Pro­fes­sor Kingsley Moghalu is the for­mer Deputy Gover­nor of the Cen­tral Bank of Nige­ria, a distin­guished ca­reer UN diplo­mat, au­thor of three books, a non-res­i­dent fel­low and a cur­rent pro­fes­sor at The Fletcher School of Eco­nomics at Tufts Uni­ver­sity in Ma


Can you please tell us about your ed­u­ca­tional back­ground and for­ma­tive years as a way toin­tro­duce you to our read­ers.

I stud­ied Law as my first de­gree, and my Mas­ter’s de­gree in In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs at The Fletcher School of Law and Diplo­macy at Tufts Uni­ver­sity in Mas­sachusetts, USA was in­ter­dis­ci­plinary. The Fletcher School was the first ex­clu­sively grad­u­ate school of In­ter­na­tional Af­fairs in the United States. It was es­tab­lished in 1933 jointly by Tufts and Har­vard univer­si­ties, and I stud­ied a com­bi­na­tion of In­ter­na­tional Law , Diplo­macy, and in­ter­na­tional Po­lit­i­cal Econ­omy. While a stu­dent there, I also worked as a re­search as­sis­tant in the pro­gramme on In­ter­na­tional Po­lit­i­cal Econ­omy. I was also the Joan Gille­spie Fel­low at The Fletcher School for the aca­demic year I stud­ied there.

I also later ob­tained a Doc­tor of Phi­los­o­phy (PhD) de­gree in in­ter­na­tional Re­la­tions at the Lon­don School of Eco­nomics and Po­lit­i­cal Sci­ence (LSE). The world­wide alumni net­work of The Fletcher School (which we fondly call “the Fletcher mafia”) in lead­er­ship po­si­tions in gov­ern­ments, in­ter­na­tional or­ga­ni­za­tions, busi­ness cor­po­ra­tions and the mil­i­tary and se­cu­rity ser­vices around the world has also been an im­por­tant sup­port in my ca­reer tra­jec­tory.

My fam­ily was an­other ma­jor in­flu­ence. My child­hood was in­ter­na­tional, and I also had a very deep in­ter­est in world af­fairs. My late fa­ther, El­der Isaac Moghalu was one of Nige­ria’s pi­o­neer For­eign Ser­vice Of­fi­cers in the 1960s. We lived first in Geneva and later on in Wash­ing­ton DC where he was posted in the mid-1960s. So my dad nat­u­rally sup­ported my in­ter­est in an in­ter­na­tional ca­reer as I was grow­ing up.

I re­mem­ber that, as a young boy and a teenager I al­ways read the “World News” sec­tion of the news­pa­pers first be­fore read­ing any­thing else!

Could you give us a quick sum­mary of the work you did at the CBN as deputy gover­nor dur­ing your ten­ure?

My ten­ure there was about lead­ing a team to sta­bilise the Nige­rian bank­ing in­dus­try, through sev­eral mech­a­nisms. I led cor­po­rate gov­er­nance re­forms in the bank­ing sys­tem. We also in­tro­duced struc­tural re­forms such the new bank­ing model, es­tab­lished dif­fer­ent cat­e­gories of banks with dif­fer­ent cap­i­tal re­quire­ments in­stead of a “one-size-fits-all” uni­form cap­i­tal re­quire­ment that was not work­ing out very well. So global Nige­rian banks with sub­sidiaries abroad had the high­est cap­i­tal re­quire­ment of N50 bil­lion, na­tional banks needed to have min­i­mum cap­i­tal of N25 bil­lion, and re­gional banks re­quired N10 bil­lion in cap­i­tal.

As a global ci­ti­zen what do you think Nige­ria can teach other coun­tries and, in­versely, what can we learn from the coun­tries you have lived in?

Nige­ria has much to teach other coun­tries. We re­main a vi­brant and dy­namic coun­try in spite of the many chal­lenges we face. Our Nol­ly­wood and mu­si­cal in­dus­tries are glob­ally renowned. Our di­as­pora are on the cut­ting edges of their pro­fes­sions in many coun­tries around the world. On the other hand, we also must learn from other coun­tries that only our cit­i­zens can change their own po­lit­i­cal and eco­nomic destiny by ex­er­cis­ing our vot­ing rights. We are too docile and tol­er­ant of bad gov­er­nance in this coun­try. Poverty should not be an ex­cuse to tol­er­ate the poor state of our econ­omy, our health sys­tems and our in­fra­struc­ture—we need to learn to use our democ­racy to bet­ter our lot by se­lect­ing the right kinds of lead­ers. It is not enough to merely sur­vive day to day, we must make progress. We also need to learn from more ma­ture coun­tries and democ­ra­cies about how to man­age our eth­nic and reli­gious di­ver­sity.

You’ve also au­thored sev­eral books one of which was on post-war Rwanda. Are there lessons Nige­ria can learn about na­tional heal­ing and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion, as a multi-eth­nic coun­try?

