March 10, 2015

George Owusu Honored in Texas for Entrepreneurial Excellence

The Ghanaian community in Houston, Texas marked their native country’s 58th independence anniversary with a grand banquet and celebrated the achievements of George Yaw Owusu, an international businessman and community leader. The president of the Ghanaian Association of Houston, Mrs. Christiana Asiamah, described Mr. Owusu as a “generous and unpretentious visionary who is instrumental in various community initiatives and improving the lives of Ghanaians back home.” 

Mr. Owusu spent nearly three decades of his professional career as an environmental scientist and also actively seeking to attract foreign investment into Ghana’s oil industry. Mr. Owusu and his E.O. Group played a key part in Ghana’s oil discovery in 2007. The 60-kilometer offshore Jubilee Field located between the Deepwater Tano and West Cape Three Points blocks remains one of the largest offshore oil discoveries in West Africa to date and has become a major source of revenue for the West African nation of Ghana.

After the showing of a documentary about Mr. Owusu’s involvement in Ghana’s Jubilee Field, the crowd gave him a standing ovation after which he accepted the award and shared his hope for Ghana’s future, and his commitment to making a difference in the United States, Ghana and other parts of the world.
“I am a product of Ghana, and of this community,” he said. “For everything I have been fortunate to achieve and help my country achieve, I am particularly hopeful that I can encourage others to do the same.”

Over the past two decades, Mr. Owusu’s work has engaged leading international companies and business decision makers toward developments in Africa. “I’m humbled by this recognition by my fellow Ghanaians,” he added. “I’m glad to be able to contribute the Ghana community in Houston, and I look forward to helping build Ghana.”
Houston remains the pivotal hub for global oil and gas activities, and provides an opportunity for Ghana to continue its engagement with oil companies and oilfield service companies in the region.

Mr. Owusu is currently the principal at Mansa Capital, an international private equity firm.
Together with his wife, Angelina, the couple also run the George and Angelina Owusu Foundation, a non-profit focused on various initiatives in education, healthcare and economic development in Ghana. 

September 18, 2013

Friends. . . No Mas Señor

Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff is not happy with President Barack Obama, and she is not hiding it. There is enough drama with the allegations of the NSA spying on her, and eavesdropping on high stakes oil and gas activities in her country. So much for trust and love.
Brazil has worked tirelessly in recent years to transform itself into a formidable partner in global economics, not just a country with boatloads of potential, but saddled with more questions than any country knows what to do with. In the days of Hugo Chavez, one friend the United States could tout as being a strong partner in a region where friendships came with strings attached, was Brazil. And now that unconditional love is almost gone bye-bye.
President Dilma Rousseff recently cancelled her trip to Washington, and insiders are pointing to that as a direct gesture to the Obama administration in response to the US National Security fiasco. Thanks to Edward Snowden, the world knows who the NSA was spying on, and which conversations the government was busy listening to.
I know this will come as a surprise to many of my fellow Americans who swore the government was spying on them,- at least now we know the kind of clout one needs to have to earn a spot on a the NSA spy list. Trust me, the NSA have no interest in your Wal-Mart grocery list, your obsession with Scandal TV show, or you ridiculous Facebook dogfights.
I have to guess that most people do not usually like other people listening to their conversations, neither strangers nor friends. It’s just not a polite thing to do, of course unless there is another agenda flying under the radar. And that is what Brazil is particularly concerned about. Petrobras, the state-owned oil and gas entity that calls the shots in the region, has shifted to the center of this conversation, and there are questions about the real objective here.
President Dilma Rousseff didn’t earn the nickname "Iron Lady" for passing out candy at grocery stores. So it is a little unnerving that she is not smiling.
So who cares? Well, most US businesses chasing offshore Petrobras contracts care a great deal. I have a feeling that someone from Wall Street is already tweaking President Obama’s official apology to President Dilma Rousseff. She has demanded explanations and President Obama has some explanations to do.
Furthermore, every country is sitting back wondering if they made it to the spy list, and if so, what did the NSA find out about them. It is any surprise President Obama is having such a hard time getting even Latvia and Liechtenstein to support him against Syria? Such is the cost of betrayal, the ripple effects are often more than we can imagine. No wonder all of my man Barack’s hair has turned grey.
Of course Brazil is not cutting off ties with the US anytime soon, but don’t expect any friendly applause when the national soccer team shows up for the World Cup in Rio.
My point is, eventually President Dilma Rousseff will accept the NSA’s complex explanation for why it needed to know what Brazil was up to. Will they buy it? Of course, not. No matter how you slice it, this will be another headline for the political science commentators to blog about; the United States and Brazil will find some mutual interests and economic synergies, but you can bet there will be a high level of suspicion for every smile and every wink.
Friends, - no more.

