Kwasi Kwarteng Becomes First Black UK Chancellor of the Exchequer

Kwasi Kwarteng

Kwasi Kwarteng, 47, former Business UK Business Secretary, is now the new Chancellor of the Exchequer ( Finance Minister), the first black to occupy this enviable position Kwasi is of Ghanaian extraction and a closed ally to the new UK PM, Liz Truss.

Kwasi Kwarteng was born Akwasi Addo Alfred Kwarteng on 26 May 1975 in the London Borough of Waltham Forest. He is a British politician serving as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy since 2021. A member of the Conservative Party, he has been Member of Parliament (MP) for Spelthorne in northern Surrey since 2010.

On 16 November 2018, Kwarteng was appointed Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, following the resignation of Suella Braverman. Following the election of Boris Johnson as Prime Minister in July 2019, Kwarteng was promoted to Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth, attending Cabinet as part of the role.

According to The Times, he is the only child of Alfred K. Kwarteng and Charlotte Boaitey-Kwarteng, who had emigrated from Ghana as students in the 1960s. His mother is a barrister and his father an economist in the Commonwealth Secretariat.

After starting school at a state primary school, Kwarteng, as recorded by The Sunday Times of 4 May 2014, attended Colet Court, an independent preparatory school in London, where he won the Harrow History Prize in 1988. Kwarteng then went to Eton College, where he was a King’s Scholar and was awarded the prestigious Newcastle Scholarship prize. He read classics and history at Trinity College, Cambridge, achieving a first in both subjects and twice winning the Browne Medal. He was a member of the team which won University Challenge in 1995 (in the first series after the programme was revived by the BBC in 1994). Whilst at Cambridge, he was a member of the University Pitt Club, and has since returned to visit. He attended Harvard University on a Kennedy Scholarship, and then earned a PhD in economic history from the University of Cambridge in 2000.

Before becoming a member of parliament, Kwarteng worked as a columnist for The Daily Telegraph and as a financial analyst at JPMorgan Chase and other investment banks. According to a report by, he wrote a book, Ghosts of Empire, about the legacy of the British Empire, published by Bloomsbury in 2011. He also co-authored Gridlock Nation with Jonathan Dupont in 2011, about the causes of and solutions to traffic congestion in Britain.

Early political career
Considered “a rising star on the right of the party”, Kwarteng was the Conservative candidate in the constituency of Brent East at the 2005 general election. He finished in third place behind the incumbent Liberal Democrat MP Sarah Teather (who had won the seat in a 2003 by-election) and Yasmin Qureshi of the Labour Party. Kwarteng was chairman of the Bow Group in 2005–06. In 2006, The Times suggested that he could become the first black Conservative cabinet minister. He was sixth on the Conservative list of candidates for the London Assembly in the 2008 London Assembly election, but was not elected as the Conservatives claimed only three London-wide list seats.

Parliamentary career

Kwarteng was selected as the Conservative candidate for Spelthorne at an open primary in January 2010 after the incumbent Conservative MP, David Wilshire, became mired in controversy arising from the Parliamentary expenses scandal and announced that he would be retiring from Parliament at the next general election.

Kwarteng won the seat with 22,261 votes (numerically more votes but a lower percentage of the vote than his predecessor). Kwarteng did not vote on the backbench EU Referendum Bill in October 2011. Kwarteng irritated Chancellor of the Exchequer George Osborne in 2013 by criticising the Help to Buy housing scheme as inflationary.

In 2014, his book War and Gold: A Five-Hundred-Year History of Empires, Adventures and Debt was published. It is a history of capital and the enduring ability of money, when combined with speculation, to ruin societies. The book has been translated into Spanish and Mandarin Chinese. In 2015 his next book, Thatcher’s Trial: Six Months That Defined a Leader, was published.

Kwarteng was re-elected at the 2015 general election with an increased majority. Kwarteng backed the United Kingdom’s withdrawal from the European Union in the 2016 referendum.

View Comments (1)

  • When I attented an ERC conference, someone asked me, If I thought Kwarteng , who was born in the London Borough of Waltham Forest in 1975, was a British Obama?. He is very smart & his views are evolving. Time will tell. Wouldn't it be kicker if the first Black UK Prime Minister or Chancellor of the Exchecquer was a Tory?????