The China Europe International Business School (CEIBS) held the official Inauguration Ceremony for its Executive MBA Program in Accra, Ghana on May 19th. Classes for the first intake of 42 EMBA participants students began in March. Certificates were also presented to the students to mark their historic participation as pioneers in the CEIBS Africa Program inaugural class.
Among the VIPs who attended the ceremony were:
- Ghanaian Minister of Education Honourable Alex Tettey-Enyo, who was representing the country’s Vice President John Mahama
- H.E. Former President of Liberia Amos Sawyer, an education specialist and a member of the CEIBS Africa Program International Advisory Board (IAB member)
- H.E. Spanish Ambassador to Ghana, Julia Olmo
- CEIBS Executive President Prof. Pedro Nueno
- Founder & Managing Director of Chengwei Ventures LLC, Mr. Eric X Li (IAB member)
- Executive Director of the CEIBS Africa Program, Prof. Kwaku Atuahene-Gima
- Human Resources Director of Heineken International David Wightman (IAB member).
In his keynote address, the Education Minister pledged the Ghanaian government’s full support of the CEIBS Africa Program, which he described as timely and vitally needed as the country moves forward in educating skilled managers who can boost its economic growth. As a result of “inadequate infrastructure and teaching personnel,” 40% of qualified applicants are turned down by the country’s public universities each year, the minister explained. “The development of this country hinges very much on the development of its human resource base, and I believe that the CEIBS Africa Program is here to do exactly that,” Minister Tettey-Enyo said. “Economic development and social progress demand innovative and self-confident leaders in Africa. With such a high calibre of staff and academic content, it is my belief that your program would deliver exceptional executive business education to enable your graduates to meet the global challenges that confront them. The government of Ghana shares this view, and no doubt, recognizes the fact that education is key to the national development plan.”
The Africa program’s inaugural batch of participants consists of executives from Ghana and Nigeria, as well as a Ghanaian Parliamentarian and a High Court Judge. As Africa Program Executive Director Prof Atuahene-Gima explained during the welcome address, the bulk of the participants (50%) have a background in the category of sciences and engineering; 21% come from a business management background, while the rest have an art and languages academic background. Thirty-six percent are employed to foreign owned enterprises, 31% are from private enterprises, while 3% are government employees. The inaugural class includes 20% female students. With CEIBS professors flying in to teach courses, they will receive the same EMBA program offered to CEIBS students in China.
As emphasized by CEIBS Executive President Prof. Nueno, enrolees will become a part of the school’s 7,000-plus-member global alumni network after they graduate from the two-year program. “Strong business schools are those that establish life-long relationships with their alumni; we take care of our alumni,” he said. Prof Nueno added that by pursuing an EMBA at this point in their careers, program participants are equipping themselves with the tools needed to become better managers and entrepreneurs. The program, he added, offered participants an opportunity for reflection and personal growth and would help build the increasingly important tri-pronged bridge between Africa, China and Europe. Said Prof Nueno to the inaugural class: "Congratulation on your decision to join the EMBA program. On behalf of the CEIBS Management Committee, the faculty and staff, I wish you success in the program and in your career.”
There were also congratulations from Heineken International’s Human Resources Director Mr David Wightman. As part of its emphasis on employees’ personal and professional development, Heineken and its partners helped establish the Osei Tutu II Institute for Advance ICT Studies in Kumasi in 2002. The company and the institute are eager to collaborate with CEIBS, Mr Wightman explained. "We see CEIBS as a serious partner for ourselves, for other companies committed to Africa, and for educational institutions and governments, in developing the skills that we, and Ghana, and Africa, need to become even more successful in the coming decades,” he said. “We and our partners look forward to working with CEIBS, and the students of CEIBS, in the future.”
Former President of Liberia Mr Amos Sawyer, speaking in his capacity as a member of the CEIBS Africa Program’s International Advisory Board, also pledged his full support for the program. He highlighted the wisdom of choosing Ghana -- a trailblazer in terms of democratization and economic development -- as the location for the program, saying it would serve as a launching pad for the rest of Africa’s participation. “It is a great pleasure to participate in an effort that has the potential to spur more robust economic development in our continent,” said former President Sawyer who is now a Professor at Indiana University in the US and Chair of Monrovia’s Governance Committee.
