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.
Amila Africa Launches Amila Insights
Amila Africa Founder, Lethabo Sithole
Amila Africa is thrilled to announce the launch of Amila Insights, a revolutionary division that is committed to providing advanced analytics, research and comprehensive solutions for businesses, governments, and international organisations looking to achieve success in African markets. The company offers a range of services, including syndicated market intelligence reports, customized research solutions, high-level market access events, content development, and value communication.
As a budding pan-African and women-led advisory firm specialising in policy, enterprise and infrastructure development within the trade, investment and energy sectors, Amila Africa brings unparalleled expertise to the forefront with the launch of Amila Insights.
“With a focus on demystifying development trends and delivering data-driven analyses of opportunities across Africa, Amila Insights serves as the strategic partner organisations need to thrive in the region” said Lethabo Sithole, Managing Director of Amila Africa. “Our suite of services is meticulously designed to empower clients with the tools and knowledge necessary to drive growth and achieve sustainable success.”
With a steadfast commitment to collaboration and partnership, Amila Insights collaborates closely with clients to develop tailored solutions aligned with their specific goals and priorities. “By leveraging its extensive network and deep understanding of local dynamics, Amila Insights assists clients in identifying new opportunities, enhancing competitiveness, and optimising business strategies,” said Noluthando Mthonti-Mlambo, Executive Director at Amila Insights.
Amila Insights strives to be more than just a provider of information and data to clients. It aims to challenge the existing narratives on Africa, African businesses, countries, and multilateral organizations and become a trusted source of inspiration and change.
For businesses, governments, and international organisations seeking to unlock the vast potential of African markets, Amila Insights represents a compelling opportunity to gain useful insights into the complex, evolving and growing African market. With a focus on excellence and a dedication to delivering tangible results, Amila Insights stands ready to be the trusted partner organisation to rely on to navigate the dynamic landscape of African business.
African Guarantee Fund partners FSD Africa to boost Green SME Financing
The African Guarantee Fund (AGF), a leader in promoting financing of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) across Africa and FSD Africa, a pioneering development agency committed to reshaping Africa’s long-term financial landscape, have today signed a strategic Cooperation Agreement aimed at propelling the growth of Green SMEs by providing critical financial support, technical assistance, and capacity building.
The Cooperation Agreement outlines a detailed framework collaboration between the organizations in boosting sustainable development in Africa. The main aspects of this partnership involve assisting in the development of financial products for institutions, offering partial credit guarantees for bonds and funds raised on behalf of SMEs, and conducting capacity-building events.
Furthermore, by providing financial support and fostering business growth, Green SMEs are expected to play a pivotal role in reducing CO2 emissions. This active contribution aligns with the overarching goal of preserving the environment and facilitates access to finance for business growth and empowering SMEs to generate and sustain employment opportunities, especially for youth and women.
Speaking during the agreement signing, Mark Napier, Chief Executive Officer of FSD Africa said: “This partnership represents an important milestone in our efforts to foster sustainable economic development in Africa. By leveraging the strengths of FSD Africa and the African Guarantee Fund, we will actively create a robust ecosystem that empowers Green SMEs. This collaborative effort aims at facilitating access to affordable long-term funds, thereby accelerating the transition towards a greener and more resilient economy.”
Jules Ngankam, AGF Group Chief Executive Officer said: “Fostering a green economic transformation in Africa is one of our key priorities. Through this partnership, AGF will provide financial institutions with bank fundraising guarantees to enable them access affordable funds aimed at facilitating loans to SMEs investing in low carbon and climate resilient businesses”.
Additionally, AGF will extend partial credit guarantees to lenders in a bid to enhance credit accessibility for Green SMEs, empowering them to flourish and make meaningful contributions to environmental conservation.
The two organisations will also provide technical assistance on green financing initiatives, which is critical in building the capacity of key stakeholders such as Governments, Financial Institutions, and Green SMEs.
Africa Finance Corporation Appoints Emeka Emuwa as Chairman of Board
Africa Finance Corporation (AFC), the continent’s leading instrumental infrastructure solutions provider, today announces the appointment of Mr. Emeka Emuwa as Chairman of its Board of Directors. Mr. Emuwa brings a wealth of experience spread over three decades leading and transforming banking institutions across Africa. After completing a sterling 25-year career with Citibank where he left as the Country Officer and Managing Director of Citibank in Nigeria, he went on to serve as the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Union Bank of Nigeria.
In this role, he led the bank’s transformation and worked successfully with the new shareholders to transform and restore one of Nigeria’s oldest institutions back to its rightful position as a credible and strong provider of financial services. Mr. Emuwa’s extensive experience and unwavering dedication to the advancement of Africa make him a valuable asset to AFC at a time when the Corporation is rapidly expanding its operations across the continent and building partnerships through international collaborations.
He has been a part of AFC’s Board since 2015, previously serving as the Chairman of the Board Risk and Investment Committee, and as a member of the Board Nominations and Governance Committee. He is also the Chairman of Tangerine Financial (U.K.), the holding company for a financial services group providing insurance and pensions solutions across the continent. Mr Emuwa is thus well positioned to oversee and guide AFC on its future strategy and growth aspirations. The Corporation’s mission to accelerate development impact, foster industrialisation, and enhance value capture and retention across the continent through the provision of critical infrastructure, is crucial for African development and prosperity.
Speaking on the appointment, Samaila Zubairu, President & CEO of AFC, said: “Mr. Emuwa’s considerable experience, insightful perspectives and immense dedication to Africa’s development seamlessly align with our mission. We are confident that under his continued guidance, AFC will continue to make significant strides in transforming the continent. He brings a deep understanding of Africa’s financial landscape within a global context, and has a clear vision for enabling AFC to further amplify its impact.”
Mr. Emuwa commented on his appointment, saying: “I am deeply honoured to be appointed Chairman of Africa Finance Corporation, an institution that has, over the past 16 years, evolved into the leading infrastructure investor in Africa, delivering transformational projects across pivotal sectors of the economy. I look forward to continuing to work closely with the board, management, and all stakeholders to advance AFC’s mission and strengthen its role as a driving force for economic growth and infrastructure development on the African continent.”