From being the young schoolgirl whose parents could barely afford her school fees to becoming the Group CEO of the United Bank of Africa (UBA) in West Africa years later, Marufatu Abiola Bawuah’s story is indeed a typical example of a grass to grace story.
As the current Regional Chief Executive Officer of the UBA, Bawuah has made history as the first woman ever to have held such a position, surmounting all societal and systemic roadblocks to emerge as one of the most influential women in the continent of Africa, born out of hard work, dedication and goodwill.
She understands what it means to be born poor or not being able to feed or pay school fees. No wonder when the time was ripe, she launched her foundation – the Abiola Bawuah Foundation (ABF), a non-profit organization that impacts the lives of deprived young girls. This foundation has among other things, targeted underprivileged girls with access to quality education – girls and women who hitherto had no hope of getting an education or making any meaningful progress in life. She has inspired many young women, rising through the ranks and breaking gender barriers.
Born on September 25, 1968, Abiola Bawuah grew up in Aflao, Ghana and had her secondary education at the Achimota School in Ghana. She returned to Nigeria for college, where she acquired a Bachelor of Science degree in Actuarial Science at the University of Lagos. She later earned a Bachelor of Law degree from the University of London. Bawuah holds a Diploma in Marketing from the Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration and an Executive of Master of Business Administration in Finance from the University of Ghana. She has been defined as an exceptional leader and an eminent pacesetter by many of her colleagues in the industry. In the area of Leadership, Marufatu holds several certifications from Harvard Business School, Columbia, University of New York, INSEAD and Institut Villa Pierrefeu in Switzerland.
How the UBA Journey Started
In 2013, Bawuah left Zenith Bank where she was the Executive Director, having previously held the positions of a General Manager, Marketing and Group Head Retail Banking. She joined UBA Ghana as Deputy Managing Director the same year. Before that, she worked with Standard Chartered Bank as a Business Relationship Officer, CAL Bank as Relationship Manager, Strategic African Securities as an Authorized Dealing Broker, and with the then Bentsi-Enchi and Letsa (now Bentsi-Enchil, Letsa and Ankomah) law firm as an Investment Officer.
As of 2014, she became the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of United Bank for Africa, making her the first woman to ever hold that position. As the Regional Chief Executive Officer in charge of six major West African countries, comprising Ghana, Benin, Burkina Faso, Côte d’Ivoire, Liberia and Sierra Leone…
Read Bawuah’s full story and more amazing features like this in our latest issue below. Find it on page 100.
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