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2017 Will See The Nigerian Economy Begin A Gradual Recovery From Recession – Joyce Akpata

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Joyce AkpatA

 

BAO talks to Joyce Akpata, the new Director-General of the Nigerian-American Chamber of Commerce on her new role and what makes NACC stand out from other foreign business relations initiatives

 

 

Question 1: Congratulations on your new job. Can you provide us with a sneak preview of what Nigeria-America Chamber of Commerce is all about?

Thank you. The Nigerian- American Chamber of Commerce is Nigeria’s premier bilateral chamber whose primary focus is the promotion of trade and investment between Nigeria and the United States. This is a task it has efficiently carried out since its inception in 1960. It has over the years sought to continually promote the best of Nigeria to the US and vice versa. We are also committed to offering windows of opportunities and potentials for export of non-oil products to the US and the attraction of foreign direct investments into critical sectors of the Nigerian Economy.

Question 2: How does Nigeria-America Chamber of Commerce work?

As a Business Membership Organization, membership is only open to corporate bodies. We currently have over 300 members spread across 8 chapters, 7 in Nigeria and 1 in Houston, US. We create value for our members continuously and facilitate business-to-business relationships. The services we offer to our members include:

  • Business matchmaking and networking between Nigerian and American businesses
  • Organizing trade missions into both countries,
  • Organizing training programmes, conferences and seminars addressed by leading authorities in different fields, affording members and non-members a platform for quality engagement and knowledge sharing.
  • Providing avenues for Nigerian and American businesses to showcase their products and services
  • Advocacy engagements to relevant policy and decision makers
  • Supporting the non-oil export aspirations of manufacturers, agro-producers, etc. through off-taker engagement schemes and strategic relationships.

We also partner with organizations and departments of government in the execution of their corporate objectives.

Question 3: What in your opinion makes NACC stand out from other foreign business relations initiatives?

Our rich pedigree, diverse membership base nationwide, an impressive branch network and membership which cuts across various industries. As a Chamber, our members are our pride and we strive to continuously improve the quality of membership and strive to strengthen our relationships with members by supporting and adding value to their businesses.

Question 4: How has trade evolved between Nigeria and U.S.A?

The United States is one of Nigeria’s greatest trading partners and is undeniably a most important diplomatic partner. The United States established diplomatic relations with Nigeria in 1960, following Nigeria’s independence. The United States is one of the largest foreign investors in Nigeria, with U.S. foreign direct investment concentrated largely in the petroleum, agriculture and wholesale trade sectors. U.S. exports to Nigeria include wheat, vehicles, machinery, refined petroleum products, civilian aircraft and parts, and plastics.  Nigeria is eligible for preferential trade benefits under the African Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) which is a great incentive for Nigerian industrial growth and value creation and export of the Nigerian non-oil products.  U.S. imports from Nigeria include cocoa, rubber, returns, antiques, shea butter, garri etc.  The United States and Nigeria have a bilateral Trade and Investment Framework Agreement (TIFA).

Question 5: In which sectors are American investors more involved in Nigeria? What are the major challenges they face?

Nigeria has the largest market in Africa with a population of more than 180 million people. It is also the gateway to the West African market with a population of nearly 400m people. The Nigerian claim to leadership of much of Africa is not fanciful.  As recently as 2014, McKinsey and Co. had predicted that Nigeria had the makings to grow 7.1 percent yearly until 2030 and build a $1.6 trillion economy. In March 2016, PwC published a report, “Nigeria: Looking beyond Oil,” that raises the Nigerian economy to the top 10 in the world in 2050 with a projected GDP of $6.4 trillion. To be able to achieve these objectives, Nigeria will need friends beyond herself.

American investors are involved in the following sectors;

  • Consumer goods and the retail industry (including online shopping);
  • Real estate
  • Information and communications technology;
  • Food and agriculture; and
  • Infrastructure (especially power and transportation).
  • Healthcare
  • Oil and gas

Question 6: What are the expectations for Nigeria-America Chamber of Commerce for 2017?

