Biography of Kosi Yankey-Ayeh

Mrs. Kosi Yankey- Ayeh is the Executive Director of the National Board for Small Scale Industries (NBSSI), the first female to hold this position for that matter. And the CEO of Nuba Foods and Commodities Ltd (NFCL).

Mrs. Kosi Yankey received her Bachelor of Arts degree in Government from Wesleyan University, Connecticut, USA from 2002-2004. She began her career as an Investment Banker at Deutsche Bank on Wall Street, in New York where she assisted in establishing the first multi-million dollar microfinance fund set up by an investment bank in 2002. In 2010 she obtained a certificate in Market Access for Sustainable Development from Wageningen University, Netherlands and also holds a certificate from a two-year program on acceleration and entrepreneurship from Massachusetts Institute of Tech.

Kosi Yankey-Ayeh graduated from Harvard University, USA, with a Master’s in Public Administration and Public Policy from the John F. Kennedy School of Government where she received the 2016 excellence award for academic distinction and distinguished contribution to the Edward S. Mason Program.

During the era of privatizations, Kosi Yankey undertook a study and wrote a pitch for governments on how to privatize SOEs whilst interning on the Africa Desk at UBS London.  She has also worked for UBS, Merill Lynch, Citigroup, solidaridad, engineers without borders in the USA, UK and Ghana etc. Kosi has had over 17 years’ experience in the USA, Europe and West Africa where she developed a deep understanding and knowledge of finance, Entrepreneurship, SME Development and Policy Development.

See also: Biography of Prof. Elsie Effah Kaufmann

Mrs. Kosi is the first person to head the Ghana Enterprises Agency (GEA) (formally National Board for Small Scale Industries-NBSSI) where she was the first female Executive Director. GEA is an agency under the Ministry of Trade and Industry in Ghana mandated to strengthen and grow Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs). Her leadership has helped in giving NBSSI a firm footing in MSMEs development and promotion. She also serves as an Advisor on the Ministry of Finance’s Advisory Committee and is a Board Member of the Accra Digital Centre, as well as tech member for various economic committees. Her rich experience in micro-finance and finance has helped scaled up activities of the board.

Over the years, Kosi has founded and led the strategic development and growth of various projects for both international and local partners, some of which have gone global. In the past seven years, she has raised and managed over US$300million and developed different entrepreneurial programs to support entrepreneurs, job creation and their Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) in Ghana. 

Her consultancy Agribusiness incubator was the only woman-run and one to make it as one of the top three facilitators to raise millions of dollars in funding to support USAID’s Financing Ghanaian Agricultural Project. Kosi has developed international incubators and accelerators to provide support, implement research and grow MSMEs and entrepreneurs specifically in Africa to scale up and make their businesses investor ready.  In 2014, the incubator she setup was listed amongst the top ten to watch in Africa by Ventures Africa. 

See also:Biography of Lucy Quist

Among other things, Kosi is known as a strong women advocate and according to her although women entrepreneurship is encouraged in Ghana most women still come against serious limitation when they intend to expand their business. This became obvious while as she continuously interacted with some women farmers. In an interview Kosi once stated that “interactions brought to the fore that the major predicament of our clientele, the farmers and traders, was not capital – which is what I had focused on for years – but the lack of access to bigger markets, inadequate storage facilities and poor packaging, among others.” This discovery inspired Kosi to found Nuba foods company Ltd to address these fundamental issues. Nuba Foods and Commodities Ltd (NFCL) is a speciality food processing, and agro foods and commodities sourcing company.

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