Esther Afua Ocloo

Esther Afua Ocloo

Esther Afua Ocloo born Esther Afua Nkulenu was a Ghanaian businesswoman and pioneer of microlending, a programme of making small loans in order to stimulate businesses

18 April 1919


Esther Afua Ocloo was born on 18 April 18, 1919

Early life and Education
08 July 1936

Early life and Education

Afua Nkulenu, born in the Volta Region, received her education at a Presbyterian primary school and then attended a coeducational boarding school. Despite financial challenges, she earned a scholarship to Achimota School and completed her studies from 1936 to 1941, achieving the Cambridge School Certificate.

Royal West African Frontier Force
30 June 1943

Royal West African Frontier Force

In 1943, she began selling marmalade in Accra and later obtained contracts to provide orange juice to the Royal West African Frontier Force. Despite limited resources, she secured a loan and founded Nkulenu Industries, the Gold Coast's first food processing factory.

08 July 1959


Ocloo expanded her business, traveled to England in 1956, formed a manufacturers' association, and organized the first Made-in-Ghana goods exhibition. She served as the first President of the Federation of Ghana Industries from 1959 to 1961.

 Women's World Banking
01 July 1976

Women's World Banking

Ocloo founded Women's World Banking in 1976, served as its first chair of trustees, and received the 1990 African Prize for Leadership for economic empowerment.

07 July 1982


·      Honoured by Evangelical Presbyterian Church, Ghana for meritorious Service to Church –1982.

·      Honoured by all women association of Ghana (AWAG) for meritous service (1985).

·      Recognized and certified by the editorials board of Biographical publication, England, as one of the Foremost Women of the Twentieth Century.

·      As co-winner with Olusegun Obasanjo of the African leadership prize for sustainable end of hunger by the Hunger Project, New York, 1990, she was the first African woman to be awarded this prize.

·      Honoured by International Federation of Business and Professional Women –1991

·      National Arts and Culture Award (by Ghana National Commission On Culture, 1992).

·      The first woman laureate of the Gottlieb Duttweiler[11] Prize, Switzerland, 1993.

·      Honoured by Junior Achievement (Global Leadership Award, 1995)

·      Honoured at First Global Women Investment Exhibition, by Ghana Association of Women Entrepreneurs (GAWE)–July 1996.

·      Honoured by Peki Union for contribution and dedication to the welfare of her hometown Peki, Ghana.

·      Honoured by Women World Banking Ghana in May 1995.

·      Honoured by Women World Banking International in Beijing, September 1995. Honoured by Beijing Women of Rochester, New York ASA as one of '100 Heroines for Cause of Women in the 20th Century,' October 1998.

·      Ghana’s Millennium Excellence Awards for Women and Gender Balance Development- 1999.

·      Honoured with a Google Doodle on 18 April 2017.[7]

17 July 2001

Christian life

Ocloo founded religious groups like the Evangelical Presbyterian Church in Madina and the Unity Group of Practical Christianity in Ghana. She formed a women's group called Bible Class and served on the synod committee.

10 July 2002


Ocloo died of pneumonia in Accra, Ghana, and was buried in Peki Dzake.