Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen (popularly called Alan Cash) (born 3 October 1955) is a Ghanaian politician, corporate executive, diplomat and an international public servant specialising in global trade issues.
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Kyerematen was Ambassador to the United States and later Minister of Trade, Industry, Private Sector Development (PSD) and the Presidential Special Initiatives (PSI), under the President Kufuor-led NPP government. Kyerematen served as a trade advisor at the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia where he coordinated the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC).
Kyerematen made an attempt at the leadership of the New Patriotic Party in 2007, capturing 32.3% of votes cast. He was first runner-up to Nana Akufo-Addo who gained 47.96% of votes cast. Kyerematen made other attempts at the party’s leadership in 2010 and 2014 but placed second to Akufo-Addo, who won the primaries. In 2012, Ghana nominated Kyerematen for the post of WTO Director-General to succeed out-going Director-General Pascal Lamy, and his candidature received the backing of the African Union (AU). However, he did not make the shortlist for the final selection process in 2013. In 2017, Kyerematen was sworn in as Ghana’s Trade Minister.
Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen’s Early life
Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen was born on 3 October 1955 to Alexander Atta Yaw Kyerematen, a social anthropologist from Patasse, Kumasi and Victoria Kyerematen (née Welsing) from Elmina and Ejisu.
He was named after an Archbishop of the Church of England, The Most Reverend Alan John Knight CMG DD who was the Headmaster of the all-boys Anglican boarding school, Adisadel College in Cape Coast in the 1930s, and a mentor to his father, A.A.Y. Kyerematen, when the elder Kyerematen was a student there and later, a Head Boy in his final year.
In 1951, his father became the founder and first Director of the Centre for National Culture located in Kumasi of the Ashanti Region and later on, he was appointed the Mayor of Kumasi and a Commissioner of Local Government between 1966 and 1969.
Like his father, Alan Kyerematen attended Adisadel College for his secondary education, entering the institution at the record age of nine years. He attended the prestigious Achimota School afterwards for his sixth form education.
He proceeded to the University of Ghana, Legon for a Bachelor’s degree in Economics. Kyerematen also holds a Law degree, LLB from the Ghana Law School at the same university where he qualified as a Barrister-at-Law. He was called to the bar in Ghana, and is a practicing attorney–at-law in Ghana.
In addition, he is a Hubert Humphrey Fellow of the School of Management at the University of Minnesota, U.S., having completed one year management studies under the Fulbright Fellowship program at that institution.
Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen’s Corporate career
Alan John Kyerematen has had an extensive and successful professional career in both the private and public sector spanning a period of over twenty-four years. He was a senior corporate executive with a subsidiary of Unilever International in Ghana where he became a junior manager at the age of twenty-two years. He also worked for a number of years as a Principal Consultant and Head of Public Systems Management with one of the leading management development institutions in Ghana, the Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI).
In 1998, Kyerematen was appointed by the UNDP as the first Regional Director of Enterprise Africa, which was an Africa-wide, flagship initiative for the development and promotion of small and medium enterprises. Under that framework, he established enterprise support institutions and programmes in 13 Sub-Saharan Africa countries – Botswana, Benin, Cameroon, Democratic Republic of Congo, Ethiopia, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Nigeria, Senegal, South Africa and Uganda. Over 4,000 African entrepreneurs and small businesses have benefited from these programmes.
In 1990, Kyerematen was responsible for establishing and managing the EMPRETEC Programme in Ghana, a leading business development programme sponsored by the United Nations and Barclays Bank. He led the transformation of EMPRETEC from a UN project into an independent Foundation, and as its founding Chief Executive, developed the Foundation into a world-class institution which is recognized as a successful model and best practice institution for enterprise development
in Africa. Between 1984 and 1990, he participated in and managed a number of major private and public sector consulting assignments in Ghana, as a Principal Consultant and Head of Public Systems Management with the Management Development and Productivity Institute (MDPI), a leading management development institution in Ghana.Prior to this, he was a senior corporate executive with UAC Ghana Ltd, a subsidiary of Unilever International, where he worked in various managerial positions with distinction until 1984.
