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.
ITFC and OCP Africa unite for the strategic financing, innovation, and capacity building of agriculture in Africa
ITFC CEO Eng Hani Salem Sonbol and CEO OCP Africa Mr Karim Lotfi Senhadj(Image: ITFC)
ITFC and OCP Africa will jointly introduce a new “OCP School lab” campaign in Senegal in November 2019
RABAT, Morocco, October 21, 2019- The International Islamic Trade Finance Corporation (ITFC), a member of the Islamic Development Bank (IsDB) Group, and OCP Africa, a subsidiary of OCP SA, have signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) that will cater towards strategic funding, innovation and capacity building measures to increase agricultural production yields and income levels for Africa’s smallholder farmers. The agreement was signed between Mr Karim Lotfi Senhadji, CEO, OCP Africa and ITFC CEO, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol.
The MoU will increase collaboration between ITFC and OCP Africa in various areas, including smallholder farmer training on sound agricultural practices; soil testing and fertility management to support better yields; innovation and digitalization tools to modernize agricultural practices; and capacity building and support of young farmers for sustainable and inclusive development.
Commenting on the MoU, Eng. Hani Salem Sonbol, CEO, ITFC, said that the cooperation with OCP Africa is in line with ITFC’s mandate to support the development of strategic value chains in countries member of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation (OIC). “The services provided by ITFC in the agricultural sector, both in terms of trade financing and tactial support, has expanded significantly over the past years, targeting critical areas of the value chain, from farm input to processing, pre-export, and export. The sector is also one of the value chains that is ready for innovation and SME development.”
OCP Africa’s CEO, Karim Lotfi Senhadji said, “The smallholder farmer is central to OCP Africa’s strategy to support the transition of farming communities from subsistence farming to modern, sustainable agri-business. Our aim is to strengthen the continent’s agriculture ecosystems thus enabling African farmers to prosper. The agreement with ITFC will support efforts to train farmers on best farming practices, test soils for accurate fertilizer recommendations, facilitate access to financing, and improve access to markets”.
ITFC and OCP Africa will jointly introduce a new “OCP School lab” campaign in Senegal in November 2019. A flagship program of OCP Africa, OCP School Lab is an innovative program aimed at increasing the yields and the incomes of smallholder’s farmers on strategic crops by offering a full set of agri-services:
- A School: interactive training sessions with live demos on good agricultural practices and animated videos in local dialects for higher impact
- A mobile Lab: Soil-testing using latest innovations (X-rays, big data and machine learning) and live information on soil needs and fertilizer recommendations
ITFC has been providing significant support to ensure food security in Sub-Saharan Africa. In 2018, trade finance approvals for the food & agriculture sector amounted to US$749.6 million, representing 14.4% of the total trade finance portfolio, a 71% increase compared to the previous year. Sub-Saharan Africa accounts for 50% of ITFC’s food & agriculture sector financing extended in 2018.
Egypt urges World Bank, IMF to support regional integrity in Africa
CAIRO – 18 October 2019: Minister of Investment and International Cooperation Sahar Nasr called on the World Bank and IMF to boost their support to Egypt in achieving regional integrity and intra-trade in Africa, a press release on Friday read.
Addressing the Intergovernmental Group of 24 on International Monetary Affairs and Development in Washington, Nasr called on the WB and International Monetary Fund to expand investments in the region.
The minister said that Egypt’s vision to face the slowdown in global economic growth and trade tensions is to achieve more economic integration and continue to take the path of reform to make our economies more competitive and attractive for investment, to achieve the aspirations of the world countries in growth and development.
Nasr explained that the Egyptian government has implemented a comprehensive economic and social reform program to promote sustainable growth, alleviate poverty, create good jobs, enable the private sector to promote growth, and provide opportunities for all sectors of society to participate in the economy, especially women and young entrepreneurs.
The Minister added that President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, as the chairman of the African Union, has set the achievement of regional economic integration as a top priority.
Nasr also discussed Wednesday with the World Bank the provision of $500 million for the pollution control and solid waste management project in Egypt.
Nasr added in a statement that Egypt is also discussing with the World Bank raising the level of partnership to support the health and education sectors in Egypt.
For his part, World Bank Vice President for the Middle East and North Africa Farid Belhadj affirmed that Egypt is a very important country for the bank’s fields of work.
“Therefore the World Bank is keen to contribute effectively to the efforts exerted to achieve development in Egypt, especially in the field of infrastructure, in light of the economic and legislative reform that contributed to improving the investment climate in Egypt,”Belhadj explained.
African Development Bank inks €12.5 million deal with Adiwale Fund for SMEs
The African Development Bank on Thursday signed off on its €12.5 million equity investment in Adiwale Fund 1, a first-generation private equity fund targeting high growth potential Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) in francophone West Africa.
The Bank Group’s board of directors approved the investment in March as part of its commitment to grow SMEs and improve livelihoods in countries underserved by the global equity market.
With a target fund size of €75 million, the Fund will take minority stakes in vibrant SMEs in countries where economic prospects and the Fund’s networks permit a rapid scale up.
Deal size for the Fund will range from €3 to €8 million. Primary target countries will include Cote d’Ivoire, Senegal, Burkina Faso and Mali, while secondary beneficiaries will include Togo, Benin and Guinea.
Across these economies, some of which are fragile states, the Fund will target three sectors: consumer goods and services, including education and health; business services such as transport, logistics, information technology and construction, and manufacturing, including pharmaceuticals, agri-processing and chemicals.
Abdu Mukhtar, Director for Industrial and Trade Development said the Fund’s investment strategy is aligned with the Bank’s High 5 goals especially ‘Industrialize Africa, Integrate Africa and Improving the Quality of Life for the People of Africa’.
“The most exciting part is that the Fund focuses on SMEs in francophone West Africa which accounts for nearly 19% of West Africa’s GDP but attracts only 7% of private equity capital. As these companies grow, they cross the borders and integrate across different countries,” Mukhtar remarked as he signed and exchanged deal documents with the Fund Manager’s co-founder Jean-Marc Savi de Tové.
Established in 2016, the Fund Manager, Adiwale Partners, houses a team of experienced West African nationals with several decades of combined private equity, operational, development finance and asset management experience in Africa, Europe and the United States.
From a development perspective, the Bank’s equity investment will provide growth capital to African SMEs, resulting in spill-over effects on job creation and tax revenues, with about 45% of the jobs going to women, Mukhtar said.
Savi de Tové said the Fund will also provide local entrepreneurs with management expertise and boost best-in class corporate governance and human capital development, which ultimately unlocks growth and supports economic transformation.
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