About Us Draft

 

 

 

Dr. K.Y. Amoako
Dr. K.Y. Amoako
President and Founder
African Center for Economic Transformation
The African Center for Economic Transformation (ACET) began in 2008 with a central understanding – that Africa needs more than economic growth. Even as our continent makes steady economic gains, too many countries are not positioned to sustain their progress.

They continue to rely excessively on low-productivity agriculture for rural employment, and they have failed to develop strong manufacturing sectors. Exports are generally limited to a narrow range of agricultural commodities and natural resources, and businesses are difficult to open and operate, stifling the development of a vibrant private sector. Previous attempts to reform the situation through incremental poverty reduction backed by foreign aid have had limited success in addressing the underlying structural limitations facing most African economies.

Much of the well-intentioned policy advice to African governments comes directly from bilateral and multilateral donors. The advice tends to reflect the donors’ priorities and assumptions while lacking a richer understanding of the local context. Even when the required reforms are appropriate, most African governments lack the capacity to implement them.

So when ACET was formed, we called for a new approach to ensure that African countries could fundamentally reorient themselves and realize sustained economic transformation. We wanted to address some of the policy and institutional barriers that hampered sustained economic growth on the continent.

Vision, Mission and Goal

ACET is an economic policy institute supporting Africa’s long-term growth through transformation.

We produce research, offer policy advice, and galvanize action for African countries to develop their economies, reduce poverty, and improve livelihoods for all their people. We are the pre-eminent African organization advancing African solutions to African challenges.

In our view, growth is not enough. Africa must also transform through diversified production, competitive exports, increased productivity, upgraded technology, and improved human well-being.

ACET Vision symbol

Vision

Our vision is an economically transformed Africa within a generation.

ACET Mission symbol

Mission

Our mission is to help government and business deliver economic transformation that improves lives.

ACET Goals symbol

Goal

Our long-term goal is economic transformation and improved human well-being through diversified production, competitive exports, increased productivity and upgraded technology.

The ACET Way

Download an overview of our priorities and approach.

ACET Brochure

ACET has many publications available that are a useful source of information for the latest developments for transformation related activities.

See our publications

Board of Directors

Tito Mboweni : Chairman of the Board

Tito Mboweni

Chairman of the Board

Mr. Tito Mboweni is the Chairman of the Board of ACET and the Minister of Finance of South Africa.

He was the first black governor of the South African Reserve Bank and the Minister of Labour in President Nelson Mandela’s cabinet. He has also served as the Chairman of various companies, including AngloGold Ashanti, Accelerate Property Fund, Nampak Limited, and SacOil Holdings Limited. He is a non-executive director at Discovery Limited and a founding partner of Mboweni Brothers Investment Holdings. He is a trustee and Chairman of the Fundraising Committee of the Nelson Mandela Children’s Hospital, a member of the Council of Advisors of the Thabo Mbeki Foundation, and honorary professor at several South African universities.  

Mr. Mboweni has a BA degree in politics and economics from the National University of Lesotho and holds a Master’s Degree from the University of East Anglia. He has been awarded multiple honorary doctorates from, amongst others, the universities of Cape Town, Stellenbosch, KwaZulu-Natal, Johannesburg, and East Anglia.

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K.Y. Amoako : Founder and President

K.Y. Amoako

Founder and President

Dr. K.Y. Amoako is the Founder and President of ACET and the former Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa. He has dedicated his life to solving the development challenges of the world’s poorest countries, especially those in Africa.

K.Y. began his career in 1974 at the World Bank, where for two decades, he worked alongside leaders and policymakers in numerous African countries. In 1992, he became the Bank’s first Director for Education and Social Policy, overseeing the institution's first framework for gender equality in development. In 1995, K.Y. joined the United Nations to serve as Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa at the rank of Under-Secretary-General. After retiring from the UN, he served as a Distinguished African Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC before founding ACET in 2008. 

He has worked with leading development experts and political leaders on high-level international commissions and task forces to address key African and global challenges. He has chaired the Commission for HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa, convened by Kofi Annan and he has held memberships on committees including the Commission for Africa established and chaired by Tony Blair; the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health chaired by Jeff Sachs; and the Task Force on Global Public Goods co-chaired by Ernesto Zedillo.  

K.Y. has an undergraduate degree from the University of Ghana, and a PhD in Economics from University of California, Berkeley. 

His book, Know the Beginning Well: An Inside Journey Through Five Decades of African Developmentwas published in March 2020.

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Eveline Herfkens : Member of the Board

Eveline Herfkens

Member of the Board

 Eveline Herfkens is the former USecretary-General Executive Coordinator for the Millennium Development Goals Campaign and a past Netherlands Minister for Development Cooperation.

Ms. Herfkens was a member of the Lower House of Parliament of the Netherlands from 1981 to 1990. From 1990 to 1996, she was an Executive Director at the World Bank in Washington D.C. She also served as Ambassador and Permanent Representative of the Netherlands at the United Nations and other international organizations in Geneva.  

Ms. Herfkens has served on the council of the Labor Party (PvdA), and was the Chair of the Evert Vermeer Foundation and the Dutch Fair Trade Organization, as well as a member of the Development Committee of the Netherlands Council of Churches. She studied law and economics at Leiden University.

