Prof. Chukwuma Soludo (who also holds the traditional title of “ODENIGBO AguatanaOrumba”—conferred upon him by the 45 communities in the three local governments in 2004; and “ODENJINJI Aguleri”, 2020) has had an exemplary career as an international scholar and consultant/adviser to many international organizations and governments; distinguished public service; philanthropist and devotee to Christian life/duties.
In government, the Soludo Brand became synonymous with Excellence in Grand Visioning with Precision in Execution. For example, he served as:
- Chief Economic Adviser to President Obasanjo and CEO/Deputy Chairman (de facto minister), National Planning Commission of Nigeria—where in six months, he authored the reform agenda (National Economic Empowerment and Development Strategy, NEEDS) that was the basis for $18 billion debt-relief for Nigeria and created over 10 million jobs in Nigeria in four years); developed the Framework for State Governments’ SEEDS—which state governments adapted for their own plans;transformed the Federal Office of Statistics into the current National Bureau of Statistics; envisioned the formation of the Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp Plc), etc;
Chairman of Board and Governor, Central Bank of Nigeria—where he revolutionized the banking/financial system (a transformation the Financial Times of London described as unprecedented in the world and declared Soludo as the best Governor of Central Bank in the world in 2006—the history of Nigeria’s financial system is now divided into ”before” and “after” Soludo), and the new banking system where no depositor has lost his deposits since 2005and has powered the new economy with millions of jobs (before Soludo, none of Nigerian banks was in the top 1000 banks in the world but within three years after Soludo’s revolution, 14 Nigerian banks made it in top 1000 banks and two of them in top 300: the thousands of businesses borrowing billions from banks for their business owe it to Soludo’s revolution);He grew the external reservesfrom $10 billion to all time high $62 billion; inflation down from 23% to single digit for 24 consecutive months; stable and converged exchange rate regime that appreciated steadily to N112 to $ before unprecedented global crisis; special funding for commercial agriculture; licensed over 1,000 microfinance banks and over 1,000 Bureau de Change; implemented a transformational programme named “Project EAGLES” which repositioned CBN as an
- efficient and effective institution, and the economy grew at over 7% per annum under his watch— the highest rate of growth of the economy in over 40 years, etc.
- Chairman of Committee that designed the Financial System Strategy 2020 (FSS 2020) which had the vision to establish an International Financial Centre and turn Nigeria as Africa’s financial hub. The CBN cashless policy is one of the programmes of the Plan.
- Chairman of Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Plc—where, in two years, he transformed a moribund strategic national company into a world class institution that met 100% of Nigeria’s currency needs for the first time in many decades.
- Envisioned and mobilized $1.1 billion to establish in 2007 the Africa Finance Corporation (AFC)– currently with 23 African countries as members/shareholders and became the founding Chairman, thereby accomplishing within 15 months what the African Union planned but could not do in 25 years. AFC is Africa’s Infrastructure bank, and in just ten years became the second credit-rated Pan African, multilateral Bank after the African Development Bank, withover 6 billions of dollar investments in over 30 African countries and impacting the lives of over 100 million Africans.
- Served in over 20 technical committees of the Federal Government, covering diverse aspects of Nigeria’s socio-economic landscape.
For his distinguished public service, Soludo was awarded the third highest national honour (Commander of the Order of the Federal Republic, CFR), and over 200 other national and international awards, including being the triple winner of the African and Global Central Bank Governor of the year 2005, 2006, and 2007. In 2006 six national newspapers and magazines declared him Nigeria’s “Man of the Year”—in recognition of his transformation of the Nigerian banking/financial system.His Alma Mater, the University of Nigeria in 2004 honoured him with a special award as “theMost Distinguished Alumnus of the University”. He has been variously recognized internationally among the top 100 most influential Africans.
