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We Are Committed To Producing Proudly Nigerian Products, Creating Jobs For Unemployed Youth – Founder LEAP Africa



Ndidi Nwuneli

BAO talks to Ndidi Nwuneli the Founder of LEAP Africa, Co-Founder of AACE Food Processing & Distribution, and a Director at Sahel Capital Partners & Advisory Ltd, on what makes (LEAP) Africa different, and its impact on youth, business owners and social entrepreneurs in Africa.

Question 1: Tell us about your businesses. What do you do exactly?

Ndidi Nwuneli is the Founder of LEAP Africa, Co-Founder of AACE Food Processing & Distribution, an indigenous agro-processing company, and a Director at Sahel Capital Partners & Advisory Ltd., an advisory and consulting firm focused on the agribusiness and nutrition sectors in West Africa.

Ndidi O. Nwuneli

She started her career as a management consultant with McKinsey & Company, working in their Chicago, New York and Johannesburg Offices. 

Ndidi holds an M.B.A. from Harvard Business School and an undergraduate degree with honors in Multinational and Strategic Management from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania.

Ndidi was recognized as a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum and received a National Honor – Member of the Federal Republic from the Nigerian Government. She was listed as one of the 20 Youngest Power African Women by Forbes. Ndidi serves on numerous international and local boards including Nestle Nigeria Plc., Nigerian Breweries Plc.,, Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. India and Royal DSM Sustainability Board, Netherlands and Fairfax Africa Holdings Canada.

Ndidi is the author of “Social Innovation in Africa: A Practical Guide for Scaling Impact,” published by Routledge in 2016.

Question 2: What was the idea behind LEAP Africa? Mention one impact in Nigeria?

Leadership Effectiveness, Accountability and Professionalism (LEAP) Africa, established in 2002, is a non-profit committed to developing dynamic innovative and principled African leaders. We recognise that raising leaders is critical to nation building and wealth creation. Over the years, LEAP has inspired and equipped youth, business owners and social entrepreneurs to lead ethically while implementing initiatives that transform their communities and organisations for better; sustaining livelihood and contributing to national development. LEAP achieves this through its training programmes, publications and e-Learning.

LEAP also actively conducts extensive research and this forms the basis for our books and leadership training curricula which are action-oriented guides to creating positive and lasting change in individuals, organisations and communities.  To date, LEAP has published 11 books on topics such as ethics, governance, talent management, succession planning and corporate culture. 

Since its inception, LEAP has trained over 50,000 Nigerians directly, supported the creation of over 1,000 change projects, and shaped the lives of over 250,000 Nigerians indirectly.

Our focus is captured under three pillars:  YouthLEAP, BizLEAP, eLEAP

Youth LEAP – changing the mind-set of youth, equipping them to lead ethically and motivating them to deliver positive change in their communities. 

  • On this platform, two of our core programmes- iLEAD and LEAD the WAY , offer an innovative leadership development approach to students in public and private secondary schools, exposing them to the practical applications of invaluable leadership and equipping them with the knowledge and skills required to cope with life’s challenges and solve challenges in their communities by developing change projects.We also conduct a Training of Trainers (ToT) sessions for school teachers/ administrators, faith-based leaders and youth leaders, focused on equipping them with knowledge and skills to serve as role models, creatively and efficiently cultivate leadership and life skills in students towards personal and community transformation. With our Social Innovators Programme and Awards (SIPA), we build capacity and provide support to young Nigerians addressing social challenges, equipping them with the knowledge and skills required to institute systems and structures that would ensure the sustainability and growth of their organisations. Over the years, LEAP has graduated over 14,000 students, 60 social entrepreneurs and launched over 1000 community change projects across Nigeria.

Biz LEAP – supporting entrepreneurs in instituting systems and structures that are crucial for business sustainability. 

