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10 facts about Bawuah, UBA’s first female CEO

The United Bank for Africa on Monday announced the appointment of Mrs. Abiola Bawuah as its first female Chief Executive Officer.

The bank announced the appointment in a statement, adding that Bawuah would also join the Group Board as an Executive Director, overseeing the Group’s ’s operations across the African continent outside Nigeria, in addition to global operations in New York, London, Paris and the United Arab Emirates.

The statement said prior to her appointment, Bawuah was Regional CEO, West Africa, supervising the Group’s operations in nine subsidiaries, including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cote d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Liberia, Mali, Senegal, and Sierra Leone.

Speaking on the new appointment, the Group Board Chairman of UBA Africa, Mr. Tony Elumelu, said, “Abiola has contributed significantly to the growth of UBA Africa for close to a decade.

“She brings a wealth of experience in commercial banking and stakeholder engagement. It also gives me great pleasure that with her appointment, the UBA Group Board has now become a majority female board.”

Here are 10 things to know about the new UBA CEO:

1. Mrs Abiola Bawuah was born on 25 September 1968 to a vulcanizer father and a trader mum.

2. She grew up in a community that didn’t believe in girl-child education. However, she was able to push through the lower level of her education. She attended three schools before finishing her common entrance and eventually made it into Achimota School for her secondary school education.

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3. Her family struggled with poverty and as the first child, at a point in her life, she sold groundnut to help herself and her family.

4. She furthered her education at the University of Lagos in Nigeria, where she acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in Actuarial Science. She later earned a Bachelor of Law (LLB) from the University of London. She holds a diploma in marketing from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration (GIMPA) and an Executive of Master of Business Administration (EMBA) in finance from the University of Ghana.

5. Bawuah worked with Standard Chartered Bank as a Business Relationship Officer, CAL Bank as a relationship manager, Strategic African Securities as an authorised dealing broker, and with the then Bentsi-Enchi and Letsa (now Bentsi-Enchil, Letsa and Ankomah) law firm as an investment officer.

6. In 2014, she became the managing director/chief executive officer of United Bank for Africa, making her the first woman to have held that position.

7. She has won many awards for her work and they include the 2016 Chartered Institute of Marketing Ghana Marketing Woman of the Year; the Finance Personality of the Year Award at the Ghana Accountancy and Finance; 2018 Africa Report one of Africa’s 50 Influential Women in Business; Exemplary Leadership in the Banking Sector, and more.

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8. Bawuah founded a non-profit organization called ‘Abiola Bawuah Foundation’ and volunteers her time to serve at orphanages, religious bodies, and non-governmental organisations.

9. Bawuah authored a memoir known as Chosen from the Darkness.

10. She is married with three children.

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