A Ghanaian businessman, Dr. Karl Nii Ayikai Laryea, has become the first African to receive “Gratis Agit Laureate” award given to prominent personalities by the Czech Republic government for individuals who have played key roles in enhancing activities of the country globally.
Dr. Laryea is currently the Chairman of the Board of Directors for Knights .a.s., a global technology transfer Company, and also doubles as the Chief Executive Officer of the Kumasi Shoe Factory.
He was the only African among eight personalities honoured by the Czech government at this year’s event, held at the Prague Castle in the Czech Republic.
The citation that accompanied Dr. Laryea’s award eulogized him for his relentless and continuous contribution in promoting trade facilitation between the Czech Republic, Ghana and the West African sub-region.
It also applauded Dr. Laryea’s long-term and persistent work that had helped to continuously deepen Czech-Ghanaian relations not only at the economic but also political level.
The Foreign Affairs Minister in the Czech Republic, Mr Jan Lipavský, who presented the awards, expressed delight with the contribution of the eight awardees in the Czech Republic.
Dr. Laryea’s impact.
In Dr. Laryea’s citation, Mr Jan Lipavsky said “since 1997, when he founded the company Knights a.s., Dr. Laryea has been promoting the good name of the Czech Republic in West Africa, especially in the field of economic diplomacy”.
He explained that Dr. Laryea had initiated many important business activities, especially in the field of infrastructure and agriculture.
“One of the most notable projects is the construction of 50 steel bridges of lengths ranging from 20 metres to 50 metres, manufactured in the Czech Republic, with the prospect of supplying 150 more. These bridges are crucial to Ghana’s infrastructure and economy since they provide connections to commercial centres and enable access to schools, hospitals and jobs for people in the remoter areas. This allows for further economic and social development of agricultural regions, preventing people from having to leave their homes,” he said.
Mr. Jan Lipavský also mentioned Dr. Laryea’s instrumental role in upcoming activities that would see the preparation of a pilot project for a tramway system in Kumasi, the construction of which should involve a consortium of seven Czech companies, including the Czech Technical University”.
“This project could become a model for other West African countries. The Joint Venture company with the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology in Ghana is another interesting project, where Knights a.s. has supplied Czech technology for pressing tropical fruits and juice production” he said.
He said from 1996 to 2008, Dr. Laryea was the unofficial Counsellor for Economic Projects and Cooperation at the Embassy of the Republic of Ghana in Prague.
“One of his major projects during this period was the re-establishment of the Bata shoe factory in Kumasi, which employs over a hundred young Ghanaians,” he said.
In the field of agriculture, he has participated in the development of innovative solutions and implementation of a range of practical modifications to tractors with Czech manufacturers such as VARI and Salek which reflect the specific conditions of African agriculture. Dr. Laryea has also worked as a consultant at the Business Innovation Center of the Czech Technical University and is a member of many professional associations. He is the President of the non-profit government organization, ORPA (Organization for Development and Relief in Africa).
According to Mr Jan Lipavský, Dr. Laryea’s activities had facilitated official visits to the Czech Republic by a number of leading Ghanaian politicians.
About Dr. Laryea
Dr. Karl Nii Ayikai Laryea came to the then Czechoslovakia in the year 1989 to pursue Electrical Engineering. He pursued his Bachelors, Masters and Doctorate Degrees, all in the now Czech Republic.
He later established KNIGHTS a.s., in the year 1997 in the Czech Republic. KNIGHTS a.s. is a company that specialises in transferring innovative technologies, technical customisation & Development and Project Financing.
Dr. Laryea graduated from the Faculty of Electrical Engineering of the Czech Technical University, where he also received his doctorate degree.
He is married with three children. He is not only a prominent person in the business community in Ghana and the Czech Republic, but also a highly respected personality among Ghanaian politicians, and thus helps to spread awareness of the Czech Republic throughout West Africa.
He contributes significantly to Czech-Ghanaian cooperation and facilitates the implementation of projects in both the economic and development fields.