Woman of the Moment: Patricia Obo-Nai – The most decorated telecoms CEO

The most decorated telecoms CEO: Patricia Obo-Nai
Patricia Obo-Nai - Vodafone Ghana CEO receiving her GITTA award from Communications and Digitalisation Minister, Ursula Owusu Ekuful

The first Ghanaian to become Vodafone Ghana CEO, Patricia Obo-Nai, is arguably the most decorated telecom CEO in Ghana right now. She epitomises, in many ways, the adage that “what men can do, women can do better”.

Come to think of it, she only became a telecom CEO in 2019. So, what others could not achieve in many years she has achieved in just two.

Her performance at Vodafone for years now, plus her exemplary leadership, stands so tall it became proverbial that once she is up for any top award it is a done deal for her, no matter who the competition is. This year alone, she has raked in loads of prestigious telecom industry, business and leadership awards in both Ghana and Africa.

The list includes the following:

  • Women Leadership Excellence Award at Ghana CEO’s Network Summit
  • Africa’s Most Respected CEO Award in the continent’s Telecommunications Industry (Dubai, UAE)
  • Woman of the Year, EMY Africa Awards
  • Fifty Most Influential Corporate Women in Africa – by the Leading Ladies Africa
  • 100 Most Influential African Women – by Avance Media
  • Tech Industry Personality of the Year, Ghana Information Technology and Telecoms Awards, and
  • Woman of Excellence Award, Ghana Business Awards, just to name a few.

In the previous year, 2020, she bagged at least several laurels which include:

  • Women of Excellence Awards, Ghana
  • Telecommunications Personality of the Year – National Communications Awards
  • STEM Leadership Award at Sustainability and Social Impact (SSI) Awards,
  • Telecom CEO of the Year – Ghana Information Technology and Telecom Awards
  • HR-Oriented CEO of the Year, HR-Focus Awards, and
  • Young Professional Role Model in Women Executive Leadership Award.
  • Glitz Africa also named her Woman of the Year, Telecoms.

You may already be getting tired of going through all of Patricia’s awards, but it doesn’t stop there. Prior to those listed above, she also won the following:

  • Most Respected CEO of the Year (Most Respected CEO Awards) in 2019
  • PRESEC ‘Odade3’ Honorary Torch Award, 2019
  • She was listed as one of the 100 Most Inspiring Women Leaders in the Vodafone Group in 2018
  • Distinguished Alumnus from the College of Engineering at KNUST in 2017
  • Best Female Technologist Award at the Annual Ghana Telecom Awards (GTA, now GITTA) in June 2012.
  • Her passionate commitment to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) education, particularly for girls, has also won her STEM Woman Award (STEM Woman Project).
  • She was also named among the top-50 Most Influential Female Leaders in Africa within the corporate and business sphere by Leading Ladies Africa.

Obviously, Patricia did not start excelling in technology only today; and given the number of times she has been honored as industry personality of the year, CEO of the year and Woman of the year, she is easily the TechGH24 Woman of the Moment.

Patricia Obo-Nai is a highly ambitious leader with 24 years’ experience in the telecommunications industry. She is one of the leading figures in Ghana’s telecom sector.

Patricia started her career as a Network Planning Engineer with Millicom Ghana Ltd. (Tigo) in 2000. She rose to become the first female Chief Technology Officer (CTO) at the company and in the country in December 2006. She was instrumental in transforming the Tigo network from analogue to digital. Indeed, it became proverbial in the industry that Tigo’s network was the best in the country at the time Patricia and her colleague Lucy Quist were in charge of the network.

It was therefore not a surprise that when Vodafone entered the country and went on a poaching spree Patricia was one of the first people to be poached by Vodafone Ghana in 2011, and she became Technology Director of the company. She also served as Director of Fixed Business/Customer Operations and Acting Director of Consumer Business before being appointed Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Vodafone Ghana in April 2019, becoming the first Ghanaian to occupy that role after 10 years of Vodafone’s operation in Ghana.

Under her leadership, Vodafone has churned out several winning innovations such as the award-winning free mobile money transfers to all networks – which has been a big winner and shot Vodafone to number-two in the mobile money market. Other innovations under her include the Smart Surf router, which is the result of a partnership with Surfline; the very popular 2Mooch Data, Medical Call Centre, the customer service bot, ToBi, Business Runway, Your Business Online, Red Trader, Virtual Skills Fair, SuperCare and many others which continue to make waves in the industry.

Patricia serves as an Advisory Council Member of the West Africa STEM Hub, an Advisory Board Member of the Global Young Academy, and a board member of the KNUST Engineering Education Project (KEEP) and the KNUST Foundation. She also serves on the boards of Restoration Community Chapel and Men of Honour, a not-for-profit organisation. She is a member of the Ghana Institute of Engineers and the Executive Women Network.

After her O-Level and A-Level education at St. Roses Senior High (Akwatia) and Presbyterian Boys’ Senior High (Legon), she went on to obtain a BSc in Electrical/Electronic Engineering from Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), an Executive MBA in Project Management from the University of Ghana Business School, and has executive education from Kellogg School of Management, London Business School and INSEAD in France.

Patricia is passionate about the future of young people and women in the digital age, and is a strong advocate for STEM. She has been on a number of local and international platforms, including the UN General Assembly panel sessions advocating for youth and women.

She is married and has 3 children.


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