Lagos (Nigeria), September 23, 2021 – The United Nations Economic Commission for Africa (ECA), through its Subregional Office for West Africa (SRO-WA), in collaboration with Compass Global Consulting kickstarted a 3-day hybrid Regional Business Forum on the 21st of September 2021 in Lagos, Nigeria. Themed “Empowering Women Youths to Spur Africa’s Transformation Agenda”, sector champions in various industries have been partaking to be a part of this Regional Business Forum structured around high-level meetings, consultations with Business Champions, the youth, and women in the West African business ecosystems.
The Forum which is in partnership with more than 350 coalition partners has witnessed an immense turnover of positive feedback from the opening ceremony. It started with opening remarks by Dr. Vera Songwe, Under-Secretary-General and ECA Executive Secretary who explained that “The purpose of this conversation is how we can bring the West African woman to leverage the knowledge, the innovation that exists, leverage the vibrancy they have and ensure they can take their businesses one notch higher to the global sub-region and take advantage of markets that are further beyond in the east and the west”.
Dr. Vera Songwe said “In a crisis, the first thing we want to do is ensure we prevent good businesses from falling below and focus a lot on retention. Africa, in particular, the West African region, has the population dynamics working for it. The African population is estimated at 1.3 million in 2020 of which over 250 million is the youth and it is estimated that 10 million to 12 million are entering the workforce every year but only 3.1 million of them find jobs”.
“AfCFTA stands to grow Africa’s GDP by an additional one trillion dollars to deliver on what is needed: first unlocking our borders, building value chains, and making sure the African women all work together to create the supply chain for textile, fashion, for agro-industry and essentially grow the value of the products and earn more from that and also they can become sub-regional and wider continental and international businesses and not limited to the geographies in which we exist today”, added the Executive Secretary of ECA.
The Honorable Minister of Finance, Mrs. Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed during her session, emphasized why it’s imperative for society to empower youth and women. “We are hopeful, that this will be an effective avenue for empowering youths and women entrepreneurs and address the unemployment challenges we have in Africa, as well as address the need to create jobs”, speaking on the AfCFTA leverage.
Highlighting the major gaps in the African educational systems and they affect productivity, Mrs. Ngone Diop, Sub Regional Director, West Africa Office – UNECA, said “the region capacity of innovation remains weak mainly because of the deficiencies in the education systems”.
The representative of ECOWAS said that his organization will always be mindful of the roles women andyouths play in economic development”. This is to reinstate ECOWAS’ commitment to women and youth empowerment.
Day 1 was fully packed with high-level delegates and insightful sessions and speeches that are bound to create major mind shifts to aid women and youth inclusion and advancement in Africa and the world at large.
For more information, please contact Tahirou Gouro, Communications Officer, ECA- SRO/WA
In a bid to highlight and tackle the investment gaps and increase ways t0 expose women of color in Nigeria and the UK to digital money and wealth creation opportunities, increasing the number of women actively thriving in the global investment market, join Olori Boye-Ajayi and other industry thought leaders and well-versed brilliant minds – Olayinka Anthony, Sanmi Adegoke, Tomie Balogun and Tobi Arayomi – on 8th August (Nigerian audience) and 15th August 2021 (Diasporan audience) at 6:30 PM in a discussion about investment opportunities for women and financial literacy.
The importance of inclusion will, through this project, be emphasized while also showing how trade & investment go hand in hand, with the Borderless Trade Network of OBA Inc. being the trade hub and Project WINHER, the investment hub.
Olori Boye-Ajayi is an International Trade Consultant, and staunch advocate for the development and empowerment of female entrepreneurs. 3 words best describe Olori’s mission – “Africa Trade Reform”. Olori’s devotion to excellence through the growth of the African economic ecosystem and advocacy for women entrepreneurs has been repeatedly recognized. She was recently appointed to run Project “WINHer”, a gender-inclusion investment program on behalf of the office of the Commissioner of Trade and Investment of Vanuatu to Nigeria and South Africa. Following her successful projects to increase the participation of Women in intra-African Trade, she was appointed an Afreximbank MANSA Ambassador to drive the inclusion of African SMEs in the global trade scene.
