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Vodafone Ghana – being good by doing good under Patricia Obo-Nai’s leadership

Arpita Agnihotri (Department of Management, Penn State Harrisburg, Middletown, Pennsylvania, USA)
Saurabh Bhattacharya (Department of Marketing, Newcastle University Business School, Newcastle upon Tyne, UK)

Publication date: 14 September 2023


Social implications

Case explains how female leaders are more concerned about social issues the industry in which they operate could resolve. Obo-Nia, CEO of Vodafone Ghana, showed concern for resolving the digital divide in Africa and offered a collaborative solution. The case also suggests how female CEOs invest in strategic corporate social responsibility (CSR) that could create a competitive advantage for firms. The case also discusses gender diversity issues in the science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) field and how Vodafone Ghana’s CEO tried to enhance gender diversity in the telecommunication sector and Vodafone. Obo-Nai did not emphasize gender diversity from a CSR perspective but believed in a business case for gender diversity, as an increase in participation of women in the STEM workforce could help the telecommunication sector innovate faster and resolve the digital divide challenge while also empowering women working from the informal sector.

Learning outcomes

What is the significance of a digital divide and the societal role of the telecommunication sector; Why female CEOs are more concerned about CSR and how CSR makes not charity but business case; Why female CEOs are more inclined toward collaborative strategies and how stakeholders are involved in collaborative strategies for reducing the digital divide; Exploring various strategies for enhancing gender diversity in the STEM field and the significance of gender diversity in the STEM field.

Case overview/synopsis

The case is about the challenges faced by Patricia Obo-Nai, the first female CEO of Vodafone Ghana, to bridge the digital divide in Africa while doing so in a profitable manner. Obo-Nai was an engineer by profession and won several awards as she rose to the post of CEO in Vodafone Ghana in 2019. During the COVID-19 pandemic, she took several corporate social responsibility (CSR) initiatives, such as making internet service freely available in certain schools and universities so that education could continue. Obo-Nai also emphasized gender diversity within Vodafone and urged other telecommunication players to focus on gender diversity from a social responsibility perspective because it was essential for innovation. Under Obo-Nai’s leadership, Vodafone itself launched several new products. She called for a multistakeholder collaborative approach to bridge the digital divide and to make 4G internet affordable in Africa. Obo-Nai collaborated with competitors like MTN Ghana to enhance Vodafone Ghana’s roaming services.

Complexity academic level

This case is intended for undergraduate or graduate-level business and management courses, especially international business and society, CSR and leadership courses. Graduate students in public policy may also find the case compelling.

Supplementary materials

Teaching notes are available for educators only.

Subject codes

CCS5: International Business; CCS10: Public Sector Management



Agnihotri, A. and Bhattacharya, S. (2023), "Vodafone Ghana – being good by doing good under Patricia Obo-Nai’s leadership", .



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