Osafo-Maafo is considered to be one of the sharpest political brainboxes in Ghana. Pundits say that his contribution to the Akufo-Addo government of 2017 to 2020 was immense, but not widely celebrated.
Assuming the position
The position of senior minister is still seen as something of a novelty. It was first introduced into the Ghanaian body politic by President John Agyekum Kufuor in 2001 when he appointed J H Mensah to the role.
President Akufo-Addo continued the Kufuor tradition by appointing Osafo-Maafo as senior minister when he assumed office on 7 January 2017.
Private and political career
Yaw Osafo-Maafo has had an exemplary career as a banker, consultant, politician and statesman.
He began his career as an engineer at Volta Aluminium Company (VALCO) and went on to lead it.
He also successfully restructured two major development banks – the Bank for Housing and Construction and the National Investment Bank. He went on to work as a consultant for international development organisations, including the World Bank and United Nations Development Programme.
Osafo-Maafo was the minister of finance and economic planning in the John Kufuor government of 2001 to 2005 and received many awards for his achievements. This was followed by a stint as minister of education and sports between 2005 and 2006.
He has served on the boards of various financial institutions and corporate bodies, and was vice-president of the executive committee of the West African Bankers’ Association.
Projects and programmes
During his tenure as senior minister, Osafo-Maafo supervised the preparation in 2017 of the National Public Sector Reform Strategy (NPSRS), which began to be implemented in 2018 and will conclude in 2023.
Under the guidance and direction of the senior minister the NPSRS 2017-2027 was reviewed and revised to produce the 104-page NPSRS 2018-2023, whose theme is “Delivering for Citizens and the Private Sector”. It received executive and cabinet approvals in January 2018 and a presidential launch on 8 August 2018.
Other programmes undertaken by the Senior Minister’s Office in 2017 include the Public Sector Reforms for Results Project (PSRRP) 2019-2024, Implementation of the International Law of the Sea (ITLOS), various investigations into financial crimes and the realignment of Ghana’s technical and vocational education and training (TVET) institutions.
President Akufo-Addo tasked a committee under the chairmanship of the senior minister to oversee implementation of the realignment of TVET. At its meeting on 6 December 2017, Akufo-Addo’s cabinet approved the subsequent recommendations by the senior minister and endorsed his five-year TVET Realignment Strategy for the Ministry of Education.
This has affected 283 TVET institutions, spanning responsibilities shared across 19 ministries. It has ensured harmonisation, standardisation, equitable funding and improved regulation under the Ministry of Education.
In President Akufo-Addo’s second year in office (2018), the Office of the Senior Minister assumed responsibility for the government’s Ghana Beyond Aid agenda. He also devised property rating reforms, and developed the national automobile policy.
The Energy Sector Recovery Programme (ESRP), the port reforms introduced with the new UNIPASS/ICUMS system and the development of a framework for value-for-money resolution of various labour-related challenges are among the other major policies on which the former senior minister worked in 2019.
The nationwide co-ordination of the reopening of schools and other educational institutions after their long closure in 2020 in response to the COVID-19 pandemic was the main project that Senior Minister Osafo-Maafo supervised in 2020, his last year in office.