The banking and financial sector globally is male dominated and the situation in Ghana is no different.

Some banking institutions have taken the bold step to correct the narrative by including women in their management position.

This is mainly due to pressure from gender advocates who call for parity in the appointment of men and women to sensitive positions in the banking sector.

However, this initiative is just a drop in the ocean since out of about 20 banks in Ghana, you can count just a few women in top positions.

As the world celebrates International Women’s Day (IWD), on March 8 to recognize and celebrate women’s achievement in the world, I want to celebrate these women who have defied the odds and risen to the top echelons of power in Ghana’s banking industry.

MD ABSA Bank, Abena Osei-Poku

Abena Osei-Poku

The first is Abena Osei-Poku, the Managing Director of Absa Bank, Ghana. As the Managing Director of Absa Bank Ghana, Abena Osei-Poku has demonstrated integrity and innovation in Ghana’s financial sector, and most importantly sustained business growth.

Due to her hard work, she was named as one of Africa’s 50 Most Influential Female Corporate leaders by the Leading Ladies Africa, a women-focused non-profit organization based in Sub-Saharan Africa

This is for her inspiring achievements, exemplary leadership in Ghana’s banking sector and her commitment to upholding good corporate governance as well as supporting people’s dreams and possibilities through the provision of financial services, solutions and opportunities.

Also, she was recognised as a top corporate personality in the country at the 6th Ghana Women of the Year Honours recently organized by Glitz Africa.

Mrs. Abena Osei-Poku attributed her success to her passion and dedication to impact positively in people’s lives.

“I am truly humbled and honoured by this recognition. As a leader, my passion and commitment is to give meaning to people’s lives and this remains my guiding principle as we continue to drive shared prosperity for all,” she said.

Mansa Nettey

Mansa Netty

Another wonderful woman who is an inspiration and mentor to many young women especially in Ghana’s banking sector is Mansa Nettey.

She is the first female chief executive officer appointed by the Standard Chartered Bank of Ghana on March 1, 2017 in the Bank’s 120 year history in the country.

She has more than 20 years of experience in banking, having held various senior roles in Corporate and Institutional Banking in Standard Chartered including managing across the West Africa sub-region.

Under her leadership and guidance, Mansa Nettey has led Standard Chartered Bank Ghana Limited to win several awards. Some of which include:

  • Excellence and Banking Innovation Award by the Digital Innovation & Excellence Awards, Excellence in Employment Opportunity by the Ghana
  • Disability Excellence Awards; and Africa’s Best Bank for Transformation by the Euromoney Awards for Excellence.

She was named in 2019 as one of the top 100 women CEOs in Africa in support of the U.N. Sustainable Development Goals by Reset Global People.

Mansa Nettey was also listed in the second publication of 100 Most Influential African Women in 2020 by Avance Media.

She possesses a detailed understanding of the dynamics of operating and managing the financial and banking environment across varying cultures, and has a proven track record of strong and far-reaching performance.

For her tremendous contribution to the banking sector, she was elected President of the Ghana Association of Bankers.

Abiola Bawuah

Marufatu Abiola Bawuah

Another mentor is Mrs. Marufatu Abiola Bawuah who was Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of United Bank for Africa (UBA).

Under her able leadership at the United Bank for Africa Ghana Ltd., She grew the branch network from 25 branches in 2013 to 28 fully networked branches. Again, under her guidance, the organization planted several ATMs from the already 37 in 2013 to over 60 Visa, Verve and Mastercard enabled ATMs spread across Accra, Tema, Kumasi, Takoradi, Tamale, Tarkwa and Aflao.

Mrs. Marufatu Abiola Bawuah has enormous experience in retail banking and marketing. She holds a BSc in Actuarial Science from the University of Lagos, Nigeria, an LLB with honours from the University of London, a diploma in Marketing from GIMPA and an EMBA (Finance) from the University of Ghana and also has numerous leadership qualifications from Harvard Business School, Columbia, University of New York, INSEAD and Institute Villa Pierrefeu in Switzerland.

At the 2016 Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana Awards, she was adjudged the “CIMG Marketing Woman of the Year” and subsequently went on to win the “Finance Personality of the Year Award” at the Ghana Accountancy and Finance Awards barely two months after. Mrs. Bawuah is on the Woman Rising inspiring list of Top 50 Women Corporate Leaders in Ghana.

Mansa Nettey, Abiola Bawuah and Abena Osei-Poku have not only proven to be a successful career woman, but heroines worth celebrating.