Professor Joshua Yindenaba Abor

Professor Joshua Yindenaba Abor





BSc (Admin), MBA (Gh.), PhD (Stell), FCCA (UK), Dean, University of Ghana Business School.

Financing Private Enterprise Growth in Africa: How do we drive the real economy?


Finance plays a critical role in private enterprise development in every country. While the financial sector can spur economic growth by mobilising savings for investments, it can also be a source of fragility (if not properly regulated) as observed during the global financial crisis, the Eurozone crisis and the banking crises in some emerging and developing countries. Financing growth in developing countries through domestic resource mobilisation and a suitable level of external capital inflows is the focus of development finance. Specifically, development finance deals with how financial systems (both domestic and external) can drive the process of development. It deals with the role of financial resources and the significance of financial systems in economic growth and development.

Africa’s financial systems are, however, said to be small, shallow and costly, with limited outreach and this tends to restrict enterprises’ access to formal finance. The situation is more severe for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which often lack the requisite qualification to access formal finance, thus hampering private enterprise growth and development on the continent.

In this lecture, I focus on how finance can drive growth in the real economy, drawing from existing literature, including my published and ongoing research, as well as recent developments in the field of finance. An important subject I consider is the mechanism through which funding can be transmitted to Africa’s private sector. This lecture looks at these issues, with particular focus on financing private enterprises, which are considered as important contributors to economic growth in both developing and developed economies.

In particular, I examine the nature of African finance and enterprise development. I also address the issue of enterprise financing in the midst of ‘constrained’ financing choice. Enterprises’ limited access to the various financing sources is likely to influence their financing preference, which is explained by extant theories, conventional as well as heterodox factors. This eclectic approach provides a more comprehensive framework to understand private enterprise financing in Africa and how to improve access. I further examine the importance of corporate governance and its implications for enterprise financing in Africa. I then discuss the role of development finance, innovative financing, and appropriate public sector interventions, and demonstrate how private enterprise development in Africa can be well anchored using these models.


Professor Joshua Yindenaba Abor hails from Kongo in the Upper East region of Ghana. He was born in Tema to Mr. Abor Ndobire and Ms. Amina Tobga. He had his basic education at the Aggrey Road No. 1 Primary and Middle Schools in Tema. He sat for the Common Entrance examination during his first year in the middle school and gained admission to Tema Secondary School. He completed the A’ Level at St. Paul Secondary School in Denu. After a year of national service in Vieri Junior Secondary School (now Vieri Junior High School) in the Upper West region, he entered the University of Ghana to read BSc Administration (Accounting option), graduating with First Class Honours in 1998. After another year of national service in the School of Administration (now University of Ghana Business School), he proceeded to study for an MBA degree in Finance (by thesis) in the University of Ghana, graduating in 2001.

He joined the University of Ghana in February 2003 as a Lecturer in the then School of Administration. He gained a scholarship from the University of Stellenbosch in Cape Town, South Africa to pursue a PhD. As part of the PhD study, he also had a USAID scholarship to do a one-year course work at the Department of Economics, Harvard University in Cambridge USA. He completed the PhD in 2007 and returned to post in the University of Ghana. He also qualified as a Member of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) (UK) in 2002 and became a Fellow of the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (FCCA) in 2006.

Joshua was promoted to Senior Lecturer in 2005 and Associate Professor in 2007. He was promoted to Professor in 2010, becoming the first professor to have been promoted at the University of Ghana Business School. Joshua Yindenaba Abor is currently the Dean, the University of Ghana Business School. He previously served as Head of Department of Finance, University of Ghana Business School between 2008 and 2011 and Vice-Dean, University of Ghana Business School, during the period, 2011 - 2014. Prior to joining the University of Ghana, he worked as Director of Finance and Administration at the Unicorn Group (a group of service companies).

Joshua Yindenaba Abor is a researcher with the African Economic Research Consortium and a Fellow with the Africagrowth Institute, Cape Town, South Africa, and the International Institute for Advanced Studies, Ghana. He has held Visiting Scholar positions at the International Monetary Fund (IMF), Washington DC in the United States. He is a Visiting Professor of Finance at the UCT Graduate School of Business, University of Cape Town, South Africa. He serves on the editorial boards of a number of international business, finance and economics journals.

