West Africa: A region with great challenges, but even greater potential for impact.

West Africa is home to a great deal of diversity: three major world languages, over a thousand indigenous languages, multiple cultures and judicial systems, as well as three of the top 25 fastest growing countries in the world. Yet, the wealth that has been generated in West Africa has not trickled down to the lowest-income households in the region. 75% of West Africans still live on less than $2 per day.

After exploring the potential to scale our work deeper on the African continent, Acumen started investing in West Africa in 2011, and our investments here are at the forefront of bringing access to products and services to low-income customers. Our companies span from land-rights documentation for low-income home owners, to agri-services and market access for small-holder rice farmers, to anti-drug counterfeiting, and more.

A massive region

with enormous potential

West Africa investments span from land-rights documentation for low-income home owners, to agri-services and market access for small-holder rice farmers, to anti-drug counterfeiting, and more.

4.3

million lives impacted

With dignity not dependence

195

Jobs created & supported

improving livelihoods and economies

$6.3

Million invested

in breakthrough innovations

4

Companies

Providing choice not charity

Meet the Team in West Africa

In 2012, Acumen opened its West Africa office in Accra, Ghana.  Being on the ground to scout new investment opportunities and provide management support to existing companies is critical.  The West Africa office benefits from a strong team of local advisors and supporters. See if we’re hiring.

  • Close Drawer Festus

    Festus Amoyaw

    “Acumen does not have all the answers but the continuous sharing of ideas has made it stand out. Acumen inspires the world that success is an option if failure is not.” [READ MORE]

    Festus started his career with Amex International Incorporated a contractor for the USAID in Ghana Trade & Investment Reform Programme, Increased Private Enterprise Performance (IPEP) Component Project as a Market Research and Business Development Assistant. He subsequently worked in an indigenous Ghanaian Financial Institution, HFC Bank as Credit Analyst with focus on Small and Medium Enterprises. Based on the experience from the development and financial institutions he joined GroFin Ghana a subsidiary of the GroFin Capital a Fund Manager for GroFin Africa Fund with a total fund size of USD150million. In GroFin he started as a Business Development Manager and later became a Portfolio Manager.

    Until recently he was an Investment Officer with Investisseur & Partenaires a Paris based Fund Manager of I&P Afrique Entreprenuer Fund of Euro 55 Million in the Ghana Office.

    Festus graduated from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Bachelor of Science in Agriculture Economics. He also has an Executive Masters in Business Administration from University of Ghana. Again he is studying to complete a professional course in Accounting and Auditing with the Association of Certified Chartered Accountants, United Kingdom. With respect to languages he has a working knowledge in French.

    CONTACT

    E:famoyaw@acumen.org

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 HAcquah

    Hannah Acquah

    “To inspire people is to give them something to run with: knowledge, information and the right attitude.” [READ MORE]

    Hannah Acquah heads Business Development and Communications for Acumen across West Africa, and supports their effort to build a community of local and international partners and investors. Hannah is also the Founder of The Knowledge Channel (TKC), an innovative professional training platform on employability and entrepreneurship skills delivered online and via mobile platforms.

    Hannah is an economist and management consultant with vast experience across EMEA. She has worked and consulted for Deloitte and Touché, Bank of America Merrill Lynch, Bank PHB (now Keystone bank) and The Embassy of the Republic of The Gambia in Washington D.C.

    In addition to her international work experience she was a contestant on the inaugural Apprentice Africa (2008) reality show and is a dynamic speaker on multi-cultural leadership, international business management and culture adaptation. Hannah holds an MA in Economics (honours) from Vanderbilt University, USA and a BSc in Management Information System (MIS) and International Economics from University of Maryland, USA. She is also a Fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts (FRSA), London UK.

    CONTACT

    T:+233 507010181
    E:hacquah@acumen.org
    @hbacquah

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 PAkpesey

    Prince Akpesey

    “Acumen is reinventing the world of marginalized communities with the power of patient capital. I believe access to economic opportunities enables people to live dignified lives.” [READ MORE]

    Prince is based in the West Africa office and is focused on the development of investments for Acumen across the region. He also supports the West Africa Director in managing investments across portfolios and business development.

