News > Akora Sampson Akligoh- The Money Spinner
Akora Sampson Akligoh- The Money Spinner

I grew up in the countryside, where you don't have an idea of what's happening in the real world. I come from a very humble background. There was no electricity, and I didn't have the privilege of playing computer games or watching movies. What helped me was reading history books.

That's how I learned that a lot of influential people went to Achimota secondary school in Accra. So I told myself I must go to that school to see what happens there. I quite remember my teachers telling me I wouldn't be able to enter if I didn't have connections. I used to spend a lot of time outdoors running around with other kids, but my mother advised me to stop playing football when I wrote my basic examination.

I did well in the exams, I had a distinction, and without knowing anyone I was able to get admitted. The first time I lived in an environment that was fully lit, that was Achimota school. It was there that I realised I needed to develop my language skills and critical thinking. The school revolutionised the way I think and do things.

I'm the first of five children. My mother had a huge influence on me. She sold salt and onions in the local market to look after us, and we all went to school. She sacrificed a lot: she didn't spend anything on herself for funerals and other social events. One of the key things I learned from her is to have an open mind and respect people across cultures. It's not about where a person comes from, it's who you are.

At 17, I developed a strong passion for economics. That was the beginning, the shaping of my career. After university, where I studied economics and law, I had the opportunity to do my national service at Databank. I was 24 when I took over their economic desk.

Opposites attract

In 2011 I left to do a Masters in Maastricht, and when I returned I became head of research at Databank. At around that time I decided to set up an investment banking firm with two friends from Achimota school. We opened our office this year.

My wife and I were working together when we met. We're total opposites, and that's what attracted me to her. I am a very serious person; she takes life easy. She can say: let's go to the movies, or: hey, let's go grab a pizza. That's something I just wouldn't think of.

I get a lot of satisfaction from creating wealth for people. Another exciting aspect is finding solutions for small and medium-sized enterprises, because it means you're keeping people employed. We want to invest in unusual things, for example, a mechanic's workshop. In Ghana, investment bankers are less well paid than commercial bankers. It's not about greed; I want to contribute to the development of my country and build an institution that will deliver some of the values we need as a nation.

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Last updated at : 27 August,2015
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