Club President Ony Mgbeahurike, MBA ’19, wrote this post on behalf of the Olin Africa Business Club.
The future of the world resides on the ability of African nations to realize their potential in global trade and economy. This was further analyzed and discussed during the inaugural Olin Africa Business Forum on March 30, 2018.
Olin Dean Mark Taylor kicked off the event by remarking, “not only is it right to embrace developing countries, it’s absolutely necessary.” Dean Taylor’s remarks underscored the importance of enterprises focusing on Africa as the last frontier for global development. Olin Business School has various activities in Africa under the International Impact Initiative, which includes ongoing projects in Africa (Uganda, Nigeria, and Madagascar).
An Olin 1988 alum, Walé F. Adeosun of Kuramo Capital, shed more light on his work in Africa through his private equity firm, a $300 million multi-asset management firm. Walé detailed his experience at Olin and left the attendees with the three P’s—passion, preparation, and perseverance—as tools to succeed in their careers and Africa.
Olin Africa Business Club President Ony Mgbeahurike, MBA ’19, introduced the club’s co-founders, mission, and a brief analysis of the African market. Ony made the case for an African market with a growing population of youth, urbanization, and sharp overall population increase.
He highlighted the opportunities the continent presents to corporations seeking growth and above average investment returns. These are especially ripe in agriculture/processing, manufacturing, and infrastructure.
Other segments of the event focused on leadership and the agricultural technology space in Africa. Specifically, the leadership qualities needed to capture Africa’s potential and how technology and agriculture will play a crucial role in attracting foreign investments in Africa. These segments were moderated by Olin first-year MBAs Matilda Thomas and Sharon Mazimba.
These segments featured distinguished entrepreneurs, professionals and Olin Professor Stuart Bunderson, co-director of the Bauer Leadership Center, along with Walé Adeosun, Rob Dunlop (Monsanto), Ade Osibamiro (Mastercard), Anne Toba (Ripples Foundation USA), and Toyin Umesiri (Nazaru).
The forum closed with keynote speaker Toyin Umesiri—CEO of Nazaru and founder of the Trade with Africa Business Summit. Her talk focused on how African leaders should place paramount importance on “squeezing the best value from African resources.” Toyin asked the attendees to repeat a saying: “Africa is not poor.” It’s a quote she hopes will reshape the thinking and mindset of event attendees on the economic values Africa brings to the world.
Event attendees enjoyed breakfast, an African lunch and cocktail reception at event close. Event sponsors included Dean Mark Taylor, Monsanto, Olin Graduate Student Business Association, and the Weston Career Center.
Photos courtesy of Brand of St Louis. Pictured at top: Group pictures with event speakers and panelists.