Some people in business would say you have to differentiate your business and your family. But not for Cecilia and Andrew Asamoah, they made both work seamlessly.
The dou founded A&C Development, a real estate company in Ghana, which gave birth to the first shopping mall in the country. The company name carries the couple’s initials—A&C.
The overall idea was born to develop first-class, ultra-modern commercial lifestyle centers in Ghana, West Africa.
In an interview with How We Made It Africa, former director of the World Health Organisation, Andrew Asamoah, had more to share about their journey.
Asamoah speaking of his childhood
“When I was growing up, my family always rented property, and therefore the wish for owning property became ingrained at a very young age,” says Asamoah. “I built my first house at the age of 26.”
“I bought the land where A&C Mall stands today, 10 years before I returned to Ghana.”
Isn’t that inspiring?
Approaching the bank for A&C Mall funding
“I thought that it would be an easy sell,” Asamoah says. “It was not; as this would be the first mall in Ghana, the banks were sceptical.”
Upon the completion of Ghana’s first mall and the need for expansion
“We knew that Ghana needed more than one mall and was confident that once we expanded into a mixed-use centre, we would compete well.”
“We are looking at how we can drop our cost per square metre to entice businesses to take up the vacant space we currently have.”
“We felt that what Ghana needed was something akin to Home Depot in the US, or Builders’ Warehouse in South Africa,” says Asamoah. “All the space has been taken up and we will have the official opening in June,” he says.
His take on brick and mortar vs the digital world
“We are human beings. We live human lives. You cannot go out with your friends and have something to eat online.”
“If you only have pure retail, yes, I think you would be in trouble. But if you are providing the right mix between lifestyle activities and retail, along with services such as banking, you won’t have a problem with visitor numbers.”
“We saw it during the pandemic. You could shop online, have food delivered, and get everything you need at home – but people were not happy. We need communal spaces, and we need each other,” he says.
The Ghanaian couple has earned the reputation for their creativity, resilience and innovation in the real estate industry.
A&C always rings a bell.
By Elijah Christopher