Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes – one of Africa’s leading young business women from Aruwa Capital Management (a top investment and capital provision company for indigenous firms in Nigeria) says Africa has the highest percentage of female entrepreneurs in the world, yet only 2% of women entrepreneurs in Africa have access to capital.
The young woman who was named an Agent of Impact in Nigeria as she is changing the narrative within finance and impact investing for women says institutional investors should not think twice before funding women. But she also acknowledged that there is paucity of enough success stories to change that status quo.
She said: “One of the reasons I wanted to set up an investment firm was to have more successful women in business and empower women at all levels of society… If women are funded and empowered, we can take strategic roles in our industries and the success stories will help other women to have easy access to capital.”
Rhodes argued that there is a huge multiplier effect when a woman is empowered as 90% of a woman’s wealth is invested back into her family and community because she woman controls the household.
She advised that Nigeria needs diversification for the economy to boom whilst commending the the current administration for doing a good job in the agricultural sector.
She believes the country should support businesses that are driving industrialisation (like local manufacturing) with tax holidays and other incentives. She is pro-border-closure claiming it’s a good move which has encouraged local manufacturing.
In her words: “We also need to reform the pensions industry. Nigeria has more than $25billion in pension assets and I don’t think we’re utilizing them for investment to match the long-term nature of the assets. We need to match those assets with longer- term investment, private equity and infrastructure specifically. Right now, those assets are idle in short-term investments and it is high time we addressed the mismatch in my view.”
In her interview on Guardian Women earlier this year, she said the Nigerian government must collaborate with the private sector to move the economy forward and that private equity is a big part of providing patient capital to businesses. “That will have a significant effect on the economy in terms of employment opportunities,” she said.
RHODE’S BACKGROUND IN HER OWN WORDS:
“I was born in Nigeria and started primary school in Chrisland and did one year of secondary school in Atlantic Hall, Lagos, but I was sent to a boarding school -St. Lawrence College, Ramsgate in England, at age 11. For me, it was a good foundation to be away from home at a young age and a step towards being independent. Afterwards, I proceeded to Bristol University, United Kingdom, where I studied Economics. I have always known that I wanted to be in the world of finance and I found Economics interesting and it gave me a good foundation for the investment-banking world that followed university. My interest has been in the financial markets from a young age, particularly its impact on daily life.
The white wedding of Nicholas Rhodes and Adesuwa Osunde tagged #RhodesToNice took place at the Villa et Jardins Ephrussi de Rothschild in Nice, France. It was truly a beautiful affair.
During my first year in university, I got an investment-banking job at Lehman Brothers, which was very rare at the time, and it was a unique privilege to be selected in my first year when I just turned 18. I did my second internship at J.P. Morgan, also in investment banking, and following that was offered a full-time position at J.P. Morgan after graduation.
At J.P. Morgan, I worked in the acquisition and leveraged finance teams covering a range of sectors and countries. I executed $3.6 billion of structured credit transactions across emerging markets, including Nigeria. During my time in investment banking – Mergers and Acquisitions department of the company, I executed $2.0 billion of M&A transactions in the United Kingdom and United States. I believe the long hours and deadlines laid the foundations for being the entrepreneur I am today.”