A Lifetime of Fighting Corruption
Akere grew up in Ngyen-Mbo, in the North-West Region of Cameroon. He attended primary and secondary school in Cameroon, before moving to the United States for further studies at American University in Washington, DC. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree, Akere moved to England, where he joined the Honourable Society of Lincoln’s Inn. He was called to the Bar of England and Wales in 1978. That same year, he returned to Cameroon to practice as a lawyer. Since then, Akere has held various positions, in and outside of Cameroon, focused on combatting corruption and promoting good governance.
In 2000, Akere founded the Cameroon chapter of the anti-corruption watchdog, Transparency International (TI). His efforts drew heaving criticism from the government, which had previously not had its pervasive corrupt practices highlighted so openly. Eventually, the negative attention pressured the government into forming an ad hoc committee, presided over by the Prime Minister, to start to combat corruption.
In 2004, Akere was elected to the Board of Directors of TI. In the same year, the African Chapters of TI designated him as Coordinator of the Coalition of African Chapters of TI. As Coordinator, he was involved in the TI working group that helped draft the African Union Convention on Preventing and Combating Corruption, and authored a guide to the Convention.
In 2005, he was elected Vice-Chair of the Board of Directors of TI, for a three-year term. He subsequently was reelected twice to that position, and stepped down in 2014, after serving the maximum number of terms. As Akere’s mandate as Vice Chair of Transparency International came to an end in 2014, the Board of Directors of TI appointed him Chair of the International Anti-Corruption Conference (IACC) Council.
Akere was a founding member of the Pan African Lawyers Union (PALU), and in July 2005, was unanimously elected president of PALU by its Members. As president, he launched a program to train African lawyers in sophisticated commercial transactions in all five regions of Africa. In 2005, the PALU became a member of the Economic, Social and Cultural Council (ECOSOCC) of the African Union (AU), an advisory body created to promote civil society involvement within the AU institutions and decision-making processes. In September 2008, Akere was unanimously elected president of ECOSOCC, a position he held until 2014.
In 2010, Akere became a member of the APR Panel of Eminent Persons. The Panel exercises oversight of the African Peer Review Mechanism process, which is aimed at encouraging conformity among African countries in regard to their political, economic and corporate governance values.
In 2012, Akere became a member of the High Level Panel on Illicit Financial Flows from Africa, a body established by the United Nations Economic Commission for Africa.
In 2013, the Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) approved the appointment of Akere as Sanctions Commissioner of the African Development Bank.
In 2017, Akere announced his candidacy for President of Cameroon.