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Ghanian scholar and his love for Africa and entrepreneurship

by Caroline Theuri

It is a cool Wednesday evening of October 17th when I go to the book launch of Mr Sangu Delle, a Ghanian entrepreneur, is set for a big event.Today, though an established entrepreneur, he wears his academic hat. And. he is set out to launch  his book titled: “ Making Futures as Young Entrepreneurs,” which came out in September 2019.

Delle has an outstanding academic background, with at least three degrees from renowned Harvard University. The first is an undergraduate degree in Economics and African Studies from Harvard Business School; a Master of Business Administration  and a Doctor of Law, both from Harvard University, as well as a Master’s degree in Human Rights from Oxford University, from where he graduated in 2017. Between 2007 and 2013, he worked with New York Investment banker, Morgan Stanley.

Delle’s life journey started some 32 years ago, in Ghana, his native country. But he grew up with refugees from Sierra Leone, a West African country which faced prolonged drought civil and military strife. Growing up, Delle says, he saw Africa undergo socio-economic changes, including economic growth, infrastructural development and the emetrgence of the consumer class in the year 2000’s.

At the age of 15, Mr Deng got a scholarship to attend a boarding school in New Jersey, a state in the United States of America (USA). He says that at the time he did not have family in the USA but that his sister later joined him there. Mr Delle says that he is currently based in Ghana.

“ My book is about the story of African entrepreneurship.  I interviewed over 600 entrepreneurs and it took seven years to make,” Mr Delle explains.

A study by the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) states that while entrepreneurship in the continent is important to address the challenge of unemployment as it stimulates innovation.

He has also dabbled in the field of entrepreneurship. He is the entrepreneur of Golden Palm Investment Corporation, which is based in the USA, which he started in 2006. Mr Delle is also the Co-founder and Managing Director of Africa Health Holdings, started in 2017.

What informed his foray into entrepreneurship?

“ 14 percent of the global population is in healthcare and three percent of global health workers work globally. That is what motivated me to get involved in the healthcare industry,” he says.

Mr Deng explains that he started Africa Health Holdings with an initial investment of $ 300 million and is focused on acquiring healthcare assets. Health is a lucrative field in the USA. According to the Health Affairs Journal, healthcare financing amounted to 18 percent of America’s revenue three years ago.

Legislation such as the Affordable Care Act (ACA) passed during the time of former President Barrack Obama, has ensured that American citizens get access to medical care, with at least 20 million people covered under the plan. 

However, ACA was last year declared unconstitutional by a Texan federal judge. This year, however, the Washington Post has discovered that ACA has been able to save the lives of people having chronic diseases such as asthma and diabetes.

On the other hand, Mr Delle says that Golden Palm Investments is a venture capitalism firm in which he holds the title of co-founder and Managing Director. Based in Ghana, he says that he invested $ 100 million into the firm which he started in 2006. 

“ We are investing in technology companies, providing capital and support to technology startups. Our focus is on technology businesses that can scale the pan-African landscape with a competitive difference. We view technology as a critical driver of development,” says Mr Delle.

A report by McKinsey published in October this month states that automation could phase out at least 4.5 million jobs by the year 2030 in the USA.  Gold Palm Investments has thus invested in technology startups such as Andela, Flutterwave, Sokowatch, M-Survey and M-Pharma.

“ We love businesses that businesses that are solving problems and how they intend to create a viable proposition. We assess the risks that they have and the potential socio-economic impact that they have in communities that we invest in,” explains Mr Delle.



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