As always, there are individuals in either public and private sector, whose singular decisions, office, or accomplishments influenced the general state of the business subsector in Ghana.
2015 has been a challenging year for the Ghanaian economy and businesses felt the pinch. As always, however, there are individuals in both public and private sector, whose singular decisions, office, or accomplishments influenced the general state of the business subsector in Ghana. Below are 15 of the personalities who had the most influence on the business subsector in 2015. Mind you, they are in no particular order.
1. Seth Terkper
It will be a travesty to do such a list without including the custodian and overseer of Ghana's financial sector. He is the Minister of Finance, but his influence on the business subsector of the economy is not restricted to his title alone. Mr. Tekper has directly changed the business climate in 2015 with his financial consolidation and expenditure -tightening policies as sanctioned by the IMF.
He has ensured that the amounts of contracts and government business handed to private sector has reduced. The petroleum downstream sector deregulation was also a typical attestation to his resolve to curb expenditure especially on subsidies.
The 2016 budget also takes a center stage in Seth Terkper's memorable influence in 2015, so does the all the international and domestic Eurobonds and loans he led as to acquire. No discussion will be had about the country's ballooned national debt of over GHC92 billion without a mention of Seth Terkper.
2. Dr. Henry Wampah
Dr. Henry Kofi Wampah, governor of the Bank of Ghana, is number two on this list. In fact, many will not understand why he is not number one, and it will not be for the right reasons. At best it will be for mixed reasons- a little good, a lot of bad. This is because of the poor performance of the local currency, the Ghana Cedi.
By the end of the first quarter of 2015, the Ghana Cedi had depreciated against the major currencies especially the US Dollar by close to 30%.
It had moved to a little over GHC2.50 by December 2014 to about GHC3. 60 by March 2015. Of course the business sector took a huge hit. Cost of Production skyrocketed as well as other inputs like utilities, whose prices are heavily affected by exchange rate differentials, skyrocketed too.
Additionally, monetary policy rate kept increasing and even went past the 25% threshold this year. The highest in 30 years, and there are hints of it going further up.
3. Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia
If there was any role for the political opposition in kicking against government's economic policies and performance in general, that role was chiefly championed by Dr. Mahamadu Bawumia and his highly controversial and hard- hitting public economic lectures. His criticisms and arguments have been a reference point in the discourse about the country's economic performance and dwindling indicators this year.
4. Dr. Kwabena Donkor
Ghana's Minister of Power became as influential in Ghana's business sector as the president and the Minister of Finance once he was appointed minister for the exclusively created ministry of power. His sole responsibility was to find and supervise measures to end the country's three- year energy crisis which has been the biggest bane of the the country's business sector. Dr. Kwabena Donkor's actions as minister ever since has had a direct influence on businesses in the country. From his decision to give industry more power, to finding a lasting solution to the energy crisis, Dr. Kwabena Donkor piratically had an immense influence on the Ghanaian business subsector.
5. Alhasan Andani
Marketing Man of the Year 2015, Alhassan Andani leads the private sector's most influential personalities. He was adjudged marketing man of the year because of the strategic influence his leadership had on the tremendous growth of his bank, Stanbic Bank in 2015 and the financial sector as a whole.
6. Lucy Quist
2015 has been CEO of Aritel Ghana, Lucy Quist's best by far. Taking over the reins of Airtel from her former role as head of Vodafone Business Solutions, not only did she grow airtel's market share in 2015, her personal brand took a boost after she was adjudged CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year 2015. She was still an inspiration to the many career mothers and wives climbing the corporate ladder.
To many, she still remains that resolute, innovative business leader, whose personality still remains excitingly ellusive. You are not too sure if she is a Joyce Aryee type, sweet, motherly and strict at the same time, or a Pearl Esuah Mensah whose results lead the way, or an Ursula Owusu who allows "no- nonsense".
7. Aliko Dangote
Africa's most influential man, and of course richest, Aliko Dangote ushers us into the shrewd parts of business. The Nigerian business magnate is on this list because of the direct influence the expansion of his business had on Ghana's business subsector and the impression it created that finally African businesses are growing in a fast and bold manner. Not only that, the prioritization of an expansion strategy for his Dangote Cement business into Ghana, and specifically to regions of the country sealed off his iconic status as a powerful business magnate, taking the continent by storm and with it the West African Subregion.
Mind you, the expansion into Ghana forms part of his plans to increase Africa's cement production by 50% in five years. Unfortunately for competitors like Hedelberg and the Togolese/ Ghanaian company Diamond Cement, Dangote is not in the mood to cozy up to competion.
This has led to all kinds of agitation from authorities of Diamond Cement who are looking to protect their Volta Region market and the youth of Afloa who are looking to protect their jobs.
8. Kwadwo Safo Jnr
If we really want an individual who has inspired the Ghanaian entrepreneurship, business and manufacturing community that all things are possible, then leader of Christo Asafo and chief innovator of Kantaka Motors is he. This is a man who single- handed started a little flame in Ghana manufacturing sector building all kinds of automobiles, electronic appliances and industrial machines looking to government's support to commercialize. But government gave all manner of excuses ranging from the fact that there was not explicable scientific procedure to his enovations. This, however, will not discourage him.
