The WFE's Women Leaders 2023 - Abena Amoah, Managing Director, Ghana Stock Exchange

By: Abena Amoah, Managing Director, Ghana Stock Exchange Mar 2023

Name: Abena Amoah

Organisation: Ghana Stock Exchange

Job Title: Managing Director

1. Brief description of nominee’s role and job:

Abena Amoah is the managing director of the Ghana Stock Exchange (GSE), the first female to occupy the position since the exchange was founded 32 years ago, with responsibility for defining and implementing the exchange’s corporate strategies and plans.

She oversees the operational activities, including growing trading on the equity and debt markets, improving surveillance of and compliance on the markets; attracting listings and developing new products and markets; maintaining secure trading platforms and IT systems at the GSE; ensuring the robust financial health of the exchange; and recruiting and building a high-performance team.

The Ghana Stock Exchange runs three markets: the Main Market for equities of large companies; the Ghana Alternative Market (GAX) for equities of small and medium sized companies; and the Ghana Fixed Income Market (GFIM) for fixed income government and corporate securities.

Abena ensures the GSE is compliant with regulatory requirements and meets all international best practices. She continuously engages with key stakeholders and international partners to achieve the exchange’s strategic objective of being the preferred platform for investment and raising of capital in the sub-region.

2. Short bio (career highlights, education, interests/hobbies):

Abena was appointed managing director in November 2022, prior to which she served as deputy managing director from August 2020.

Abena has extensive capital markets experience covering stock market listings and trading, mergers and acquisitions advisory, private placement of equity and debt instruments across diverse sectors, and the conception and development of large infrastructure projects. Prior to joining the exchange, she worked with BlackIvy Group LLC; Renaissance Group, where she was CEO of NewWorld Renaissance Securities Ltd and head of investment banking and finance in West Africa (ex-Nigeria) for Renaissance Capital; and Strategic African Securities Ltd, where she was executive director.

Abena currently serves on the boards of the Ghana Stock Exchange, Central Securities Depository Ghana Ltd and on the investment committees of the Minerals Income and Investment Fund, Venture Capital Trust Fund and University of Ghana. She has previously served on the boards or advisory councils of Access Bank (Ghana) PLC, Coronation Asset Management, Kosmos Energy Ghana HC, The Foschini Group Ghana Ltd, University of Ghana, Ghana Petroleum (Stabilization and Heritage) Funds, African Women’s Development Fund, among others. She is also an Assessor, Capital Markets Expert, of the High Court of Ghana.

Abena is passionate about human developmentShe has mentored many young women and men in the past 20 years, several of whom have become successful CEOs and business leaders. She is also passionate about bringing world-class healthcare to children and has assisted the Princess Marie Louise Children's Hospital in Accra, Ghana, to raise over US$3 million. Abena is a health and fitness fanatic and has supported more than 40 women to meet their fitness and lifestyle goals. She is also a member of the Just beCause Fitness Club, which raises funds for various causes.

Abena is an alumna of the University of Ghana Business School and has also undertaken academic and leadership studies at the Stanford Graduate School of Business, Harvard Business School, and the University of Denver’s Daniels College of Business.

3. What were your professional highlights and challenges of 2022?

In a year that had so many special moments, hearing from my board in October 2022 that I had been selected as the next managing director of the Ghana Stock Exchange, after a highly competitive process, was a standout moment. It was not lost on me that my appointment made me the first female in this position since the founding of the exchange. Imagine me, a young stockbroker trading on the floor of the exchange back in 1998, and now the managing director of such an important institution!

Another special highlight was working with my team to achieve full membership of WFE in 2022. Being welcomed into the meetings of WFE on September 28, 2022, in Malta, to the applause of fellow WFE members was unforgettable. This journey to attaining full membership of WFE is one I highly recommend to all affiliate members and other qualifying institutions to embark on. The growth that the exchange and its staff achieved during the process, and the benefits of being a full member, are very much worth it.

Our work at expanding our investment literacy programmes saw significant progress in 2022. With our partners, Young Investors Network, we held in-person programmes at 37 tertiary and secondary institutions across Ghana, conducted over 50 online finance and investment training sessions, and reached over 5,000 students with our investment education programmes such as The National Capital Market Quiz and The Stock Pitch Competition.

Our equity and debt markets achieved record high total value traded amounts of GHS1.64 billion and GHS230.68 billion, respectively, during 2022.

Our biggest challenge in 2022 was the economic crisis that Ghana experienced, impacting individuals, corporate institutions and the government in unprecedented ways. Our focus remains on the GSE’s contribution to the national economic recovery, and ensuring that we provide a trusted, transparent and efficient platform for financing and investment.

4. What and who inspires, and has inspired, you to achieve your professional success?

My early worldview was positively influenced by many strong female role models in my family and in the early educational institutions I attended. My gender was never a limitation for anything I wanted to do – be it tree-climbing or speaking up as a child. I have also been blessed by many incredible male mentors, who have encouraged me and advocated for me in important decision-making spaces.

My professional success has been achieved through my love of challenges and reinvention. I believe that everyone has the capacity to learn, refine and change, and that it is important to celebrate the small wins to keep motivated.

Ghana needs to mobilise domestic savings to invest in its future. I am energised by the resourceful and resilient Ghanaian entrepreneurs, especially the female and young ones, to build a market that truly facilitates their access to long-term capital as they build out their dreams to transform the Ghanaian economy.

I also draw a lot of inspiration from my GSE team. Their energy, ideas and can-do attitude make all the challenges at work surmountable.

5. What advice do you have for other women who aspire to be in leadership positions?

Many of the women I meet are very well qualified for leadership positions, and so I say to them: “You are good enough so do not overthink it. Put your hand up, offer yourself, step up, ask to be at the table. It is a journey of incremental growth and small wins: sometimes a small step, other times a giant leap. Have fun through it all.”


The views, thoughts and opinions contained in this Focus article belong solely to the author and do not necessarily reflect the WFE’s policy position on the issue, or the WFE’s views or opinions.