She is the winner of The Entrepreneur Africa Awards for the ‘Outstanding Female Entrepreneur of the Year 2020’. In the same year, she was recognized as ‘Leader and Mentor’ for her role in the successful leadership and mentoring programs in Lagos state public schools for girls by the US Consulate General Public Affairs office, Lagos Nigeria.
She currently serves as the President of The Borderless Trade Network, with offices in Lagos, Accra, Monrovia, and most recently the United Kingdom. With an esteemed community of over 800 women in business across several sectors, BTN has become an official partner for the prestigious White House initiative – Academy for Women Entrepreneurs (AWE).
Olayinka Anthony is the CEO of CoWorthy Capital, an Investment and Wealth Management Organization that help people create, manage and preserve wealth. CoWorthy Capital specializes in matching people at different levels of their financial journeys with good viable investments.
As a Wealth Manager and Financial Educator, Olayinka strongly believes that financial education should be included in the school curriculum as there is a big gap in mainstream education and financial literacy.
Tobi Arayomi is a speaker, author, financial investor, renowned wealth spinner, and CEO of The Qplus, the total marketplace for home-based entrepreneurship.
Tomie Balogun is a leading expert in investment with excellent competence in helping young working professionals build wealth. By breaking down complex financial terms into easy and relatable terms, Tomie has helped many build investment portfolios seamlessly.
Tomie is the current CEO of Twelve, a Fin-Tech company that provides a platform for online communities of millennial investors in Africa to discuss investment opportunities openly with friends, find new connections, and make investment decisions all in one place.
Sanmi Adegoke is the Founder/CEO of Rehoboth Property International, a leading real estate development and investment firm that provides in-depth and comprehensive advice on all aspects of leasing, sales, asset management, development, and investments.
Sanmi’s professional and relentless approach to finding deals, his dedication to meet client’s needs, knowledge of the market, and expert negotiation skills have won him loyalty and trust amongst his clients and colleagues in the industry.
This project is proudly supported by the Office of the Honorable Commissioner of Trade and Investment to Vanuatu to Nigeria and South Africa; sponsored by Cersei Partners and OBA Inc.
To discuss the intricacies of what luxury entails, join the speakers – Cas Ojo, Eleanor Turner, Ayo Adeyinka, Veronica Ebie, Juan Perez, Heidi Mallace, and Viscount Yves De Contades in a Zoom webinar on the 24th June 2021 at 11 AM.
Cas is a seasoned professional in the luxury industry, with vast knowledge of the consumer goods, hospitality, and financial sectors. She has extensive experience facilitating collaborations with global brands such as Porsche, Harrods, Visa, the Financial Times, Roja Parfums, Moet Hennessy, Bvlgari Hotel London, Bicester Village, and more. Her in-depth knowledge, passion, and varied experience of the industry, combined with an innate high level of creativity and strong entrepreneurial skills, have honed her expertise in the field of luxury affinity marketing.
With over ten years of entrepreneurial experience, Cas is also the founder of an international luxury shopping concierge company, MyStyleWindow, based in London, England, where she has grown an impressive clientele of high-net-worth individuals in Nigeria, and organizations including UBA and Fidelity Bank, Visa Infinite, Business Day, The Wheatbaker Hotel, Montaigne Place, The Wells Carlton Hotel, Capital Club, Seattle Residences and Spa. Prior to this, she worked in Accounting and Finance with a number of high-profile companies across Central London, including Hotel Cafe Royal, Harvey Nichols, and Natwest plc
Ellie is a speaker, events specialist and luxury brand consultant having built her career within luxury hospitality and events.
As Head of Events at Bvlgari Hotel London, she’s responsible for developing the hotel’s event sales strategy and managing the day-to-day organization of the team including overseeing all events at the hotel. From intimate social events to product launches for over 1000 guests, she has over a decade of experience in events having also spent time as a freelance wedding planner.
Prior to this, Ellie worked in marketing and business development after studying French with Business Management at King’s College London, where she also had the opportunity to study at both La Sorbonne, Paris, and Martinique.
