DAR ES SALAAM, 24 February 2021 – Officials at the Bank of Tanzania (BoT) have confirmed the death Monday of former BoT governor, Prof. Benno Ndulu.
Ndulu died at dawn Monday, 22 February 2021, while receiving treatment at the Hubert Kairuki Hospital in Dar es Salaam, the economic capital of Tanzania.
He was 71.
“It is true that he has passed on. He was admitted to Hubert Kairuki Hospital for about ten days,” The Citizen newspaper reported Tuesday, citing Ndulu’s personal assistant, Msafiri Nampesya.
Neither the BoT nor medical staff at Hubert Kairuki Hospital would disclose the ailment for which he was admitted and would not evoke the cause of death.
“Prof. Ndulu succumbed to COVID-19,” a close family friend of the Ndulus told our correspondent in Dar es Salaam on Wednesday, speaking under the cover of anonymity.
“You did not hear it from me. You do not know me and have never seen me,” the Ndulu family friend added.
TheBank of Tanzania which is responsible for all funeral arrangements would entertain no discussions about the cause of death.
The Tanzanian government claims that the country is COVID-19-free, healed of the pandemic by God, and in need of only traditional and herbal cures to deal with the virus.
Tanzania and neighboring Burundi are the only countries in Africa to have said they have no need for and do not intend to import COVID-19 vaccines.
In both countries, high-profile COVID-19 deaths are beginning to add up.
Former Burundian President Pierre Buyoya and his successor Pierre Nkurunziza both died of complications from the virus and the death of Ndulu in Tanzania came just two days after the passing into glory of a third senior Tanzanian government official.
The former Permanent Secretary in the Ministry of Finance, Dr. Servacius Likwelile, died Saturday from the virus
Likwelile’s death occurred the same weekend funerals were being held for two other high-profile COVID-19 victims: the First Vice-President of Zanzibar Seif Sharif Hamad and Tanzania’s Chief Secretary and Head of Civil Service, John Kijazi.
Kijazi died in the Tanzanian capital, Dodoma, within hours of Hamad passing into glory in a hospital in Dar es Salaam.
Hamad’s party had announced two weeks earlier that he had tested positive for the virus and at the funeral of Kijazi, Tanzanian President Magufuli broke with his narrative of “COVID-19-free Tanzania” to encourage Tanzanians to wear masks to avoid spreading the virus.
Born on 23 January 1950, Ndulu started his career in the early 1980s as a professor of economics at the University of Dar es Salaam after earning his Ph.D. degree in economics from Northwestern University in Evanston, Illinois, United States of America.
He later moved to the Kenyan capital, Nairobi, where along with other leading African economists, he helped set up and served as first Executive Director of the African Economic Research Consortium, described by the International Growth Center as “one of the most effective research and training networks in Africa”.
Ndulu joined The World Bank Group as a Lead Economics in the Macroeconomic Division for Eastern Africa.
He later served as Research Manager, as Development Economics Department Manager and as Advisor to the World Bank Vice-President for the Africa Region based at the World Bank headquarters in Washington, DC.
He was a champion for capacity building in Africa, receiving an honorary doctorate from the International Institute of Social Studies (ISS) in The Hague in 1997 in recognition of his contributions to Capacity Building and Research on Africa.
He left The World Bank Group in 2008 upon accepting to serve as Governor of the Bank of Tanzania (BoT). He served at the BoT until 2018.
Ndulu has published widely on economics, growth, governance, trade, and policy reform, notably structural adjustment.