Thanks to Forbes, we know who the richest men in Africa are. We know Nigerian business guru, Alhaji Aliu Dangote is first on the list with about $11 billion in assets. Another Nigerian, Globacom owner, Mr Mike Adenuga is also prominent on the list with about $5 billion in assets. Curiously, no Ghanaian is mentioned. I have looked and re- looked at the list and the situation remains the same.
The Ghanaian economy, growing at about 13 per cent, is one of the biggest in Africa. We have cocoa, gold, diamond, manganese, bauxite, and now oil, so it’s a bit strange that we find no Ghanaian on a list of Africa’s richest individuals? Don’t we have rich folks in Ghana? Well, to state that we have many extremely rich individuals in Ghana is stating the obvious. However, unlike their Nigerian counterparts, I dare say, that many Ghanaian rich men are not too keen on publicising or flaunting their wealth. No, they are not.
You see, often when you meet a rich Nigerian, you can almost certainly tell by his appearance and how he carries himself that “yes, this man is rich!”. His ‘Agbada’ alone will tell the whole story. And you will be impressed by how generous he is.
With Ghanaians, however, the situation seems to be different. They are somewhat conservative and evasive about their true financial worth.
Despite their vast wealth, many super-rich Ghanaians live and act like ordinary Ghanaians. Their way of life is often not too different from that of a poor rat like me. They drive relatively ordinary cars and live in ordinary houses. Ostentation and flamboyance, it has to be said, are not in their dictionaries. The conservative lifestyle of many a Ghanaian rich man is partly informed by our unfortunate history of cracking down hard on rich Ghanaians.
Readers would recall that some very rich folks were prosecuted and imprisoned in 1982 apparently for being unable to account for their assets as well as the monies in their bank accounts. Some were killed, others were imprisoned, the rest fled the country.
This could be a major factor why many rich Ghanaians are not too forthcoming as to their true value. Some of them probably fear that a sudden change in Ghana’s political architecture could cause what happened in 1982 to recur. Also, Ghana’s Internal Revenue Service (IRS) is roaming like a lion looking for money to put in the government purse. They are doing all they can to meet their annual financial target.
This became a top priority after President Mills famously rushed to ‘shake’ (scold, reprimand) offficials of CEPS -their counterparts in the revenue collection business – at the Tema Harbour, following corruption allegations by Anas Aremeyaw Anas.
Now, immediately a big man declares how much he’s worth, the IRS quickly moves in on him with alacrity to find out if the person has evaded any taxes. If he has, they immediately milk him dry. And trust me, even if you owe the IRS as little as 1 cedi, they will come for it. That’s how serious and determined the organisation is.
Why, therefore, should I tell the world that I have a billion Ghana cedis if I know the IRS will descend on me and scrutinise me to the last detail. Otherwise, there are many super-rich men and women in Ghana. I did some ‘light’ investigations, and I have a list of some extremely rich Ghanaians.
My brothers and sisters, note that ‘investigations’ here do not imply a research based on any empirical or scientific basis. What I did was to talk to some people who said they had valuable info about rich folks in Ghana. I also did some ‘research’ on the web.
So, while my list cannot be said to be foolproof, it gives you an impression as to who some of the richest people ( well, they are all men) in Ghana are. Contrary to what the title of this post might suggest, I am, in no particular order, putting out the names and bios of some Ghanaians who I hear have at least 200 millions dollars in physical cash, assets and investments.
Again, while I’ m a bit hesitant in referring to the the following individuals as the richest men in Ghana, I’ve heard that each of them is worth over $200 million. Yes 200 million dollars!
1. Dr Sam Jonah- Dr Jonah is believed to be worth about $600 million, which almost certainly makes him the richest man in Ghana.
He is the Executive Chairman of Jonah Capital, equity fund based in Johannesburg, South Africa. Mr Jonah was previously President of AngloGold Ashanti and shared the strategic leadership of the company with its CEO, Bobby Godsell.
He became Chief Executive of Ashanti Goldfields at the age of 36. As CEO, Sam Jonah supervised the transformation of Ashanti Goldfields into a mining multinational, increased gold production from 240,000 ounces per annum to over 1.6 million ounces in over ten years, and oversaw the company’s listing as the first operating African company on the New York Stock Exchange.