    Before joining Acumen, Prince worked for a boutique investment banking firm in Accra, Ghana, where he set up and led the corporate finance team to execute transactions across various industries. Prior to that, he spent 7 years at First Atlantic Bank Limited where he worked in various roles including equity research, investment management, corporate finance, strategy and corporate development and where he was a key member of the team that transformed the equity trading desk into one of the top three equity trading businesses in Ghana. He was also involved in some of the key M&A and other advisory transactions executed by the bank.

    Prince holds a Masters in Finance and Management from the Cranfield University School of Management where he was a Chevening Scholar and a Bachelor of Science in Administration from the University of Ghana Business School. Prince is an Authorized Dealing Officer of the Ghana Stock Exchange.

    CONTACT

    E:pakpesey@acumen.org

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 GMwindaare

    Godfrey Mwindaare

    “Many are called, but few are chosen.” [READ MORE]

    As West Africa Director, Godfrey Mwindaare is responsible for all West Africa related investments, operations and business development activities. Additionally, as part of the Portfolio Leadership Team, he is jointly responsible for the global portfolio of Acumen with special focus on the new West Africa investments.

    Prior to this role, Godfrey was Chief Investment Officer in the African Development Bank, based in Tunisia, with specific responsibility for the Extractive Industry in the Bank’s 53 member states in Africa. He also worked with Standard Bank in South Africa and Tanzania as Senior Manager (Strategy and Special Projects) and Head of Retail and Business Banking and Barclays Capital in London as an investment banker in the Mining & Metals Team. He has over a decade of experience in investment banking, commercial banking and development finance.  Godfrey has a First Class Honours degree in Mining Engineering from the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science & Technology in Ghana and an MBA from the University of Hull Business School in the UK, specializing in financial management. He is also an Associate of the Chartered Institute of Bankers (UK).

    CONTACT

    T:+233 208991606
    E:gmwindaare@acumen.org

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 KOkyere

    Kitty Okyere

    “There is no better accomplishment in life than reaching down to lift others up.” [READ MORE]

    Kitty joined Acumen with over 3 years of financial services experience from Barclays Ghana, where she gained cross-functional experience in operations, credit and retail banking. Most recently, she was responsible for managing Barclay’s Prestige Wealth Management unit. Prior to Barclays, Kitty held administrative roles at Chrisa Hotel and Falsyd Foundation School in Ghana. Kitty has a BA in Management and Psychology from the University of Ghana.

    CONTACT

    T:+233 206301682
    E:kokyere@acumen.org

As a part of their nine-month field placement, Global Fellows work with one of our investee companies. These Fellows are currently gaining on-the-ground experience in West Africa.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 CTang1

    Christina Tang

    “I learn to see and treat each individual as a complex being with emotions, struggles and hopes.” [READ MORE]

    Christina is working in Accra, Ghana with WaterHealth International, an India-based company that offers customers safe, affordable drinking water through its community water systems.  She is working towards expanding WHI into the larger West African market and developing solutions for expanding access to solar power.  Christina is from Hong Kong and has worked with Bain & Co as an Associate Consultant. She has previously worked on starting Rainwater for Humanity, a rainwater harvesting initiative based in India. Christina holds a B.A. in Economics and a B.S. in Environmental Science, both from Brown University.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 JTashiro

    Junko Tashiro

    “Day after day, I take three steps forward and two steps back. Frustrating, but I embrace this journey as I can get stronger only by falling down, getting back up again, and repeat.” [READ MORE]

    Junko is working in Sogakope, Ghana with GADCO, which seeks to increase farmers’ income through a combination of improved yields, agri-services, and access to end-consumer markets.  Junko will be scaling up GADCOs programs to reach approximately 1000 more smallholder farmers per year.  Junko is from Japan and has worked with McKinsey & Co, the International Finance Corporation, and a Kenyan NGO. Junko holds a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Tokyo and an M.P.A. in Economic Development and Management from Columbia University.

  • Close Drawer Bio2013 MAbokede2

    Mustapha Abokede

    “For me, "patient capital" has transformed from a buzz phrase to something I see creating real value. At d.light, I realize that we're not only providing lights to people, but hope.” [READ MORE]

    Mustapha is working in Lagos, Nigeria with d.light design, a company that makes low-cost solar lights that provide cleaner, safer, and cheaper lighting to families living at the bottom of the pyramid.  He is working to develop new strategic distribution channels and help manage creative consumer and trade marketing initiatives.  Mustapha is from Nigeria and has worked with KPMG and Mobil Oil. Mustapha holds a B.Eng. in Petroleum Engineering from the University of Technology of Nigeria.

