In 1997, with the equivalent of Five Hundred Pounds (£500) in his pocket, 26-year-old Ibrahim Mahama returned to his native country Ghana, after his sojourns in the United Kingdom, to set up a Heavy Duty equipment rental company- Engineers & Planners.
Soon, he noticed a business opportunity when the Ghanaian government at the time, decided to privatize all the state-owned mining companies. Mr. Mahama reworked his business model to take advantage of the privatization drive of the government.
Today that Five Hundred Pounds Sterling rental company is now worth more than Five Billion dollars in both Assets and Human Resource thanks to the leadership of Ibrahim Mahama.
“I dropped out of school,” he says with pride but explains, “not every one of us is cut for success in the classroom,” adding “this doesn’t mean that I am not in favor of schooling. School is very important and I will encourage every young man to aspire to the highest level in terms of education”.
His company has built a huge portfolio in Ghana, working for mining giants such as Golden Star Resources and Goldfields Ghana. The small equipment rental company, which he started in 1997, grew organically into a major equipment rental firm, in competition with other local and international equipment rental companies.
In the face of all the competition and challenges in terms of finance, Ibrahim’s company braved the odds and today is an A-Class mining contracting firm competing in the midst of international Contract Mining companies who had access to cheap finance and were preferred partners to the mining concession owners who were foreign Direct Investors (Multi-national Companies). Engineers & Planners excelled in the area of contract mining and currently has elbowed out the multinationals.
Currently, his company employs close to three thousand workers working on both Damang and Tarkwa mines owned by South African mining giant Goldfields and other satellite projects across the country including road construction, earthmoving and civil engineering works.
Ibrahim Mahama’s impact is not only limited to Ghana, his company E&P was the first to open up the Liberian economy to commercial mining activities after over two decades of civil war when they won the contract to mine the iron ore concession for Arcelor Mittal in Yekepa Liberia.
The Liberian contract provided employment opportunities for both Liberians and other African nationals who were employed for the project, in addition to contributions to the Liberian economy in terms of payment of taxes and import duties.
The transfer of knowledge through the Arcelor Mittal contract, today, has created the opportunity for Liberia to have access to top level and experienced human resource for their extractive industry, which eventually is benefitting the economy of Liberia.
It can be said at the time E & P entered into Liberia, a majority of the working force had not ever worked before, as those who were working just before the civil war, were now past their prime- well over 60years. The onus thus fell on E&P to train the Liberian youth in their 20’s and 30’s and gave them the opportunity to have formal work experience before other multinationals started entering Liberia.
Mr. Mahama is involved in other business interests. He is the owner of Man Bosch Ghana Limited, (MBG) a company representing MAN DIESEL Trucks in Ghana.
He is currently working on a cement producing company expected to provide employment opportunities for several thousands of Wholesalers and Retailers across Ghana and possibly the West African sub-region. The cement factory has a capacity of 2.6 Million Tonnes per annum and this is the highest single cement facility in Ghana, which has many advantages in terms of location, port facilities and deficit in marketing demand.
Currently, the market demand of Portland cement is about 7 million tonnes and what is produced and imported is about 5 million tonnes and would be greater looking at the housing and infrastructure deficits that Governments wants to bridge.
Ibrahim Mahama can be described as a quintessential entrepreneur who believes in the capabilities of the African and works with the mindset of empowering the Ghanaians and Africans.