Lesetja Kganyago 2020


Governor of the South African Reserve Bank (SARB), Lesetja Kganyago was born in Alexandra Township on 7 October 1965. He matriculated from Pax College in the former Pietersburg (now Polokwane) in 1982. At the age of 18, he moved to Johannesburg.

He attended the University of the Witwatersrand but left before graduating, and later completed his studies at the University of South Africa, earning the degree of Bachelor of Commerce (BCom) in 1991. He holds the degree of Master of Science in Development Economics from the School of African and Oriental Studies at the University of London, which he obtained in 1994. He also holds certificates and diplomas in management, economics and finance from internationally recognised institutions, including the Wits Business School and Harvard University.

Lesetja began his banking career occupying various clerical positions at First National Bank from 1987 to 1989. Thereafter, he joined the Congress of South African Trade Unions (COSATU) as an accountant at its head office. He remained in accounting and joined the African National Congress (ANC) in 1991as its regional accountant in the former Northern Transvaal, later becoming a national co-ordinator of its Economics Department. His first stint with the SARB was in 1994 as Assistant Manager: Investment Dealing. Remaining in the public sector, Lesetja then moved to the National Treasury in August 1996, first as the Director of International Commercial Financing, then Chief Director of Liability Management, which was followed by Head of Economic Policy and International Financial Relations and finally as Director General.

In May 2011, he was appointed Deputy Governor of the South African Reserve Bank and served in that capacity until October 2014 when he was appointed Governor.

At the beginning of 2018, Lesetja was elected Chairman of the International Monetary and Financial Committee (IMFC), the policy advisory committee of the Board of Governors of the International Monetary Fund (IMF) for a term of three years. In 2019, President Cyril Ramaphosa re-appointed Governor Kganyago for another five-year term.

Lesetja has nearly 30 years of experience in formulating and implementing public policy and has extensive experience ranging from macroeconomic policy, financial sector, public finance,  to international finance, public debt management and financial markets.

During his tenure as Director-General of the National Treasury, Lesetja successfully steered several public finance and financial market reforms. He played a lead role in the fundamental reform of the micro-structure of domestic bond markets.

Lesetja led South Africa's technical team to various meetings and summits of the G-20 (including the inaugural 2008 Summit) and has chaired the IMF/World Bank Development Committee Deputies and the G-20 Working Group on IMF Governance Reform.

Currently, Lesetja chairs the Committee of Central Bank Governors of the Southern African Development Community and is the co-chair of the Financial Stability Board's Regional Consultative Group for Sub-Saharan Africa. He also chairs the Financial Stability Board's Standing Committee on Standards Implementation.

Among his many awards, in 2017 he was named Global Markets Governor of the Year for Sub-Saharan Africa; received the Association of Black Securities and Investment Professionals (ABSIP) Lifetime Achiever Award and the Sunday Times Companies Business Leader of the Year. In 2018, he was named Governor of the Year by Central Banking.

A year after his appointment as Governor, Lesetja returned to his village in Moletjie Ga-Maribana to purchase goods with the new bank notes now bearing his signature. With the first batch of these bank notes, he bought bread, sugar, cooking oil, and maize meal from the same shop where he used to buy bread before heading to school as a young child.

For the respect he has earned in international economic, development and banking circles and for the nobility and hard work he displays towards his position, it is an honour for Nelson Mandela University to confer the degree of Doctor of Commerce (honoris causa) on Elias Lesetja Kganyago.