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Interview With The Group CEO at Emerging Africa Capital Group, Toyin F. Sanni

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Toyin F. Sanni, driven by a passion for impact is the Group CEO at Emerging Africa Capital Group. A Nigerian based provider of financial services aimed to facilitate the investment process for and with African entities and individuals. In this interview with Alaba Ayinuola, she speaks on leadership, business, inclusion and the gap her company, Emerging Africa Capital Group is filling.

 

I always love to ask thought leaders like you about their dream jobs. When you were young, what did you want to be when you grew up?

As a young girl, I dreamed of becoming an advocate when I grew up so I could defend the oppressed and fight for just causes. I did qualify as an advocate and practice law for a while, but then I discovered the world of finance.

The path to the top isn’t always easy but you have accomplished a great deal. What’s the greatest hurdle you’ve encountered, and how did you overcome it?

The greatest hurdle I encountered was occasional opposition from peers or superiors who seemed more interested in competing than in collaborating, even when we were supposedly on the same side. I have always handled this by continuing to give my best and to add value indiscriminately to them and to the rest of the organisation and group.

 

What are the best and worst decisions you’ve ever made?

Best decisions have been hiring and later coaching and mentoring people whom others had given up on and who ended up becoming star performers. My worst decisions have been hiring one or two personnel with technical abilities but major character defects.

 

Talking about gender inclusion, what is the most significant barrier in achieving more equality between women and men in business and leadership? What solution would you proffer?

Significant barriers include unequal opportunities and bias – conscious and unconscious. I would proffer the following solutions;

  • Awareness creation amongst both men and women.
  • Deliberate affirmative action in favour of women opportunities where qualifications are equal.
  • Investigating adverse decisions on requests or applications by women in cases where same requests were approved for men to ensure bias played no role.
  • Organisations should set and monitor measurable inclusion targets for HR, Executive Management and the board.

For women faced with the challenges of balancing the multiple roles they play as a mother and wife while in leadership positions. What advice would you proffer?

I advice setting out your priorities and communicating it to your family and business partners to secure buy in. Also, delegation and establishing support structures at work and home is also critical.

Lastly, hire competent aids and empower them.

As the world keeps evolving, what will be the biggest challenge for the generation of women coming up after you?

Challenges for the next generation women include managing their increasing roles as breadwinners, the need to strengthen our level of technology adoption and proficiency. Women also need to master the management of personal and family finances.

 

You are an experienced and reputable CEO and Board member. What advice would you give a woman who wants to advance into an executive level role?

If you are a woman aspiring to executive roles, you need to develop your leadership abilities and not just technical skills. Your commitment to the organization and its objectives must be clear. You can’t be just about your department and its narrow goals and targets. You also need to network consciously within and outside your organisation and to build your personal brand intentionally.

 

Let’s talk about your company Emerging Africa Capital Group. Tell us about this brand and what gap its filling?

At Emerging Africa, we are building what will become a premium African brand. Our vision is to be the leading catalyst to the emergence of Africa as leading global investment destination and origin. We are filling the financial inclusion gap by helping organisations in growth phase to raise much needed capital and by providing attractive investment alternatives to domestic and international investors.

How do you feel as a Thought Leader and award winning African female entrepreneur? What drives you?

I feel grateful for the opportunity to be a blessing and to impact lives. I am driven by the desire to fulfill purpose by making maximum impact.

 

What are your predictions for 2019?

Globally, it’s a challenging year as global leaders like Trump, May and Marcon face domestic struggles. It’s an election year in Nigeria, so most expect the first half of the year to be pretty slow. I think that for those who, nonetheless, apply themselves from the start, there will be some unexpected opportunities, even as others play a waiting game. In markets, I expect activities to be focused on fixed income at the short end such as commercial papers and government debt.

 

Her Short Bio:

Toyin F. Sanni is a graduate of the CEO Program of the Lagos Business School, holds a Masters Degree, LLM (Hons), from the University of Lagos and the Professional qualification of the Institute of Chartered Secretaries and Administrators (I.C.S.A.) UK. She is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Stockbrokers (C.I.S.) Nigeria amongst other qualifications. In 2017, she was declared “The All African Woman of the year by CNBC and also “Nigeria’s CEO of the Year” by Pearl Awards.

