Esther Afua Ocloo, Ghana's first lady in business

Other | Thursday 20th April 2017 | Patience

On April the 18th Google's 'doodle' day celebrated Ghanaian entrepreneur Esther Afua Ocloo on what would have been her 98th birthday.


Born on April the 18th 1919 in South District, Ghana, Ocloo or affectionately known as 'Auntie Ocloo' left behind a truly inspirational legacy.


After leaving school Ocloo became the first Ghanaian person to start up her own food processing business 'Nkulenu Industries' (with less than a dollar), selling marmalade and orange juice, in 1942.


Ocloo went on to travel to England in 1949 to learn the latest techniques in food processing. By taking a course in 'Food Science and Modern Processing Techniques' at Bristol University.


By 1953 she returned to her homeland determined to share the knowledge she had learned, in the hope of making Ghana become more self-sufficient. In addition to her business Occlo also wanted to empower low-income women, and went on to co-found the Women's World Banking (WWB) organisation, a global mirco-lending institution.


Nowadays the WWB network lends to 16 million women and manages a loans portfolio of over 9 billion dollars!


Dying of pneumonia in 2002, former Ghanaian President John Kofi Agyekum Kufuor described her as a "...worthy emulation in our efforts to build our nation. Her good works in the promotion of development in Ghana cannot be measured."