Throughout his career, Kyerematen has demonstrated a capacity for efficient and effective leadership in managing and coordinating organizational activities at high levels of executive responsibility. Within that context, he has managed a diverse team of professional staff and technical experts, and provided intellectual leadership in supervising the planning and organization of major international events, including the preparation of technical reports and other documentation. In addition, he has acquired over the years, an in-depth knowledge and understanding, as well as practical experience in dealing with critical development issues and challenges in Africa, particularly in LDCs, in the areas of trade, investment and economic policy management. He has also at different stages of his professional career, successfully mobilized and managed significant resources from development partners to support development efforts in Africa.
Kyerematen is a member of the Council of Governors of the British Executive Service Overseas (BESO) in the UK and also a Board member of other organizations in Ghana.
In 1994, Kyerematen was listed by the TIME magazine as one of the Hundred (100) Global Leaders for the New Millennium, alongside Bill Gates (Microsoft Corporation), John F. Kennedy Jr., and others.
Diplomacy and international public service
Kyerematen was appointed Ghana’s Ambassador to the U.S. when the N.P.P came into office in 2001. As Head of Ghana’s Diplomatic Mission to the United States of America, he was considered the NPP Government’s top foreign envoy and performed with distinction over the 18-month duty tour, and his significant achievements include: Establishment of the US-Ghana Economic Council, a high-level advocacy and advisory group established to deepen economic relations and bilateral trade between Ghana and the United States; Coordinating Government’s re-negotiation of the Westel agreement with Western Wireless and Valco Agreement with Kaiser Aluminium Company coordinating the implementation of the first Investment Forum in the United States to showcase the economic potential of each of the 10 regions of Ghana Establishment of the first web-based Ghana Skills Bank, a database designed to facilitate access to Ghanaian professionals and experts worldwide. Initiated plans for the establishment of a Ghana Cultural Centre in the United of States. Developed an “Operation Save Your Schools Programme” for Ghana residents in the United States to assist their alma mater primary/middle schools.
Kyerematen served as a trade advisor at the UN Economic Commission for Africa (ECA) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. He heads the African Trade Policy Centre (ATPC); a centre created by the ECA with the main objective of strengthening the human and institutional capacities of African governments to formulate and implement sound trade policies and participates more effectively in trade negotiations at the bilateral, regional and multilateral levels. He is leading efforts in enhancing advocacy for trade in Africa, building the capacity of trade negotiators, as well as developing capability at the country level in trade policy formulation. In addition, he is coordinating the implementation of technical assistance programmes to enhance the productive capacity and competitiveness of African countries, and also providing support for analytical as well as evidence-based research on trade related issues.
Kyerematen is one of the leading members of the technical team that provided strategic guidance and support to the African Union Commission in developing and elaborating an Action Plan for Boosting intra-African Trade and preparing a framework for the establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area. As part of this effort, he was designated as a Special Envoy of the African Union to hold consultations with selected African Heads of State prior to the 18th African Union Summit of Heads of State and Government in January 2012.
Ghana, on 17 December 2012, nominated Alan John Kwadwo Kyerematen for the post of WTO Director-General to succeed the current Director-General, Pascal Lamy, whose term of office expired on 31 August 2013.
His candidature has received the backing of the Africa Union (AU)but he did not make the final shortlist for the position During his interaction with the media to state his case to head the WTO, Kyerematen noted that the WTO provides “a firewall against protectionism”.
He was asked whether the director-general should take a stand in the battle over whether increasingly wealthy countries such as Brazil should continue to be able to self-identify as developing, a status that allows them to be freed from some of the subsidy restrictions placed on developed countries. Kyerematen said that the director-general should undertake “an open, coherent” dialogue on the topic. There needs to be debate, he said, over whether “there is a need to subdivide the existing divisions”. On whether technical acumen is the sole requisite for the job, Kyerematen opined that “political insights are vital” for the job because “in the end you have an organization to run.”
Over the years, Kyerematen has been invited to speak at various fora, sharing his expertise on international topics on the dynamics of global trade and sustainable development.
