Patrick njoroge

Patrick njoroge DEFAULT

Dr. Patrick Njoroge is the ninth Governor of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK). He holds a Ph.D. degree in Economics from Yale University (1993), a Master of Arts degree in Economics (1985) and a Bachelor of Arts degree in Economics (1983) from the University of Nairobi. Dr. Njoroge reflects on his time at Yale University, his greatest challenges, and successes as the Governor of the CBK; he gave advice to scholars pursuing economics as a discipline. 

1. Please tell us something about your background or early life.

I was born and raised in Kenya. My dad worked in the education department and my mum was a teacher. I think that is one of the reasons [why] I got a passion for reading. Our parents pushed us to be good in school and exemplary in our work, but they also instilled in us a sense of discipline and respect for others and having religion as an important factor in our lives. I was always interested in sciences, and then electrical and electronic engineering. But just before joining the University of Nairobi I realised that electrical engineering was not for me and got more interested in economics which I thought then would give me wider scope for uplifting people’s lives. 

2. Tell us about your time at Yale University. What are some of your favorite memories from your time at Yale?

My time at Yale was very exciting, especially being in the Economics Department, in addition to the usual travails of a graduate student. I remember the first semester in terms of focusing on work and getting to know my classmates. There was also the cultural shock of being in the U.S. for the first time. I remember attending the Yale-Harvard game in the fall of ’87 and was it cold! It was the coldest day that I had faced until then, sub-zero with the wind-chill factor. I do not remember who won, as survival was the only thing on my mind.

The other memories are of course the professors, and I particularly remember Jim Tobin’s Macro class, Bill Brainard, TN, Bob Shiller, and others. I remember the seminar discussion of the stock market crash of October ’87, and the new focus on circuit-breakers. The strong policy angle in our studies was very exciting. Of course, I remember the friends I made at the time, and who are now all over.

3. When faced with a challenge or adversity on the job, where do you derive your resilience, inspiration, or strength from? 

First and foremost is an appreciation of the challenge that you are facing and the recognition that you have the capacity to deal with it. This instils a sense of confidence. Importantly, that confidence is anchored on my technical ability - that I have had good training - and good resources, such as a good support structure and knowledgeable staff. Second, a sense of a higher purpose beyond the resolving the problem or overcoming the adversity: for instance, seeing the millions of people whose lives will change if the problem is solved. In a sense, I take counsel from the rallying call, “For God, for Country and for Yale!”

4. What leadership qualities are essential for success as a central banker?

Firstly, you should be technically well grounded. This allows you to break down the matter before you to its essential elements and present it with a simplicity of expression. Secondly, I take inspiration in being a leader that sees and communicates the big picture. It is important to have a vision, and to my mind, that is the difference between being a manager and a leader. For instance, our vision in the Central Bank goes beyond price stability and includes our wider mandate. A leader is also a strong communicator to all stakeholders, well beyond generalities. We strive to communicate that vision to a broad range of stakeholders, also on things that resonate with them. Thirdly, a leader should understand the limits of his teams, working with them in line with the vision but also understanding how to build them. Honestly, central bankers have a good example to follow. I do not remember the context but sometime around 1990, Bill Brainard remarked to me that Janet Yellen (another Yalie!) is the one to watch. She has certainly not disappointed!

5. What is the greatest challenged you have faced as the governor of the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK)?

The greatest challenge I ever faced is closing the mid-sized Chase Bank Ltd. in April 2016. The bank was connected with virtually every corner of the country, in terms of the people, sectors and more. It did not help that this came a few months after we closed two other banks. But there were significant deficiencies in the bank which led to our decision to close it. That is a decision we did not take lightly, given its adverse impact on the population and the sector in the short term. This jolt also set us on a path to strengthen the sector, which in hindsight has been highly beneficial in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic.

6. How do you see the role of communication in building public support and understanding? And how have you been able to communicate the CBK’s policies to the public?

The key is to communicate with the stakeholder as best as you can through the available medium. While there may appear to be limited immediate benefits, such engagements will yield significant benefits through time as appropriate communication reinforces public trust and credibility, the key currency for central banks. To me, communication by central banks is less about accountability and more about strengthening credibility and the efficacy of policy. Our actions necessarily affect a wide swath of the public and therefore support of these policies enhances their effectiveness. We have had to explain unpopular decisions and views to different stakeholders. We have been using both the traditional (OpEds, interviews, press conferences, etc.) and social media channels, but I much prefer direct engagements because I receive feedback from the audience. We have also been reaching out in other ways to specific segments of our population, such as meeting with private sector CEOs, students, and other groups.

7. What are some of your priorities as a governor as we look forward to post-pandemic economic recovery? 

We must first recognise that most institutions and people have very limited buffers, and therefore very limited room for manoeuvre as we go into the post-pandemic period. It is therefore important to carefully manage these limited buffers and avoid a crisis or crash landing. Second, is making sure that the markets remain operational and effective. We have begun seeing questions about how the markets are operating in some jurisdictions. Third, is the need to provide critical support to the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs). For us in Kenya, the SME sector is and will continue to be the backbone of the economy, especially in terms of employment. However, SMEs also need to transform themselves, e.g., the standards they adhere to, recordkeeping, etc. Finally, but importantly, is continuing the transformation in the banking sector. This transformation is to make the sector more resilient in four areas: strengthening their business models; customer-centricity; risk-based pricing; and greater transparency

8. What role do you see technology playing in fostering financial inclusion in Kenya?

Technology has been a key driver for the improvements we have seen in financial inclusion. Between 2006 and 2019, financial inclusion in Kenya increased from 26 percent to 84 percent—remarkable by any measure and driven by the mobile money revolution. In turn, a completely new space has opened up an entirely new ecosystem that is technology-based. While financial inclusion will continue to improve, it is no longer about access but about use. Consequently, the questions we are looking at are about usage, and our intention is to continue to transform Kenya by democratising financial services.