We are optimistic that 2017 will be a good and rewarding year which will see the Nigerian economy begin a gradual recovery from the recession from which it has suffered in the past 2 years.  Being a membership organization, our sustainability depends largely on the success of our members businesses so it is our hope that in this year business will thrive beyond expectations. As the Nigerian economy looks beyond oil, the U.S offers a unique market for its non-oil products, technology, agriculture, trade etc. We are currently working on a two city trade mission to the U.S which we expect will connect many businesses on both sides of the Atlantic. Nigeria is also expected to grow stronger in the IT sector and to draw a lot of its inspiration from the Silicon Valley. Lately, Mark Zukerberg the Facebook founder paid a landmark visit to Nigeria which was not only a great inspiration to the local IT industry but also to the Nigerian business sector at a time of low business morale. The visit underscored the potentials of the Nigerian market and the significance of the relationship with the American economy in developing the potentials. We of the NACC were very pleased with this symbolic development and intend to build on it and to encourage similar exchanges. We would continue to work with the Commercial Department of the American Embassy to develop trade between the two countries. In the next few years, we would intensify the opportunity offered by AGOA, mentioned above, to develop trade between the two countries significantly.

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CEO Corner

Rolake Rosiji, ex-Country Manager M-KOPA Solar Appointed As The New CEO Of Jobberman Nigeria

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Rolake Rosiji, CEO at Jobberman (Source: ROAM)

Jobberman, the single largest job placement platform in sub-Saharan Africa, has announced the appointment of Rolake Rosiji as the new CEO. Rolake takes over from Hilda Kragha, now Managing Director of ROAM Africa Jobs, and will continue the work of establishing Jobberman as the primary platform for job searching, talent acquisition and transforming workplace productivity across Nigeria.

Jobberman’s technology-driven platform, which uses tools such as application tracking, data science for skills and personality assessment, connects over 1 million job seekers to employers. With over a decade of experience in the recruitment industry, the company has built a reputation of trust and strong partnerships with the country’s most coveted employers; matching talented candidates with jobs according to their skillset.

Rolake joins Jobberman with a decade of global experience in strategic leadership and operational excellence. Most recently, she led the technology and sales operations for credit financed smartphones and solar power sets as Country Manager of M-KOPA Nigeria; a connected asset financing company that makes financing for everyday essentials accessible to everyone. Prior to that, she was Head of Strategy & Business Development for Arla Foods Africa, where she developed distribution and joint venture partnerships across West Africa to rapidly scale up sales and worked in Corporate Strategy roles in Denmark and the USA. Her proven track record of business expansion projects, digital and technical transformation and executing strategic partnerships will be key to her implementation for growth and development of the brand.

Commenting on her new role as CEO, Rolake Rosiji said “This is a very exciting chapter in my career and I am delighted to be joining such a passionate and innovative team. Jobberman has built a brand of excellence by using technology to revolutionise the recruitment sector. I look forward to steering the company vision to build a market of greater technology adoption, democratic access and transparency that will tackle dominant challenges, notably youth unemployment and underemployment.  It is a privilege for me to be at the helm of this dynamic team as we set out to empower job seekers with key skills and improve workplace productivity for employers in Nigeria.”

Hilda Kragha, Managing Director of ROAM Africa Jobs added “I am delighted that Rolake has taken on this position. Rolake’s expertise, understanding of different markets and high performance is what makes her the perfect person to anchor the next phase for Jobberman. I look forward to working with her to take Jobberman to even greater heights.”

Rolake took on her role as CEO on February 1st 2021. Her focus will be to broaden the impact beyond the white-collar space and continue to work closely with Jobberman’s impact partners in tackling youth unemployment in Nigeria.

ROAM

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CEO Corner

AVCA Board appoints Abi Mustapha-Maduakor as CEO

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AVCA CEO, Abi Mustapha-Maduakor (Source: AVCA)

AVCA: The Board of Directors of the African Private Equity and Venture Capital Association (AVCA) is delighted to announce the appointment of Abi Mustapha-Maduakor as Chief Executive Officer (CEO).

Ms Mustapha-Maduakor joins AVCA from MedAccess, a subsidiary of CDC Group, where she was Head of Business Operations and Finance, overseeing financial and risk management, strategy implementation, and organisational development.

During her tenure as AVCA’s Chief Operating Officer from 2016 to 2019, Abi played an integral role in driving the Association’s strategy, prioritising knowledge exchange and digitisation. Under her leadership, the Association strengthened focus on data and pioneering research, professional development support for private equity stakeholders, and strategic regional partnerships, all of which grew the membership to around 150 investors collectively managing US$1.5trn in assets.

