A source of inspiration
Alumnus working to fight poverty in Africa, serving as economic advisor to Guinea president
KENNESAW, Ga. (Mar 29, 2017) — Guy Fondjo went to great lengths to earn his Master of Business Administration degree. Roughly 6,300 miles, to be specific.
Fondjo grew up in Africa and became a banker after earning his bachelor’s degree in computer sciences from the University of Dschang in Cameroon. A few years into his career, he decided to pursue an MBA, which led him thousands of miles from his native land to Cobb County, Georgia.
In 2008, Fondjo enrolled in an MBA program that was a partnership between a college in Cameroon, PKFokam Institute of Excellence, and Southern Polytechnic State University, prior to SPSU’s consolidation with Kennesaw State University. Fondjo spent a year studying in Cameroon, where he received in-class lectures from Southern Poly faculty members, and then completed the second year of the program in Marietta.
“My experience helped me in strengthening my self-confidence,” Fondjo said. “I had the opportunity to learn American culture and what makes America great, and also to interact with people from various nationalities and learn from them as well. All these have been inspirational and motivational sources for my commitment to develop my country of Cameroon, and Africa in general.”
Fondjo has become a prominent banker in Africa, currently working as the chief executive officer of Afriland First Bank Guinee in Conakry, Guinea. Also, he is the economic adviser to Alpha Conde, the president of the Republic of Guinea.
However, his greatest passion is being part of a community-based effort to fight poverty and create wealth in Africa – where about 330 million people live in poverty, according to World Bank estimates. The initiative links a local population with a commercial bank and other partners to establish micro-banks, which “address poverty through steps such as building self-esteem, changing people’s mindsets, offering low-interest loans and stressing that savings are the beginning of wealth creation,” according to Fondjo. So far, in less than two years, 55 micro-development banks are in operation and close to $4 million of micro-loans have been given with more than 55,000 people enrolled in Guinea, he said.
“When I look at those poor communities in rural and remote areas, I am so proud of the hope, confidence and self-esteem that I have been able to bring to them,” Fondjo said. “You cannot imagine the positive impact a change in mindset and a financial support of $200 can have in improving people’s lives there.”
Fondjo also finds time to be an adjunct professor of accounting and finance at PKFokam Institute of Excellence. He hopes to be the same type of influential teacher that he credits Donald Ariail and Ronny Richardson for being when he was a student at Southern Poly.
Fondjo was a graduate assistant of Ariail, an accounting professor whom Fondjo said “had a tremendous impact on my academic and professional life.” He described Ariail as “a mentor” and Richardson, a professor of management and entrepreneurship, as “a father.”
“Fondjo was an extremely hard-working person and an exceptional student,” Richardson said, adding that Fondjo graduated from the MBA program with a 4.0 grade point average. “I join all of his Southern Poly faculty in being very proud of his accomplishments.”
Guy Fondjo, second from left, works during an official meeting between President of Guinea Alpha Conde and President of China Xi Jinping.
A leader in innovative teaching and learning, Kennesaw State University offers more than 150 undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees to its more than 35,000 students. With 13 colleges on two metro Atlanta campuses, Kennesaw State is a member of the University System of Georgia and the third-largest university in the state. The university's vibrant campus culture, diverse population, strong global ties and entrepreneurial spirit draw students from throughout the region and from 92 countries across the globe. A Carnegie-designated doctoral institution, it is one of the 50 largest public institutions in the country. For more information, visit kennesaw.edu.