The WFE's Women Leaders 2024 - Diana Okine, Deputy General Manager, Strategy and International Relations at GSE

By: Diana Okine, Deputy General Manager, Strategy and International Relations, Ghana Stock Exchange Mar 2024

Name: Diana Okine

Organisation: Ghana Stock Exchange

Job TitleDeputy General Manager, Strategy and International Relations


1. Brief job description

As Head of Strategy and International Relations, Diana works directly with the executive management of Ghana Stock Exchange to identify, define and develop strategic direction and opportunities for the exchange to grow its business, relevance and generational impact in Ghana and internationally. She monitors and evaluates the performance of the exchange's business units to ensure the achievement of objectives under the strategic plan and reports to the Managing Director.

She is responsible for building GSE’s influence in international capital markets. This involves establishing and growing international affiliations and strategic alliances with other exchanges and industry associations, such as the World Federation of Exchanges (WFE), the African Securities Exchanges Association (ASEA), the International Capital Markets Association (ICMA) and the Association of National Numbering Agencies (ANNA), among others.

Diana leads GSE’s relationships with international donor agencies, like the African Development Bank (AfDB), the International Finance Company (IFC), USAID and the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs – SECO. She leads in pitching and negotiating project funding with donors for impactful market-development projects and oversees successful implementation.

As the GSE’s Chief Sustainability Officer, she is responsible for promoting the exchange’s sustainability agenda, providing thought leadership on ESG and advocating the adoption of best standards and principles, such as those of the WFE, the ICMA and the United Nations Sustainable Stock Exchange (UN-SSE) Initiative.

Diana is responsible for the day-to-day formulation and implementation of the GSE’s demutualisation strategy, working closely with the executives, board and all stakeholders to realise the demutualisation objectives.

2. Short biography

Diana is the Deputy General Manager in charge of Strategy and International Relations at the GSE.

An industry veteran, she has been with the exchange since its establishment in 1990, serving in various capacities, including Company Secretary, Head of Education and Head of Marketing and PR, and she has chalked up numerous successes. She has been instrumental in mapping out the strategic direction of the GSE, including the formulation of the current three-year strategic plans. She has extensive experience and exposure in capital market operations through various international and local training.

She is credited with successfully turning the GSE securities courses (now Ghana Investment Securities Institute, GISI) into a flagship training programme for the securities industry in Ghana.

Diana is a board member of the GISI and the Education and Training Committee of the Ghana Securities Industry Association (GSIA). She also serves on the Capacity Building and Sustainability Working Groups of ASEA and the WFE.

She holds a BA (Hons) in Psychology with Linguistics and an MBA (Marketing) from the University of Ghana and a diploma in PR and Advertising from the Ghana Institute of Journalism. She is an Accredited Member of the Institute of Public Relations and the Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana (CIMG).

Her interests and passions include positioning the GSE as the preferred investment platform in the African sub-region and educating young professionals for leadership roles in the securities industry. She enjoys reading, comedy and solving puzzles.

3. What were your professional highlights and challenges in 2023?

A highlight of 2023 was leading a project under the AfDB’s Capital Market Development Trust Fund to develop rules for the introduction of Securities Lending and Borrowing, Asset-Backed Securities, Margin Trading, Market-Making, Issuing House and Underwriting. These rules received the endorsement of the SEC and form part of the exchange’s strategy to deepen and improve the liquidity on our market.

I initiated and led the development of GSE’s ESG Disclosure Guidance Manual in line with the GRI standards and the WFE Sustainability Principles. The generation of ESG discussions in Ghana, through this initiative, was a real win in my efforts to promote the sustainability agenda of the exchange.

Finally, I ended the year on a high note with the announcement that the GSE ranked fifth in the Africa Regional Report on Gender Equality in Corporate Leadership. The report, published by the UN-SSE, IFC and UN Women, measures progress on gender diversity in boardrooms on African exchanges. This highlighted the progress of the GSE’s initiatives to improve diversity on the boards of issuers.