Nearly a decade on, under the leadership of his son, Kwadwo Safo Jnr, Kantaka Motors launched its commercial line in 2015, and got not only the endorsement of almost all the international automobile standard certifications, but the endorsement of the president and opposition leader, Nana Addo Dankwah Akuffo Addo. Now Ghanaians entrepreneurs believe that industrialisation is possible.
9. Amartey Nunoo Amarteyfio
Amartey Nunoo Amerteyfio is the king of Ghana's Club 100. He also seems to have a midas touch in growing businesses. His Ramel International Group, a services company, shocked the Ghanaian business community when they moved 62 steps from the 64th position on the last edition of the Ghana Club 100 companies to 2nd in the latest rankings.
He told Pulse Business, in our Meet the Boss Series, that the company's balance sheet had grown over 1000 percent in the last three years. Amartey Nunoo Amarteyfio sent the buzz through the Ghanaian business community that local brands like his could compete toe to toe with multinationals like MTN, Zenith Bank, etc, who he beat on the Ghana Club 100.
10. Martin Delle
Martin Delle is arguably the most embattled businessman of 2015. His microfinance company, DKM Microfinance had its accounts frozen and its offices closed down for the greater part of the year for apparently contravening the Banking Act.
According to the Central Bank, Martin Delle's company had taking on more in deposits than they had assets to support.
The sanction by the Central Bank sparked a sense of fear and panic in the customers, who besieged the various branches of the company demanding a release of the monies. Martin Delle is on this list because his company's case further sparked a clamp-down on allegedly fraudulent microfinance companies operating in the country.
The bank of Ghana closed down over 20 microfinace companies after the DKM case. Martin Delle felt personally persecuted for no wrong done. He believes people could just not understand that a young man like him was that successful.
11. Derrydean Dadzie
Derrydean Dadzie is the CEO, or Chief Doer of the Software Company of the Year DreamOval. DreamOval was a company built out of the school project works of the four partners.
Seven years on, the company has grown financially stronger and stronger, employee 70 of some of the smartest software developers in the country. They have won countless awards, including Ghana Telecom Awards' Software Company of the Year.
They have modified their online payment platform, one of the earliest payment platforms in the country, SlydePay with which they have collaborated with stanbic bank to create more convenience in transactions for businesses and customers.
Again Derrydean and DreamOval are proving to techpreneurs that tech business can grow financially strong firm just like any traditional business. Tech business in Ghana seem to have a challenge with monitizing, and growing like a steady business, but Derrydean and his partners seem to have gotten it right with DreamOVal.
12. Kofi Amoabeng
Prince Kofi Amoabeng is the king of controversy in Ghana's business subsector, and 2015 was the pinnacle of it all for him.
The founder of UT Bank, a visionary resigned or is it retired from his own bank this year. That was a few months after his best manager yet, Pearl Esua Mensah resigned from the bank in June. P.K as he is affectionately called by his close friends held a press conference to announce the news of retirement, citing his age as the reason. But many think it was down to the fact that the bank had incurred a massive lost of over GHC60 million in the first half of the year.
Their share prices on the Ghana Stock Exchange also took the biggest tumble in the history of banking stocks on the Ghana Stock Exchange. There was the scandal of alleged news that he has a kid with singer Mzbel, and Former TV3 presenter Nana Aba Anamoah. He also stocked his controversial status more when he said he didn't believe in heaven, and he does not pay tithe.
13. Nathan Kwabena Adisi, AKA Bola Ray
The Chief Executive Officer of EIB Network has had a superb year. Just as he shocked the business world with his business savvy and shrewd negotiation skills IN 2014 with the establishment of Starr FM, the popular entertainment and broadcasting mogul continued is brand take-overs. He led his network to acquire Choice FM 102.3 and rebranded it into the now vibrant Kasapa FM. Before the business world could come to terms with that development, EIB added Live FM formerly Vibe FM to their collection of radio stations. But what really sent massive waves of surprise throught the Ghanaian business community was when EIB announced the acquisition of the fast- growing entertainment television station, GH One. That sent a deafening wave through the business world that Bola and his partners, who ever they are, mean business in the media industry.
14. Bright Simmons
Bright Simmons has been Ghana's poster boy in the past three years after the launched his health app, Mpedigree. Mpedigree is an app that helps patients ascertain the authenticity of the medications and pharmaceuticals they buy from the pharmacy.
This has been the singular most influential development in the West African Sub Region, given the sharp increase in the production of counterfeit drugs on the continent.
Mpedigree attaches unique codes to all original drugs at the stage of manufacturing, the end- user can then scan the code with the app which will then authenticate the validity of the medication, the active ingredients and the standard amounts required. This great innovation has won Bright Simmons so many accolades on the continent.
The pinnacle of it all was when he was mentioned on the list of top 10 innovators in Africa by Quartz Africa.
15. Nana Opoku Agyemang Prempeh, Asoreba
CEO of Asoreba, Nana Opoku Agyemang Prempeh is one of the startups that made quiet an impression on the Ghanaian investor community in 2015. The cloud based church management software won almost every startup contests they competed in in 2015, notable amongst which was the Seedstar World Accra Pitch Event which was held at the Impact Hub Accra.
Judges found the Asoreba app simple but highly efficient in solving a complex problems in church administration. The cloud based application for administrators captures detailed church member information, leader and church operations. Church members can receive devotionals, sermons, event notices and other relevant information through the Asoreba app.