September 10, 2013

A Last Straw for Diplomacy

There is breaking news on Syria every hour. The dizzying pace with which new reports surface in this Syria fiasco is just as confusing, as it may be a little reassuring. If you are confused with all the turns and turnarounds, developing stories and strategic updates, you are not alone. Half of the world went to sleep last night with the impression that a strike on Syria is inevitable, and woke up this morning to find that Secretary of State Jon Kerry’s “unlikely scenario” is coming true.
Syrian Prime Minister Wael Nader Al-Halqi has struck a deal with the Russia to lead an effort to put Syria's chemical weapons under international control. If there is a real endgame here, it is to avert the looming U.S. military strike that is on the horizon. On one hand, the Assad government will sell this as a strategy "to stop the Syrian bloodshed and prevent a war." Maybe Syria is just coming to terms with the fact that President Obama’s plan was not a bluff after all.
So now what? That is the big elephant in the room that neither President Vladimir Putin nor President Obama can describe with any accuracy. There is still a lot of smoke yet to clear, but with the U.N. reports a few days away from probably increasing the stakes against the Assad government, perhaps the best course of action is one that involves suits, rather than combat boots and torpedoes. No one really knows the implications of this latest developments but diplomacy is my first choice any day of the week.
If this is all good news, why then are some Americans still skeptical? Other leaders played a political cat-and-mouse game with UN inspectors for years and dragged any military intervention – Saddam Hussein immediately comes to mind – so its comes as no surprise that Assad will not be winning over any new friends any time soon.
Of course, there are many people around the world where the only options to consider is war and more war.  They will not be holding any guns or stare at death at the frontlines, so it’s easy to say.
If indeed a pragmatic solution can start with diplomacy, and avoid the option that adds more bloodshed to an already bloody landscape, I prefer that option.

September 7, 2013

Coalitions, Interventions & Consequences

If a picture is worth a million words, this picture has to be worth a million more. With the eyes of the world understandably fixated on all the images coming out of St. Petersburg today, only Syrian president Assad will take some comfort in the body language of three potential allies or powerful foes.
US president Barack Obama made his case at the G20 Summit, and insider reports suggest that the European counterparts didn’t jump aboard as he hoped. Not too many people are too surprised, because Russia has been very outspoken about their stance, and it didn’t seem like President Obama’s presence was going to charm them much.  But the coalition is an important one, and it is worth the pursuit. Yes the Eurozone has its issues, and Germany and France are still dragging through the mud to pluck out their Euro brothers; needless to say they have ample drama brewing in their backyard to keep them occupied for the next few years. No wonder they look almost disinterested to sign on to President Obama’s case against Syria. But inability is not the same as inaction, or even presumed indifference.
Sources indicate that Barack Obama, Francois Hollande and David Cameron are nudging their counterparts to cross over to their side of the curtain. British Prime Minister David Cameron is the intriguing piece in this puzzle; although the British parliament voted against committing troops in any military action, he is still Obama’s strongest advocate.
We are still a few days away from the U.N. report that may turn the tide in this crisis, but if other world leaders will sign onto the punitive strikes against the Assad government, the U.N. may perhaps be emboldened to address this issue from a position of strength. There is video footage of chemical attacks alleged to be actions by military personnel under Assad’s direction, but the big question that remains, is who the really behind it? That is what makes the argument a little muddy, but I wont be surprised if President Obama knows something you and I don’t know.
So, back to the picture worth a million words, it is entirely possible that time will end up being President Obama’s friend because the European Union may get the chance to garner the necessary support from their own discussion makers, while the Arab League and NATO partners continue to push for action from their side. The wildcard will be the U.N. report, which is due in another week, but will all that time be too late for Syrians on the ground?
Just a thought.