Currently, the Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, Mr Jonah chairs the boards of Equator Exploration Ltd, Scharrig Mining, Equinox Minerals, Uramin, Moto Goldmines Ltd and Range Resources Ltd. Mr Jonah also serves on various boards including Transnet, Mittal Steel SA, Ashesi University, Standard Bank of South Africa, Lonmin, the Commonwealth African Investment Fund (Comafin), the Advisory Council of the UN Secretary General’s Global Compact, President Olusegun Obasanjo’s International Investment Advisory Council on Nigeria, President Thabo Mbeki’s International Investment Advisory Council of South Africa, and President John Kufuor’s Ghana Investors’ Advisory Council. The list is endless.
He has also won several awards.
Indeed, Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II, Head of the Commonwealth, conferred on him an Honorary Knighthood, presented by the Prince of Wales, at a ceremony in June, 2003. The award is in recognition of Dr. Jonah’s exceptional achievements as an African businessman, a leading business executive from the Commonwealth, and an international public figure.
2. Mr Emmanuel Kwasi Botchwey: Mr Botchwey is reportedly worth about $300 million. He is the Executive Chairman of the Regimanuel Gray Group. The group is into mining, hospitality and real estate development in Ghana and some other African countries. We can all attest to the fact that the Regimanuel Gray estates are arguable the nicest and most expensive in Ghana. Only the biggest of the biggest men live there. ‘Ajepako’ guys like me can only dream of living in a boys’ quarters at the Regimanuel Gray’s platinum, golden and silver gates estates.
To date, Mr Botchwey’s company has constructed more than 2000 houses and has been the recipient of the 1998 Home Finance Company Gold Award for Best Estate Developer, the Ghana Millennium Excellence Award and the 13th International Construction Award of Trade Leaders Club, Paris. The company is also a member of Ghana Club 100 – a selection of the top 100 Companies in Ghana.
3. Joseph Siaw Agyapong: Mr Agyapong is the CEO of JA Plant Pool, Zoomlion, Jospong Group, and a series other companies in Accra. I know he has some other investments in neighbouring African countries. He’s reportedly worth about 300 million dollars.
Mr Ayapong, a middle aged man, was recently honoured by the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST) in Kumasi for his phenomenal contribution and support to waste management in Ghana and to Higher education as well as for distinguishing himself as a statesman.
4. Dr Paa Kwesi Nduom: Dr Nduom is reportedly worth about $300 million.
He is an entrepreneur, investor, business consultant and politician. He was a former Minister of Public Sector Reform the JA Kufuor administration and recently founded the Progressive People’s party.
He owns a series of companies and business including the Coconut Grove Hotels, Gold Coast Investments limited and the First National Bank limited.
5. Dr Kofi Amoah: Dr Amoah is the CEO Of Progeny Ventures and the Citizen Kofi Entertainment Centre. He is credited with bringing Western Union to Africa, and I hear that for every amount transferred to Africa via Western Union, Dr Amoah gets a certain cut. So u can imagine how much he’s worth. I hear that’s about $250 million.
Dr. Kofi Amoah has served as Non-Executive Director of State Insurance Co of Ghana Ltd since May 29, 2008. He graduated from the Opoku Ware School, Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KUNST) and University of California, Berkeley. His professional experience covers Business Management, Business Development and Investment Services.
He worked in the United States at Northrop, Electronic Data System (EDS), Southeast Investment Corporation Development, Elsafe Incorporated, Global One and Bear, Stearns Inc. He is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Progeny Ventures Inc. Los Angeles, which partnered with Western Union Financial Services and several African Banks in the global Remittances business. He is the founder and president of J.S. Investments Inc., Los Angeles, PPVI Ghana Ltd, and Progeny Aluminum and Design Ghana Ltd. He was a member of Ghana Investment Advisory Council, past member of the Ghana Football Association and Chairman of the Local Orgnanising Committee during the Ghana 2008 tournament.
6. Dr Alhaji Asoma Abu Banda: Dr Alhaji Banda is a renowned entrepreneur, business magnate, philanthropist, role model and patriot. He was born in June 1933 at Kintampo in Brong Ahafo Region. He’s reportedly worth over $200 million and is the CEO of Antrak Group of companies.
Other extremely rich Ghanaians include Dr Kwame Addo Kufuor, junior brother to President JA Kufuor and a Minister of State in his administration;
Yaw Osafo Maafo, former of Minster of Finance in the Kufuor administration; Nana Addo Danquah Akufo Addo, flagbearer of the New Patriotic Party (NPP); Mr Hackman Owusu Agyemang, former Minister of Works and Housing in the Kufuor Administration; Mr Kennedy Agyapong, businessman and philanthropist and the CEO of Kencity Media.