Tucci Goka Ivowi is an experienced business leader with over 18 years’ experience in marketing and general business management in the UK and emerging markets of Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is currently the Deputy CEO and a founding member of the Ghana Commodity Exchange. In this interview with Alaba Ayinuola, she speaks on the recently formed The Ghana Commodity Exchange which she is a founding member, her passion for mentoring and how Africa can be more business friendly. Excerpt.
Alaba: Can you tell us about The Ghana Commodity Exchange and the gap it is filling?
Tucci: The Ghana Commodity Exchange is a regulated market which brings buyers and sellers together to trade under rules. It functions much like a stock exchange, except commodities are traded in place of stocks. The lack of organised trade in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa means that opportunities are lost to farmers, traders and the country as a whole. The structured nature of trading GCX provides, through its electronic trading system, allows for price discovery of the different commodities traded, assures the market of the quality and quantities of the commodities being traded, guarantees the sellers (largely farmers) cash settlement within 24 hours of a trade, and will open up both local and overseas markets to larger volumes of commodities, enriching all players in the agricultural and other commodity value chains and have an important net impact on Ghana’s agricultural economy.
Alaba: What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way? How are you applying it in your present capacity as the Deputy CEO, Ghana Commodity Exchange?
Tucci: Integrity will get you through any difficult moment you may encounter as a leader. You can make mistakes elsewhere and this is normal when you are faced with a multitude of decisions, often with little time to deliberate upon them but the fallout from a lack of integrity will have damaging and lasting consequences. This is the confidence I have as a leader – that as long as I do what is right, I can worry little about inconsequential matters. As you can imagine, integrity is particularly important in the financial markets industry, so I try to inculcate the right behaviours in the team, almost on a daily basis so that they are ingrained in the organisation’s fabric. Consistency forms habit.
Alaba: Recently, you launched a series called SMARTER Leadership. What is the goal and inspiration behind it?
Tucci: SMARTER Leadership series is an insight sharing, mentoring and coaching programme which I developed in response to many requests from up and coming leaders to share tips on how to attain leadership roles. I would love to take on all mentorship requests but it’s not possible if I’m to give people the quality they deserve and still have enough time for my work and myself. This will allow me to reach out to many more new and aspiring leaders whilst exchanging experiences with other leaders.
Alaba: What advice do you have for African women aiming for leadership positions, especially in the corporate world?
Tucci: I’ve said this in a different interview and I’ll say it just slightly differently here. Don’t focus on the ladder. You’re likely to slip. Focus on the results and let them elevate you. If you feel you’ve done all and deserve to be promoted and yet it’s not happening, seek advice from a mentor (ideally one from the same company, who can give you an honest view based on first hand observation) and in the meantime, keep working hard. Hard work always pays.
Alaba: As one of the largest continent in the world in terms of population. Do you think the Africa business ecosystem is attracting the right Foreign Direct Investments (FDI)?
Tucci: I would say at a base level, that to be ‘right’ it has to be at least equally mutually beneficial, not a case of unfavourable terms to Africa to the benefit of the investor. I think we are increasingly attracting a better quality of FDI, as, with increasingly stable macro economies, foreign countries and companies are competing more for business deals in Africa, but it’s not yet enough. Given the vast resources in Africa, we still retain only a small share of the wealth in both real and relative terms. The wealth derived from cocoa is to be found far away from the source of cocoa. There has to be a shift in that scale. We need to be more prescriptive about the type of FDI we wish to attain and I think Ghana and other African countries are starting to do this, through various policy initiatives.
Alaba: How can African governments create policies that are more attractive and business friendly for both local and foreign investors?
Tucci: Beyond policy, it’s about creating an enabling environment. Security, transparency and corruption come high on the list of the housekeeping elements needed to engender foreign investors to even look at policy initiatives of foreign and particularly African governments. Local investors are particularly concerned about unnecessary bureaucracy and the constraints it poses to getting operations off the ground.
Alaba: What is your advice for entrepreneurs and investors looking at Africa as an investment destination?
Tucci: Ask the right questions before coming. Be prepared to unlock tons of more information on the ground. Invest the time in researching the market and the players. Be culturally aware and sensitive, because understanding or misunderstanding nuances in people’s behaviours can alone lead to ultimate failure. Get advice from those who have done it before. The systems work once you become familiar with them.
Alaba: How do you relax and what kind of books do you read?
Tucci: I like this question. I relax by reading books! My mind likes to stay busy. I love historical novels, philosophical novels, literature and some legal thrillers. My husband and I enjoy watching action and spy movies together.
Her Short Bio:
Mrs. Tucci Goka Ivowi is an experienced business leader with over 18 years’ experience in marketing and general business management in the UK and emerging markets of Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is currently the Deputy CEO and a founding member of the Ghana Commodity Exchange.
Prior to this, Tucci led teams across Central & West Africa, working in various roles including Business Executive Officer (Executive Director) and Marketing Communications Director, after her role of Managing Director for Nestle in Guinea. She has a consultancy practice, Global Village Consortium, which offers advisory and management consulting services, focusing on African businesses in the public and private sector looking to compete in the global space. She is also the founder of “Forty Lives” an NGO in Ghana which advocates for support of people with mental health conditions.
