Six things you (probably) didn’t know about Mawuena Trebarh

Mawuena was the former chief executive officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC)

Mawuena Adzo Trebarh, a prominent Ghanaian businesswoman who passed away on 10 April 2024 was the eldest sister of the late BBC broadcaster Komla Afeke Dumor.

She was also the former chief executive officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC), a position that earned her the accolade as the first female boss of the company serving from 2013 to 2017.

If there were any doubts that Trebarh could function in any conceivable role, this stint must have laid them to permanent rest.

First female CEO at GIPC

Mawuena Adzo Trebarh was the first female to be appointed substantive chief executive officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre (GIPC) from April 2013 – January 2017.

Her passion and creative approach to finding solutions to various challenges changed the face of GIPC to one that is customer-focused to better facilitate the investor. Her initiatives over time lifted the Centre’s image and improved the work culture of its staff as well as relations with stakeholders.

Senior executive positions

Her extensive and diverse experience in senior executive positions in Ashanti Goldfields Company Ltd starting as their first female underground exploration geologist, Newmont Ghana Gold Ltd., head of corporate communications and Mobile Telecommunications Network (MTN) as head of corporate service has also allowed her to contribute immensely to the mining and telecommunications sectors.

With a background and recognition as an astute strategist, she believes in the need for continuous value creation. Mawuena was passionate and believed strongly in service to society and humanity.

Founder of Inspire Africa Consult

Mawuena Adzo Trebarh was the founder and chief business strategist at Inspire Africa Consult and a consummate business professional with wide experience in both the public and private sectors. In her storied career, she won the admiration of colleagues and competitors alike and came to exemplify excellence and professional achievement in industries that were varied and diverse.

She undertook further studies at the McCallum Graduate School of Business, Bentley College in Massachusetts, USA where she earned a Master’s in Business Administration in Management and Strategic Planning in 2002.

First female underground geologist at Anglogold Ashanti

She joined Ashanti Goldfields Company (now Anglogold Ashanti) in 1996 as the first ever female underground geologist employed by the company. This was merely the first in a string of firsts that would come to characterise her career.

After stints in the resource evaluation and investor relations departments at the gold mining firm, the versatile  Trebarh moved to Newmont where she served as head of corporate communications from 2003 till 2007, overseeing an ambitious communications campaign that was unprecedented on the continent.

During her tenure, Newmont would establish a continental and global brand presence that in some ways defined the sector that had come to lack a clear leader in the country. 

Huge feats after huge feats

This was a huge feat for someone who had trained in an entirely different field.

Her achievements were noticed by communications behemoth, MTN, which invited her to take on the challenge of leading their corporate services division at a time when the company was going through major changes to consolidate its position as the unchallenged leader in the Ghanaian market.

So successful was she at MTN that she virtually became the standard for corporate communication excellence in the country, providing leadership and inspiration for many of her peers in the field.

In 2013, Mawuena Trebarh entered the public sector for the first time as the first female chief executive officer of the Ghana Investment Promotion Centre, the state agency tasked with attracting and directing inward investment into the Ghanaian economy.

Her natural abilities, competence and instincts came through in this new role and during her tenure, Ghana saw its highest quarterly intake of foreign direct investment in the first quarter of 2015 when it brought in US$1.12 billion. 

She also led GIPC for the first time ever to win the award for Best Investment Promotion Agency in Western and Central Africa, ahead of Rwanda and Nigeria.

Trebarh returned to private business in 2017 in her role as Chief Business Strategist at Inspire Africa Consult, the business consulting firm she founded. She has also served in a number of high- profile appointments, including becoming the first female board chairperson of the Movenpick Ambassador Hotel, Ghana.

Award winner

She has won several awards including the Millennium Leadership Forum Award for championing excellence in trade investment and agro-processing and the National Youth Role Model Award for being a role model and youth leader. She was married with a daughter.

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