Dr Ekwow Spio-Garbrah, 50, a citizen of Ghana, was appointed CEO of the CTO on 8 September 2003, bringing to the position some 25 years of high level experience in government, diplomacy, business, banking, and consulting. He is a former Minister of Communication of the Republic of Ghana and one-time Ambassador of Ghana to the United States and Mexico. He also served as Minister of Education, Minister responsible for Mines and Energy and as a member of UNESCO’s Executive Board in Paris.
Before his appointment at the CTO, he was Chief Executive of his own business consulting firm, Spio-Garbrah & Associates, based in Ghana.
As a Minister of Communication of Ghana, 1997-98, Dr Spio-Garbrah initiated, developed and implemented policies and programmes that supported the increasing convergence of telecommunications, broadcasting, the Internet, publishing, news media and postal services, all of which were under his supervision. Concurrently, as chairman of the National Communication Authority, he had responsibility for regulating all aspects of the telecom, Internet and broadcasting sectors.
Whilst Education minister from 1998-2002, he was credited with the creation of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), which currently mobilizes some $50 million each year from the VAT for educational sector infrastructure and student assistance programmes. Earlier, he had chaired the Public Education Committee that helped to establish the VAT system in Ghana, which currently nets more than $200 million of additional revenue to support the full range of government expenditures.
As ambassador to the United States, from 1994-97, Dr Spio-Garbrah was noted for his success in rebuilding Ghana’s image across the United States, including organising an unprecedented eight-city investment promotion programme for Ghana’s President in the USA. As a result partly of the successful bilateral programmes he executed, Ghana became the first country to be visited by President Clinton during his famous five-country Africa visit in 1998.
Before joining the Ghana government, Dr Spio-Garbrah was Head of Communication at the 77 member-nation African Development Bank from 1991-94, where he directed the $33 billion bank’s global corporate and marketing communications and acted as institutional spokesman. Earlier, from 1988-91, he had performed similar functions as an External Relations Officer at the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank affiliate, in Washington.
His previous experience included working as a mortgage banker in New Jersey, as an award-winning sales executive with Southwestern Bell, and as chairman of the Middle East Africa Group within the international public relations firm of Hill and Knowlton in New York. In that capacity, from 1979-85, he provided investment, export and tourism promotion counsel to the governments of Indonesia, Turkey, The Netherlands and Austria, financial relations advice to the Hongkong Shanghai Bank, Credit Agricole of France, UBAF-Arab American Bank, and energy sector intelligence to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Prior to his studies in the United States, Dr Spio-Garbrah, was the General Manager of Ghana’s second-largest advertising agency, and was also the well-known host of a national television prime time interview and discussion programme, “In Town”.
Dr Spio-Garbrah attended Ghana’s elite Achimota School, graduating first in his class at the age of 16. He obtained a B.A. (Hons) degree in English Literature from the University of Ghana, in 1973, at the age of 19 and topped his class in obtaining a Graduate Diploma in Journalism and Communication from the same university. He then proceeded to Ohio University, U.S.A., where he received a Master’s Degree in International Affairs (with distinction) in 1979. In 1984, he obtained a Graduate Certificate in International Banking and Finance from New York University. He was awarded a Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa, by Middlebury College in Vermont USA, in May 2001, for his achievements in the fields of education, communication, business and diplomacy.
The CEO of the CTO is married to Simone, a citizen of Côte d’Ivoire, whose mother was from Cape Verde, and has a daughter and three sons. He owns a pineapple, mango and cashew farm in Ghana, is involved in the development of resorts on Ghana’s beaches, plays all racquet games, and is a Christian by faith.