  • We do this through our annual Flagship event, The CEOs Forum. The Forum is one of Nigeria’s largest gathering of SMEs and top executives of leading organisations with the purpose of sharing knowledge and best practices with global and local perspectives on processes, structures and ethical leadership to ensure long-term sustainability. LEAP has hosted over 800 participants annually to 11 editions of the forum. We also offer training workshops and resources on some of our core themes: business ethics, corporate governance and succession planning.

eLEAP – is leveraging technology for social change by developing dynamic, innovative and principled leaders through e-learning, mobile apps, video and audio clips.

  • e-Integrity– is an online course on values, moral ethics, corruption and moral courage based on scenarios set in the Nigerian context. Ethics is a core component of all LEAP curriculum as we believe that effective ethics training helps address the prevalent corrupt mindset and guide citizens towards positive behaviour.

Question 3: What do you like about being an entrepreneur and a business owner?

I am called to be an enabler – creating opportunities for others to fulfil their lives’ purpose. As a result, my greatest achievement has been training and grooming exceptional young people – some of them have worked with me directly and others who have just been a part of training programmes that I have organised via LEAP, Sahel or AACE. Watching them grow and blossom in their careers and in life has been extremely rewarding.

Ndidi O. Nwuneli

I am also extremely proud of AACE Foods. When friends call me from Enugu or Abuja to report that they bought our spices and complementary food on the shelves of leading supermarkets and it transformed their meals and family life, I am thrilled. We are committed to producing proudly Nigerian products, creating jobs for countless unemployed youth and improving the livelihoods of our smallholder farmers. We are taking baby steps towards achieving these goals, but I thank God for every breakthrough!

Question 4: What do you think are the keys to professional and business success for women in Nigeria?

Women still face immense struggles in their efforts to achieve their highest potential in many sectors in Nigeria. However, there has been tremendous progress in the past decade. Today, there are three female chairs of leading banks in the country. In addition, women are playing leading roles in growth sectors across the country.

I would like to encourage young women to recognise three things:

First to be treated as an equal in the workplace, and to receive your fair share of the income and profits that you generate, manage your time and resources effectively. You must put in your best and ensure that your voice is heard, loud and clear. You must never use your role as a wife, mother, sister, or daughter, as an excuse for underperformance. Invest in life-long learning, always upgrading your skills and surrounding yourself with at least three critical people – a mentor, a champion and a critic. A champion serves as your biggest cheerleader, encouraging you to dream big and achieve results. A critic tells you the truth about your shortcomings and provides constructive feedback. A mentor shows you what is possible through their life example.

Second, women are natural givers. Giving opens your heart to the needs of the world and also takes your eyes off your own lack. However, you also have to be prepared to ask for help when you need it, especially as you embark on the journey of marriage and motherhood. Your vulnerability makes you human and does not detract in any way from your self-worth.

Third, as you rise in your profession or industry, leave the door open for other women to enter. Be the first woman president, CEO, leader of an organisation, but never the last one. Ensure that you are mentoring and grooming other women to take over from you. Fight against the stereotype that women do not support other women. Instead, be recognised as an individual who supports others. Madeline Albright has a quote which I love – “There is a special place in hell for women do not support other women!” I know you want to go to heaven…so start today to serve as an advocate and champion for other women.

Question 5: What specific advice would you have for young women who would like to become an entrepreneur?

Starting a business is not an easy feat. Test your motivation, develop a clear mission, vision, and value proposition and specific values for your new business. Identify board members from day one to support you. Test and pilot your business idea to ensure that it is demand driven before you invest too much time and resources into scaling the concept and actively select team members who will join you on this journey.

Question 6: Nigeria’s economy has been hard hit by the fall in the oil price. How should foreign business people view the current state of affairs?

I am optimistic about Nigeria’s future. I actually believe that we are going through a re-alignment that is critical to our future growth and development. This is a great time to invest in the real sector – agriculture, local manufacturing, transportation, logistics, energy, education and health. Collectively, we can rebuild our country and ensure that we create a nation that can make us all proud!

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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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