Sir Sam Jonah, the Executive Chairman of Jonah Capital, an equity fund based in Johannesburg, South Africa, has been given a lifetime achievement award at the West African edition of the Ernst and Young (EY) World Entrepreneur of the Year Awards for this year, held in Lagos, Nigeria on Friday February 5, 2016.
The EY Entrepreneur Awards recognises the world’s most successful and innovative entrepreneurs by identifying and acknowledging their outstanding achievements within successful growing of dynamic businesses.
Sir Jonah is one of Africa's most prominent businessmen, a giant in global business, and internationally recognised as a leading business executive. He was educated at Adisadel College in Ghana, Camborne School of Mines in Cornwall and The Imperial College of Science & Technology, London.
Sir Jonah's career began in 1969 at the Obuasi gold-mine. He became deputy CEO of its holding company Ashanti Goldfields at the age of 31. He was appointed Chief Executive Officer of Ashanti Goldfields Company Limited in 1986 and oversaw its growth from a one-mine operation into a multinational. In 1996, Ashanti, which had listings in London and Ghana, became the first operating African company to be listed on the New York Stock Exchange. He became Executive President of AngloGold Ashanti Ltd (world’s second largest gold producer) in May 2004 when Ashanti was merged with AngloGold Limited.
Sir Jonah has been decorated with many awards and honours. In 1994, the Camborne School of Mines and the University of Exeter (UK) jointly awarded him an Honorary Doctor of Science degree. In December 2005, Ashesi University College, through its affiliate University in Ghana, University of Cape Coast, awarded him the Honorary Doctor of Humanities degree for his excellent and illustrious career as a Mining Engineer, Chief Executive, Director, Management Consultant, Diplomat, Educationist and Administrator.
In 2003 Her Majesty, Queen Elizabeth II of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and Head of the Commonwealth conferred on him an Honorary Knighthood as Knight Commander of the Civil Division of the Most Excellent Order of the British Empire (KBE). The award was in recognition of his exceptional achievements as a businessman, a leading business executive from the Commonwealth and an international public figure. In 2006 he was awarded Ghana’s highest national award, the Companion of the Order of the Star.
In December 2004, CNN and Time Magazine ranked him as one of the world’s top 25 most influential business people – setting the global standards for management, ethics, marketing and innovation. He is the recipient of three other Lifetime Achievement awards, one of them being the one conferred on him in June 2010 by the Commonwealth Business Council and the African Business Magazine for his outstanding contribution to the development of the private sector in Africa. In March 2011, he was profiled as Mining Personality of the month in Martin Creamer’s Mining Weekly publication.
Sir Jonah is the Chancellor of the University of Cape Coast Ghana, a Member of the Board of Ashesi University in Ghana, a Visiting Professor of Business at The University of Witwatersrand Business School of Johannesburg and a member of its governing council as well as Trustee of the Nelson Mandela Legacy Trust (UK). He was a Founding Member The United Nations Secretary General’s Global Compact Advisory Council; a member of The African Regional Advisory Board of the London Business School, served as a member of the Governing Body of the School of Oriental and African Studies and a Trustee of the Camborne School of Mines. In 2003, he was co-chairman of the World Economic Forum held in Durban, South Africa; he was on the Advisory Council of the President of the African Development Bank and the International Finance Corporation (IFC).
Sir Jonah has served on the boards of several international public and private companies. He currently serves on the board of Vodafone UK, amongst others. He has been an advisor to a number of African Heads of State, and he currently serves on the International Investment Advisory Councils of Nigeria and Togo. In January 2013, he was appointed to serve on the newly established Bank of America Global Advisory Council, together with internationally recognised business, academic and public policy leaders.
Apart from Sir Jonah, two other Ghanaian entrepreneurs: Founder and Managing Director of Kinapharma and Healthilife, Mr Kofi Nsiah-Poku; and Dr Kwabena Adjei, Founder and Chairman of Kasapreko Limited, were also given awards at the ceremony. Mr Nsiah-Poku beat four Nigerians in the Emerging Entrepreneur Category while Kasapreko's Dr Adjei beat fellow Ghanaian, Edmund Poku, Managing Director of Niche Cocoa Processing and two Nigerians in the Master Entrepreneur category.