He has contributed to the financial economics and finance literature, mainly in the areas of banking and finance, development finance, financial market development, corporate finance and governance, international finance, and health finance. He has been involved in projects sponsored by Africa Economic Research Consortium, International Growth Centre, WK Kellogg Foundation, African Centre for Economic Transformation, Xstrata, Khula Enterprise, and Industrial Development Corporation and is currently part of a collaborative research project on “Delivering inclusive financial development and growth” funded by Department for International Development (DFID), and Economic and Social Research Council (ESRC).

His papers have appeared in reputable international journals, including, Corporate Governance: An International Review, Review of Development Finance, Thunderbird International Business Review, Studies in Economics and Finance, Journal of Economic Studies, International Journal of Entrepreneurship and Innovation, African Development Review, International Journal of Social Economics, Research in International Business and Finance, Emerging Market Finance and Trade, and Journal of International Financial Markets, Institutions and Money. He has 81 refereed journal articles, 3 books, 2 co-edited books, 9 book chapters and monographs, and 13 professional publications. He also has 52 papers presented at a wide range of international conferences. His most recent book is on Entrepreneurial Finance for MSMEs: A Managerial Approach for Developing Markets, published by Palgrave Macmillan (Springer Nature), UK.

Joshua’s teaching portfolio is broad in scope covering all core areas of finance such as topics in finance, issues in development finance, corporate governance, corporate finance and investment, financial markets, bank management, and international finance. He has taught at all levels in the University of Ghana, right from level 100 to MSc/MBA, MPhil and PhD levels. He has supervised or co-supervised 7 PhD and 48 MPhil students. He is currently supervising 4 MPhil and 6 PhD students. He supervised the first PhD Finance candidate to have graduated from a Ghanaian university. He has been instrumental in the introduction of innovative programmes at the Business School and championed the introduction of the flagship MSc Development Finance programme. He has served as External Examiner for 18 PhD theses from a number of universities including the University of New England, Australia, Griffith University, Australia, University of Bolton, UK, University of Witwatersrand, University of Pretoria, University of Johannesburg, University of South Africa, University of Zimbabwe, and Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology.

Joshua Yindenaba Abor has served on a number of boards and committees in the University of Ghana, including Finance and General Purpose Committee, Business and Executive Committee, and Academic Boards. He successfully chaired the University Procurement Committee (representing the Vice-Chancellor) for four years (2008 - 2012) and in August 2011 the University won the “Public Procurement Model of Excellence Tool” by Public Procurement Authority. He chaired the Local Organising Committee for the Africa Universities Summit, 2016, held at the University of Ghana in collaboration with the Times Higher Education, UK. He serves on the Coordinating Committee of University of Ghana Readers Project, the Institutional Advancement Team, and currently chairs the College of Humanities Research Board.

He also serves on the boards of some companies, including SAS Group, National Banking College and currently chairs the boards of SIC Life Company Ltd and Best Western Premier Hotel. He chaired the working group of finance experts in industry to develop investment guidelines for the National Pensions Regulatory Authority and also served on the Government of Ghana Negotiation Team responsible for reviewing the entire mining regime and re-negotiating the stability agreements with mining companies operating Ghana. He is also a member of the Bank of Ghana Monetary Policy Committee.

Additionally, Joshua has consulted in finance, banking, financial markets, financial sector policy and development initiatives for a number of international and local institutions including, the International Development Cooperation, the World Bank, Italian Cooperation, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Lands and Natural Resources, Ministry of Health, South Africa’s Ministry of Trade and Industry, African Development Bank, and Development Bank of Southern Africa.

Joshua Yindenaba Abor is a born-again Christian and fellowships with the Fountain Gate Chapel, Ofankor, where he serves as the Head of the Counseling Team. He is married to Dr. Patience A. Abor and the Lord has blessed them with three children, Ivana, Bastien and Venka. He loves music and sports. He played as the top seed for both the Legon Hall and the University of Ghana table tennis teams during his undergraduate studies.