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Ismail Akwei

Ismail Akwei is an international journalist, digital media specialist, media literacy advocate, media viability consultant, media trainer, product manager, editor, writer, media manager, arts, culture and tourism advocate, human rights activist, pan-Africanist, tech enthusiast and history buff. He has worked with multinational media companies worldwide and has over a decade of experience in journalism.

Early Education

Ismail Akwei attended daycare school at 2 years old in Kokomlemle close to the Mallam Atta Market. A year later, he proceeded to nursery school at De Youngster's International School (Ring Road Central Branch) where he also had his kindergarten and basic education till he graduated from Junior Secondary School at age 14. At De Youngster's, Ismail Akwei was a member of the Boy Scouts and took part in various social activities organised by the school.

Islamic Education

While studying at De Youngster’s International School, Ismail Akwei was simultaneously enrolled at Rashad Islamic School in Accra New Town at age 3 for Quran and Islamic religious studies during the weekends. He later moved to Hamdaniyya Islamic School in the same neighbourhood where he studied till he was 14. He learned to read the Quran and write Arabic as well as understand the Hadith and Sunnah. By age 16, he had studied the entire Quran.

Secondary School Days

Ismail Akwei attended Aggrey Memorial AME Zion Secondary School in Cape Coast from 2002 to 2005 for his secondary education. He studied General Arts with elective subjects including English Literature, History, French and Christian Religious Studies. As a boarding student in Pinanko House, he joined the school cadet and was a member of the Muslim students association. Ismail Akwei found an interest in journalism from Aggrey where he used a small battery-powered radio set to listen to BBC and VOA reports at night.

Farmhand before journalism career

Ismail Akwei completed his secondary education and joined his father in his thriving poultry farm business which was operated from their house in New Achimota. There was a gap of almost a year before the start of college and university and during this period, he helped his father with the over 3000 birds of both layers and broilers. He also applied to three schools: the University of Ghana, the Ghana Institute of Journalism and the African University College of Communications. His interests were in journalism hence the two journalism institutions.

Journalism school and the Black awakening

Ismail Akwei did not gain admission into the University of Ghana but was called for admission interviews by the Ghana Institute of Journalism and the African University College of Communications (formerly the African Institute of Journalism and Communications). He gained admission into the latter for a Diploma in Communication Studies programme and studied Journalism, Public Relations, Advertising, and other communications subjects. At AUCC, he discovered great pan-African leaders like Kwame Nkrumah, Marcus Garvey, W.E.B Dubois, Haile Selassie etc. from the library of the school. He read about the great revolutions of the world, African history and the basics of journalism and communications. 

First job and publication

Ismail Akwei started his journalism career as an intern at the news department of the Information Services Department after a year in journalism school. The mandatory internship gave him an insight into journalism practice and he covered events and press conferences to the admiration of his supervisors. His first articles were published on the state website and curated by news platforms in the country. This began his journalism career.

Graduation and national service

After the completion of the 2-year journalism programme at AUCC, Ismail Akwei graduated as one of the top students and was presented with the Best Advertising Student Award. He started working with the Ghana News Agency on the national service scheme stationed at the headquarters in Accra. He excelled as a journalist as he covered major news events for the wire service. Some of the major events he covered include the 2008 elections, the death of former finance minister Mr Kwadwo Baah-Wiredu etc.

Radio and pursuit of a degree

In pursuit of challenges and higher educational qualifications, Ismail Akwei enrolled at the University of Ghana to study Psychology and Sociology. He gained admission and applied to work at the campus radio, Radio Univers. He simultaneously fulfilled his educational and journalistic duties on the Legon campus where he read and produced the news, produced and hosted the morning show and other news programmes. He later led the production of the flagship morning show of the station until his exit from the school.

Online journalism and love for digital tools

His online journalism career started with GhanaWeb after he completed his degree programme at the University of Ghana. He had started a blog and social media pages which he solely managed before he met the manager of the online platform in Accra who offered him a content management role. He also took up other roles in the company such as event manager, administrative assistant, relationship manager and public relations officer for GhanaWeb. He rose through the ranks to become the deputy news editor of the platform.

