Kwasi Kwarteng, Chancellor of the Exchequer (left), James Cleverly, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs (right), and Kemi Badenoch, Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade/Photo: UK Government

Meet the three new Black Ministers in UK government

Prime Minister Liz Truss did not waste time to appoint her cabinet after taking over at 10 Downing Street on Tuesday.

The new Conservative British leader named a 31-member cabinet that surprisingly includes three ministers of African origin. These are Kwasi Kwarteng, Chancellor of the Exchequer (finance minister), James Cleverly, Secretary of State for Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Affairs, and Kemi Badenoch, Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade.

The appointments are historic as never before have there been as many as three Black ministers in the cabinet with two of them occupying two of the so-called four “Great Offices of State”.These are senior offices in the UK government: the Prime Minister, Chancellor of the Exchequer, Foreign Secretary and Home Secretary, respectively.

Here’s a brief profile of each of the new Black ministers:

Kwasi Kwarteng │Chancellor of the Exchequer

Akwasi Addo Alfred Kwarteng (born on 26 May 1975), the first Black person to serve as Chancellor of the Exchequer, is the man in charge of the economy.

A member of the Conservative Party, Kwarteng was born in London to Ghanaian parents who had emigrated from Ghana as students in the 1960s. He’s the only child of his parents – Alfred K. Kwarteng, an economist, and Charlotte Boaitey-Kwarteng, a barrister.

The new finance minister, who has been a Member of Parliament since 2010, previously served as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy from 2021 to 2022.

Kwasi Kwarteng/Photo: UK Government/Wikipedia

Prior to that, Kwarteng had also served as Under-Secretary of State at the Department for Exiting the European Union, Minister of State for Business, Energy and Clean Growth,

Kwarteng attended the elite Eton College and studied at Cambridge for his bachelors, Harvard University for his masters and then returned to Cambridge where he earned a PhD in economic history in 2000.

Kwarteng is married to Harriet Edwards and the couple have a daughter.

James Spencer Cleverly │ Secretary of State for Foreign Affairs

Born on 4 September 1969 in London to a British father and a mother from Sierra Leone, the British politician and Army Reserve officer has been a member of Parliament since 2015.

Cleverly previously served as Secretary of State for Education from July to September 2022, Co-Chairman of the Conservative Party from 2019 to 2020 and as the member of the London Assembly (AM) from 2008 to 2016.

James Cleverly/Photo: Richard Townshend/UK Parliament/Wikipedia

Cleverly was in the army but his military career was cut short by a leg injury in 1989. He went on to gain a bachelor’s degree in Hospitality Management from the Polytechnic of West London. He is a lieutenant colonel in the Reserve Army.

After graduating, Cleverly worked variously positions for several publishing companies before co-founding the web publishing company Point and Fire in 2007.

Cleverly stood unsuccessfully in a number of elections before he was elected into the UK Parliament in 2015 general election.

Cleverly is married to Susannah Sparks and the couple have two sons.

Kemi Badenoch │Secretary of State for Trade

Olukemi Olufunto Badenoch (née Adegoke) was born on 2 January 1980 in London to Nigerian parents. Her father, Femi Adegboke, was a medical doctor and her mother, Feyi Adegoke, is a professor of physiology.

Badenoch’s spent part of her childhood in Lagos, Nigeria, and in the United States. She returned to the UK at the age of 16 to live with a friend of her mother’s owing to the deteriorating political and economic situation in Nigeria which had affected her family.

Kemi Badenoch/Photo: UK Government/Wikipedia

After graduating from the University of Sussex, she worked as a software engineer at Logica before studying law at Birkbeck, University of London. Badenoch later pursued a career in banking, working for the Royal Bank of Scotland Group and Coutts.

The British politician had previously served as Minister of State for Local Government, Faith and Communities and Minister of State for Equalities from 2021 to 2022.

Although a British citizen and born in the UK, Badenoch stated that she was “to all intents and purposes a first-generation immigrant” during her parliamentary maiden speech. She became MP for Saffron Walden in Essex in 2017, and lists her interests as including engineering and technology, social mobility and integration.

Kemi Badenoch, who is married to surprised many by reaching the last four in the leadership contest in the Conservative Party.

Kemi is married to Hamish Badenoch and they have two daughters and a son.

There’s a fourth minister in the cabinet that has a connection to Africa but who is of Indian origin. Suella Braverman, whose parents came to Britain from Kenya and Mauritius in the 1960s, succeeds Priti Patel as the second ethnic minority home secretary, or interior minister, where she will be responsible for police and immigration.

The new UK government is so unique that three of the country’s four most important ministerial positions are held by persons with connection to Africa.

Sola Jolaoso

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