The Nigerians are coming
Exhibit 1: The election of Akinwumi Adesina to the presidency of the African Development Bank. The outgoing agriculture minister has been feted for his agricultural reforms, and sweet-talked the French into not playing their traditional role of anglophone roadblock. The result is the first ever Nigerian in charge of Africa’s premier development finance institution – and increasingly, given the African Union’s paralysis, Africa’s loudest international megaphone on issues ranging from trade deals to climate change.
Exhibit 2: The arrival of Arnold Ekpe, veteran of Nigeria’s banking scene, to the Chairmanship of Atlas Mara, the UK-listed investment vehicle run by former Barclays boss Bob Diamond. Also a former Ecobank boss, Ekpe brokered the epic investment into Oceanic Bank, that fundamentally changed Ecobank into a Nigeria-heavy entity.
Exhibit 3: And finally, the third piece in the Nigerian banking tryptich, Ade Ayeyemi, a Nigerian banker who replaces Albert Essien as Group CEO of Ecobank. A longstanding Citibanker, who currently runs the US bank’s sub-Saharan operations from Johannesburg, Ayeyemi will move to Ecobank’s Lomé headquarters in Togo on from 1 September.
So that’s Africa’s biggest supranational bank, the latest international fund interested in Africa, and the best-spread commercial bank, all run by Nigerians.
And I am sure one would find ever-increasing examples of Nigerian bankers spreading their wings over the region.