THE PLACE TO BE

Ghana 2018 | TELECOMS & IT | INTERVIEW

TBY talks to Edith Dankwa, CEO of Business & Financial Times (B&FT), on filling a nationally needed niche, informing the public, and keeping people on their toes.

Edith Dankwa
BIOGRAPHY
Edith Dankwa has an MBA and holds a degree in business studies from the University of Cape Coast and public administration from the Ghana Institute of Management. She is currently completing a PhD in management. She is President of the Institute for Development and Policy Ghana. She is also the CEO of Business Times Africa Magazine, Energy Today Magazine, and the Business and Financial Times newspaper. The Entrepreneurs Foundation of Ghana awarded her Print Media Entrepreneur of the Year in 2012.

How has your newspaper evolved in recent years?

B&FT has evolved from a small boutique newspaper into a large one. We came into an environment where there were only a few national papers. Penetrating the market was challenging and advantageous at the same time. We provide accurate, relevant, and credible information to the business community, which needs information to make decisions, and students. It is our objective to provide adequate information for all sectors, allowing people to assess that information and be well informed when coming to the country. There is more to be done by employing technology in this age to ensure we provide the necessary information and package it in a way that is accessible to the public. We also offer other products, some of them with continental reach like the B&FT magazine, a monthly publication. We recently added Energy Today, a quarterly that is still growing since we have been introduced to energy and oil and gas. Finally, we host our own events like the Ghana Economic Forum and give out awards, organize roundtable discussions, and have a TV program called Business Times TV.

How do you see technology playing a role in the future of B&FT?

If we want to provide necessary information and products, we have to do it through an online platform. This will meet the needs of our readers. We use and continue to improve our online platforms, through which it is easier to sell our products to the whole world. Older people want the feel of a newspaper; however, the new generation are used to their phones. We are still exploring opportunities to partner with technological players. For example, we were unsatisfied with the app we had launched and are currently working on it every day, hoping to launch it on both the Android and iOS market. These are the models we are looking at.

Do you expect any particular changes in regulations from government to facilitate the media industry?

The Ghana Economic Forum is an advocacy platform that engages the public and private sectors to discuss economic and business issues, such as reducing poverty and corruption and increasing growth and employment. We partner with some of these institutions that buy into the idea of getting the public sector involved, so that the platform becomes a channel for informing policy direction. Both the government and private sector should be able to support the media within Ghana to reach international standards. If we compare what is happening here to developed countries in terms of capacity, the media is not there. The media should be seen as a serious sector and receive immediate support. The media can play the role it is supposed to play, to advocate and keep people on their toes, and educate and inform.

What are the biggest challenges a company like B&FT faces today, and how do you tackle them?

Our first challenge is the cost of running the business, which is high and has implications on profits and margins. If we want to build capacity to expand, it is extremely difficult in this climate. My main aim is to expand and penetrate further into Africa and perhaps the rest of the world. The market and potential are huge; however, we need the right framework and support. Other international publications have been in existence for years, and most of them will get bigger. With the right infrastructure and setup, they are able to expand; that is the kind of support we need.