Tucci is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM UK). She holds a BA in Politics and French from the University of Sussex, UK, a degree in Political Science from the Institute of Political Studies, Aix-En-Provence, France and an Executive MBA from Warwick University, UK.
Christa Sanders Bobtoya: The Woman Advancing International Education in Africa
Christa Sanders Bobtoya has been involved in the field of international education for the last two decades. She has lived in Accra, Ghana since 2004 and is currently the Director/Head of Webster University’s Ghana Campus, the only American university in the sub-region offering US-accredited graduate and undergraduate degrees. Sanders Bobtoya spent her first decade in Ghana as the Associate Director of New York University’s (NYU) 6th global site and the university’s first study abroad program on the African continent. As the head of Webster Ghana, she works daily to fulfill the University’s mission of providing high-quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.
“I have always been passionate about education, international travel and intercultural experiences. In my role of Director of Webster University Ghana Campus, I am able to fuse together all of my passions where I work daily to fulfill the University’s mission of providing high quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence,” says Sanders Bobtoya who is committed to promoting international educational opportunities to students worldwide and has worked and studied in Spain, Germany, Ethiopia, Ghana, Brazil and the United States.
Sanders Bobtoya has traveled extensively across 5 continents, spanning 85 countries dedicating much of her career to the field of higher education and managing study abroad programs as well as international branch campuses of US institutions both in Europe and Africa.
Previous experiences have included a role as a Program Officer for the Institute of International Education (IIE) in New York where she managed a range of scholarship programs for both Latin American and African students through the Institute’s Scholarship and Training Programs (STP) division and as the Chief Counselor of Students for Syracuse University in Madrid, Spain where she also co-founded a support organization, Voices of Change, to help students of color cope with discrimination outside of the United States. Additionally, Sanders Bobtoya has provided cross-cultural counseling services in Berlin, Germany and developed short-term, faculty-led study abroad programs to both Eastern and Western Africa for Virginia Union University in Richmond, Virginia, and has consulted a number of educational institutions focused on international educational initiatives such as Stanford University, Dartmouth College and the Council of International Education (CIEE), the world’s largest international educational exchange organizations.
Currently, in the role of Director/Head of Webster University’s Ghana Campus; the only American university in the sub-region offering US-accredited graduate and undergraduate degrees, Sanders Bobtoya works daily to fulfill the University’s mission of providing high quality learning experiences that transform students for global citizenship and individual excellence.
“Under my leadership at Webster University Ghana, students are exposed to new ways of thinking and benefit from the cultural diversity and enriching academic environment that strengthens their critical-thinking skills. Since opening our doors in 2014, we have enrolled both undergraduate and graduate students from over 25 different countries, spanning four continents including many from Africa and its Diaspora who later join Webster’s elite network of over 157,000 alumni worldwide,” adds Christa Sanders-Bobtoya who holds a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology and Spanish from Spelman College in Atlanta, Georgia where she graduated summa cum laude before completing her Ed.M and M.A. degrees in Counseling Psychology with a concentration in cross-cultural studies/multiculturalism from Columbia University in New York.
Learn More about Webster University Ghana at the Online Open House
Hussein Fakhry, MD of Key Architectural Group Nominated for The 2020 Ghana Industry CEO Awards
Hussein Fakhry, the Co-Founder, Managing Director and Lead Architect at KEY
Architectural Group has been identified as one of the most outstanding chief executives in
corporate Ghana by Ghana Industry CEO Awards.
Hussein’s astute leadership at Key Architectural Group led to the nomination of Top CEO in the
Construction (Building) category. KEY Architectural Group has offices in Accra, Ghana, Abidjan, Ivory Coast and Beirut, Lebanon.
The 2020 Ghana Industry CEOs Awards is an annual awards scheme aimed at identifying and
publicly recognizing the most outstanding Chief Executives in corporate Ghana across a wide
range of sectors.
Backed with a Master’s in Business Administration and over 24 years of experience in the Design and Construction Field, the architect by profession and passion has been behind landmark residential, commercial, touristic, and industrial projects in West Africa and Lebanon.
Hussein Fakhry designs are inspired by nature, sustainability and contextual architecture.
To vote, kindly visit: Ghana Industry CEO Awards
aYo Holdings appoints Marius Botha as Group CEO
African micro-insurance fintech business aYo Holdings, a joint venture between telecommunication giant MTN and traditional insurer Momentum Metropolitan Holdings (MMH), has appointed Marius Botha as its new group chief executive officer (CEO).
Botha was formerly CEO of life insurer Stangen for nearly seven years, having previously held executive positions at African Bank and Munich Re.
aYo Holdings offers accidental hospital cover and life cover in Zambia, Uganda and Ghana with additional African countries launching in the very near future.
Botha holds an honours degree in actuarial science and an M.Phil in Futures Studies.
Issued: ByDesign Communication