Africa's rising stars: Paul Mante, deputy head of Ecobank Development Corporation Investments (EDC)
By Sherelle Jacobs
Paul Mante is the deputy head of Ecobank Development Corporation (EDC) Investments and leads the business development of the bank’s asset management operations.
Mante manages more than $160 million, and has designed and launched three collective investment schemes.
Before joining EDC, the 37-year-old served as the head of asset management at SEM Capital Management and as an associate consultant with the management consulting firm SEM International Associates.
Mante’s upbringing shaped him. Born in Ghana in March 1977, Paul’s father died when he was eight years old. Paul’s mother, bringing up eight children as a single parent, struggled to pay his school fees. It meant Paul had to juggle school with street selling, moving from house to house selling cassava, bread, garden eggs and kente cloth.
After school he would help his mother make extra money by preparing and delivering takeaway dinner orders to local taxi drivers. “Sometimes I would work until midnight,” says Mante.
It is perhaps Mante’s toughening childhood that has instilled in him the discipline for hard work that has driven his career and academic achievements. Mante completed a Bachelor of Commerce at Cape Coast University in Ghana in 2001. He gained an MBA from University of Ghana Business School in Legon in 2007 where he focused on the free-float-based approach to stock-market measurement.
Mante has made a tangible contribution to the development of Ghana’s capital markets. As well as being instrumental in the launch of three mutual funds in Ghana, he has helped establish several pension funds.
Mante is also big on knowledge transfer. He teaches finance at the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology, where he is supervising the theses of more than a dozen MBA students.
In 2011 he also wrote a book, Master your Personal Finance – Starters Guide to Becoming Rich. “I wrote my ideas down because I can’t be everywhere at the same time and I get calls every day from people asking for advice,” he says.
Mante is full of optimism about Africa’s future. “The challenges are the opportunities in Africa – like our massive infrastructure deficit and our untapped potential in agriculture," he says. "We are also not yet adding value to our raw materials.”
He identifies the lack of long-term visionary leadership and corruption as Africa’s biggest challenges.
“In Africa, it is endemic," says Mante. "If you want something done, people want money before they do it for you.”
For Mante, corruption is one of the biggest reasons many African countries still rely on aid. Nonetheless, he is insistent that negative perceptions about the continent are outdated.
“It is now easier to make a million dollars in Africa than it is in the United States," he says. "People come to Ghana and they are surprised to see the luxury cars and the high-rise buildings, but that is the reality now.
"Things are good here. There are tremendous opportunities and it is only going to get better.”