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An economist deeply involved in public policy and administration, Andrew Brimmer was appointed in 1966 as a governor of the Federal Reserve Board, where he served until 1974. He worked to alleviate unemployment, the national deficit, and racial discrimination. In 1969, when small businesses were suffering, Brimmer urged African Americans to forsake “black capitalist” ventures and pursue work in large mainstream companies instead. He proposed an income-tax reduction plan to President Gerald L. Ford in 1974; the following year, it became the basis of congressional legislation. In 1984, when black unemployment was double that of whites, Brimmer supported strategies that combined Affirmative Action with self-help.

Brimmer, the son of a sharecropper who struggled to make ends meet during the Great Depression, was born in Newellton, Louisiana After high school he joined the army where he became a staff sergeant Brimmer received a B A ...

Article

Darius V. Echeverría

economist and educator. Some individuals are important because they exemplify the historical past, while others are important because they embody generational change toward social progress. As the first African American governor of the U.S. Federal Reserve Board (1966–1974), Andrew Felton Brimmer is both the former and the latter.

The life story of this extraordinary leader began on 13 September 1926 in Newellton, Louisiana. The son of Andrew Brimmer Sr., a sharecropper, and Vellar Davis Brimmer, a warehouse worker, Brimmer picked cotton as a child in rural northeastern Louisiana while attending segregated public schools. Rather than allowing the hardships of poverty and racial injustice to discourage him, Brimmer used these experiences as a motivating force. Early on he was determined to earn a college degree so that he could serve in positions where he could help others.

Brimmer graduated from high school in 1944 and ...

Article

Diana Senior-Angulo

was born on 4 July 1963 in San José, Costa Rica, the fourth of seven children of Shirley Barr Aird and Luis Campbell Patterson. Epsy, whose paternal grandmother was an immigrant to Costa Rica from Jamaica, completed her secondary studies at the Liceo Franco Costarricense and Colegio Superior de Señoritas in Costa Rica in the 1980s. She later attended the University of Costa Rica, earned a degree in economics at the Latin University of Costa Rica in 1998, and received an M.A. in development cooperation at the Foundation for Cultural and Social Sciences in Spain in 2008.

Campbell began her activist career addressing environmental issues. In 1992 she was one of the founders of the Afro Caribbean and Afro Latin American Women s Network now known as the Afro Latin American Afro Caribbean and Diaspora Women s Network in the Dominican Republic She was also one of ...

Article

Nicole L. Phillip-Dowe

was born in Victoria, St. Mark’s Parish, Grenada, on 10 August 1944 to Flora Coard (née Fleming) and Frederick McDermott Coard, an official attester, justice of the peace, and civil servant, as well as president of the Credit Union League and the Civil Service Credit Union. Coard attended the Grenada Boys Secondary School, and he also taught there for one year after graduating. In 1966 he attained a B.Sc. in economics at Brandeis University in the United States. During his time at Brandeis he was both the Wein Scholar and the Eleanor Roosevelt Research Scholar. In 1967 he attained his master’s degree in comparative politics at Sussex University in England. During his tenure in Britain he wrote a book that offered a scathing critique on the British education system, titled How the West Indian Child Is Made Educationally Subnormal in the British School System (1971).

On 6 July ...

Article

Rayford W. Logan

William H. Dean, Jr. was born on July 6, 1910, in Lynchburg, Virginia, the only son and the third of four children of the Rev. and Mrs. William Henry Dean, Sr. He spent his early years in Lynchburg, Virginia; Washington, D.C.; Baltimore, Maryland; and Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where his father was a pastor in Methodist churches. In 1926 Dean graduated as valedictorian of his class from Douglass High School, Baltimore. Recipient of a scholarship from the Baltimore chapter of the Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity, he was elected to Phi Beta Kappa in his junior year at Bowdoin College in Maine and received his B.A. degree, graduating summa cum laude, in 1930. He earned his M.A. degree in 1932 and Ph.D. degree from Harvard University in Massachusetts in 1938; both degrees were in economics.

