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Tucci Goka Ivowi: The SMARTER Leadership Advocate



Tucci Goka Ivowi is an experienced business leader with over 18 years’ experience in marketing and general business management in the UK and emerging markets of Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is currently the Deputy CEO and a founding member of the Ghana Commodity Exchange. In this interview with Alaba Ayinuola, she speaks on the recently formed The Ghana Commodity Exchange which she is a founding member, her passion for mentoring and how Africa can be more business friendly. Excerpt.


Alaba: Can you tell us about The Ghana Commodity Exchange and the gap it is filling? 

Tucci: The Ghana Commodity Exchange is a regulated market which brings buyers and sellers together to trade under rules. It functions much like a stock exchange, except commodities are traded in place of stocks. The lack of organised trade in many parts of sub-Saharan Africa means that opportunities are lost to farmers, traders and the country as a whole. The structured nature of trading GCX provides, through its electronic trading system, allows for price discovery of the different commodities traded, assures the market of the quality and quantities of the commodities being traded, guarantees the sellers (largely farmers) cash settlement within 24 hours of a trade, and will open up both local and overseas markets to larger volumes of commodities, enriching all players in the agricultural and other commodity value chains and have an important net impact on Ghana’s agricultural economy.

Alaba: What’s one key leadership lesson you’ve learned along the way? How are you applying it in your present capacity as the Deputy CEO, Ghana Commodity Exchange?

Tucci: Integrity will get you through any difficult moment you may encounter as a leader. You can make mistakes elsewhere and this is normal when you are faced with a multitude of decisions, often with little time to deliberate upon them but the fallout from a lack of integrity will have damaging and lasting consequences. This is the confidence I have as a leader – that as long as I do what is right, I can worry little about inconsequential matters. As you can imagine, integrity is particularly important in the financial markets industry, so I try to inculcate the right behaviours in the team, almost on a daily basis so that they are ingrained in the organisation’s fabric. Consistency forms habit.

Alaba: Recently, you launched a series called SMARTER Leadership. What is the goal and inspiration behind it?

Tucci: SMARTER Leadership series is an insight sharing, mentoring and coaching programme which I developed in response to many requests from up and coming leaders to share tips on how to attain leadership roles. I would love to take on all mentorship requests but it’s not possible if I’m to give people the quality they deserve and still have enough time for my work and myself. This will allow me to reach out to many more new and aspiring leaders whilst exchanging experiences with other leaders.

Alaba: What advice do you have for African women aiming for leadership positions, especially in the corporate world? 

Tucci: I’ve said this in a different interview and I’ll say it just slightly differently here. Don’t focus on the ladder. You’re likely to slip. Focus on the results and let them elevate you. If you feel you’ve done all and deserve to be promoted and yet it’s not happening, seek advice from a mentor (ideally one from the same company, who can give you an honest view based on first hand observation) and in the meantime, keep working hard. Hard work always pays.

Alaba: As one of the largest continent in the world in terms of population. Do you think the Africa business ecosystem is attracting the right Foreign Direct Investments (FDI)?

Tucci: I would say at a base level, that to be ‘right’ it has to be at least equally mutually beneficial, not a case of unfavourable terms to Africa to the benefit of the investor. I think we are increasingly attracting a better quality of FDI, as, with increasingly stable macro economies, foreign countries and companies are competing more for business deals in Africa, but it’s not yet enough. Given the vast resources in Africa, we still retain only a small share of the wealth in both real and relative terms. The wealth derived from cocoa is to be found far away from the source of cocoa. There has to be a shift in that scale. We need to be more prescriptive about the type of FDI we wish to attain and I think Ghana and other African countries are starting to do this, through various policy initiatives.

Alaba: How can African governments create policies that are more attractive and business friendly for both local and foreign investors? 

Tucci: Beyond policy, it’s about creating an enabling environment. Security, transparency and corruption come high on the list of the housekeeping elements needed to engender foreign investors to even look at policy initiatives of foreign and particularly African governments. Local investors are particularly concerned about unnecessary bureaucracy and the constraints it poses to getting operations off the ground.

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

Alaba: What is your advice for entrepreneurs and investors looking at Africa as an investment destination?

Tucci: Ask the right questions before coming. Be prepared to unlock tons of more information on the ground. Invest the time in researching the market and the players. Be culturally aware and sensitive, because understanding or misunderstanding nuances in people’s behaviours can alone lead to ultimate failure. Get advice from those who have done it before. The systems work once you become familiar with them.

Alaba: How do you relax and what kind of books do you read? 

Tucci: I like this question. I relax by reading books! My mind likes to stay busy. I love historical novels, philosophical novels, literature and some legal thrillers. My husband and I enjoy watching action and spy movies together.

Her Short Bio:

Mrs. Tucci Goka Ivowi is an experienced business leader with over 18 years’ experience in marketing and general business management in the UK and emerging markets of Southeast Asia and Sub-Saharan Africa. She is currently the Deputy CEO and a founding member of the Ghana Commodity Exchange.

Prior to this, Tucci led teams across Central & West Africa, working in various roles including Business Executive Officer (Executive Director) and Marketing Communications Director, after her role of Managing Director for Nestle in Guinea. She has a consultancy practice, Global Village Consortium, which offers advisory and management consulting services, focusing on African businesses in the public and private sector looking to compete in the global space. She is also the founder of “Forty Lives” an NGO in Ghana which advocates for support of people with mental health conditions.

Tucci is a member of the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM UK). She holds a BA in Politics and French from the University of Sussex, UK, a degree in Political Science from the Institute of Political Studies, Aix-En-Provence, France and an Executive MBA from Warwick University, UK.

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CEO Corner

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



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.



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CEO Corner

AVCA Board appoints Abi Mustapha-Maduakor as CEO



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



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CEO Corner

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



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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