Cameroon and leading a French media

Ismail Akwei brought a different energy to GhanaWeb and the manager proposed that he lead a new platform for the Cameroon market called CameroonWeb (now CamerounWeb and publishes in solely French). He launched and developed the bilingual news platform as its editor and led a team in both Cameroon and Ghana. He took advantage of the new role to improve his French to grow the platform into a viable medium.

 

The Republic of Congo and the Africa agenda

Ismail Akwei got a job proposal from Euronews in France which needed an online journalist for its new Africa platform called Africanews to be based in Pointe-Noire in the Republic of Congo. He accepted the offer and moved to Pointe-Noire where he led the online team of the continental news station that published in both English and French. He became an international journalist publishing news from across the continent.

Family

Ismail Akwei is married and has two siblings and other half-siblings from his father's side. 

TV and love for tech

Ismail Akwei applied to fill the role of a presenter at Africanews while leading his web team. This was an extra task he took to have an experience in television presenting. He was successful at the audition and was given the technology segment of the morning show to present. He handled both roles until his departure from the company.

Pan-African news and history coverage

Ismail Akwei returned to Ghana to take up the role of editor of pan-African news and history site Face2Face Africa. He set up a team from scratch to work from the new office in Accra and started training and churning out news and content of interest to Black people. The platform became integral for Black empowerment and education.

Founding of Junior Journalists & Communicators Club (J2C2)

He founded the Junior Journalists & Communicators Club (J2C2) to educate and empower high school students to develop journalism and communication skills to advance inclusive democracy. He started the club at his alma mater De Youngster's International School. 

Return to GhanaWeb as Editor-in-Chief

Ismail Akwei was offered a role as Editor-in-Chief of the parent company of GhanaWeb to supervise the operations of the various websites of the company including GhanaWeb, CamerounWeb and TanzaniaWeb. He later launched MyNigeria and managed the team from scratch to gain some traction. The company benefitted from Ismail Akwei's product management experience and saw a lot of changes in the news process and content production. Some of the products he launched include GhanaWeb TV, GhanaWeb Reporter, GhanaWeb Excellence Awards, and many programmes.

A new beginning with AfricaMediaPro, tourism, and media literacy advocacy

Ismail Akwei left AfricaWeb to start his foundation, a tourism business, and a new company that provides advanced online publishing and advertising services to publishers in Africa. His foundation is the Media Literacy Development Foundation which offers media literacy and artificial intelligence literacy training to young people and small media houses in Ghana. He also founded AMV Africa which consults on media viability and communications, while running events and tourism operations in Ghana. AfricaMediaPro was also co-founded by Ismail and two other partners from AfricaWeb to raise the bar in online media publishing and revenue generation. 

Back to international journalism 

Ismail Akwei started contributing to the international news platform Global South World to amplify perspectives from the Global South and shed light on the region’s dynamic changes and emerging trends. He played a key role in the launch of the portal.  

Launch of GhanaRemembers

After close to a year of development, Ismail Akwei and the AfricaMediaPro team launched GhanaRemembers as the first project of the sister company Remembers Group to commemorate Ghanaian people, organisations and places while memorialising departed Ghanaians.

www.ghanaremembers.com

www.remembersgroup.com

Pursuit of higher education

Ismail Akwei is in the preparatory stage for a PhD and is pursuing a Master of Philosophy (MPhil) Degree in Journalism and Media Studies at the University of Education, Winneba. He holds a Master of Arts Degree in Media Management from the University of Media, Arts, and Communication—Institute of Journalism (UniMAC-IJ), a Bachelor of Arts Degree in Psychology and Sociology from the University of Ghana, and a Diploma in Communication Studies from the African University College of Communications (AUCC). Additionally, Ismail Akwei has earned several certificates from various institutions, further enhancing his knowledge and skills.