From 1933 to 1942 Dean taught economics and business administration at Atlanta ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

politician and economist, was born in the town of Khombole, Senegal. His father worked as a railway employee and a policeman. Dia's mother was a member of a “ceddo” family known for its attachment to indigenous spiritual beliefs outside of orthodox Islamic traditions, but his father was from a family of Muslim scholars. Dia's father died when Dia was only ten years old, but his family succeeded in supporting his education. Dia's father could speak French, but was illiterate and never received any formal Western schooling. His willingness to openly complain about poor treatment to his colonial employers also made a deep impression on Dia. As a young man he attended the primary school of École Blanchot in Saint-Louis followed by the École Normale William Ponty, the most respected secondary school in French West Africa. In 1924 Dia visited Dakar for the first time and he was amazed ...

Article

Haggai Erlich

Egyptian politician, lawyer, economist, cabinet minister, and prime minister, was born in May 1888 to an urban landowning family long involved in politics. His father was Muhammad Mahir, former undersecretary of state for war, and his older brother was Ali Mahir, also a politician. Ahmad Mahir graduated from the Khedivial Law School and then went to France to pursue doctoral studies at the University of Montpellier. Back home, he taught at the law school and the Higher School of Commerce before quitting his academic career during the 1919 Revolution to become one of the closest and most loyal aides of Saʿd Zaghlul. As such, he was one of the founders of the Wafd Party and responsible for organizing its “secret apparatus,” the body tasked with applying violent measures against the British occupiers and the party’s rivals. When the Wafd won the first constitutional elections in January 1924 Mahir was ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

politician and economist, was born on 5 June 1964 in the city of Kundu in the eastern province of Maniema in the Democratic Republic of the Congo (DRC). Little is available on his early life, though some sources claimed he came from a relatively poor family and he was recognized as a man of fervent Protestant faith. After graduating from primary and secondary school, Ponyo went to the University of Kinshasa. There he studied economics, in which subject he received his undergraduate degree in 1988 Ponyo then became a high ranking figure at the Banque Centrale of Congo where he coauthored with economist François Kabuya Kalala a study of financial policies in eastern and western Kasai provinces in the last years of dictator Mobutu Sese Seko The two authors noted how the Kasai provincial governments refused to follow Mobutu s policy of replacing old zaires the main currency ...

Article

Grant Lilford

Zambian novelist, civil servant, and economist, was born in 1933, in Feira, Mkando, in Zambia, and grew up in the Roman Catholic Church. He attended Katondwe Mission School and Canisius College, Chalimbana, before qualifying as a teacher at Chalimbana Teacher’s College. He then studied economics, history, and English at the University College of Rhodesia and Nyasaland.

From 1965 Mulaisho served as permanent secretary in the office of the president of Zambia, and then occupied other government posts, including permanent secretary in the Ministry of Education. He moved into the parastatal sector, serving as chairman of the mining industry and general manager of the National Agricultural Marketing Board. From 1971 he was chairman of the Mining Development Corporation (Mindeco), the recently nationalized portion of Zambia’s copper mining industry. He later served as economics advisor to Zambia’s President Kenneth Kaunda. Mulaisho served as governor of the Bank of Zambia from 1992 ...

Article

Gerhard Seibert

, economist, politician, and former prime minister of São Tomé e Príncipe, was born Maria das Neves Ceita Batista in São Tomé on 11 July 1958. She married Carlos Quaresma Batista de Sousa, with whom she has two daughters. Neves graduated in economics with a specialization in finance and crediting. Thereafter she became a civil servant in the ministry of finance and attended several training courses in macroeconomic management and banking. From 1999 to 2001 she was minister of economics, commerce, agriculture, fisheries, and tourism (a post that her husband had occupied in previous governments) in the government of Prime Minister Guilherme Posser da Costa (Movimento de Libertação de São Tomé e Príncipe/Partido Social Democrata; MLSTP/PSD). While minister of economy in March 1999 she was embarrassed by her husband who was dismissed from his post of governor of the Central Bank of São Tomé and Príncipe BCSTP due ...

