By Joaquin M. Sendolo
Liberian economist, accountant, administrator and diplomat, Augustine Kpehe Ngafuan, has been named by the African Development Bank as its Country Manager designated for Uganda, East Africa.
Mr. Ngafuan who is also regarded in academia as one of Liberia’s brightest scholars was among others who competed for the position and triumphed as the finalist.
With many years of experience in Public Finance and Diplomacy, Ngafuan is counted on highly by the African Development Bank Group to bring some wealth of experience to it. As an economist and accountant, Mr. Ngafuan worked at the Central Bank of Liberia as head of International Banking during the Taylor Administration, and Budget Director at the National Budget Bureau during the early part of the Administration of President Ellen Johnson Sirleaf.
Mr. Ngafuan during the Sirleaf Administration was later promoted to a ministerial position as Minister of Finance, where he served from 2008 to 2012. While at the Ministry of Finance, Ngafuan caught some officials in a corruption web and were without compromise penalized, and he openly declared publicly that he was available for an audit and if the audit found anything surreptitious on his part, he would resign from public service.
Right after the 2011 presidential and legislative elections, through which former President Sirleaf secured her second term, Mr. Ngafuan rose to the position of Foreign Minister and earned a great deal of respect among African diplomats at the level of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and the African Union (AU). He gained recognition at one of AU’s conferences in Addis Ababa as one of Africa’s best and intellectual diplomats.
The former Foreign Minister and Dean of Cabinet, in an effort to reframe the discourse around the xenophobic attacks in South Africa in 2014, described the situation as not “African” under the African solidarity from the days of colonialism, and not xenophobia, but “Afriphobia.”
In a euphoric mood, the Liberian diplomat and economist, in a brief interview with the Daily Observer, said: “I am exuberant; it was a competitive process that I made it up with a few other people, and I am proud to be selected at that level to represent my country and make it proud.”
Ngafuan currently serves on the Ecobank Board as the Independent Director for Audit and Credit Committees. He recently served as Member of the Board of Directors of Ecobank Liberia Limited, and Interim Head of the Project Complaint Mechanism at the European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD).
As Minister of Finance, he was Liberia’s Governor to the Board of Governors of the African Development Bank, the International Monetary Fund, and the World Bank (2008-2012).
Ngafuan holds a Master of Business Administration (MBA) in Finance and Accounting (2004) from William E. Simon Graduate School of Business, University of Rochester, New York, USA, and a Bachelor of Business Administration (BBA) in Accounting & Economics from the University of Liberia, Monrovia (2000).