Rwanda of­fers a very pow­er­ful les­son about how we can shift the nar­ra­tive from one of neg­a­tiv­ity (the geno­cide) to one that is pos­i­tive (Rwanda’s eco­nomic and devel­op­men­tal progress since the hor­ror of the geno­cide). Rwanda has con­fronted its his­tory through the gaca­ca­courts and rec­on­cil­i­a­tion progress and moved on. Eth­nic iden­ti­fi­ca­tion is banned in all Rwan­dan state doc­u­ments. I think in Nige­ria we are avoid­ing con­fronting our na­tional his­tory and us­ing it as a les­son learned so we can avoid fu­ture mis­takes. And the rule of law re­mains an il­lu­sion in our coun­try. Speak­ing of books though, I think my third book Emerg­ing Africa: How the Global Econ­omy’s Last Fron­tier Can Pros­per and Mat­ter, a roadmap on eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment and trans­for­ma­tion, is my most im­por­tant work to date.

As a fam­ily man what has been a ben­e­fit of rais­ing your fam­ily all over the globe?

I think it has given them a very broad view of the world while un­der­stand­ing and still be­ing proud of their iden­tity as Nige­ri­ans. For ex­am­ple, my kids have na­tive level flu­ency in French from our time liv­ing in Switzer­land and France when I was serv­ing in the UN sys­tem. When we ar­rived in Switzer­land I in­sisted they should go to Swiss schools where every­one spoke French and very lit­tle English, in­stead of in­ter­na­tional schools where English was the dom­i­nant lan­guage. That de­ci­sion paid off. Some­times when they want to “con­spire” against their mother and I, they go into deep French be­tween them­selves in­stead of English or Igbo. They also have friends from all over the world from the var­i­ous coun­tries we lived and where they went to school.

Tell us some of your favourite traits of your fam­ily.

As I said my wife is a prac­ti­cal but very lov­ing and sen­ti­men­tal per­son. She is the mas­ter of logistics and I call her my Min­is­ter of Fi­nance be­cause I am al­ways too busy to han­dle a lot of per­sonal fi­nan­cial things like pay­ing bills. You also can­not cheat my wife in a com­mer­cial trans­ac­tion be­cause she will price and hag­gle you down into the ground!

My kids are fun but very thought­ful. We have trained them to be do­mes­ti­cally able to sup­port them­selves with cook­ing and so many other things. My first child and son Tobenna, a grad­u­ate of Neu­ro­science who plans to go to med­i­cal school and be­come a doc­tor, is a very thought­ful

I re­mem­ber that, as a young boy and a teenager I al­ways read the “World News” sec­tion of the news­pa­pers first be­fore read­ing any­thing else!

Frankly, the Grace of God has en­abled me achieve a lot in life, and now I am not in­ter­ested in per­sonal suc­cess any­more but how our coun­try Nige­ria can cre­ate a bet­ter life for all her cit­i­zens.

and se­ri­ous-minded young man. My sec­ond son Sochi­maechi­who is study­ing Psy­chol­ogy in uni­ver­sity says he doesn’t just be­lieve but KNOWS he will be a suc­cess­ful chap! My third son Yagazie is a man with many big dreams. He is a first-year uni­ver­sity stu­dent in Eco­nomics but is al­ready set­ting up a com­pany with his friend to sell things on­line. My last child and daugh­ter Chidera is a very sweet and lovely child who helps her mother look af­ter every­one else in the house. She is so­cially con­scious and loves to serve in lead­er­ship roles in school. What has been a phi­los­o­phy you abide by that you would say has played an im­por­tant part in your suc­cess?

I be­lieve that, in a com­pet­i­tive world, Africans are God’s chil­dren too, en­ti­tled to a place in the sun. That world­view has driven me to do a lot of what I have done on the global stage.

I be­lieve I should live a life of con­se­quence for my im­me­di­ate so­ci­ety in Nige­ria, so I am fo­cused on lift­ing up my fel­low men and women, not just on my­self and my own in­di­vid­ual suc­cess.

Frankly, the Grace of God has en­abled me achieve a lot in life, and now I am not in­ter­ested in per­sonal suc­cess any­more but how our coun­try Nige­ria can cre­ate a bet­ter life for all her cit­i­zens.

That’s why I founded the Isaac Moghalu Foun­da­tion (IMoF) 13 years ago in 2005 to work in our ru­ral com­mu­ni­ties here at home even while I was still in ac­tive ser­vice in the UN. Which was the last book you read to re­lax, and what did you like about it?

I read a lot of books, but re­ally for knowl­edge and not re­lax­ation. Don’t for­get I am a pro­fes­sor so books are part of the trade! What I read for re­lax­ation are mag­a­zines of var­i­ous types – po­lit­i­cal, eco­nomic, so­cial. So you could say I com­bine re­lax­ation with soak­ing in knowl­edge at the same time. In that con­text I have en­joyed the books by the Cam­bridge Uni­ver­sity econ­o­mist Ha-Joon Chang, one of which is ti­tled ‘Bad Sa­mar­i­tans: The Myth of Free Trade and the Se­cret His­tory of Cap­i­tal­ism’. He is a great and con­trar­ian in­tel­lec­tual who chal­lenges the sta­tus quo think­ing about eco­nomic de­vel­op­ment. Is it true that you are aim­ing for the cov­eted seat in 2019? And if so what do you in­tend to do dif­fer­ently from your pre­de­ces­sors should you get the man­date?

There’s been a lot of spec­u­la­tion, but I will say this: Nige­ria re­quires a bold new ap­proach to lead­er­ship. Some­thing dif­fer­ent. We as a na­tion must put our minds to­gether to drive three big so­lu­tions that will move this coun­try for­ward: one, a heal Nige­ria and build a na­tion; two, fight against poverty and un­em­ploy­ment; and three, re­store Nige­ria’s stand­ing in the world.

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