The passing of Professor Benno Ndulu

Press Release

The IGC is saddened to learn that Professor Benno Ndulu passed away yesterday 22 February 2021 in Tanzania. Professor Ndulu was an IGC Senior Advisor and Visiting Professor at Oxford’s Blavatnik School of Government.

He led the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) from 2008 to 2018. As Governor, he transformed the institution, championing transparency and robust economic research and promoting financial inclusion and sound macroeconomic policy.

Professor Ndulu played a central role in the establishment of IGC Tanzania in 2008 and, throughout his time as Governor, worked closely with our country team under the leadership of then Country Director John Page and Lead Academic Professor Chris Adam, and with Professor Paul Collier, Director of the IGC.

Professor Adam said: “It was a great honour and privilege for me to work with Benno during my time as Lead Academic for the IGC in Tanzania. Not only was he unfailingly generous with his advice, his wisdom and his razor-sharp economic analysis, but he also provided enormous support in helping our fledgling IGC team find its wings. My enduring memory of this time, however, is of Benno as a scholar and teacher. Despite carrying the burden of office, he was hugely committed to fostering a culture of excellence and engagement amongst his team of young Tanzanian economists at the Bank and beyond, encouraging and promoting their research and, not infrequently, sitting quietly at the back of their seminars!”

Professor Ndulu wrote widely on growth, governance, and trade. His last book Tanzania: The Path to Prosperity was co-edited with Professor Adam and Professor Collier and was based heavily on IGC research. He continued to work with IGC in recent years, agreeing to serve as a Senior Advisor after his retirement from the Bank.

Professor Jonathan Leape, Executive Director of the IGC, said: “Professor Ndulu will be dearly missed as a valuable advisor and colleague. He was a staunch supporter of the IGC from its inception, and his unique perspective as an academic and policymaker was invaluable. We will continue to be inspired by his ideas, leadership, and legacy of selfless public service.”

Professor Ndulu started his career at the University of Dar es Salaam in the early 1980s before joining the World Bank as a Lead Economist. He was instrumental in setting up and developing the African Economic Research Consortium (AERC), one of the most effective research and training networks in Africa.

In September 2019, after retiring from the Bank of Tanzania, he was appointed by South Africa’s President Cyril Ramaphosa, as a member of the new Presidential Economic Advisory Council. Shortly after, Ethiopia’s Prime Minister Abiy Ahmed named Professor Ndulu as a member of his Economic Advisory Council.

“Africa cannot afford his loss, but his example can continue to inspire the new generation to which he contributed,” said Professor Collier.