I am a finance professional, currently living and working in London, with a passion for Nigeria. It’s a complex enough country (politically, socially and economically), and I cannot therefore profess to be an ‘African’ first, or to being an ‘Africa-focused finance professional’, a moniker that has come to lose meaning, in my view. I know Nigeria well, I have experience living and working there, and excellent personal and professional networks.
Other African countries are definitely exciting, and offer similar investment opportunities to Nigeria, albeit within often quite different ecosystems, and of course, in the context of networks with which I am less familiar. I have an interest in investing (and potentially living and working) in these other countries too.
I have just started my journey as an angel investor, focused on building a portfolio in media & technology in Nigeria and a handful of other African countries.
Most recently, I worked for a $20 billion global growth equity firm. I joined with a mandate to focus on sub-Saharan Africa with a view to building an institutional network in Africa, an Africa-focused deal pipeline, and an internal knowledge base for the focus countries (Kenya, South Africa and Nigeria). We have done that successfully.
I used to be Head of Corporate Development for First Bank, Nigeria’s largest financial institution. I led the bank’s first international acquisition (Banque Internationale de Crédit), laying the foundations to grow its operating presence from zero African countries (except Nigeria and a representative office in South Africa) to a current footprint of five.
The team I ran also designed First Bank’s holding company structure, established an insurance underwriting subsidiary (a joint venture with sub-Saharan Africa’s largest insurance company), and re-focused its investment banking subsidiary under a new, world-class leadership team. I am quite proud to have been a part of this important period of transition at a 100-year old institution.
The years before that were spent in mid-level/junior investment banking roles. I was a Vice President, focused on M&A across industries, at Renaissance Capital in Lagos, and an Analyst/Associate at Credit Suisse in London, focusing on the consumer products and travel industries. I was part of the teams that sold ebookers to Cendant and merged Thomas Cook and MyTravel.
An Advisory Boardmember at BudgIT, a non-profit in Nigeria and a member of the Africa Business Angels Network (ABAN) team, I hold an MBA from the London Business School (where I was a Mo Ibrahim Foundation scholar) and a BSc. (Hons) in Economics from the London School of Economics.
I am fascinated by the complexity of life, across a range of dimensions that cut across the personal and the professional. My greatest weakness comes perhaps from my tendency to insist on understanding the world through logical frameworks – that means that in practice, I find myself frustrated. Issues I find most interesting touch on economics and finance, social psychology, power and politics, female empowerment and human rights. I am a staunch advocate for open political, economic and social systems, and my greatest passions are probably reading and writing.