Nigeria Trek: Learning About the Africa Opportunity

What better way to bring the learnings of TRIUM on emerging markets, change management, assessing risk, infrastructure finance, and entrepreneurship than to take a three-day trip to Nigeria?

IMG-20160216-WA0015That’s what the Class of 2016, led by class reps, Simran Jindal and Hussain Al-Shorafa, who lobbied for the class to choose Nigeria as their post Module 6 trek. Nigerian students, Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede, Akinwande Ademosu, Olatowun Candide-Johnson, Silva Opuala-Charles, and Ojo Isaac Uche, and Sierra Leonian, Desiree Younge, pulled out all the stops on an incredibly rich and quintessentially TRIUM experience.

Some 12 hours after the end of TRIUM after-party ended, a group of 45 TRIUM students and alums gathered in Lagos. Two days of meetings, music, dancing and discussion ensued.

We toured the Eko Atlantic project, site of a massive land-reclamation project designed to protect the Lagos waterfront while constructing a new city, conceived as the future financial capital for Africa. There we heard from the project’s co-founder, Ronald Chagoury, and others on his team.

We then visited the Nigerian Stock Exchange, where Aig is President. We saw the crèche and the gym—quality of life benefits that Aig insists be available to employees at any firm with which is he is associated. We gathered on the floor of the exchange, and watched Simran and Hussain ring the closing bell for the day’s trading. Immediately after that, Simran, Hussain and Aig were interviewed on CNBC West Africa.

IMG-20160218-WA0021We moved then to Access Bank, which Aig, the former CEO and now Herbert Wigwe, current CEO have taken from #65 in Nigeria to the #3 bank in the country. Aig and Herbert shared the transformation story of Access Bank

That evening, we were honored by the presence of HRH Emir Muhammadu Sanusi II, the ruler of the state of Kano, and one of the most important religious leaders in Nigeria. Emir Sanusi was previously Governor of the Nigerian Central Bank, a key figure in the uncovering of massive fraud in the oil economy. A compelling speaker, he spoke very frankly about his own journey and called upon TRIUMers to act from a sense of integrity beyond the pressures of politics. The next morning, the group visited the Nike Art Gallery where we saw a wide range of Nigerian artists working in a range of media.

IMG-20160217-WA0064The visit ended in a spectacular closing dinner, hosted by Aig at Coronation Capital’s new headquarters. In addition to a who’s who of Nigerian business leaders, we danced the night away to some of the hottest acts in Lagos today.

All who travelled on the Nigeria trek have left a little piece of their hearts in Lagos. Our deep thanks to Aig, Ola, Akin, Ojo and Silva and the whole African contingent who took care of every detail to make the visit an inspiring experience.