A major challenge last year was the downgrade in the credit rating of Ghana, the government’s debt default and the subsequent restructuring of its domestic and international debt. This severely impacted investor confidence and the markets. I worked with the exchange’s leadership and other stakeholders to engage widely for policies that would protect the market and investors, and accelerated the development of new products to provide diversification for investors. Our efforts ensured that the GSE Composite Index ended 2023 with a gain of 28.08% and Ghana maintained its status as a frontier market in the FTSE Equity Country Classifications at the end of 2023.

4. Tell us about a few of your key achievements?

Under my supervision as Head of Education, the GSE securities courses were transformed into the third-biggest source of revenue for the exchange. More than 60,000 participants registered for the courses during the period. The securities courses became the most sought-after professional courses in the industry. They also become a pre-requisite for the licensing of capital market professionals and operators by the SEC.

Securing over $2 million of funding from donor agencies for transformational projects such as the establishment of the Ghana Alternative Market (GAX) and its Listing Support Fund to assist SMEs raise capital.

Positioning the GSE in the global arena by securing full membership of the WFE; admission into the African Exchanges Linkage Programme; designation as a Sustainable Stock Exchange; two regional alliances with the Nairobi and Casablanca Exchanges; strategic alliances with the LSEG and the Jamaica Stock Exchange; full membership of ANNA and ICMA as well as being a signatory to the Marrakech Pledge.

Collaborating with the Nigerian Exchange Limited and the Pan-African Payment & Settlement System (PAPSS) to execute the first ever cross-border securities transaction between dealers in Ghana and Nigeria using PAPSS. This was another success in the integration of West Africa Exchanges through the West African Capital Markets Integration Project.

Instituting the GSE’s “Facts behind Figures” programme, a platform where issuers meet institutional investors, financial media, research analysts and stockbrokers to discuss their performance and outlook. This programme is now an important event for our listed companies and analysts.

5. Who and what inspires you to achieve your professional success?

I have been fortunate to have encountered numerous sources of inspiration that impacted significantly on my career.

Family values taught me the importance and rewards of hard work, perseverance, determination and passion and that gender was no barrier to success if you stay focused and true to who you are.

Starting work at a tender age at the exchange, my biggest inspiration came from my first Managing Director. His leadership style and commitment to excellence motivated me to constantly challenge myself and strive for continuous improvement. He taught me the importance of setting high standards and taking advantage of opportunities to excel. His belief in my potential played a significant role in shaping my professional aspirations and career path.

Personal experiences also played a pivotal role in my career. Each accomplishment and setback provided valuable lessons that shaped my development. Achievements reinforce confidence in my ability to succeed and obstacles and failures teach me resilience and adaptability.

6. How have you overcome setbacks, and what have you learned from adversity?

I encountered a few setbacks in my professional life and learned that they are opportunities for growth and resilience.

When dealing with setbacks, I try to understand what went wrong and how to correct it. I maintain a positive mindset without dwelling much on the feelings of disappointment, which enables me to seek solutions with determination, confidence and being resolute in my ability to overcome. I am also fortunate to have a great support system in my family and network who encourage, guide and provide perspective during such periods.

My advice is that setbacks do not define our worth or potential. Neither do they diminish our abilities or chances for success. Accepting them as opportunities for growth and self-improvement are key to overcoming them. Dealing with setbacks can be emotionally and mentally draining so do not hesitate to seek help, when needed, bearing in mind “what does not kill you makes you stronger.”

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

First, YOU have the leadership qualities and potential. Be ambitious and amplify your capabilities. Never wait for validation of your self-worth from others. Focus on positive goals and learn from the negatives to get better. Challenges should be viewed as chance encounters for success and always remember that all goals are achievable.

I would like readers to remember that the path to success includes being passionate about what you do and deriving intrinsic value and satisfaction from it. Pursue your passion with all your strength and with grace.


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.