How Ghana’s Sangu Delle fell into a debt of $5M at 26 and went on to become one of Africa’s most successful investors

Abu Mubarik November 30, 2023
Ghanaian entrepreneur, investor and author, Dr. Sangu Delle. Photo- Ghanaweb

Dr. Sangu Delle is a Ghanaian author and a real estate entrepreneur. He founded two very successful companies – Golden Palm Investments Corporation and CarePoint, formerly Africa Health Holdings, according to Tech Focus24.

Golden Palm Investments Corporation has grown to be one of the leading venture capital firms with over $100 million of assets under management across Africa. The company has also backed leading tech startups such as Andela, Flutterwave, and mPharma among over 24 others. According to Tech Focus24, Golden Palm portfolio companies have collectively raised over $1.2 billion in venture financing in the last ten years.

CarePoint, on the other hand, began acquiring healthcare assets in 2017. Formerly Africa Health Holdings, CarePoint was carved out to create a healthcare portfolio with a vision to “build Africa’s healthcare future.”

Delle is one of the continent’s fastest-rising entrepreneurs, investors, and social impact champions. It was therefore not surprising that he was voted as one of two Ghanaians who made the list of ‘Forbes Africa 30 under 30’ list for 2015 and retained his position the next year.

His journey as a young entrepreneur did not come easy. According to him, he faced many setbacks to get to where he is now, including losing valuable sums. At 26, he undertook a magnificent signature project estimated at $12 million. Before the project started, he found himself burdened with a debt of about $5 million, he recounted, according to The Independent Ghana.

He recalled the period as the darkest and most challenging moment in his life. He was speaking during a panel discussion organized by Absa Bank.

“I first came up with the most creative structuring around it where I was able to get the land owner to give me the land for a piece of equity in the project. The land was valued at $2 million and the balance was $10 million… I then raised $5 million from equity investors while the other $5 million was from debt investors in Japan,” he said, according to The Independent Ghana.

“I had off takers for the project so it was virtually risk free. I also calculated how much the company would make in profit and it was about $4 million. I was very confident that we had struck gold until the two equity investors suddenly died in the same month,” he said.

Delle was hoping that the real estate project’s off takers would secure another equity investment in spite of the setback.

“What I actually realised was that it was easy to raise equity before debt but raising equity after debt was a different situation altogether. As that was happening, Ghana’s economy took a nosedive and long story short, I was not able to get the project up and I was so confident in the deal as I personally guaranteed the loans.”

“… I was 26 years old with $5 million of debt around my neck and how I got past that period, it had to take the intervention of God because I sunk into deep and dark depression where I used to wake up at night with panic attacks. It was hands down the absolute worst time of my life,” he told the gathering.

Delle was born in Ghana. His father was once the national chairman of Ghana’s Convention People’s Party. He continued to Harvard University on a full scholarship, where he was inspired to pursue social and economic entrepreneurship.

He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts from Harvard College with the highest honors in African Studies and Economics, where he was awarded the Thomas Hoopes Prize, the Reverend Peter Gomes Prize, the Philippe Wamba Prize, the Deshaun Hill & Harvard Stephens, and the Maurice Sedwell Prize among others, according to Tech Focus24

He went on to obtain an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Doctor of Law from Harvard Law School. He subsequently became a Soros Fellow and received the Dean’s Award for Leadership.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: November 30, 2023

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