Kwasi Kwarteng: Meet UK's New Finance Minister Whose Parents Are Ghanaians

Kwasi Kwarteng: Meet UK's New Finance Minister Whose Parents Are Ghanaians

  • Kwasi Kwarteng has become the first Black man to be appointed chancellor of the British exchequer
  • Although he was born on a Monday, his parents did not name him Kwadwo or Kojo, but Kwasi, the name for a Sunday born in Akan
  • The man of Ghanaian descent faces an uphill task of relieving the economic hardship pounding many Britons

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Kwasi Kwarteng, the new finance minister of the UK, was born in East London in 1975, but his parents arrived in the European country from Ghana as students in the 1960s.

Born Akwasi Addo Alfred Kwarteng, he is the only child of Alfred K. Kwarteng, an economist, and Charlotte Boaitey-Kwarteng, a barrister. Although he was born on a Monday, his parents named him Kwasi, the Akan name for a Sunday born.

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He once told the BBC's Nick Robinson that his parents stayed silent on the matter when he jokingly brought it up.

Kwasi Kwarteng
Kwasi Kwarteng is UK's new finance minister. Source: Facebook/@AtinkaTVGhana
Source: Facebook

Kwasi Kwarteng’s Political Life

He made his first attempt to become an MP in 2005, standing as the Conservative candidate for Brent East at the general election but came third.

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There was also an unsuccessful run for the London Assembly in 2008. However, he became part of the "class of 2010", a cohort of politicians entering Westminster for the first time that year.

He was elected as MP for Spelthorne in Surrey and entered parliament simultaneously with future colleagues Liz Truss, Priti Patel and Sajid Javid.

His maiden speech in the House of Commons came with comments some described as "controversial" when he used the opportunity to criticise the former Labour government led by Gordon Brown and how it tackled the 2008 financial crisis.

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"They have not once accepted any blame for what happened and they seem to think that we can just sail on as before," he said, also setting out the view that "wealth creation is the most important element in getting us out of this recession".

Following the 2017 general election, Kwarteng was appointed Parliamentary Private Secretary to Chancellor of the Exchequer Philip Hammond. On 16 November 2018, Kwarteng replaced Suella Braverman as a minister in the Department for Exiting the EU.

Kwarteng was a vocal supporter of Boris Johnson in the 2016 and 2019 Conservative Party leadership elections. After Johnson's victory in the latter election, on 25 July 2019, Kwarteng was appointed Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy along with Jo Johnson, brother of the Prime Minister. He was appointed to the Privy Council on the same day.

In September 2019, Harvard-trained politician was criticised by Menzies Campbell, a former Liberal Democrat leader, for stating that "many people are saying that the judges are biased." He made the controversial comment after the Court of Session ruled that Boris Johnson's prorogation of parliament was illegal.

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The Task Ahead For UK's New Finance Minister

While Kwasi Kwarteng becomes the first Black minister of the exchequer, according to Barron's, he takes on the heavy task of trying to steer the country through a cost-of-living crisis and probable recession.

With his close friend Liz Truss, who on Monday won the race to become prime minister, Mr Kwarteng will be at the forefront of urgent plans to help millions of British citizens reeling under rocketing energy prices that have pushed UK inflation to a 40-year high above 10%.

Details of a cost-of-living support package are expected this week, ahead of an emergency budget which Kwarteng will deliver to parliament.

Kwasi Kwarteng: British-Born Ghanaian Appointed UK's First Black Finance Minister has covered how the British-born Ghanaian politician was appointed the first Black Finance Minister in Britain.

The elevation of the Harvard-trained legislator was announced on September 6 by the office of Britain's new Prime Minister, Liz Truss.

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Before this new role, Rt Hon Kwarteng served as the Secretary of State at the Department of Business, Energy, and Industrial Strategy. He previously served as Minister of State of the same Department.

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