University of Ghana honours Dr Kandeh Yumkella of Sierra Leone

Sierra Leone Telegraph: 23 February, 2017

The University of Ghana has announced that Dr. Kandeh Yumkella of Sierra Leone will deliver the 2017 Aggrey-Fraser-Guggisberg Memorial Lectures scheduled for March 21-22, 2017, at the University’s Great Hall in Accra.

Yumkella will speak about ‘Africa – A Continent of Hope, Opportunity and Transformation: Challenges for Energy Transition in Africa and Transforming Africa’s Agriculture and Agribusiness’.

Named after James Kwegyir Aggrey, a Ghanaian educationist, Alexander Garden Fraser – a Scottish missionary and educationist and Gordon Guggisberg – a British Colonial Governor, for major contributions made to the development of education, the Aggrey-Fraser-Guggisberg Memorial Lecture series is a high point on the University’s academic calendar. It is intended to highlight the role of the academy in the generation of ideas for development.

“Each year, our university seeks to attract world-class intellectuals to share with faculty and students their ideas from the different disciplines they represent on how development may be conceived and pursued, said Professor E. O. Owusu, Vice Chancellor of the University of Ghana.

“Dr. Yumkella’s invitation as the 2017 Distinguished Lecturer follows his excellent international career and enviable track record.”

Kandeh (Photo) – the former UN Under-Secretary-General and UNIDO Director-General is known around the world for his breath of experience in international sustainable development.

“I am indeed convinced that your area of work and your reputation will be an invaluable addition to the lecture series and a treasure to our faculty and students,” said VC Owusu.

Previous speakers include Lady Robert Jackson (1957), Sir Jajachamaraja Wadiyar Bahadur (1960), Sir Julian Huxley (1961), Davidson Nicol (1963), Prof. Dorothy Hodgkin (1966), Prof. Sir Arthur Lewis (1968), Prof. Sir Mark Oliphant (1969), Lord John Todd (1971), Lord John Todd (1971), Robert Gardiner (1972), Prof. Raymond Aaron (1973), Saburo Okita (1974), Prof. T.O. Elias (1975), Dr. Claude T. Bissell (1976), Prof. Ralph Dahrendorf (1977), Prof. K. Onwuka Dike (1979), Sir Leuan Maddock (1980), Dr. M.S. Swaminathan (1981).

Other speakers include: Prof. Edem Kodjo (1985), K.K. Dadzie (1990), L.K.H. Goma (1991), Prof. F.T.Sai (1994), Prof. Ivor Wilks (1995), Prof. Michael Gibbons (1999), Prof. Ali A. Mazrui (2002), Dr. Kwame Anyane-Yeboah (2004), Prof. Hans Van Ginkel (2005), H.E. Mary Robinson (2006), Rt. Hon. Paul Boateng (2007), James D. Wolfensohn (2008), Sir John Edward Sulston (2011), Dr. Ernest Zedillo (2012), Prof. Thandika Mkandawire (2013), Prof. Rose Gana Fomban Leke (2014), Prof. Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak (2015) and Prof. Ian Shapiro (2016).

Yumkella, who was recently featured as a member of the 2017 African Power Elite class, said he hopes to follow the footsteps of many notable men and women before him, to share his thoughts and ideas with the university community and the people of Ghana.

He said: “I am particularly delighted to note that, 54 years after Professor Davidson Nicol delivered the 1963 Distinguished-Aggrey-Fraser-Guggisberg Lecture – on the topic Africa: A Subjective View, another Sierra Leonean, has been afforded such a unique opportunity.”

As part of the two-day lectures, the University will confer an honorary degree to Dr. Yumkella for his major contribution to the development of the academy at a time when Sierra Leone’s oldest university, Fourah Bay College (FBC), is celebrating 190 years since its founding.

Some of the notable alumni of the University of Ghana include current president of Ghana – Nana Akufo-Addo, former President John Mahama Dramani, former UN Secretary-general Kofi Annan, the late former President – John Atta Mills, the late famous BBC journalist Komla Dumor.

Both Yumkella and former President Mahama were the recipients of honoris Causa degrees from the Ekiti State University in Nigeria during the university’s 17th Convocation ceremony in March 2012.

Dr. Yumkella is presidential flag-bearer aspirant for the opposition Sierra Leone Peoples Party (SLPP). Presidential and general elections in Sierra Leone are due in March 2018.


  1. This man’s wealth of experience is required in Sierra Leone’s post austerity leadership. I wish him well.

  2. Reading about Sierra Leone and living in Sierra Leone before are two different things. I can’t explain the joy I have for this lovely country. Above all, I am glad that they have put the bitter Ebola experience behind them to go further. I congratulate Dr. Kandeh Yumkella.

  3. This is how knowledge to improve the human condition have been made to grow, expand and lift countries and their citizens out of ignorance and poverty. It is done by systematic observation and the application of rational processes to advance learning. A keynote lecture to such an august institution will help drive and promote the tradition of promoting transformational know-how that is so scarce in West Africa.

    There is therefore, no better person to perform such a duty, and carry such a responsibility among fine and learned Sierra Leoneans than Dr. Yumkellah; a proven academic and technocrat who has performed admirably in mainstream liberal democracies around the world, and has continued to promote knowledge and its sustenance, especially in innovative Agro-economics, to help improve food and agricultural productivity, as well as close the poor energy gap in Africa and beyond.

    It is leadership from knowledgeable individuals like Dr. Yumkellah that Sierra Leone yearns for in the 21st century, to lift our country out of ignorance, and poverty. We therefore can’t wait for the debate towards the 2018 general elections to commence, and facilitate the way forward for a case to be made for competent leadership in Sierra Leone.

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