Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong – Top Ghanaian-American legal brain tasked to solve Ghana’s power crisis

1.1989596Just about five years after she was recognised and named among the National Law Journal’s 40 Under 40 up and coming attorneys for her work on a groundbreaking international arbitration concerning a trade dispute between the US and Canada, Maame Ewusi-Mensah Frimpong, a rising star among some of the United States’ top legal brains, has demonstrated tremendous commitment to living up to her laurels and challenging her comforts to fulfil her utmost dream – fighting to expand liberties.

Serving in her current position as the Vice President, General Counsel and Corporate Secretary for the Millennium Challenge Corporation, the second generation American, born in California to Ghanaian immigrants, Kwaku Ewusi-Mensah (father) and Theodora Ewusi-Mensah (mother), is an excellent legal brain who’s fast, consistent and impressive rise up the ranks of the legal profession is an inspiring story yet untold.

Highly regarded and celebrated in the U.S as one of the few ‘black-women’ who are contributing to seeing the glass ceiling in the legal profession broken to pieces, Frimpong recounts that her first job as a clerk for a Court of Appeal judge in Califonia in the United States prepared her for her subsequent opportunities.

“It was a wonderful job and I often say that it was the best job that I’ve had and I’ve had great jobs since then too…most judges are very accomplished lawyers so it was almost like a very small classroom where you are able to learn from someone who is very accomplished day after day. And the other thing about working with a judge is that the cases that they work on are very important. Life and death issues for the people that they work with,” she remarked in an interview with StarrFMonline.com on her first trip to Ghana since she joined the MCC as Veep.

Admittedly, that first job built in her a strong sense of public duty as she stepped into various critical roles such as this current one.

“… It was one of my first tastes of having that feeling of…the effect you can have on people’s lives and in making lives better, in making lives more fair and making our system of Democracy in the United States work better for people, so I really enjoyed it. It was great training”.

The Millennium Challenge Corporation recently signed a five-year $498 million deal with Ghana, to support the transformation of the country’s poor power sector.

Informed by the erratic power supply, which is hurting the economy, the Ghana Power Compact, has become a deal recorded in history as the largest of all US Government-funded transactions of President Obama’s Power Africa Initiative.

A new challenge to surmount

Like the many inspiring jobs she has taken and successfully executed in the past, the mandate of the Corporation gives Ms Frimpong a new challenge to surmount.

There are high expectations for her success not just because her job requires her to, but also because the people of her homeland are relying on her knowledge and expertise to end the erratic power situation more commonly known as ‘dum-sor, dum-sor’ in the local parlance.

This, according to the Yale Law School graduate, puts her on her toes.

“It is very personal,” she said, adding the erratic power situation is having a toll on the economy. “…It’s a serious issue for the economy and for people’s lives, for health and safety and so it is very personal that we want to make it better,” she emphasised.

Ewusi-Mensah, who visited Ghana in January 2015, to study the situation and help diagnose solutions said, it is “disappointing” to her to find that many years after her first visit to her home country in 1997, the people still have to struggle with poor power supply.

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