Article

Mickie Hudson-Koster

Kenyan economist, nationalist, and father of Barack Obama Jr., 44th president of the United States, was born in Kanyadhiang village near Lake Victoria on 4 April 1936 to Hussein Onyango Obama, medicine man, farmer, and colonial cook, and Habiba Akumu Nyanjango. Raised by his father’s third wife, Sarah Ogwel, Obama grew up in Nyangʿoma Kogelo village in the Siaya District of Nyanza Province. A serious student, Obama was one of eighty-one African students selected to study abroad under a program organized by Kenyan politician Tom Mboya to send leading students to the United States to prepare for impending independence. Another Kenyan student who participated in Mboya’s program was Africa’s first female Nobel Peace Prize winner, the environmentalist Wangari Muta Maathai. In 1959 Obama enrolled as an economics student at the University of Hawaii, becoming the first African student to study there.

Obama had several wives during his life Before he ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

Togolese politician, was born on 26 December 1936 in the Togolese capital of Lomé. He was the third child of Sylvanus Olympio and Dinah Olympio. Sylvanus was one of the leading Togolese politicians of the late colonial and early independence era and was president of Togo from 1958 to 1963.

Like his siblings, Olympio received an advanced education thanks to the affluence of his family. He attended primary school at Notre Dame de Sacré Coeur de Lomé. After attending secondary school at Prince of Wales College in Accra, Ghana, he commenced his undergraduate studies at Hamilton College in the United States in 1958. There he developed his lifelong passion for economics. He continued his studies at the London School of Economics in 1959 and then at Oxford University Olympio eventually received a doctorate in economics from Oxford thanks to a scholarship from the Oppenheimer Foundation He completed ...

Article

Nigerian economist and academic, was born to a Urhobo family in Sapele, a town located in the Niger Delta region of Nigeria on 22 May 1933. While his last name was Urhobo, his middle name was Itsekiri, the lingua franca of trade in his home region.

His parents were firm believers in order and discipline, which helped to form his own self-controlled persona later in life. Onosode’s father was a Baptist minister, and so he was sent to the Baptist primary school in the nearby town of Oginibo from 1940 to 1946. In 1943 he had a born-again experience, and he remained a fervent Baptist for the rest of his life. Onosode graduated from this school and enrolled in the Government College secondary school at Ughelli from 1947 to 1952. Onsosode then entered the University of Ibadan and graduated with a degree in classics in 1957 ...

Article

Cyril Daddieh

an economist and international banker-turned-politician in Côte d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), was born in Dimbokro on 1 January 1942. This birthplace and his subsequent claim to Ivoirian nationality is highly contested in Abidjan, the Ivoirian commercial capital. He attended secondary school in Upper Volta (now Burkina Faso) and then proceeded to the University of Pennsylvania on a Fulbright scholarship as a national of Burkina Faso. He received his bachelor’s degree (BA) in mathematics, followed by an MA and a PhD in economics, awarded in 1967 and 1972. respectively.

“ADO,” as Ouattara is popularly known to his supporters, has had an illustrious career in international banking and finance spanning nearly four decades. He first joined the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in April 1968 as chief economist Ouattara left five years later to join the Central Bank of West African States BCEAO as head of mission in Paris where he ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

president of Niger, was born to a Hausa family in Zinder (a city dominated by the Hausa ethnic community) on 20 January 1950. After completing primary school, he attended secondary school in Niamey, the capital of Niger. He passed his baccalaureate examinations in 1969, and then went to France to continue his studies. Ousmane received a master’s degree in mathematics from the University of Nantes in 1974, and continued his studies by turning to economics. Ousmane graduated in 1978 with two advanced degrees, in statistics and economics. Later, he moved to Canada, where he received two different business management degrees from schools in Quebec City and Montreal.

In the 1980s Ousmane was not involved in politics Instead he worked as an economic analyst for the government and helped develop and maintain development projects as well as coordinate census activities Ousmane briefly lived in Gabon where he worked ...

