The prestigious industry association, The Global Cold Chain Alliance (GCCA), has paid tribute to Owusu A. Akoto, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of FreezeLink, for supporting Ghana with pharmaceutical-grade cold chain transport, alongside the Ghana Health Service and other partners, for 600,000 doses of the AstraZeneca coronavirus vaccines, submitted through the COVAX vaccine-sharing initiative.
GCCA serves more than 1,100 companies, in 85 countries, who provide temperature-controlled supply chain services in the agriculture, food and pharmaceutical sectors: FreezeLink, the trailblazing, one-stop shop for cold chain logistics, is the first and only company in Ghana to become a member.
Ghana’s first COVID-19 vaccines, mentioned above, were also the first, globally, of the 2 billion doses from COVAX – the vaccine sharing program, lead by the World Health Organisation, Gavi and others – that are planned for distribution in 2021.
Mattew Ott, CEO and President of GCCA said FreezeLink has a fleet of temperature-controlled trucks and is one of a few private companies providing the ‘cold chain’ that is essential to prevent the life-saving vaccines from spoiling or weaking in strength.
Speaking to the New York Times, Mr. Akoto said that he was inspired to create FreezeLink to address the post-harvest losses that keep farmers unnecessarily poor in West Africa. Vaccine waste, due to poor cold chain infrastructure, is also a major issue in the region. He added that being involved in vaccine distribution has brought both pride and a sense of relief.
“FreezeLink also works with Zipline, a drone company, that is helping to deliver vaccines to more rural parts of Ghana that are harder to reach by road”, he told Isabella Kwai of the London bureau of The New York Times.
A member of the Global Cold Chain Alliance’s International Programs Committee, Mr Akoto has spent the last decade designing and transforming supply chains at global companies such as Diageo, Unilever and Procter & Gamble – including helping Unilever design the strategy for its strategic supply chain programme, which earned it a World Procurement Award.
Before founding FreezeLink, he also led the US$3billion supply chain management transformation programme at the UK Ministry of justice to bring about a step change in performance of logistics and other supply chains.
Mr. Akoto was awarded an MBA from Imperial College London and graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in International Relations from the University of Pennsylvania, where he was one of 8, out of 2,000, graduates to receive a Senior Honour Award.