- Party advocacy
Kyerematen has been a leading stalwart and key strategist of the NPP since its inception in 1992. He is a founding member of the New Patriotic Party (NPP) and has also served on the highest decision-making bodies of the NPP that shaped the Party’s strategic direction both in opposition and in Government.
He served on the NPP National Executive Committee, serving as a Member from 1992 to 2001 as well as on the Economic Management Team and Finance Committee of the NPP. He is also a Founding Member of the Young Executive Forum (YEF), a powerful advocacy and lobby group within the Party which played a major role in galvanizing the professional and business community to support the growth and development of the party, as well as mobilize a new generation of party faithful and young leaders. As Chairman of YEF from 1992 to 2001, he symbolized the essence and spirit of the new generation of party leaders.
Kyerematen has been one of the privileged few to have held membership of the National Executive Committee for over a decade, under the successive Chairmanships of B.J. DaRocha, Peter Ala Adjetey, Samuel Odoi-Sykes and Haruna Esseku. As a result of his contribution to strategy development within the Party, he was appointed as a Member of the NPP/CPP Great Alliance Negotiating Team.
Kyerematen made an attempt at the leadership of the New Patriotic Party in 2007, capturing 32.30% of votes cast. He was first runner-up to Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo who gained 47.96% of votes cast. He made another attempt in 2010 where he placed a distant second with 20.40% of total valid votes cast to Nana Akufo-Addo’s 77.92%. In 2014, Kyerematen once again came second to Akufo-Addo in the presidential primaries to elect a flagbearer to lead the NPP in the 2016 general elections. In the super-delegates congress organised to shortlist the number of prospective candidates from 7 to 5, Kyerematen polled 7.97% of the valid votes cast compared to Akufo-Addo’s 80.81%. In the final presidential primary to select the flagbearer, Kyerematen was first runner-up with 4.75% of the votes while archrival Akufo-Addo received 94.35% of the votes to win the contest.
Once asked by a journalist how he became known in the Ghanaian media as “Alan Cash,” Kyerematen said it happened because in political campaigns he stressed the importance of creating jobs and “real cash” for the people.
Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen As A Cabinet minister
In 2003, Alan Kyerematen was appointed as the Cabinet Minister with responsibility for Trade, Industry and the President’s Special Initiatives (PSI) with additional responsibility for Private Sector Development (PSD). In that capacity, he spearheaded the development and implementation of innovative programmes which have become new strategic pillars of growth for the transformation of the Ghanaian economy. Concrete manifestations of these special initiatives are:
An $8.5 million state-of-the-art factory, which produces high grade industrial starch from cassava for export to key markets in Europe, Africa and Asia. The starch initiative created over 10,000 jobs and piloted a new innovative approach in rural industry development based on the concept of Corporate Village Enterprises. In addition, it was considered as a model in linking developing countries into the global supply chain through industrial agro-processing. The first industrial starch company was certified as a global supplier of high grade starch to Nestle operations worldwide.
The construction of a multimillion-dollar enclave within the Tema Free Zone, dedicated to garments manufacturing for the export market by Ghanaian entrepreneurs. The enclave is also being extended and converted to accommodate similar facilities for Furniture Manufacturing and an ICT Park, thus converting part of the Free Zones into a multi-purpose Industrial Park.
The major component activities implemented include the establishment of Export Trade Houses, the establishment of a “Furniture City” at Tema – an enclave for manufacturers of wood export products, the establishment of product galleries to promote Made-in-Ghana goods and the establishment of a Technology Innovation Center for Capital Goods Manufacturing.
The revival of the Oil Palm industry in Ghana, achieving a phenomenal growth in seedlings: supply rose from 250,000 seedlings per annum in 2001 to 4 million as at the end of 2004, from twelve nursery sites. Programme initiated under which over 102,000 hectares Oil palm plantation is being cultivated.
Mobilizing new investments to expand Salt mining operations in Ghana and provide a stable raw material base for the development of a caustic soda industry to feed other manufacturing industries. Ghana’s non-traditional export sector has grown from $400 million in 2000 to the level of $800 million in 2005.
The roll-out and implementation of the Districts Industrialisation Programme, a comprehensive programme for rural industrialization involving the setting up of at least one medium-sized factory in each administrative district in Ghana.
