Staff Profile


Ato is the Fund Manager of SDF. He provides overall leadership in all grant management functions. As Fund Manager for most of the first phase of the Skills Development Fund managed by COTVET, Ato contributed significantly to the acknowledged successes of the Fund, including offering grant support to over 43,000 businesses across Ghana, increasing the labour productivity of the average SDF grantee by over 60% year-on-year for about 4 years and creating over 17,000 jobs over a 4 year period.

Ato's 18-year-plus private sector development experience started at EMPRETEC Ghana Foundation where he had his first encounter with grant management. He went on to work on a number of similar funds including the EU-ACP Business Assistance Scheme as Regional Assessor - Anglophone Western Africa; the DANIDA-GIZ SPEED Ghana Programme as BDS Advisor, the World Bank-funded Business Development Services Fund as BDS Specialist.

Ato was an instructor at Ashesi University College, where he taught courses including Corporate Finance, Investments and Entrepreneurship; and supervised capstone projects for final year students of the college.

Ato also worked at Zenith Bank Ghana Limited as Relationship Manager, where he deployed his private sector experience to help the bank's drive for enhanced share of the Ghana market.

Ato holds a BA degree in Accounting and Economics from the University of Ghana, Legon, and an MSc in Finance and Management from the University of Exeter, UK. He is also a Project Management Professional.


Currently working as Deputy Fund Manager, Skills Development Fund (SDF) II, in charge of grant processes from application to approvals. Previously worked as Grant Specialist in Phase I of SDF under COTVET. Brings to the SDF team, some 20 plus years of Private Sector Development Experience, in particular small and medium-sized enterprises development, Business Development Services, Value chains, Enterprise clusters, Business Incubators and managed work space, spanning jurisdictions within Africa and elsewhere.

As Deputy Director for EMPRETEC Ghana (2000-2003), led in the design, installation and management of various training and business development products, some of which become core services. These included the Business Growth Program, for SME growth companies, the Bankers Premium SME Relationship Management Program. Facilitated the delivery of BDS in selected value chains, working mainly with BMOs and other stakeholders in those chains, with interventions directed at creating Market Access, Production and Technology Improvements.

A graduate of the University of Ghana, Legon and Ghana Institute of Management and Public Administration.


Lawrence is currently the Financial Controller of Skills Development Fund. He has more than 15 years working experience in the public and private sectors. He worked as the Financial Controller of the Rural & Agricultural Finance Programme from 2012 to 2016. He also worked with KPMG in both the Audit and Advisory Departments for over 5 years. He has extensive experience in the provision of consultancy services in areas such as Preparation of Accounts, External Audit, Institutional Audit/ Performance Assessment of Private Organisations, Independent Business Reviews (IBR), mid- term Review of Donor Funded Projects & Programmes, Due Diligence, Preparation of Business and Strategic Plans, Preparation of Accounting Policies & Procedures Manuals. He has carried out a number due diligence assignments in several West African Countries (Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Nigeria and Ghana).

He is a Chartered Certified Accountant (Fellow of ACCA UK & Member of ICA Ghana). He holds an MBA in Finance, MSc. in Accounting with Finance (AwF) and a B. A. (Hons) Economics Degree. Lawrence has enormous experience in the provision of business & financial advisory services to clients in the public and private sectors. He also has experience in the auditing of financial institutions, public sector organisations and donor funded projects.


Adwoa is a highly focused professional with over three years of valuable experience working with grants. She has a comprehensive knowledge in grant management and a profound understanding of grant processes from her experience. She is well versed in the review, selection and recommendation of grant proposals from beneficiaries of the fund as well as providing guidelines and feedback to beneficiaries for the successful completion and closeout of their projects.

Adwoa also worked at the Skills Development Fund Phase I (SDF I) as a Grants Officer. Prior to joining SDF I, she worked as a Junior Research Officer at International Food Policy Research Institute (IFPRI).

In her free time, she enjoys music and spending time with her family.


Nyadia Sulemana Nelson is Grants Officer at the Skills Development Fund. He has over 15 years experience working in Project management, SME coaching and Grants Schemes Management. He has had a rewarding tenure with the Fund, accumulated vast knowledge of the fund's operations and gained significant experience analysing & assessing the specific skills needs of micro, small and medium-size enterprises in support of grants projects implementation.

Prior to taking up the job at the Skills Development Fund, he was Lecturer in Marketing at the School of Business at now Tamale Technical University. This was followed by an exciting career managing CAMFED and ILO funded TVET and small grants scheme in Northern Ghana as Livelihoods & Advocacy Manager. He was also Programme Coordinator at Youth Empowerment for Life, DANIDA funded project which provided matching grants to facilitate the participation of youth in non-farm based agricultural activities in northern Ghana. He also worked with PlusONE Investments as Grants & Business Assessment Manager just before joining the Skills Development Fund.

He holds BSc. Administration and MSc. Development Finance both from the University of Ghana Business School and has a solid background in project management, matching grants management


Roland Akabzaa has about thirteen (13) years of work experience focusing on project monitoring and evaluation, research, project/programme assessment, project management, institutional assessment and policy advocacy and campaigns. He has worked with several projects funded by DFID, World Bank, USAID, UNDP and DANIDA.

Roland worked with several organizations including Associate for Change (AFC) as the Research and M&E manager, Ghana Anti-Corruption Coalition (GACC) as a Research Officer and with the USAID Feed the Future Project, Agriculture Development and Value Chain Enhancement (ADVANCE) project as the Policy and Advocacy Specialist. He joined NIRAS International Consulting as the M&E consultant (M&E Specialist) for the Ghana Skills Development Fund (SDFII) in August 2016.

He has employed qualitative methods (such as focused group discussions, in-depth interviews, observations, Community Score Cards, participatory appraisal methods, etc.); and quantitative research methods (including questionnaires in conducting surveys and census, etc.) in many of his researches. He is proficient with SPSS and Atlas Ti for analysis of quantitative data and for qualitative data analysis respectively.

He has contributed to a book published by Routledge, UK as well as published reports, policy briefs and other gray literature. Roland is fellow of the US International Visitor Leadership Programme (IVLP); he was nominated for his outstanding contribution to transparency and good governance in his Country (Ghana) in 2015. He holds a bachelors in Economics and Masters Social Policy both from the University of Ghana.