She leads a multiple award winning group that provides advisory and capital raising solution and development across Africa. She has spoken at Conferences such as Howard University USA, UK African Business Conference to mention but a few. Her past role includes CEO UBA Trustee, UBA Global Investor service, Cornerstone Trustee etc. President CIIA, IAPM, Chair WIFNG, Financial Literacy Committee, National Bond Steering Committee amongst others.

 

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Press Release

João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, The President of the Republic of Angola To Speak At The Angola and Turkey Business Forum

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João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, The President of the Republic of Angola (Image: Claudia Padayachy)

The President of the Republic of Angola, João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço, will give the inaugural speech at the Angola-Turkey Business Forum, to be held at the Ato Congresium Conference Center in Ankara, Turkey, today, 28 July 2021, at 9:00 am local time.

President Lourenço, who will address the Turkish business community, will take this opportunity to highlight Angola’s economic potential and the opportunities that the country offers. He will also discuss his government’s commitment to economic growth and development through the private sector as well as the multiple initiatives that have been adopted to improve the business environment.

This Forum is part of the official program of President Lourenço’s visit to the Republic of Turkey and is the perfect opportunity to inform the local business community and investors of Angola’s new business environment. Numerous ongoing reforms and support policies for private investment and the diversification of the economy have been put in place.

The Chairman of the Board of Directors of AIPEX, António Henriques da Silva, will present the numerous investment opportunities in the Republic of Angola.

Turkey’s Minister of Commerce, Mr. Ahmet, and the President of DEIK, are also expected to present at the Forum. 

Around a hundred Angolan and Turkish companies from various sectors are expected to participate in the event.

The Angolan and Turkish business communities will soon enjoy closer ties, with the launch of two direct weekly air connections between Luanda and Ankara through Turkish Airlines.

The  Angolan presidential delegation comprises Manuel Nunes Júnior – Minister of State for Economic Coordination, Edeltrudes da Costa – Minister and Cabinet Director of PR, Tete António – Minister of Foreign Affairs, João Ernesto dos Santos – Minister of National Defense and Homeland Veterans, Sérgio dos Santos – Minister of Economy and Planning, Ricardo Viegas de Abreu – Minister of Transport, João Baptista Jorges – Minister of Energy and Water, Manuel Tavares de Almeida – Minister of Public Works and Spatial Planning, Diamantino de Azevedo – Minister of Mineral Resources , Oil and Gas, António Francisco de Assís – Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries, Victor Fernandes – Minister of Industry and Commerce and Antonio Henriques da Silva – Chairman of the Board of Directors at AIPEX.

Over the last 18 years, Turkey has significantly increased its presence in Africa, going from 12 embassies and investments of around USD 100 million in 2003 to 42 embassies and around USD 6.5 billion in direct investments in 2021.

From 2003 to 2019, Turkey’s trade with Africa increased about five times, and now some 51 African cities are served by Turkish Airlines, which plans to start flights to Angola soon. (Source: issafrica.org and AIPEX).

To date, Angola has registered around USD 200 million in investments of Turkish origin, especially in mining and steel. President João Lourenço’s visit to Turkey will boost economic relations between the two countries and, in the medium term, an increase in Turkish investment in Angola is expected in priority sectors, namely, industry, mining, energy, tourism and transport, in addition to trade, where the two countries already have strong links.

The trade balance between the two countries is unfavourable for Angola, data from the General Tax Administration (AGT) indicate that from 2015 to 2020, Angola’s imports from Turkey was around USD 1,702,737,951.00, while exports from Angola to Turkey in the same period were only 41,960,419.00 USD.

 

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Press Release

Wärtsilä to modernise power generation at Nigeria’s oldest and largest food company, Flour Mills Nigeria

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Wärtsilä will enable leading Nigerian food company to modernise its power generation facilities to meet everyday production needs

The technology group Wärtsilä will supply fuel-flexible dual-fuel engines to extend, improve, and modernise power generation for a captive power plant at Nigeria’s oldest and largest food and agro allied company, Flour Mills Nigeria. The company’s Lagos-based power plant is needed to ensure sufficient capacity and a reliable electricity supply around the clock to meet its food production requirements, and commitments to its customers. The two received orders were booked by Wärtsilä in March and June. 

