Memories of

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Benno Ndulu

Benno was passionately committed to digitalisation as a solution for the poorest countries to finally be able to make the advances their populations so desperately need. The energy he dedicated to this was unwavering, whether it be financial inclusion, the potential of the platform economy to create jobs for young people, or – work he was excited to start next – more detailed empirical work on gender and access, which would, as always with Benno, have been as academically rigorous as it was immediately available to policy makers. Just before he died he was to present an important study in which he set out in great detail evidence for how African policy makers should tax digital services – an urgent, live policy question.

His guidance of the Digital Pathways work in all of the above was priceless. He was a brilliant tactician – always knowing just what to say and who to talk to to unblock the sticky political blockages that so often stand in the way of change.

That he was an extraordinarily prolific man was evident from his resume – central bank governor, set up Tanzania’s revenue service, long time World Bank senior economist, established a pan-African economic research network, was on President Ramaphosa’s economic advisory council, represented the IDA-recipient countries in negotiations with the World Bank about lending priorities.

But what could not have been told from reading the long list of his achievements was his humility. He was a true public servant, deferential to everyone in his urgent desire to support progress, when others in his position might have demanded deference to themselves.

And at the same time as all the above (he had at least four day jobs) he was still writing papers, tending to his farm in the countryside when he got the opportunity, mentoring various policy leaders across Africa, and running 10k daily. It was both an honour and a delight to work with him and we will miss him enormously, personally and professionally.

Owner :Digital Pathways at Oxford
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Prof. Filiberto Ceriani Sebregondi, former EU Ambassador to Tanzania (2011-2015)

I have had the honour to meet and interact with Professor Ndulu during my posting as EU Ambassador to Tanzania, when he was Governor of the Bank of Tanzania. I have always been impressed by Benno’s outstanding capacity to analyse complex matters and explain them in simple words, always adapting to his varied audience: …


Dr Thomas Chataghalala Munthali, Director General of the National Planning Commission of Malawi

Am just in shock on the loss. Speechless to say the least. We are just about to launch the Malawi Digital Economy Strategy in which Prof. Benno Ndulu  was its main architect. My love and prayers are with his family.  …


Maximilien Kpodjedo - Digital Adviser to the President of the Republic of Benin

I am truly sorry to hear of the loss of Professor Ndulu (Benno). As he has embarked on supporting us over the Benin Inclusive Digital Economy Initiative project, he was a great expert in digitalization. During our virtual meetings, he could mix serious professional discussions with humor and his extended life experiences. Sadly, I …


FCDO’s Digital Development Team

Sending our deepest condolences to Prof. Ndulu’s family, friends and colleagues. Benno will be missed by so many, over many years he has been a key partner and instrumental in both his thinking and leadership. It has been an absolute honour and pleasure to have worked with such a passionately committed public servant, and …


Ibrahim Elbadawi

Very sad to know about the passing away of our dear friend Benno, my heart goes to his family.  Benno was a great scholar and an African icon. He will be sorely missed by the generations of African and Africanist economists who came to know him and worked with him over more than three …

Ibrahim Elbadawi

Kenneth Creamer

Benno Ndulu will be sorely missed by all who in recent months have been working with him on the South African Presidential Economic Advisory Council. Benno always offered the wisest counsel on economic policy issues and was able to draw on a deep well of knowledge and experience pertaining to economic theory, policy and …


Alan Gelb

Benno’s passing is a tragic loss for us all.  What a combination of leadership, intellectual excellence, strategic grasp of policy, and — even more important — a modest and unassuming personality, with huge committment to Africa and its future.  I remember well his sense of humor, and how enjoyable it was to be in …


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