of a darkened generation. His ways are not our ways and His thoughts are far beyond our reach. Too difficult to appreciate, just take a careful look at the birth struggles of Moses. Born at a time when all male children of Jewish descent were being killed on the orders of the Pharaoh, Moses survived the torrid experience in the basket and led God’s people out of 400 years of slavery.
Jesus, the Christ was born in a menger to a virgin mother under the power of the spirit of God. Like Moses’ era, there was a decree to kill all male born children. Christ survived. Who is Christ? Read John 14:6. Aristotle, Eleanor Roosevelt, Jesse Jackson, Malcolm X, President Nelson Mandela, President Gerald Ford, President Bill Clinton, Steve Jobs of Apple fame; are but few of the numerous world greats who like our own Ken, were destined for the abortion bench.
When the story is told of Ghana’s economic transformation, mention will be made of the humble Ken, whose mum Ohemaa, defied the convenience of abortion as proposed by the then (1959) renowned abortion specialist in Kyebi, Baba Haruna Iddrassu. 58 years ago, running from the scary abortion bench in the foliage of the Atiwa , Ohemaa fled to seek refuge in the traditional city of Kumasi. Haruna the abortionist of dreams failed and Ken prevailed.
Come Wednesday, 15th November, 2017, Ken will triumph again. Take a wild guess, who will fail again?
God bless our homeland Ghana
By: Michael Nana Sasu
Research Fellow @ Danquah Institute