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He Became the CEO of Ashanti Goldfields Corporation at Age 36, This is the Story of Sam Jonah

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Samuel Esson Jonah is a Ghanaian businessman, and the Executive Chairman of Jonah Capital, an equity fund based in Johannesburg, South Africa.

Jonah was previously President of AngloGold Ashanti and shared the strategic leadership of the company with its CEO, Bobby Godsell.

Jonah had his high-school education at Adisadel College in Cape Coast, Ghana, then earned an Associateship in Mining Engineering at the Camborne School of Mines, Cornwall, England, and subsequently an MSc in Mine Management at the Imperial College of Science and Technology, London.

He joined Ashanti Goldfields Corporation in 1979, working in various capacities, including underground operations.

At the age of 36, he became the Chief Executive officer, and supervised the transformation of Ashanti Goldfields into a mining multinational, increased gold production from 240,000 ounces per annum to over 1.6 million ounces in over ten years, and oversaw the company’s listing as the first operating African company on the New York Stock Exchange.

After 37 years with the mining house, Jonah wanted a change. He had always been an entrepreneur at heart.

His diversified investment company, Jonah Capital, is the second-biggest shareholder in pan-African microlender Bayport, and a major shareholder in Houses for Africa, a company that has undertaken middle-class housing construction projects in Zimbabwe, Zambia, and Nigeria, where it also provides finance.

Jonah said a major constraint to homeownership in Africa is that most economies remain almost entirely cash-based. With Standard Bank and a private entrepreneur as partners, Jonah recently started Jonah Mining, which has made investments in coal, platinum, uranium and gold.

Its strategy is to take controlling stakes in a diversified portfolio of unlisted junior mining initiatives in Africa, and bring them to a point where they can be separately listed.

Sir Jonah also has investments in and holds seats on the boards of a number of companies, including Uramin, Moto Mining and SA’s Scharrig Mining.

Jonah believes Africa is where the “low-hanging fruit” can be found and that the political-economic management and governance improvements in Africa have not attracted the levels of investment justified by its potential resources. But the Chinese, Russians and Indians have been investing in Africa’s oil and mineral wealth in the past few years.

In reaction, US and European institutions have expressed fear that this will renew the continent’s debt trap and prop up illegitimate governments.

In 2009, he became a non-executive director of Vodafone. Currently, the Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast, Ghana, Jonah chairs the boards of Equator Exploration Ltd, Scharrig Mining, Equinox Minerals, Uramin, Moto Goldmines Ltd and Range Resources Ltd.

He also serves or has served on various boards, including Transnet, Mittal Steel SA, Ashesi University, Standard Bank of South Africa, Lonmin, the Commonwealth African Investment Fund (Comafin), the Advisory Council of the UN Secretary General’s Global Compact, President Olusegun Obasanjo’s International Investment Advisory Council on Nigeria, President Thabo Mbeki’s International Investment Advisory Council of South Africa, and President John Kufuor’s Ghana Investors’ Advisory Council.

As well as his directorships, Jonah is a member of the Advisory Board of the London Business School. Jonah’s honors include an honorary Doctor of Science (D.Sc) degree awarded jointly by the Camborne School of Mines and the University of Exeter (UK) in 1996.

Jonah House, Adisadel College, his alma mater, has been named after his father, Thomas Jonah. In June 2003, Jonah became the first Ghanaian to be knighted in the 21st century, when he was presented with an honorary knighthood by the Prince of Wales, in recognition of his achievements as an African businessman, a leading business executive from the Commonwealth, and an international public figure. Jonah has been listed among the richest people in Ghana.

Source: Ghanaweb.com

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