EDI Statement on the death of Benno Ndulu
There is sad news today, 22nd February, that Professor Benno Ndulu has died in Dar Es Salaam last night. Benno was a long standing member of the EDI Scientific Committee working on the Institutional Diagnostic research in Tanzania and advising on the Benin and Mozambique country studies.
Benno Ndulu was a professor of economics at the University of Dar Es Salaam since the 1980s, helped set up the Africa Economic Research Consortium, which is now vital infrastructure for economists across Africa, and then became a lead economist at the World Bank in Dar Es Salaam and an advisor to World Bank’s Vice President, Africa Region in Washington DC. He was Governor of the Bank of Tanzania 2008-2018. He had a doctorate from North Western University, Illinois, and an honorary doctorate from ISS, The Hague. More recently he was a visiting professor at Blavatnik School of Government, Oxford, and a contributor and scientific committee member on EDI.
Those of us who have known him for decades remember a warm, witty and delightful man who was a joy to work with. Behind his wit and warmth, however, was one of the most knowledgeable development economists in the profession and one of the most experienced policy makers in the African context. It is hard to overstate his importance as a resource to Tanzania – a massive intellect, with a deep understanding of the country and with the political skills to acquire the roles and influence necessary to shape policy very wisely for at least 30 years. The nation’s economist, but he was an invaluable resource for the whole continent and the whole profession. Within EDI, he has been a huge asset to have on board not only for the Tanzania case study but also as a sounding board and contributor to many other aspects of the project. To all those who knew him, Benno had lately become the archetype of what is meant by the ‘wise old man’ and rarely the old African saying that “when an old man dies, a whole library burns to the ground” has been as relevant. We pass our condolences to his family, friends and colleagues.