The wise choice of selecting Accra, Ghana as the location for the CEIBS EMBA Africa program was also emphasized by Spanish Ambassador to Ghana, Julia Olmo. “(This choice) is a consequence of the image Ghana is earning and the role it is playing in the regional and continental context,” she said. Pointing to the long and successful historical relationship between CEIBS and Spain, the ambassador described the CEIBS Africa Program as “a new window of opportunity to cement bilateral relations” between Ghana and Spain.
In her speech on behalf of the inaugural class, student representative Barbara Ackah-Yensu said the offering of the CEIBS EMBA Program was “apt” in an era of globalization which makes geographical barriers meaningless. In today’s high tech environment, a world full of both challenges and opportunities, she said, those who wish to succeed must keep abreast of new technologies and management strategies. The challenge, she said, was to remain relevant. “It requires taking a step we have taken in being a part of this program,” she said. “What we will receive is not an ordinary education; it’s an education for life.”
Also among the day’s guest speakers was Founder & Managing Director of Chengwei Ventures LLC, Mr. Eric X Li who was speaking both in his capacity as a member of the International Advisory Board and on behalf of the Chinese Business Community in Shanghai. He took a look back at CEIBS’ growth and contribution to China’s development over the past 15 years, and expressed confidence that the CEIBS EMBA Africa Program would play a vital role in the long-term development of both CEIBS and Africa. Said Li: “I have watched in amazement how CEIBS has developed into what is today: the premier institution for management education in China and a leading player in the world. Most importantly it is a beacon for entrepreneurship, by the example of its own development and the education it provides. Entrepreneurship, we believe, is the driving force and most viable and sustainable path to prosperity for all developing countries.”
The day’s final speaker, Ghana College of Physicians & Surgeons Rector Professor P.K. Nyame, emphasized the vital role that business plays in all aspects of life. He told the audience that it was the right time for the launch of the CEIBS EMBA Africa Program, and expressed his continued support for the initiative.
In explaining the context behind the CEIBS Africa Program, Executive Director Prof Kwaku Atuahene-Gima highlighted the role that a world-class management education has had on the transformation of China's economy, individuals, organisations and overall society over the past 15 years. "It is in this context that I believe the project we are launching is so significant to Africa. CEIBS is widely recognized as instrumental in bringing the benefits of management education to China. Our innovative learning model has allowed us to make a strong contribution to human capital development and thus to the emergence of China as an economic superpower. We are in Africa to change the face of management education and contribute to its development as we have done in China," he said.
CEIBS Africa Program International Advisory Board:
Mr. Amara Essy: Former President of the UN Security Council; Former President of the UN General Assembly; Former Secretary General of The African Union
H.E. Amos Sawyer: Former President of Liberia
H.E. Eleih-Elle Etian: Former Dean, Diplomatic Corps China; Former Ambassador of Cameroon to China
Mr. Bimbo (Michael) Siyanbola: CEO MD, GNI Plc
Mr. Adama Gaye: Author of China-Africa & Founder of Africa China Consulting Group
Mr Eric Li: Founder & Managing Director, Chengwei Ventures
Dna Cristina Orpinell: VP IBSA Foundation
- Jose Pedro Sebastian de Erice: Secretary General, Técnicas Reunidas Internacional; Former Ambassador of Spain to China; Friendship Ambassador between the People of China and the People of Spain
Ms. Razia Khan: Regional Head of Economics, Africa, Standard Chartered Bank
Professor Alfredo Pastor: Government of Spain Chair Professor of Economics, CEIBS & Professor of Economics, IESE
- Mario Rotllan: CEO, Cobega SA
Ms. Beatrice Nkanza: General Manager Lusaka Stock Exchange, Zambia
Mr. David Wightman: Human Resources Director, Heineken International
Mr. Zéphirin Diabre: Chairman Africa and Middle East, Areva
H.E. Emmanuel Mba Allo: Ambassador of Gabon in China
Mr. Kolapo Lawson: Director, Ecobank