The appointment follows an extensive global search led by the Board.

Abi will take up the position on 1 February 2021, and there will be a transition period with interim CEO, Dara Owoyemi, until her departure.

‘Tokunboh Ishmael, Chair of the Board, said: “After a rigorous process, it was clear to the selection committee that Abi is the right leader for this chapter in AVCA’s life. Her knowledge of the African investment landscape, advocacy, business strategy and risk management will be instrumental in her role leading the Association through its next phase and transformation, as investors and portfolio companies navigate various social, economic, political and institutional challenges. On behalf of the Board, I would like to thank Dara Owoyemi for her immense support and guidance as we searched for a permanent CEO.”

Abi brings several years of finance and banking experience to the role. Previously, she was Special Adviser on private sector development to the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment in Nigeria. She also held leadership positions at Royal Bank of Scotland, Lloyds Banking Group and EY.

Commenting on her appointment, Ms Mustapha-Maduakor said: “It is an honour to be appointed as CEO during this time of tremendous change in the global economy. As the Association’s new leader, my priority will be to build on the success of the past 20 years and transform AVCA into a conduit for diverse and varied sources of private investment in Africa. I look forward to working with the Board and team to deliver first-class member services, putting digital transformation, smart data and collaboration at the heart of our work.”A

AVCA

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talabat, MENA leading food and grocery delivery app appoints Hadeer Shalaby as Managing Director

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Hadeer Shalaby, new Managing Director talabat Egypt (Source: talabat)

talabat, the region’s leading food and grocery delivery app, has appointed Hadeer Shalaby as the new Managing Director of talabat Egypt. She will be replacing Sofiène Marzouki, who has been in the role of interim Managing Director since January 2020, who will be returning to talabat’s Dubai headquarters to take on a challenging new role at regional level. 

Shalaby will continue to drive talabat in the Egypt market, placing key emphasis on customer experience, supporting our restaurant partners, q-commerce, as well as working hand-in-hand with the government on many initiatives, including rider safety and the continued digitisation of the food and beverage sector.

Sofiène Marzouki, talabat Egypt’s outgoing MD said, “I’d like to take a moment to appreciate our whole ecosystem; our customers, restaurant partners, riders, our employees, and the Egyptian government. This past year has been challenging for everyone, with the COVID-19 pandemic, and I have been very privileged to steer an organisation which has helped to keep many families safe, who rely on talabat to make a living.” 

Shalaby brings a phenomenal record of leading tech companies in Egypt, founding Taxi El Sa7el, the first ride-hailing startup in Egypt back in 2014. In the same year, she then moved on to join Careem as the Founder & GM of Careem Egypt, when they acquired Taxi El Sa7el. Most recently, she had been leading Careem Bus regionally, leading teams in Egypt, UAE and Pakistan. 

Speaking about her appointment, Shalaby said, “Firstly, I would like to thank Sofiène for successfully steering the organisation through the COVID-19 pandemic, rebranding Otlob to talabat as well as collaborations with the government around digitisation of the F&B sector, and creating employment opportunities for Egyptian youth.

These are exciting times for talabat, and moving forward, I want to continue to focus on growth particularly with grocery and pharmacy essentials, as well as continue to create an overall seamless experience for our ecosystem – for our customers, riders, government, restaurant partners as well as the communities in which we operate.’

Toon Gyssels, talabat’s Chief Operating Officer is looking forward to seeing how the organisation will further evolve under Shalaby’s stewardship, and how she will continue to be a role model to aspiring female tech entrepreneurs.

‘We are very excited to continue to attract local top talent to talabat, and we’re proud to say that now, three out of our eight country heads are female. As part of the up-and-coming generation of amazingly talented female entrepreneurs in the private sector in Egypt, we’re looking forward to seeing Hadeer inspire not only our organisation, but continue to provide a guiding light to aspiring young women right throughout the country, and region.’

‘I would also like to thank Sofiène for his great work in Egypt in a year like no other, where he has worked with the team to develop a strong, stable presence for talabat, and we look forward to Hadeer continuing to grow our position in the market.’

Source: talabat

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