Ekwow Spio-Garbrah (born 1953) is a citizen of Ghana and currently the CEO of The Commonwealth Telecommunications Organisation (CTO) based in London. He is one of Africa's pre-eminent civil servants, and an authority on mass communications who has held several high profile positions in the field. He is a former Minister of Communication of the Republic of Ghana, one-time Ambassador of Ghana to the United States and Mexico, Minister of Education, Minister responsible for Mines and Energy and a member of UNESCOâ€™s Executive Board in Paris. He served in the cabinet during the democratic regime of Jerry John Rawlings between 1994 and 2000.
Before his appointment at the CTO, he was Chief Executive of his own business consulting firm, Spio-Garbrah & Associates, based in Ghana.
As a 'Minister of Communication' of Ghana, 1997-98, Dr Spio-Garbrah initiated, developed and implemented policies and programmes that supported the increasing convergence of telecommunications, broadcasting, the Internet, publishing, news media and postal services, all of which were under his supervision. Concurrently, as chairman of the National Communication Authority, he had responsibility for regulating all aspects of the telecom, Internet and broadcasting sectors.
Whilst 'Education minister' from 1998-2002, he was credited with the creation of the Ghana Education Trust Fund (GETFund), which currently mobilizes some $50 million each year from the VAT for educational sector infrastructure and student assistance programmes. Earlier, he had chaired the Public Education Committee that helped to establish the VAT system in Ghana, which currently nets more than $200 million of additional revenue to support the full range of government expenditures.
As 'Ambassador to the United States,' from 1994-97, Dr Spio-Garbrah was noted for his success in rebuilding Ghanaâ€™s image across the United States, including organising an unprecedented eight-city investment promotion programme for Ghanaâ€™s President in the USA. As a result partly of the successful bilateral programmes he executed, Ghana became the first country to be visited by President Clinton during his famous five-country Africa visit in 1998.
Before joining the Ghana government, Dr Spio-Garbrah was 'Head of Communications' at the 77 member-nation African Development Bank from 1991-94, where he directed the bankâ€™s global corporate and marketing communications and acted as institutional spokesman. Earlier, from 1988-91, he had performed similar functions as an 'External Relations Officer' at the International Finance Corporation, the World Bank affiliate, in Washington.
His previous experience included working as a 'mortgage banker' in New Jersey, as an award-winning sales executive with Southwestern Bell, and as 'chairman of the Middle East Africa Group' within the international public relations firm of Hill and Knowlton in New York. In that capacity, he provided investment, export and tourism promotion counsel to the governments of Indonesia, Turkey, The Netherlands, and Austria, financial relations advice to the Hong Kong Shanghai Bank, Credit Agricole of France, UBAF-Arab American Bank, and energy sector intelligence to the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC).
Prior to his studies in the United States, Dr Spio-Garbrah, was the 'General Manager' of Ghanaâ€™s second-largest advertising agency, and was also the well-known 'host' of a national television prime time interview and discussion programme, "In Town".
Dr Spio-Garbrah obtained BA (Hons) degree in English Literature from the University of Ghana, at the age of 19 and topped his class in obtaining a Graduate Diploma in Journalism and Communication from the same university. He then proceeded to Ohio University, USA, where he received a Masters Degree in International Affairs (with distinction). Following a Graduate Certificate in International Banking and Finance from New York University, he was awarded a Doctor of Laws degree, honoris causa, by Middlebury College in Vermont USA, in May 2001, for his achievements in the fields of education, communication, business and diplomacy.
In December 2006 Ekwow Spio-Garbrah contested for the flagbearership of Ghana's leading opposition party, the National Democratic Conngress (NDC). He came in second to Professor John Atta Mills, former vice president of the country. Atta Mills subsequently won Ghana's 2008 presidential race.
Having resigned his CTO job to contest Mills in 2006, Ekwow Spio-Garbrah was appointed president of Dominion University College founded Archbishop Nicholas Duncan Williams.
Dr Spio-Garbrah remains a leading member of Ghana's now ruling NDC party.