Professor Soludo served the Government of Nigeria under two Presidents and both of them, in writing, gave him uncommon excellent testimonials:
According to President Obasanjo;
“Charles Soludo is a true Nigerian. He is the sort of Nigerian that we all know we can rely on. Among his numerous virtues is COURAGE. I have found in him a man who can take tough and realistic decisions, stand his ground, educate others on the salience of his decision, and work very hard to ensure that the decision is efficiently and effectively implemented. His dedication to duty is first rate. His leadership qualities are admirable and his willingness to listen and learn is simply infectious.
Professor Soludo has within a short time emerged as one of the leading lights of our nation. Not because he has a godfather but by sheer hard work, loyalty, dedication to duty, commitment to the nation, creativity, and undiluted association with the reform agenda…”President Olusegun Obasanjo,GCFR (December,2004)
President Yar’Adua had the following to say about the Central Bank of Nigeria under Soludo’s leadership:
“… the CBN has performed creditably well in delivering on its core mandates. This is especially even more so in the last five years. Most people would agree that without the successful banking consolidation and effective management of our foreign reserves, the current global crisis would have shaken the financial system and our national economy to their foundations with calamitous consequences”; President Yar’Adua (May 2009).
In the President’s special letter of commendation after completion of his tenure of office, President Yar’Adua had the following to say to Soludo:
“As your tenure as Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria comes to a glorious end, I write on behalf of the Government and people of Nigeria to place on record our debt of gratitude to you for your dedicated service and uncommon sense of duty over the past five years. I am confident that your worthy antecedents in the CBN and in prior appointments in the service of our nation remain sources of inspiration to an entire generation. As I wish you even more astounding successes in the years ahead, it is my fervent hope that you will readily avail us of your distinguished service when the need arises in the future” (June 01,2009).
Soludo has also had a distinguished international service. At the heat of the global financial crisis in 2008, he was the African member in the 10-member technical committee set up by the United Nations to design the Agenda for Reforming the International Monetary and Financial System; Served as Member of the Chief Economist Advisory Council (CEAC) of the World Bank, 2005- 2012; Member of the International Advisory group, UK-DFID, 2005-7; Member of the External Advisory Committee, IMF, 2012; etc.. Before he joined Government in 2003, Soludo lived in the US, UK, and Ethiopia and travelled to 45 other countries as an itinerant scholar and consultant to 20 international organizations including: The World Bank, IMF; EU; OECD; USAID; UK-DFID; African Development Bank; UNDP; UNCTAD; UN-ECA; IDRC Canada; African Union; The Brookings Institution, USA; ECOWAS, CODESRIA, COMESA, Chemonics International, USA; etc.
Soludo is currently Chairman or member of Board of Directors of several corporations, including: Chairman of Paragon Mining Group;Chairman of African Heritage Institution; Member and chairman of finance committee of the South Centre, Geneva (an inter-governmental Think-Tank for 54 Developing Countries including China, India, Brazil, Egypt, Nigeria, etc with former president of South Africa, Thabo Mbeki as chairman), and Adviser to several international institutional investors. He is also currently a member of President Buhari’s Economic Advisory Council as well as Chairman of the Committee for Anambra’s 50 Year Development Plan (Anambra Vision 2070).
Soludo is a Professor of Economics (met requirements for professorship at the age of 32 but promoted at the age of 38) and has to his credit over 200 publications—journal articles, books, conference papers and monographs. He holds a B.Sc (First Class Hons), M.Sc and PhD in Economics from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka—winning Departmental, Faculty, and University prizes—and, attended over a dozen short term courses at the universities of Oxford, Cambridge, Warwick, etc, He is also Fellow of several professional bodies including the Chartered Institute of Bankers, Nigerian Economic Society, etc as well as fellow of Wolfson College, University of Cambridge, UK.
Soludo is devoted to a life of charity especially in the promotion of education (with thousands of beneficiaries), health, and community service. He is a strong promoter of the ChristianChurch in Nigeria, and recently completed his tenure asas a member of the Finance Council of the Catholic Bishops Conference of Nigeria (CBCN) and a Director of the Board of the Peter University, Diocese of Awka. He is married to Nonye Queen Frances Soludo and blessed with children.