As Minister for Trade, Industry, he has coordinated Government of Ghana’s trade policy agenda in respect of multilateral trade negotiations, including WTO, EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreement and ECOWAS.
He played lead roles in both the regional preparatory process towards the WTO Cancun and Hong Kong Ministerial Meetings, particularly during the latter, in which he was one of the privileged few amongst Trade Ministers in the World, to have been appointed as a member of the Chairman’s Consultative Group.
He was also the only Trade Minister from Africa to have been selected as a panelist on Trade during the 2006 World Economic Forum in Davos.
Alan Kyerematen played a key role in shaping Africa’s Trade Policy agenda in the WTO Multilateral Negotiations and the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreement Negotiations. He was one of the lead negotiators for Africa in the WTO Ministerial Conference in Cancun in 2003, and also participated in the high-level “Green Room” consultations during the Hong Kong WTO Conference in December 2005. In addition, he initiated, directed and managed the preparations for the hosting of UNCTAD XII in Ghana, and introduced for the first time in the history of UNCTAD Conferences, the World Investment Forum which has now become a major calendar event for UNCTAD.
He also coordinated and supervised the hosting by Ghana of the Sixth United States-Africa Summit in 2006, and played a key role in negotiating changes in the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). He was Chairman of the ECOWAS Council of Trade Ministers at the critical stages of launching the EU-ECOWAS EPA negotiations.
He has also led the negotiation and development of bilateral trade and economic relations between the Government of Ghana and its major trading partners, including the UK, US, Canada, Germany, France, Italy, Japan, China, Denmark, South Africa, Nigeria, etc.
He had been a leading member of the NPP Government team promoting Ghana abroad and attracting and facilitating foreign direct investment into the country, and has also been responsible for developing a comprehensive internal trade and import management portfolio aimed at enhancing the competitiveness of local products, promoting fair trade and protecting consumer interests as well as promoting Made-in-Ghana products through campaigns such as the highly successful “National Friday Wear” programme.
Under his direction, a comprehensive Ghana Trade Policy has for the first time in the history of Ghana been launched as a major plank in Government’s strategy for accelerating and sustaining economic growth and increasing incomes and employment. The Trade Policy provides clear and transparent guidelines for the comprehensive implementation of Government’s domestic and international trade agenda. In addition, he led the process of preparing a $200-million implementation blueprint, called the Trade Sector Support Programme (TSSP), which was launched in October 2005.
He also negotiated a $45 million facility with the World Bank to promote small and medium enterprise development in Ghana. Another major achievement of Kyerematen was to develop the Trade Ministry into a professional service organization with the Ministry being restructured into strategic business units with an efficient programme coordination and management system.
Additionally, as part of a government investment delegation, Alan Kyerematen was instrumental in the negotiation of the contract that led to the arrival of Dallas, Texas – based start-up company, Kosmos Energy to Ghana to explore and discover oil in commercial quantities which generates large revenue inflows for the state annually. In May, 2017, President Nana Akufo-Addo named Alan Kyerematen as part of nineteen ministers who would form his cabinet. The names of the 19 ministers were submitted the Parliament of Ghana and announced by the Speaker of the House, Rt. Hon. Prof. Mike Ocquaye.
Alan Kwadwo Kyerematen’s Personal life
Coming from a mixed Akan ancestry of the Asante and Fante ethnic subgroups, he speaks Twi and Fanti fluently. In addition, he speaks Ga and is proficient in French. He is married to Patricia Christabel Kyerematen (née Kingsley-Nyinah), the daughter of Justice Joseph Kingsley-Nyinah, Ghana’s Electoral Commissioner during the 1979 presidential election.
They have two children – Alexander and Victor. Alan Kyerematen’s sister Bridget Kyerematen – Darko died in a gas explosion in January 2017. Alan Kyerematen along with his elder brother Stephen Kyerematen are Managing Directors of A Wealth of Women Ghana BKD (Bridget Kyerematen Darko), a foundation formed to support their late sister’s work and legacy. The foundation is affiliated to A Wealth of Women.