Yves de Contades is the CEO of The eXcellence Group, a luxury marketing & media company aimed at high net worth, with a unique network consisting of luxury brands and an international high net worth audience.
A renowned expert in the luxury industry for over 25 years, Yves was a celebrated fashion photographer in Paris, New York, and London, then a luxury brand expert and entrepreneur in the luxury sector. Yves featured for five years in Channel 4’s “Ten Years Younger” TV Series alongside Paula Reed, fashion editor of the Sunday Times. Also working with Caryn Franklin in the Debenhams videos.
The eXcellence Group has a long-standing relationship with the UK and world media and specializes in luxury brands, travel, luxury villas, watches, jewelry, cars, and yachts.
In his rare spare time, Yves is an avid reader of technology, history, psychology, thought, and culture and loves swimming in the Indian Ocean, cross country cycling, diving, surfing, and touring in luxury cars.
Veronica is a luxury Retail Consultant and international stylist born and raised in Houston Texas, the USA with a ten-year background in high fashion runway modeling, print, and commercial and Spokes-modelling. After relocating to Nigeria in 2010, she worked as a style correspondent and cover stylist for ThisDay Style and established the brand Vanestyle – a fashion and style agency that offers commercial and personal styling, alongside shopping services.
From red carpets to music videos and more, Veronica boasts a strong client list of high-profile Nigerian celebrities including Genevieve Nnaji, Mo Abudu, Omotola Stephanie Coker, Funke Adepoju, Fashpa Odion Mimonet. She has also worked on a plethora of projects such as Elite Model Look Nigeria, GTBank NdaniTV, MTN Lagos Fashion and Design Week, Ebonylife TV‘s Moments with Mo, Jara, Studio 53 Extra, Vanity Fair Italia, Mania Magazine, ThisDay Style, and more.
Ayo Adeyinka is a London-based art dealer and gallerist. Originally an accountant, with a 10-yr background in financial services, Ayo Adeyinka has since gained recognition as a specialist in modern and contemporary African arts. He is a seasoned cultural entrepreneur and has acted as a consultant for key contemporary art projects. He helped to launch Africa Now, Bonham’s contemporary African art sale in 2009, he has worked on other noteworthy gallery and curatorial projects and continues to advise on several collections focused in this area globally.
Since founding TAFETA, the gallery has remained a leading purveyor of important 20th-century artists of African descent, whilst constantly showcasing new contemporary talent. The central London gallery continues to place works from established and emerging artists with important private collections, as well as established institutions such as the Smithsonian National Museum of African Arts in Washington, D.C. The gallery has also gone on to be recognized as a leading force in the contemporary African art space, showcasing in the prestigious European Fine Art Fair (TEFAF) in March 2020.
Juan Perez is a global affinity marketing expert with over 8years of experience creating hundreds of business development activities for many of the world’s most luxury brands. He is renowned for creating top-end strategic alliances and orchestrating successful collaborations with brands such as Rolls-Royce Motor Cars, Bentley, McLaren, Prada, Panerai, The Macallan, ExecuJet Aviation, Serenia, Saxo Bank, Palma Holding, Royal Jet Group, Huriya Private, Rif Trust, Tiffany & Co, Mangusta Yachts, XXII Carat, Luxhabitat, Palacio Versace, Emaar Hospitality Group, Hakkasan, Platinum Auction and many more.
Heidi Mallace is a reputation, brand, and communication coach and adviser with over 20 years in the industry. She has worked with prestigious brands such as Floris London, Chanel Jewellery, Holland and Holland and Asprey, and many luxury hotels including Ritz Carlton, W, Bvlgari, and boutique cruise ships. She has advised high profile and high net worth individuals and multinational organizations on branding and communication, to engage audiences and build brands.
Heidi began her career at Brunswick before joining a strategic communications consultancy called Project Associates. She then headed up Special Projects and the London office for reputation.com, a Silicon Valley-founded company that pioneered the online reputation management industry.
The upcoming programme will seek to explore the 360-dimension of what luxury is and the know-how to advance into the global marketplace.