Thomas Svanikier (born January 1960) is a leading Ghanaian entrepreneur, industrialist, and philanthropist. He is the founder and executive chairman of Svani Group, an automotive conglomerate, as well as a founder and Chairman of the Advisory Board of Fidelity Bank, a growing international financial institution.
Ghana, officially the Republic of Ghana, is a country located along the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean, in the subregion of West Africa. Spanning a land mass of 238,535 km2 (92,099 sq mi), Ghana is bordered by the Ivory Coast in the west, Burkina Faso in the north, Togo in the east and the Gulf of Guinea and Atlantic Ocean in the south. Ghana means "Warrior King" in the Soninke language.
Svanikier has been at the forefront of Ghana’s economic modernization over the past 25 years, most notably in the automobile and financial sectors.
Thomas Svanikier’s first venture was an automotive import business. Svani Limited, established in 1990, supplied Russian-made Lada cars to Ghanaian industry, NGOs and government agencies, and consumers throughout West Africa. In response to the notable absence of North American automobiles, Svani Limited reintroduced Ford and Lincoln Mercury cars to the Ghanaian market in 1994.
Svanikier quickly expanded his company and renamed it Svani Group. The company imports vehicles, leases, rents and sells cars, and is a distributor of generators and other heavy-duty equipment throughout West Africa.Svani has sold armored vehicles to the Office of the President of Ghana, the U.S. Secret Service in Nigeria, the Governor of Lagos State, and the governments of Liberia and Togo. The group also provides automotive maintenance and specialized equipment to the U.S. Department of State in Ghana.
Svani currently controls about 20% of the global vehicles market in Ghana and has service centers in Accra, Takoradi, Koforidua and Kumasi. Svani is also the sole importer and distributor of Mahindra vehicles, as well as the largest distributor of Toyota Land Cruisers and Ford vehicles in Ghana. In partnership with Svanikier’s company, Mahindra built a motorcycle and pickup truck assembly plant in Accra, Ghana.The two companies are currently working on the development of a 9.6 acre car assembly and servicing center along the Accra-Tema motorway.
A number of Svani-distributed vehicles have received nominations in Ghana’s Auto Awards.
Svanikier ventured into private equity with the creation of Africa Capital LLC, which invests in transportation, energy, finance, and real estate projects. As a result, Svanikier is well known in Ghana as a job creator and investor responsible for a significant portion of the economic expansion and modernization between the 1980s and late 2000s.
In 2010, Africa Capital’s energy subsidiary, Atholl Energy, was lauded by then President John Evans Atta Mills for its joint project with the Siemens group to construct a 180-megawatt power generation plant that greatly augmented Ghana’s power supply.
Africa Capital is the largest shareholder of Fidelity Bank in both Ghana and Malaysia. Fidelity is currently the fourth largest bank in Ghana, and is growing rapidly. Fidelity Bank has 98 branches in Ghana and plans to increase that number significantly in the coming years.In December 2014, the bank’s total assets also stood at GHC 3.135 billion.
In July 2015, Svanikier and his wife were invited to be part of U.S. President Barack Obama’s delegation during his official visit to Kenya. Svanikier was also asked to take part in the Global Entrepreneurship Summit organized in Nairobi, Kenya by the U.S. Department of Commerce, at which the president met with leading figures in African business circles.
As of 2015, Svanikier serves as the senior adviser for Africa for the Transnational Strategy Group,a Washington, D.C.-based company that provides consultancy services for governments and companies on economic and political issues.
Svanikier is the co-founder and chairman of several companies:
Svanikier is Chairman of the Board of Fidelity Bank in both Ghana and Malaysia. Fidelity is one of the fastest growing banks in Ghana – over the past eight years it has created 95 branches throughout the country.Fidelity Bank has 51 branches in Ghana and plans to increase that number to 100 by the year 2017. Fidelity also provides the financing for Ghanaian customers to purchase or lease Mahindra vehicles produced in Svanikier's Accra plant.
Additionally, he is a founding member of the American Chamber of Commerce in Ghana.
Svanikier is a well-known philanthropist in Ghana.
He serves as a leader for the Opportunities Industrialisation Centre (also known as OIC International).OIC is a non-profit group in Pennsylvania that gives technical and vocational skills training to underprivileged adults and teenagers.
He is also a leader of the Africa Poverty Eradication Commission located in Accra.
Svanikier is known as a generous supporter of education and youth development programs, and has donated a 35-seat bus worth $64,000 to Ghana’s renowned Winneba Youth Choir.
He is also an ongoing benefactor of the Presbyterian Schools in the Accra neighborhood of Osu. He funded the installation of its clean water and sanitation systems, as well as the construction of its Primary School for girls and a modern library with a computer laboratory. The Girls’ School facilities are dedicated to the memory of his late mother, Agnes Federica Svanikier.
In December, 2014, in the midst of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Svani Group partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the fight against the Ebola epidemic. Svani Group donated eight heavy-duty vehicles as well as several power generators to the United Nation’s Ebola Emergency Response.
In 2015, Svanikier and his wife founded the Svanikier Public Policy Leadership Initiative, which donated $100,000 to the University of Oxford’s School of Government.The funds went towards sponsorship for six Ghanaian public officials to attend courses at the University focused on Governance and Natural Resource management.