The first order comprises a 9-cylinder Wärtsilä 34DF dual-fuel engine generator set and is an extension to the existing generating capacity provided by a similar Wärtsilä engine generator set that has been successfully operating since 2017. The second order comprises a 12-cylinder Wärtsilä 34DF engine generator set and is intended to replace an existing inefficient mono-fuel generating asset in the plant with efficient dual-fuel generating capacity as part of Flour Mills Nigeria’s captive power plant modernisation plans. The Wärtsilä engine generator sets will be delivered during 2021 and are expected to become fully operational in early 2022. 

The multi-fuel capability of the Wärtsilä engines, which can switch seamlessly from natural gas to liquid fuel mode while running at full load, facilitates continuous supply of electricity to critical loads in the event of uncertainties in the quality and quantity of the gas supply. In addition to maximising the availability and reliability, this inherent capability provides a valuable hedge against fuel price increases, and lends itself to accommodating future fuel infrastructure developments. 

Also Read Wärtsilä Optimised Maintenance agreement supports growth ambitions of a privately-owned Nigerian supplier of energy to the national grid

“It is always gratifying to receive repeat orders from a customer, not only because it signifies their satisfaction with our solution, but also because it cements the relationship between our companies. Operational flexibility and efficiency, which are features of the Wärtsilä engines, are becoming key issues in energy production, and are especially relevant for production facilities with a critical need for a reliable electricity supply,” commented Marc Thiriet, Energy Business Director, Africa West. 

The Nigerian government’s 30-30-30 vision document for the power sector aims to achieve a capacity of 30,000 megawatts of electricity by the year 2030, with at least 30 percent being supplied from renewable energy sources. The selection of fast-starting and stopping Wärtsilä engines means that should the customer have access to solar or wind power in the future, these engine generator sets can provide smart back-up generation to balance the fluctuating supply from renewables.

Wärtsilä has a leading position in supplying flexible power generation to West Africa with 4792 MW of capacity installed, of which 667 MW in Nigeria. Wärtsilä has operated in the country since 2010 and has about 90 employees locally.

 

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Investment

Yoco raises US$83m to scale its financial ecosystem for small businesses in South Africa

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Yoco Founders (Images: Ivy Shirinda-JNPR)

Yoco, South African payments and software platform, has secured $83 million (R1.2 billion)  in Series C funding amid a surge in demand for digital payments amongst African small businesses.

The latest investment round brings the total funds raised to date, by Yoco, to US$107 million. These funds will enable Yoco to accelerate the development of its financial ecosystem, which already includes online and in-store payments, business software and capital, as well as expand its market presence beyond South Africa.

Among the company’s new investors are Dragoneer Investment Group, which is making its Africa investment debut, Breyer Capital, HOF Capital, The Raba Partnership, 4DX Ventures, TO Ventures, Futuregrowth and several current and former executives from global tech leaders such as Coinbase, Revolut, Spotify and Gojek.

“We are excited to partner with such world-class investors who have joined our quest to break barriers and create access to financial services for millions of small businesses across the continent.” said Katlego Maphai, the chief executive office of Yoco, “Looking ahead, this investment will unlock capacity for us to accelerate product development for our merchants and continue on our growth trajectory in South Africa and beyond.”

In less than six years, Yoco has become the preferred payments partner for over 150 000 small businesses across South Africa, processing more than US$1 billion in card payments per year. Importantly, Yoco’s growth has been driven almost exclusively by small, independent businesses that were previously cash-only due to the complexity and high costs of existing alternatives.

Carl Wazen, Yoco’s chief business officer, says that despite being the largest payments platform in South Africa, Yoco is still at the beginning of its journey.  “There are over 6 million small businesses in South Africa and well over 100 million across the Middle East and Africa that still transact only in cash.” Wazen says “recent consumer behaviour shows a shift away from cash and businesses have to rapidly adapt to this change. This presents a huge opportunity and it is our mission to support that transition.”

Yoco team

Yoco has big plans for seizing this opportunity by continuing to deepen its market presence in South Africa and expanding into Africa and the Middle East region over the next two years. The goal, according to Wazen, is to reach at least a million merchants within the next four years.

“Working so closely with small businesses during a global pandemic, and in particular through a challenging socio-economic environment in South Africa, we have a firsthand account of how agile these businesses need to be in a rapidly changing world,” says Maphai.

“Removing barriers and levelling the playing field by creating access to financial tools is a big part of answering these challenges. Yoco is at the forefront of solving what is critical for small businesses and enabling them to thrive. This new capital injection translates into an acceleration of access for small businesses in our region and beyond, bringing our vision of open commerce forward,” concludes Maphai.

 

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