Choosing the next CBK Governor

The most awaited event this year begins today as the Public Service Commission (PSC) begins the interviews for the six shortlisted candidates for the role of Kenya’s Central Bank of Kenya (CBK) governor.

After two successive terms, CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge is on his way out over the next one month having helped Kenya change its currency, disciplining banks and keeping Kenya’s currency stable for six of his eight years in office.

The Public Service Commission commenced the process of appointing a new Governor, that saw a total of 24 applicants for the position. The PSC shortlisted 6 candidates from the 24 including; Dorcas Mutonyi, Haron Sirima, Edward Sambili, Nancy Onyango, Adan Mohamed and Kamau Thugge.

So what happens next will be the interviews of each of the candidates at parliament by the Finance, Planning and Trade committee, where after the president will appoint the governor. The interviews are set to be held on May 9, 2023, and PSC has invited members of the public to submit any credible information of interest relating to the six candidates.

The next Governor of Kenya’s Central Bank will face a tough task of bringing down stubborn inflation below the 7.5 percent target, handle a currency that is on a free fall while managing a very delicate banking sector faced by huge loan defaults and selective liquidity at the interbank market.

Here is the profile of the top picks set to battle it out for the country’s controller of monetary policy. 

If Dr Kamau Thugge will be selected for CBK Governor, he will have followed the trend where Treasury officials are switching places with Central Bank bureaucracy, changing roles like Dr Njuguna Ndungu the former Central banker who is now the Finance Cabinet secretary. 

Dr Thugge served as the Principal Secretary at the National Treasury until his unceremonious exit when he was edged out along Henry Rotich on accusations of corruption at Arror and Kimwarer dams. He would later be absolved and turned state witness. 

The gentleman bureaucrat previously worked with the International Monetary Fund (IMF) both in the policy making Departments and non-policy making Departments as Economist/Senior Economist and Deputy Division Chief, experience that will be key as the government negotiates for extra resources from the multilateral body.

Dr Thugge holds a Bachelors of Arts (Economics) from Colorado College, USA, Masters in Economics (1982) from Johns Hopkins University, USA and a Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) in Economics (1990) from Johns Hopkins University, USA.

Dr Haron Sirima, is currently the Director-General, Public Debt Management Office at the National Treasury. He narrowly missed out on CBK Governor post last time round and is a front runner in the current race. 

A career central banker, he joined the Central Bank of Kenya in 1986 as a graduate trainee and rose through the ranks to the position of Deputy Governor, Central Bank of Kenya and Vice Chairman, Monetary Policy Committee. He has previously served as Deputy Director Management Department, Ministry of Finance and also Adjunct Professor at Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology.

Dr Sirima has been involved in the design and implementation of public debt management reforms including the preparation of the legal framework for public finance management at the National Treasury.

Read also: Banks exposure to GoK debt cut to a decade low

He holds a B.A Economics and B.Phil Economics degrees from University of Nairobi, Master’s degree in Economics from University of Manchester, UK and PhD in Entrepreneurship from Kenyatta University. He has extensive professional training in monetary policy operations, foreign exchange reserves, sovereign debt and strategic management.

Dr. Nancy Onyango was appointed the Director, Office of Internal Audit and Inspection at the International Monetary Fund from February 2018. Prior to joining the Fund, Nancy was the CEO of Reliance Risk Advisory Solutions, a Board of Directors governance consulting entity which she founded.

Dr Onyango worked with PricewaterhouseCoopers in the UK, Europe, Asia and East Africa for over 25 years, and with EY as the Governance, Risk and Compliance Africa leader for 2 years. Nancy is also a Gender Leadership specialist. Her doctoral dissertation was on the “Perceived Barriers Faced by Women in Ascending to CEO Positions in Kenyan Corporations”.

She holds a B. Comm (1st Class Honours), and an MBA (Management Information Systems) both from University of Nairobi, Kenya and a Doctorate in Business Administration (DBA) from USIU- Africa. She is also a qualified CPA, a Certified Risk and Information Systems Control (CRISC) practitioner, Certified Information Systems Auditor Certified in Corporate Governance for Enterprise IT (CGEIT) from the ISACA International, and a Certified in Risk Management Assurance (CRMA) from the global Institute of Internal Auditors.

Dr Onyango is currently an independent member of Fairtrade America and Global Give Back Circle (USA) boards. She has also previously sat on Fairtrade Africa, Fairtrade International, Kenya Commercial Bank Group, Financial Sector Deepening Africa and Cytonn Investments Limited. She is also a Global Give Back Circle mentor to disadvantaged girls in Kenya.

Adan Mohammed

Adan Mohammed is a prominent Kenyan banker and entrepreneur. He joined Pricewaterhouse Coopers soon after completing his degree, where he was sent to London for training as a chartered accountant. 

He later switched his focus to consulting, and was posted to Shell in Nigeria for three years in this capacity. In 1994, Adan decided to pursue an MBA at the Harvard Business School, a degree he completed in 1998.

After receiving his MBA, Adan returned to Kenya and joined the country’s Barclays branch as a Finance Director. He would then rise through the ranks and eventually assume the position of Managing Director of Barclays bank in East and West Africa. 

On 25 April 2013, Mohammed was named as Kenya’s Cabinet Secretary for Industrialization, one of 18 Cabinet Secretary nominees to the new Uhuru Kenyatta administration. He has also served as the economic advisor to the president.

Edward Sambili is an economic Consultant at KRA. He has also worked as former Deputy CBK Governor from 2001-2004. He has also served as former PS Planning National Development & Vision 2030.

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