There is no doubt that African economy is fast becoming one of the fastest growing economies in the world as the continent has over the decades broken bounds in areas such as industry, power, energy, engineering, hospitality, agriculture and many other economic ventures. Many illustrious business moguls have in no small measure, contributed to the gradual ascent of the continent’s economy from obscurity to recognition. Also, riding on the tidal wave of Africa’s economic transformation are Africa’s vibrant youths who are tapping into the continent’s richness to build companies and create jobs. Aside from business, many African youths are excelling in entertainment, sports, media, literature and their endeavours are according prominence to Africa and placing the continent side-by-side, if not above other continents of the world.
For this reason, CEOAfrica, the first business social media network designed to create a positive change in African economy, is committed to identifying and celebrating African entrepreneurs, industrialists, government functionaries, celebrities and other personalities who have and are still contributing towards the development of Africa and its economy. Because we realise that it is important to honour and celebrate African sons and daughters who are positively impacting their immediate environment and beyond, CEOAfrica will be bringing you a weekly presentation of an African personality as a source of inspiration to many who aspire to make an impact and transform the continent. So, today’s CEOAfrica Personality of the Week is Ghana’s Sangu Delle, the Chief Executive Officer of Golden Palm Investments.
Who is Sangu Delle?: Sangu Delle is an entrepreneur and clean water activist. He is the founder of Golden Palm Investments (GPI). He is a TED Fellow who hails from Ghana and sees incredible potential in the African economy.
Early Life and Education: Sangu Delle was born in Ghana. He graduated from Harvard with highest honours in African Studies and Economics. He was awarded the Soros Fellowship and pursued a Juris Doctor of Law and MBA at Harvard Law School and Harvard Business School, respectively.
Sangu’s Career: At Harvard, Sangu co-founded cleanacwa which today is currently working to bring clean water and sanitation to over 200,000 people across 120 villages in the Ayensuano, Suhum and Nandom districts in Ghana. Delle has also previously worked at Goldman Sachs, Morgan Stanley and Valiant Capital Partners. In 2008, he founded Golden Palm Investments (GPI) to fund promising start-ups that can have social impact and generate jobs. GPI has backed startups such as Solo Mobile in Nigeria, mPharma in Ghana/Zambia/Cote D’Ivoire and Stawi Foods in Kenya. GPI has also built a portfolio of greenfield companies in healthcare, real estate, and financial services.
International Recognition: Sangu has received several international accolades. In 2014, he was named Africa’s “Young Person of the Year”. That same year, he was selected as a 2014 TEDGlobal Fellow. Sangu was also named one of Forbes’ top 30 most promising entrepreneurs in Africa in 2015 and he received Euromoney’s “Africa’s Rising Stars” award for “outstanding individuals and power brokers who are changing the financial, investment and business landscape in Africa.” Mic named Delle as one of 9 entrepreneurs in the millennial generation making a difference.
His Affiliations: Sangu is a Trustee of the Peddie School. He also serves on the Advisory Board and chairs the Leadership Council of Harvard University’s Centre for African Studies. He serves on the inaugural West Africa Advisory Group of the Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University.
His Failures: Sangu’s success story was not cut and dried as he ventured into several failed businesses. He once lost his life savings of $500 to an investment in a Bidz.com jewellery auction. He also started up a clothing venture called ‘SD Clothing’ which folded up because of the challenge of juggling business and studies. Another venture into a business of luggage transportation, ‘XS Luggage’ proved to be a failure as it violated federal regulations on transport security.
Personal Nuggets: The three personal nuggets of wisdom that has propelled Sangu to success are Faith, Dream and Hard work.
His Inspiration: Sangu is inspired by his mother, Kwame Nkrumah and Mother Teresa
His Leisure: Sangu loves the outdoors. He trekked Mount Everest in 2013 and summited Kilimanjaro during the summer of 2015.
Future Ambition: His achievements are just his starting point as Sangu still has future aspirations which include; starting an angel fund targeting female entrepreneurs in Sub-Saharan Africa and launch Cleanacwa’s 2025 campaign to achieve 100% water and sanitation coverage in Ghana in 10 years. Also, one of his long term dreams is to build the leading healthcare provider in Africa.
In spite of the many failures that Sangu had encountered in the cause of achieving his goals, he refused to concede defeat. In an interview with ‘The Legacy Project’ Sangu said “Disappointed with those losses but determined to reach my goals, I refused to register the reality that maybe business was not meant for me! Instead, I believed all these failures were spiritual learning opportunities preparing me for something bigger and better.” Those are the words of a determined and dogged leader. You can also be the best at what you do and be a change-maker if like Sangu Delle, you keep on keeping on!