Article

Elizabeth Heath

A statistician and economist by training, Mahamane Ousmane was not involved in Niger’s politics until he founded the Convention Démocratique et Sociale-Rhama (CDS) in Zinder. With the support of the town’s wealthy Hausa merchants, he was able to organize a coalition of opposition parties, the Alliance des Forces du Changement (AFC), and defeat the ruling the Mouvement National de la Société de Développement (MNSD) in 1993 presidential elections.

As president, Ousmane eventually alienated many of his allies because of his lack of political finesse and charisma. He also faced a number of problems familiar to his predecessors: state bankruptcy, unrest among the Tuareg labor protests and severe droughts In order to obtain vital funding from international donors Ousmane was forced to enact structural adjustment austerity measures which only increased popular discontent Although his government both helped stabilize the economy and signed a peace treaty with Tuareg rebels opposition ...

Article

Jeremy Rich

politician and economist, was born on 20 April 1942 in the small town of Nzamaligue in the Estuary province of Gabon. His parents belonged to Fang-speaking clans that comprised the majority of people living in the province, and he was baptized as a Catholic at the nearby mission of Donguila. He remained a patron of the small Donguila parish many decades later, and organized an effort to finally bring electricity to the mission. Oyé-Mba also authorized the restoration of the poorly maintained early twentieth-century church itself at Donguila by 2004.

From 1948 to 1954 Oyé-Mba attended the prestigious École Montfort primary school in the Gabonese capital of Libreville, and from 1954 to 1961 he went to the Catholic Collège Bessieux secondary school in the same city. After passing his baccalaureate examinations in June 1961 like many other young Gabonese men of his generation Oyé Mba then went ...

Article

Ebenezer Ayesu

chief (traditional ruler), economist, business leader, university administrator, and philanthropist, was born Emmanuel Noi Omaboe on 29 October 1930 in Amanokrom, Akuapem in the eastern region of Ghana. His parents were Madam Mary Opibea Awuku of the royal Asona family of Amanokrom and Mr. Peter Nortey Omaboe, a prominent goldsmith resident at Mamfe and a citizen of Osu. He was enrolled in Mamfe Presbyterian Junior School from 1936 to 1942, completed his primary education at the Suhum Presbyterian Senior School in 1945, and from 1946 to 1950 studied at Accra Academy. There, he was a peer of several students who would be future leaders of Ghana, including Peter Ala Adjetey, who went on to a career as a noted lawyer and speaker of Ghana’s parliament (2000–2004). In 1951 he entered the University College of the Gold Coast now the University of Ghana to study economics ...

Article

Cajetan N. Iheka

Nigerian economist, business consultant, and politician, was born in Isuofia, Aguata Local Government Area of present-day Anambra state, Nigeria, on 28 July 1960. Soludo was born to Pa Simeon Nwankwo Soludo and Mgbafor Soludo. Mgbafor, Soludo’s mother, died in 1968, when he was eight years old. At the time Soludo was born, Nigeria was preparing for independence, which Britain granted on 1 October 1960. Anambra state, where Soludo was born, was part of the defunct Eastern region at that time. It was to become part of the East-Central state until the politics of state creation in Nigeria named it Anambra, and it is one of the states that constitute Nigeria’s South-East geopolitical region today.

After his secondary education which he passed with a distinction grade Soludo secured admission into the prestigious University of Nigeria Nsukka in the present day Enugu state to study economics Here too Soludo ...

Article

Bill Dickens

economist, educator, businessman, and diplomat, was born Clifton Reginald Wharton Jr. in Boston, Massachusetts, one of four children of Clifton Reginald Wharton, an ambassador, and Harriette B., a social worker in Boston and a French and Latin teacher at Virginia State University. His father was the first African American to pass the Foreign Service examination and became the first black career ambassador.

Wharton attended the prestigious Boston Latin School and graduated in 1943. The precocious Wharton enrolled at Harvard University at age sixteen. At the age of nineteen he served as an army aviation cadet and was stationed in Tuskegee, Alabama. However, with five weeks remaining to earn his aviator wings, he decided to return to Harvard to complete his undergraduate degree. He earned his AB in History in 1947 Wharton was the first African American to enroll in the Johns Hopkins School ...