Kwasi Kwarteng: The First Black Business Secretary In The United Kingdom

by Duke Magazine

Ghanaian-British politician Kwasi Kwarteng is the newly appointed business secretary of UK under Prime Minister Boris Johnson administration. This makes him the first Black secretary of state and currently the only Black politician in the cabinet.

As business secretary, his responsibilities will include “reassuring businesses in the wake of Brexit, addressing Britain’s future energy needs and pushing through a new, tougher corporate takeover regime, as well as liaising with business groups over Covid-19 restrictions,” according to

Born in Waltham Forest in 1975 to Ghanaian emigrants to the UK as students in 1960s, Kwarteng has been serving as a Member of Parliament for Spelthorne since 2010. At age 13, he won a scholarship to study at Eton College and later studied history at Trinity College, Cambridge, where he earned Bachelor and Ph.D. degrees in British History.

Prior to his delve into politics, Kwarteng worked as a financial analyst and author. He authored the book “Ghosts of Empire,” about the legacy of the British Empire and also co-authored “Gridlock Nation” with Jonathan Dupont in 2011, on the causes and solutions to traffic congestion in Britain.

He first had his foray into politics when he vied as the Conservative candidate in the constituency of Brent East at the 2005 general election. He didn’t win the contest albeit but, he won the parliamentary race for Spelthorne in 2010. Also, he was re-elected as Conservative MP for Spelthorne in 2015 for the second consecutive time.

Kwarteng has served on a number of Select Committees since being elected and has served as Parliamentary Private Secretary (PPS) to the Leader of the House of Lords and the Chancellor of the Exchequer as well as Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State in the Department for Exiting the European Union.

He was a strong supporter of Being an ardent pro-Johnson in both the 2016 and 2019 Conservative Party Leadership elections, he was appointed Minister of State at the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy.

In a mini reshuffle in January, Kwarteng replaced Alok Sharma as Secretary of State for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, making him the first Black Conservative to have been appointed to the level of Secretary of State.

Kwarteng is a strong advocate of local enterprise and reforms in the business environment to make the UK business-friendly. He launched an initiative in 2013 dubbed the “Spelthorne Business Plan Competition” to find the local entrepreneurs of tomorrow. The competition has run successfully every year since it was launched.

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