Svanikier is a descendent of a Danish family that settled in Christiansburg, Osu, in Accra.
Svanikier is married and has a son and two daughters. His wife, Johanna Odonkor Svanikier, was a Fulbright Scholar who studied at Oxford and Harvard Universities. Johanna Odonkor-Svanikier was Ghana’s Ambassador to France, Portugal and UNESCO.
The economy of Ghana has a diverse and rich resource base, including the manufacturing and exportation of digital technology goods, automotive and ship construction and exportation, and the exportation of diverse and rich resources such as hydrocarbons and industrial minerals. These have given Ghana one of the highest GDP per capita in West Africa. Owing to a GDP rebasement, in 2011 Ghana became the fastest-growing economy in the world.
Kotoka International Airport is an international airport in Accra, the capital of Ghana. It has the capacity for large aircraft such as the Airbus A380. The airport is operated by Ghana Airports Company Limited (GACL), which has its offices on the airport property.
Mahindra & Mahindra Limited is an Indian multinational car manufacturing corporation headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It was established in 1945 as Muhammad & Mahindra and later renamed as Mahindra and Mahindra. It is one of the largest vehicle manufacturers by production in India and the largest manufacturer of tractors in the world. It is a part of the Mahindra Group, an Indian conglomerate.
The Mahindra Group is an Indian multinational conglomerate holding company headquartered in Mumbai, Maharashtra, India. It has operations in over 100 countries around the globe. The group has a presence in aerospace, agribusiness, aftermarket, automotive, components, construction equipment, defence, energy, farm equipment, finance and insurance, industrial equipment, information technology, leisure and hospitality, logistics, real estate, retail, and two wheelers. It is considered to be one of the most reputable Indian industrial houses with market leadership in utility vehicles as well as tractors in India.
Industry in Ghana accounts for about 25.3% of total GDP. However, Ghana's industrial production is rising at a 7.8% rate, giving it the 38th fastest growing industrial production in the world due to government industrialization policies.
Ghana generates electric power from hydropower, fossil-fuel, and renewable energy sources. Electricity generation is one of the key factors in order to achieve the development of the Ghanaian national economy, with aggressive and rapid industrialisation; Ghana's national electric energy consumption was 265 kilowatt hours per capita in 2009.
UT Bank Ghana Limited, commonly known as UT Bank (UTB), was a commercial bank in Ghana. As of February 2011, the bank was one of the commercial banks licensed by Bank of Ghana, the national banking regulator. On August 14, 2017, the bank of Ghana announced it had revoked its license, together with Capital Bank. The bank was taken over subsequently by GCB Bank.
uniBank (Ghana) Limited, commonly known as uniBank, was an indigenous private bank in Ghana, West Africa. uniBank was one of the thirty-five (35) commercial banks licensed to operate in Ghana.
Ghana Oil Company, known as GOIL, is a state-owned Ghanaian oil and gas marketing company, formed on 14 June 1960. Currently it holds the place of Ghana's top oil marketing company, and is the only indigenous owned petroleum marketing company in Ghana. Their mission is to ethically and responsibly market quality petroleum and energy products.
SIC Insurance Company is a Ghanaian insurance company. They are listed on the stock index of the Ghana Stock Exchange, the GSE All-Share Index. It formed in February 1962. Recently its expansion plans were shelved due to the Ebola virus.
Bank of Africa Ghana Limited, also referred to as BOA Ghana, is a commercial bank in Ghana. It is one of the commercial banks licensed by Bank of Ghana, the central bank of Ghana, and the national banking regulator. the bank has 33 branches in 2015.
Ghanaian Indians are Ghanaians citizens of Indian origin or descent. Many Ghanaian Indians are descendants from those who migrated from India following India's partition in 1947.
India-Ghana relations are bilateral diplomatic relations between India and Ghana. As members of the Commonwealth, India maintains a High Commission in Accra and Ghana has its High Commission in New Delhi.
Ecobank Kenya is a commercial bank in Kenya. It is one of the commercial banks licensed by the Central Bank of Kenya, the central bank and national banking regulator.
In Ghana, dumsor is a persistent, irregular, and unpredictable electric power outage. The frequent Ghanaian blackouts are caused by power supply shortage. Ghanaian generating capacity is currently 400-600 megawatts less than Ghana needs. Ghanaian electricity distributors regularly shed load with rolling blackouts.
Kpone Thermal Power Station II, also Kpone Independent Thermal Power Station, is a 340 MW (460,000 hp) multi-fuel-fired thermal power station under construction in Ghana.
Johanna Odonkor Svanikier is the founding President and CEO of the Heritage and Cultural Society of Africa. She is also the immediate past Ambassador of Ghana to France and Portugal, as well as to the International Organisation of La Francophonie and the OECD Development Centre. She also served as Ghana's Permanent Delegate to the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). She was called to the bar of England and Wales in 1990 and to the Ghana bar in 1991. She is a member of the Inner Temple. She has also worked as a university lecturer and a development consultant.
Charles Ayesu Darku is a Ghanaian businessman and engineer who was managing director of Tullow Oil Ghana Ltd, the largest subsidiary of Tullow Oil plc in terms of production, between 2013 and 2018. Darku was formerly chief executive officer of the Ghana Grid Company (Gridco) from September 2009 to 2013