Ellis Atekpe Executive Director, Mortgage Operations Ghana Home Loans
What does France represent for you?
Whenever I think of France, I cast my mind to the values it extols - liberté, égalité et fraternité. It’s a way of life which permeates its rich culture, history, arts, food and drinks – wines, champagne & cognacs. I recall the architecture of Paris and its numerous sites of historical significance, museums such as Le Louvres, the layout of the city radiating from Arc de Triomphe down Avenue des Champs Elysée to the Egyptian Obelisk at Place de Concorde, and onward to Musée du Louvre, and cruises along the river Seine. France represents a nation of achievers and forward thinkers of literary significance and the arts. Paris’ town planning and architecture particularly struck me coming from Ghana.
Does your activity/business have a link with France?
Ghana Home Loans (a company I co-founded 10 years ago, having previously worked at HFC Bank where I was the Head of Mortgage Operations) took a debt facility from Proparco which is the private sector focused subsidiary of AFD, the lending arm of the French government in its aid policy.
Access to long term funding remains a challenge in our market and the intervention of such developmental funding institutions is important to the growth of the sector. Addressing the housing deficit in Ghana remains a topic for discussion; however in AFD we have found a partner willing to impact the sector positively in the provision of low income housing. We continue to work together in a result oriented manner.
For you, what does « France in Ghana » represent?
France in Ghana represents a trade and development partner through a host of businesses such as SG, Total, Air Liquid, L’Oreal, Accor Accra City Hotel, Bolloré and more. Those are household names of French companies operating in Ghana. On the cultural side, Alliance Francaise which produces a host of programs and artists, etc. On the developmental side, I think of AFD and its interventions in the rubber and oil palm production, the retrofit of the Kpong Dam and funding of GRIDCO’s network extension. The France Chamber of Commerce in Ghana also comes to mind. All these speak loudly of France’s presence in Ghana.
What are your experiences in France or with France?
I participated in a worthwhile annual CEFEB programme a while ago where I obtained a certificate from Sorbonne University. The professors were very experienced within industry and had a wealth of publications to their credit. Their approach was focused on conveying their experience in a practical and relatable manner which has served me well. The CEFEB programme at the Docks in Marseilles also left a lasting impression on me on account of its history: an old warehouse converted into a business and educational centre with great view of ships coming in to dock at the harbor nearby…
The past students of CEFEB have an association, the “Cefebiste” which is made up of senior executives from the private and public sectors, coming together to network. The AFD has been very supportive of the association and we have been playing our part in AFD’s activities, for instance during the 30th anniversary of the AFD Resident Mission last year.
What is your view regarding Ghana France relationship?
France has a strong representation in Ghana even though we are an Anglophone country and I believe this bodes well for better regional integration. France’s commitment to the sub region is evident and laudable. Ghana as a nation needs to identify sectors of mutual interest and competitive advantage to develop, to our mutual benefit.
My experiences in France have been tremendous. I find myself supporting French teams in international competitions when Ghana is not represented in a tournament. I return to France as often as I can and, in fact, I look forward to vacationing there during this summer.
I am an avid reader and I enjoy travelling and discovering new places.
I’m married with 2 children.