Ghana’s top business executives
The Africa Report profiles businesswomen, a banker, a minister and a budding entrepreneur who play key roles in growth sectors of the Ghanaian economy
The former managing director of Barclays Ghana takes up the reins of South African insurer Hollard Group’s Ghana operations in October. Hollard is a small player, so Akyianu’s goal is to increase its market share in the general and life insurance sectors. While at Barclays, she was vocal about improving the banking sector, saying: “It’s not about the number of banks. It’s about capacity, size and strength.”
Attah co-founded Farmerline, a start-up focused on farming and technology, with Emmanuel Owusu Addai in 2013. It has been growing ever since. Farmerline helps farmers to boost yields with improved information, finance and access to inputs. It also collects data and improves communication between growers and other players in the agricultural sector. Farmerline has raised about $1m, now employs about 30 people and has operations in 10 African countries. Attah had created a few other start-ups before Farmerline but none had met with this much success.
Jim Reynolds Baiden
The managing director of Ghana’s largest privately owned local bank needs to keep a cool head as others crumble. While several other local banks have collapsed, Baiden says Fidelity Bank will meet new minimum capital of ¢400m ($82.7m) before the end of the year and is also working on plans to raise ¢70m from listing on the Ghana Stock Exchange in 2020. Baiden has been leading the bank for two of its 11 years of existence and was one of Fidelity’s co-founders. He has big plans for Fidelity, saying that he wants it and other indigenous banks to help spearhead the country’s economic development. Fidelity co-managed a ¢10bn bond in 2018 to help the government solve the energy sector’s financial problems, and a subsequent eurobond.
Diamonds in business and on the pitch
Lucy Quist, a high-powered telecoms executive, is lending a hand to turn around the national football association after investigative journalist Anas uncovered vast corruption earlier in the year. She is vice-president of the football association’s so-called normalisation committee. Quist is the founder of technology company Quist Blue Diamond, a board member of the Ghana Climate Innovation Centre and former managing director of Airtel Ghana. Between advising businesses she has been giving pep talks to young footballers. Her recent words to fellow business leaders could be those of a team coach: “We should not look down on ourselves. Each of us is made in Ghana and therefore we should be proud of who we are, and not pull each other down but build each other up.”
John Peter Amewu
Eyes on electricity and oil
With a new oil-licensing round and a series of power agreements to renegotiate, Ghana’s new energy minister is making key decisions in two sectors. The co-founder of the Africa Centre for Energy Policy and National Patriotic Party chairman for the Volta Region took up the post in August 2018 after his predecessor fell out with President Nana Akufo-Addo about changes to the controversial AMERI power deal. The government is encouraging more local participation in the oil sector but critics say there are few firms with the right knowledge and funds to get involved. In September, Amewu criticised companies that act as fronts for foreign firms, saying they are denying Ghanaians the right to participate in oil production.