  • Close Drawer Suzuka Kobayakawa

    Suzuka Kobayakawa

    “Suzuka will work in Lagos, Nigeria with Pagatech, which delivers universal access to financial services in lowincome communities. Suzuka is from Japan and worked as a Reporting...” [READ MORE]

    Suzuka will work in Lagos, Nigeria with Pagatech, which delivers universal access to financial services in lowincome communities. Suzuka is from Japan and worked as a Reporting Officer for UNDP in Nepal. She has sales and marketing experience and lead a sales team at Recruit Co. in Japan. She holds a BA in International Development from the University of Tsukuba and an MA in Sustainable Development from SIT Graduate Institute.

  • Close Drawer John Mundy

    John Mundy

    ““Meet people where they are,” a former employer and friend often said. To John, that means finding a better future with people rather than for people. It is his desire...” [READ MORE]

    “Meet people where they are,” a former employer and friend often said. To John, that means finding a better future with people rather than for people. It is his desire to fix the broken systems that perpetuate poverty that brought him to the Acumen Global Fellows program.

    For 10 years John has explored the root causes and emerging solutions for poverty across the U.S., U.K., Peru, and Belize. Seeking opportunities to be part of a collective future, he worked on President Barack Obama’s presidential campaign, consulted in New Orleans on a green jobs program for the Lower Ninth Ward with green economy pioneer, Majora Carter, and more recently set up his own Foundation in Peru that manufactures and distributes low-cost water filters and clean cook stoves in remote Andean communities.

    John is a Starting Bloc Institute for Innovation Fellow, and comes to Acumen having recently completed his Masters in Social Entrepreneurship from the Goldsmiths College, University of London.

    John will spend his Fellowship with agriculture investee GADCO in Sogakope, Ghana.

  • Close Drawer Kathleen Berroth

    Kathleen Berroth

    “Kathleen will work in Sogakope, Ghana with GADCO an integrated agri-food company in sub-Saharan Africa focused on crop production, processing and supply of cereal and protein-based...” [READ MORE]

    Kathleen will work in Sogakope, Ghana with GADCO an integrated agri-food company in sub-Saharan Africa focused on crop production, processing and supply of cereal and protein-based foods. Kathleen is from the US and most recently worked as Vice President in Equity Capital Markets in the Investment Banking division at Barclays in Hong Kong and New York, and has previously worked for Morgan Stanley and Citigroup. She is the Founding Board Member
    of Roots of Health, a Philippines based non-profit. She holds a BA in Japanese Studies from Wellesley College and an MBA from NYU.

  • Close Drawer Wale 5

    Olawale (Wale) Ajiboye

    “Sitting on the lawn of Central Park in 2008, Wale knew that the time for change had come. Wale dreamed of a different future for West Africa and, despite large student loans,...” [READ MORE]

    Sitting on the lawn of Central Park in 2008, Wale knew that the time for change had come. Wale dreamed of a different future for West Africa and, despite large student loans, made the decision to leave his career in banking and apply his newly-minted MBA to development in his home country of Nigeria. In his words, “As Nigeria moves towards becoming a top economy, sacrifices must be made and mine just started.” Five years later, in 2013, Wale returned back to that same Central Park lawn, this time standing in front of 75,000 people to receive the Global Citizen Award from Professor Mohammad Yunus for Abuja Enterprise Agency’s work providing entrepreneurship and IT training to youth across Africa.

    Now, Wale brings to Acumen 13 years of experience in social enterprise development, banking, public policy, as well as community and youth development.  He has worked as Project Manager of Business Leadership at LEAP Africa, Principal Manager of Abuja Enterprise Agency, Senior Banking Officer at GT Bank, and he holds a Masters of Business Administration from Hult Business School.

    Wale will spend his Fellowship with energy investee d.light design in Lagos, Nigeria.

There is currently no West Africa Fellows program. Visit Regional Fellows to learn more.