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Nicholas Westcott  :

Nicholas Westcott 

Dr Nicholas Westcott is the Director of the Royal African Society 

He joined the Foreign and Commonwealth Office in 1982 and has served in Brussels, Washington DC, Tanzania (as Deputy High Commissioner) and from 2008-2011 as the British High Commissioner to Ghana and Ambassador to Cote d'Ivoire, Burkina Faso, Niger and Togo. He has also held the positions of Managing Director for Africa and Managing Director for North Africa and the Middle East at the EU External Action Service. 

He is a Research Associate at the SOAS Centre for International Studies and Diplomacy, sits on the Editorial Board of African Affairsis a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society and a member of Chatham House. 

Dr. Westcott has a BA in History and a PhD in African history from Cambridge University. His recent publications include Imperialism and Development: the East African Groundnut Scheme and its legacy and Responding to Conflict and Promoting Stability: European Policy in the Middle East and North Africa.

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Arekebe Oqubay :

Arekebe Oqubay

Dr. Arkebe Oqubay is a Senior Minister and Special Adviser to the Prime Minister of EthiopiaBetween 2003-06, he was the Mayor of Addis Ababa. 

He serves as the board chair of several public organizations and international advisory boards, and is a recipient of the Order of the Rising Sun, Gold and Silver Star, presented by the Emperor of Japan. He is a UNU-WIDER Honorary Research Fellow; a Distinguished Research Fellow at the London-based think tank Overseas Development Institute and a research associate at the Centre of African Studies in the University of London 

Dr. Arkebe holds a PhD in development studies from SOAS, University of London. His recent published works include: Made in AfricaThe Oxford Handbook of the Ethiopian Economy; How Nations Learn: Technological Learning, Industrial Policy, and Catch Up; China-Africa and an Economic Transformation; and African Economic Development: Evidence, Theory, and Policy.

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Paul Boateng :

Paul Boateng

Lord Paul Yaw Boateng, Baron Boateng of Akyem and Wembley is a member of the UK House of Lords, the former Chief Secretary to the Treasury and a past Member of Parliament for the Brent South constituency. 

He became the first person of African descent to serve as a government minister when he was appointed in 1997 as the parliamentary under-secretary for health. He served as the British High Commissioner to South Africa from 2005-09 and he was introduced as a member of the House of Lords in 2010. He is a Chancellor at the University of Greenwich and the Chairman of the Sir Winston Churchill Archive Trust. 

Lord Boateng has a law degreee from the University of Bristol and honorary Doctor of Law degrees from West London University, Lincoln University and the University of Bristol.

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Robert Peiffer : Finance and Audit Committee Chair

Robert Peiffer

Finance and Audit Committee Chair

Robert Peiffer is the chair of the Finance and Audit Committee at ACET. 

He is a risk management and project management professional with more than 30 years of experience in the financial services and consulting industries. His background includes senior roles in internal audit, financial reporting, regulatory compliance, corporate governance, operational risk management, and banking operations. He has extensive global experience, having lived and worked in the US, Europe and Asia, including Washington DC, New York, London, Budapest, Hong Kong, and Tokyo.  

Mr. Peiffer earned a B.Sc in Business from Miami University and an MBA from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.  

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Leadership and Management

K.Y. Amoako : Founder and President

K.Y. Amoako

Founder and President

Dr. K.Y. Amoako is the Founder and President of ACET and the former Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa. He has dedicated his life to solving the development challenges of the world’s poorest countries, especially those in Africa.

K.Y. began his career in 1974 at the World Bank, where for two decades, he worked alongside leaders and policymakers in numerous African countries. In 1992, he became the Bank’s first Director for Education and Social Policy, overseeing the institution's first framework for gender equality in development. In 1995, K.Y. joined the United Nations to serve as Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa at the rank of Under-Secretary-General. After retiring from the UN, he served as a Distinguished African Scholar at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars in Washington, DC before founding ACET in 2008. 

He has worked with leading development experts and political leaders on high-level international commissions and task forces to address key African and global challenges. He has chaired the Commission for HIV/AIDS and Governance in Africa, convened by Kofi Annan and he has held memberships on committees including the Commission for Africa established and chaired by Tony Blair; the Commission on Macroeconomics and Health chaired by Jeff Sachs; and the Task Force on Global Public Goods co-chaired by Ernesto Zedillo.  

K.Y. has an undergraduate degree from the University of Ghana, and a PhD in Economics from University of California, Berkeley. 

His book, Know the Beginning Well: An Inside Journey Through Five Decades of African Developmentwas published in March 2020.

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Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi : Executive Vice President 

Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi

Executive Vice President 

Mavis Owusu-Gyamfi is the Executive Vice President. She joined ACET in 2020. Mavis is responsible for the day-to-day management and strategic leadership of the organization and also leads the Gender and Economic Transformation program 

She has over 25 years of international development experience in Africa, Asia and the Eastern Caribbean. Prior to joining ACET, she was Director of Investments at The Power of Nutrition, and from 2011 to 2016, served as the Director for Programme Policy and Quality at Save the Children UK. Mavis worked with the UK Department for International Development for 15 years as a Private Sector Development Specialist. 

Mavis is a Trustee of Sightsavers and a board member of the Coalition for Global Prosperity. She has an M.Phil degree from the Institute of Development Studies at the University of Sussex and is a Desmond Tutu Fellow. Her publications include Binding Constraints to Growth in Nigeria and Growth and Competitiveness.

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ACET Fellows