Statement on the Passing of W. Paatii Ofosu-Amaah

It is with the saddest of hearts that I inform you of the passing of our dear Board Colleague W. Paatii Ofosu-Amaah on April 13, 2016. Paatii was a member of the Boards of the African University of Science and Technology (AUST) and the Nelson Mandela Institution (NMI) for most of their existence.

Paatii was born in Accra, Ghana, on July 13, 1950. He held law degrees from the University of Ghana and Harvard Law School. Following his graduation, he worked as an associate in the New York law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell in New York and as Legal Officer in the Food and Agriculture Organization of the United Nations in Rome, Italy. He then joined the World Bank where he served in its Legal Vice-Presidency for 23 years. During that time, he was, inter alia, Legal Counsel; Chief Counsel, Africa Division and Legal Adviser, Environmental Affairs; Deputy General Counsel and Acting General Counsel. He then was appointed as Vice-President and Corporate Secretary until his retirement.

Upon retirement, Paatii continued his devotion to the development of Africa and became Special Advisor to the President of the African Development Bank (AfDB). In addition, he drafted and negotiated the Constitution of The African Capacity Building Foundation (ACBF), its Headquarters Agreement and all ancillary legal documentation. He was also the Temporary Secretary and Legal Counsel at ACBF’s first Executive Board Meeting held in Sigtuna, Sweden. At the time of his passing, he had been working as Legal Counsel and a member of the African Union High Level Implementation Panel on the Republic of Sudan-Republic of South Sudan Negotiations headed by former President of South Africa Thabo Mbeki.

Paatii published and wrote on a variety of subjects, including on legal aspects of combating corruption, project finance and privatization, governance-related issues, environment and natural resources management, capacity building, legal and judicial reform, particularly the experience in Africa and the role of developing countries in international negotiations. He was also a Visiting Professor at Queen Mary College, London University (2004-2007).

Throughout his professional life, Paatii exemplified the values of integrity, hard work and commitment to development not just in Africa but in the World. In the NMI and AUST family, he was known as a kind, gracious and brilliant gentleman who gave of himself selflessly and spared no effort to advance the work of both institutions for the betterment of Africa. He was fully devoted to the vision of the Nelson Mandela Institution.

For us, the family of NMI, AUST, 2iE and NM-AIST Arusha, we have lost our beloved brother and partner and the valuable insights he will no longer ennoble us with. We are resolved and committed to continue to do all we can to soldier on for the benefit of the whole of Africa and the World. We extend our heartfelt condolences to his family. We are with them in spirit during this difficult period for them. In the next few days, the Boards of NMI and AUST will announce a fitting tribute to Paatii. In lieu of flowers, the family wishes that memorial contributions be made in the name of W. Paatii Ofosu-Amaah to the following institutions: the African University of Science and Technology, www.aust.edu.ng or the Nelson Mandela Institution, www.nminst.org/paatiis-memorial-fund. Paatii is survived by his spouse, Waafas, a grown up son, Nii Amaah, a grown up daughter Naabia, three brothers, one sister, and many nieces and nephews.

 

Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, Chair of the Board of NMI and the Board of AUST.