akwaaba - welcome
Albert Gyan is a passionate social advocate with a knack for innovative solutions to create positive social change. His personal life mission is dedicated to advancing the progressive agenda of our generation, guided by values rooted in his personal moral convictions and affirmed by the United Nations Charter. -- "With so much treasure and talent at our generation's disposal, it is unconscionable that any human being should wallow in abject poverty."
Looking forward to partnering with like-minded individuals, groups and social enterprises to work on life-changing ventures for the betterment of humanity.
Albert has dedicated his professional career to social advocacy; amplifying the voice of the voiceless to right wrongs and injustices. Schooled in Catholic social teachings at an early age, Albert is committed to participatory advocacy in the solution seeking process (critical pedagogy), and is ardent about articulating the ethical and moral imperatives of socio-economic issues to instigate political action. His formative years at St. Augustine's College in Ghana where he served as a House Prefect and the President of the Voluntary Works Association, were shaped by the theme: "preferential option for the poor". During his graduate education, Albert served as the National Vice-President of the International Movement of Catholic Students. He began his professional career with the Community Improvement Units program of the Ghana National Service Secretariat, where he strived to mobilize the power of the community to create nucleuses for rural development across the West African nation.
While pursuing postgraduate studies in Germany, Albert served as a trusted mentor and counselor to foreign students and refugees at the Catholic Students’ Center. He identified and leveraged resources offered by the Berlin archdiocese to advocate and assist ethnic minorities and refugees to engage in addressing the then growing racial tension. With the fall of the Berlin Wall, his advocacy activities expanded beyond the national borders to reach refugees and migrants throughout Europe. He helped to build and manage a coalition of European organizations working towards creating inclusive, multicultural societies.
With conviction and optimism that; persistent advocacy, activism and agitation within the dominant development paradigm will get the marginalized their rightful place at the decision making table to advance their interest, Albert has been working in some 25 countries alongside grassroots groups advocating at the European Parliament, the U.S. Congress and at the United Nations. He served as the United Nations Representative for Church World Service, a consultant to the World Council of Churches and represented the Anglican Observer to the United Nations on Economic Justice and Climate Change issues.
Never shying away from "speaking truth to power", Albert has used the several speaking opportunities at local and international arenas to advance this cause. As the spokesperson of the Africa Caucus during the United Nations Financing for Development process and the Monterrey Conference, he initiated town-hall conversations with heads of UN delegations including President Abdoulaye Wade, of the Republic of Senegal - then chair of the African Group. In 1998, whilst leading a 12 member delegation from Europe to Ghana, Albert made a significant contribution to the launch of the Jubilee Africa campaign, chairing the final session of the launch event. He subsequently actively participated in the building of the international Jubilee Debt Cancellation movement.
Albert works with ecumenical networks, churches, social movements, trade unions and non-governmental organisations on issues of economic justice and the mechanisms of impoverishment. Presently, he is dedicated to advocating for international trade and financial systems that are fair and truly representative of all peoples via the United Nations Financing for Development process. He provides advisory and capacity-building services for advocacy at the United Nations on Financing for Development for civil society organizations from the Global South, with special focus on Africa.
The power of the "free market" should be harnessed, not resisted in the quest to meet shared social goals and for optimizing stewardship of global public goods.
The commercial tools and processes of the marketplace are tried and true for maximizing commercial profits, often at great social and environmental cost. These same instruments can and should be adapted to meet shared social goals and for optimizing stewardship of global public goods for the Common Good. With that conviction, Albert has since 1991 been investing in commercially viable social ventures in Ghana. The pitfalls of overseeing commercial ventures in Africa from overseas are well documented and often cited as what not to do when investing capital in Africa. As many African diasporans will attest; absentee farming, as absentee investing is a well discouraged practice. Albert has a few personal anecdotes of his own, which would discourage any risk averse investor, however as an eternal optimist with a pragmatic perspective, he steadily soldiers on.
Any commercial venture, big or small, that adopts an accounting framework with the goal of achieving success in all three dimensions of sustainability namely; social, environmental and financial (in other words; takes care of people, planet and profits), has the potential to infuse the marketplace with a positive culture of sustainability. Such infectious ventures encourage many more to embrace the triple bottom line accounting as the accepted norm for evaluating a firm's performance. In all his ventures, Albert strives for sustainability and honors the promise of Ubuntu, an economy of solidarity -- "My humanity is inextricably bound up in yours"*. As ambitious and ominous as his ventures may be perceived, their execution is very deliberative, anchored in sound business practices and guided by the African proverb: “Never test the depth of a river with both feet.”
Providing management leadership within social movements and grassroots initiatives has been the tightrope walk of Albert's career. This is akin to the tension between the private and social equilibrium in the market. In pursuing social and economic justice goals, the tension between the gains in applying regimental business management practices and the laissez faire management approach, which has often led to a delayed adoption of technologies and practices of the marketplace, can not be overemphasized. The fear is that, these instruments of the "business as usual world' have a corrupting influence and often undermine the social and environmental agenda. The end result of such scepticism and the resulting hesitations is the slow and often late adaptation of groundbreaking technologies and processes. This has hindered the efficient use of the limited resources available to the organizations. Mindful of the corrupting nature of this single minded culture -- profits -- the process of pursuing social and environmental objectives and adhering to principles of business efficiency in management and administration, has been a very delicate balancing act.
Albert has full heartedly embraced this challenge again and again to provide management solutions and leadership for ventures in Ghana and all his hands-on operations in over 20 countries in Europe, Africa and the Americas. His versatile education and training as well as his great proficiency in using computer systems and information technology has been an invaluable asset. Albert believes that, adapting the tools of the "business as usual" marketplace in pursuing the progressive agenda of our generation is about the most pragmatic attempt at realizing the goal of poverty eradication and the preservation of each and every human being's dignity.