UTG is blessed to have such an experienced African to return to Africa to help in development. Kojo obtained a Bachelor of Arts in Economics in 1991 at Rutgers University, Newark, NJ (USA) where he obtained the Omicron Delta Epsilon award for high academic achievement in the field of economics.

From 1991 to 1999 Kojo worked on wall street where he traded equities, options, bonds and related financial instruments on the NASDAQ, NYSE, Chicago Mercantile and European capital markets. Within that role he completed tasks such as designing hedged market neutral positions to take advantage of volatility, structured transactions for clients to mitigate portfolio risk, created synthetic securities to take advantage of perceived mispriced asset situations and hedged short positions to take advantage of falling asset prices. He left this position as Associate Vice President – Financial Markets Division at AB Watley Group Inc.  New York, New York.

He earned an MBA in Finance and General Management in May 2001 from Washington University: OLIN Business School, St. Louis, MO (USA) where he was awarded full tuition and living expenses, based on leadership potential, academic achievement and service to the community by Consortium for Graduate Study Fellowship.

From 2000 to 2001 while studying he worked as Treasury Analyst at the Treasury Department at WASHINGTON UNIVERSITY in St. Louis, MO  where he analyzed capital structure of the University to ensure compliance with bond covenants, which entailed conducting a comprehensive review of the university’s financial statements and annual reports. As well he prepared documentation for both S & P and Moody’s credit review: This involved detailed review of all relevant financial information and analysis of university wide financial performance, division by division. He analyzed performance of investment managers of the school’s endowment portfolio to ensure satisfactory performance to bench marked indexes and managed the daily cash management operations of the university to ensure that unused cash is invested at competitive short term rates.

From 2001 to 2003 he worked as an Associate at Global Equity Research Dept. at Deutsche Bank, Frankfurt, Germany where he rotated through the German Mid-cap and Technology research departments, working on Investment banking transactions in preparation of analysis and presentations in the European technology industry.  He analyzed financial data and updated spreadsheet models on companies, designed financial models in Excel to forecast variance in company earnings projections, researched strategy and competitive positions of German and United States compound Semiconductor equipment maker industry as well as semi-conductor industry in general, he designed a growth model for the industry based on forecasting future drivers within the compound semiconductor sector, wrote the first preliminary research reports on the compound semiconductor industry and presented it to the Technology group as well as other tasks.

From 2003 to 2007 Kojo worked as Vice President/Senior Trader at Capital markets Trading Desk at CommerzBank in New York, NY. There he headed the Capital  Markets desk that traded equities and derivative instruments on all major US stock and Derivative  markets –  Over The Counter Market – NASDAQ, New York Stock Exchange (NYSE), Philadelphia Stock Exchange (PHLX),  Electronic Communication networks (ECNs), Chicago Board Options Exchange – (CBOE) and the Chicago Mercantile Exchange (CME).

From 2008 to 2010 Kojo worked as Senior Associate and Management Advisor at Pamoja Capital and Buchanan Renewable (BR) in Monrovia, Liberia. He worked on Liberia’s First Post Conflict electricity project funded by United States Government’s Overseas Private Investment Corporation (OPIC) and Private Equity Partner Pamoja Capital. As well he modelled the financial analysis of a $149 Million dollar energy project and briefed the office of Liberia’s President as well as the Liberia legislature on the financial structure of the project among other tasks

Prof Kah met Kojo while Kojo was on holiday in Gambia and Dr Kah after learning of his vast experience asked him to consider helping the university fix its financial problems. Rumours were that financial corruption was wide spread and few in the previous administration were complaining about it.  This may be why Dr Kah took so much control over managing the university. Rumours of a building being rented at much above market rate and kickbacks and students would show up for exams having not paid their tuition and as such not be on the list of those allowed to take exams, a short visit with the finance department staff and they had permission to write the exam as if they came with tuition in their backpacks.

Kojo declined initial offers as he had come to Gambia to rest.  Later on Prof Kah asked him to reconsider and was able to convince him to join and as we all know from the public record, the method that he took to hire him without advertising the position was heavily criticised. A news report I read suggested someone with an ACCA qualification should have been considered. Such a statement severely lacks an understanding of Kojo’s qualifications and experience and in the face of Kojo’s qualifications and experience gives far too much weight to an ACCA.

As Chief Financial Officer/Finance Director at University of The Gambia, Brikama, The Gambia Kojo has been the Senior University officer in charge of the finance, accounting and treasury departments as well as management of Finance Directorate staff. He reports to the university governing council on all financial and accounting related issues. He is responsible for financial planning, detailed record keeping and developing annual budget for the organization as well as handling all the financial and budget expenditures for the University.

He presents the annual State of The University Finances as well as audited financial statements to The Parliament of The Gambia. He manages cash flows and all lines of credit negotiations with financial institutions. He develops prudent financial policies to put the finances of the University in a stable condition and establish tighter controls to eliminate abuse and waste.

He is the lead person in all negotiations with third party institutions. In this capacity he negotiated $750,000 grant with the UNDP Gambia office for capital and program development grants for the University. He negotiated a $258,000 three way digital partnership agreement between the University of Gambia on one hand and Qcell and Ecobank. This agreement digitized the whole campus, provided netbook computers to faculty and staff and around the clock internet connectivity. He implemented a batch processing payment system, instituted a new accounting and payment system (ACCPAC) and negotiated better overdraft payment terms with the banks. The aforementioned initiatives have already saved the university significant amounts of money with much more savings going forward.

Given rumours of financial improprieties prior to his arrival at UTG, it was clear when he initially took the role that he need to implement a robust tuition collection program using banks and a zero tolerance payment policy which improved the cash position of the university significantly from a net deficit of D3 million to a D3 million surplus which if analysed properly would provide a kind of evidence as to money being lost to corruption and or mismanagement.

In my humble opinion UTG would be better off to renew his contract should he wish to stay. True he is not Gambian, but he is African, and here to help Gambians and his qualifications and experience as well as his record are solid and he is not allowing the universities money to be taken in a corrupt fashion as it may have been before.

May Gambia and UTG thrive and grow!

Written By An Insider

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