Ghana’s traditional market is still vibrant and well-visited today. Both the rich and the poor enjoy shopping there since they may bargain for a reasonable price and actually obtain whatever they need.
Yet, Andrew Asamoah was willing to put his lucrative career at the UN on the line in order to get Ghanaians hooked on the shopping mall concept. In this regard, he resigned from his position as director of the World Health Organization in 2005 to open Ghana’s first shopping mall, A & C Shopping Center.
The process to constructing Ghana’s first shopping mall began with the establishment of A&C Development, an Accra-based commercial property company. His ambition to acquire property inspired the formation of the property company.
His family had always rented land when he was growing up, and he wanted to stop that trend. He had built his first house by the age of 26. Following that, his desire to buy land never wavered. He bought property in Switzerland, London, and New York. He also invested in land in Ghana’s capital, Accra.
“I bought the land where A&C Mall stands today, 10 years before I returned to Ghana,” he told How We Made It in Africa. Building a shopping mall was not Asamoah’s original plan. He wanted to venture into building apartments and condos for sale. However, upon realizing that Ghana had no malls, he decided to venture into that space.
With his savings, he started A&C Mall and later approached banks for funding. “I thought that it would be an easy sell,” he said. “It was not; as this would be the first mall in Ghana, the banks were sceptical.”
According to How We Did It in Africa, the banks stated that Ghanaians would find it difficult to forgo traditional market area for a mall. This negative news did not dissuade Asamoah from pursuing his passion. He used his own money to fund the initial phase of A&C Mall in Geneva, London, and New York. He pursued larger local supermarkets and later South African retailer SPAR for a partnership in order to secure an anchor tenant, but the relationship did not materialize.
He eventually got retailer MaxMart to partner with for the completion of the first phase of the project. “They took 40% of the available space from phase one. Once their contract was in place, it took us less than six months to get to 100% occupancy,” Asamoah told How We Made It in Africa.
Asamoah used earnings from the mall and A&C Development’s other properties in Ghana to finance the second and third phases of the project, which feature a gasoline station, a fitness center, and Business Centre 1. Banks and other merchants are now present in the center.
Asamoah’s future plans include extending A&C Mall by constructing A&C Corner, a 9,000m2 center 1km away from A&C Mall that will focus on building supplies and décor. The next goal is to construct the A&C Village, which will be six times the size of the original A&C Mall.