9. Many countries in Africa face a significant gap between the number of young people seeking employment and the limited employment opportunities available to them. Which interventions or mechanisms are most critical to helping correct that imbalance?

It is very good that youth in Africa have very high expectations, the same as youth anywhere - why shouldn’t they? When we interact with them as employers, friends, mentors, parents, we should recognize their high expectations and also that they are at the beginning of their journey, and so they may not have acquired the necessary elements. Policy interventions should focus on providing opportunities such as supporting their innovation and entrepreneurship, as well as providing them with resources. Financial resources are critical but equally important are other resources such as training on critical skills. The direction is clear—a large share of jobs that will be created in the next fifty years will be on the African continent.

10.  Kindly name a book that has had a profound impact on you?

Undoubtedly that would be the Bible. Incidentally, while every Yalie knows that a copy of the Gutenberg Bible is kept in Beinecke Library, I never once visited that library. We had at home an Anthology of English Literature that I read frequently when I was in high school. That Anthology cemented my interest in reading and opened doors to new worlds.

11. What advice would you give to scholars pursuing economics as a discipline? 

They must maintain their interest in society, with the discipline to impact positively and help uplift the lives of everyone around them. This is what it is about when you consider policy questions such as the allocation of resources. You should cultivate broad interests, not just by reading but also other activities such as attending classes in other areas.



Governor, Central Bank of Kenya 

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Patrick Ngugi Njoroge

Patrick Ngugi Njoroge is a Kenyan economist, banker and the 9th governor of the Central Bank of Kenya.

Background and education[edit]

Njoroge was born in Kakuma, Kenya circa 1961. He attended Mangu High School from 1973 until 1976, for his O-Level education. From 1977 until 1978, he attended Strathmore College for his A-Level studies. He entered the University of Nairobi in 1979, graduating with a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1983 and a Master of Arts in Economics in 1985. From 1987 until 1993, he studied at Yale University, graduating with a Doctor of Philosophy in economics.[1]


Following his master's degree, he worked in Nairobi as a planning officer at the Kenyan Ministry of Planning from October 1985 until August 1987. Following his PhD studies, he worked as an economist at the Kenyan Ministry of Finance from March 1993 until December 1994.[1]

From April 1995 until October 2005, he worked at the International Monetary Fund (IMF) in Washington, D. C., first as an economist and later as a senior economist. From November 2005 until December 2006, he served as the IMF mission chief for Dominica. He then served as the deputy division chief, Finance Department, at the IMF, from December 2006 until December 2012, based in Washington, D. C. from December 2012 until June 2015, he served as advisor to the deputy managing director of the IMF.[1]

He was nominated to be the governor of the Central Bank of Kenya by Uhuru Kenyatta, the president of Kenya, on 2 June 2015.[2][3] After vetting by the parliamentary committee on Finance, Trade and Planning on 17 June 2015, he was approved by the parliament of Kenya on 18 June 2015.[4][5] He assumed office effective 19 June 2015.[6]

On 13 October 2015 the Central Bank of Kenya under his leadership placed Imperial Bank into receivership.[7]

In November 2018, United Nations Secretary GeneralAntónio Guterres appointed Njoroge to the United Nations' Task Force on Digital Financing of Sustainable Development Goals, co-chaired by Maria Ramos and Achim Steiner.[8]

Other activities[edit]

Personal life[edit]

Njoroge is of the Roman Catholic faith and a numerary member of Opus Dei.[11][12]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ abcKNC, . (3 June 2015). "Here Is Dr. Patrick Ngugi Njoroge Nominated CBK Governor Curriculum Vitae (CV)". (KNC). Archived from the original on 19 June 2015. Retrieved 19 June 2015.CS1 maint: numeric names: authors list (link)
  2. ^Malingha Doya, David (2 June 2015). "IMF Adviser Patrick Njoroge Picked As Kenyan Central Bank Head". Bloomberg News. Retrieved 20 June 2015.
  3. ^Kisero, Jaindi (3 June 2015). "Weak Shilling Challenge for IMF Veteran". Daily Nation (Nairobi). Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  4. ^Njagi, John (18 June 2015). "House Approves CBK Nominees". Daily Nation (Nairobi). Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  5. ^Mutai, Edwin (19 June 2015). "Parliament Endorses Njoroge for CBK Governor". The EastAfrican (Nairobi). Retrieved 25 June 2015.
  6. ^Njoroge, Kiarie (26 June 2015). "New CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge Assumes Office". Business Daily Africa (Nairobi). Retrieved 27 June 2015.
  7. ^Latham, John. "Imperial Bank under receivership". central bank of kenya. Archived from the original on 4 March 2016. Retrieved 16 October 2015.
  8. ^Task Force on Digital Financing of Sustainable Development GoalsUnited Nations, press release of 29 November 2018.
  9. ^Board of GovernorsInternational Monetary Fund (IMF).
  10. ^Members of the FSB Regional Consultative Group for Sub-Saharan AfricaFinancial Stability Board (FSB).
  11. ^Okoth, Edwin (16 June 2015). "MPs Neglect Policy for Private Queries In Vetting CBK Governor Nominee". Daily Nation (Nairobi). Retrieved 19 June 2015.
  12. ^"Single bank boss who spurns luxury". BBC News. 7 July 2015. Retrieved 16 November 2017.

External links[edit]

CBK Governor Patrick Njoroge talks boosting Africa's capital markets and green bonds

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