The Future Awards Africa Prize for Professional Service
Uche Okafor (32)
Is there a Nigerian who uses Ridesharing apps and doesn’t already know Uche from Taxify?
As the Country Manager of international ride-sharing startup Taxify, Uche Okafor has personally taken on the fortunes of the Ridesharing app, personally signing email and text correspondence, personally handling complaints for users, and innovating new ways to reach the users and improve the quality of service. Under Okafor’s leadership, Taxify has grown to provide services for not just one, but 5 cities, across 2 countries.
As Uche grows Taxify, modifying the startup’s culture to embrace and promote specific Nigerian sensibilities, he seeks to solve the unique problems of the cities into which the ride-sharing service is spreading, offering job opportunities for drivers and contributing to the economy through sustainable profit practices. Taxify expanded in 2018 to Abuja in North Central Nigeria, Ibadan in South West Nigeria and Owerri in South East Nigeria, championing inclusivity, diversity and opportunity in these regions. Okafor is the first Nigerian head of a transportation startup to achieve this feat.
Okafor’s dedication to service, his understanding of the peculiar needs of Nigerian markets and his willingness to innovate, even at great risk, has set him apart as a leader of the industry in the saturated startup market.
Temi Marcella Awogboro (31)
With over a decade of experience in finance across developed and emerging growth markets, Temi Marcella Awogboro has distinguished herself as an investment professional worthy of international recognition. Temi was Identified by the prestigious Goldman Sachs while still in high school and started interning with the Firm in between studying at the University of Cambridge. Temi launched a successful career with Goldman Sachs until relocating to Silicon Valley to pursue her MBA at the world-renowned Stanford Graduate School of Business. Temi subsequently joined the Abraaj Group, whereas a Director she committed nearly US$500 million in private partnership capital across strategic sectors on the Continent in a bid to tackle some of the world’s most pressing global challenges.
Temi is a co-founder of Kairos Angels, an early stage investment club aiming to transform Africa by partnering with visionary entrepreneurs to build scalable and sustainable businesses. Awogboro identifies aspirational entrepreneurs building impactful and scalable solutions, invests in this talent and their ideas at an early stage, and provides mentorship, access to networks and functional support to power their trajectory.
Awogboro’s long-term vision is to launch the next generation of disruptive Unicorns that will emerge as global challengers and to build innovation ecosystems on the continent. She has been honoured for her work with a Kauffman Venture Capital Fellowship, Tutu Fellowship, World Economic Forum Global Shaper Award, Goldman Sachs Global Leader’s Award, M&A Advisor’s European Emerging Leaders Award as well as recognition from Management today/The Telegraph’s 35 women under 35 annual power list.
Chinwe Egwim (31)
While the financial services sector has proven partial to women for entry-level positions, it is increasingly rare to find women in upper management levels, excelling and thriving and innovating. This is why the work Chinwe Egwin does at first generation financial services giant First Group signals the beginning of a new wave of female inclusion in banking.
Egwim works with the First Group’s FBNQuest Merchant Bank, managing its extensive Sub-Saharan Africa desk with a focus on macroeconomic and fixed income units. In this position, Egwim is privy to insights on how the continent’s informal business driven evolves and grows and is able to put that information to good use crafting viable products for customers and optimizing their banking experience. She has published over 100 economic notes mapping these and other trends and has partnered with other professionals of both genders in the field to author economic reports advocating for better economic practices.
Egwim’s work has gained the attention of many an international body and she has been invited to join several high powered committees including the World Bank’s Systematic Country Diagnostic Consultative Committee, to aid the process of developing a Country Partnership Framework (CPF) for Nigeria. With leadership positions in the Women in Business Management and Public Service (WIMBIZ) non-profit and a chair in the faculty of Economics at the Nigeria Economic Summit Group, Egwim impacts a new generation of women entrepreneurs and professionals, preparing them for a brave new world.
Catherine Oluwakemi Onabanjo (31)
How do you parlay a degree in computer science from Covenant University into a thriving career in one of the most respected consulting firms in the world? You take a leaf from Catherine Oluwakemi Onabanjo’s playbook. With a focus on capacity building and development of the public sector as a way to harness Nigeria’s potential, Kemi began her work in consulting and human capital management by working as the welfare secretary and community outreach coordinator of the Covenant University Alumni Association, a position she holds to this day.
Kemi transition into management came with a placement as a consultant at the prestigious McKinsey & Company Lagos office where she spends her time managing internal communication and managing change efforts on transition and transformation projects across Sub-Saharan Africa. Kemi’s work profile has grown to include clients in the public sector, social sector and corporate clientele who have all come to depend on her ability to think on her feet and always represent the client’s interests above all. She also serves on the board for Helping Other People Excel (HOPE), a non-profit that develops leadership skills in Nigerian teenagers as a way to pre-empt positive change in the future.
Kemi proves that nothing is impossible in our post-millennial world, and a desire to serve people remains at the core of excellent service.
Mavi Mudiaga-Erhueh (28)
Young professionals in private practice are often dogged with the challenge of drawing the line between personal and professional interests. Repeated instances of companies rewarding years of loyalty and service with betrayal has made many a young professional unwilling to commit wholly to any company harming eventual bottom lines for both individual and company. When Mavi Mudiaga-Erhueh decided she wanted to practice law, she looked for the organization best suited to utilize her experience and eagerness to distinguish herself.
She joined the Clifford Chance LLP’s Finance Group, putting to work her first class law degree to use. Clifford Chance is one of England’s Magic Circle Firms, and Mudiaga-Erhueh has worked to make herself indispensable to the firm, with her practice focused on general banking, asset finance, project finance and Islamic financing. Her work for DFIs, IFIs, International banks and multinational companies has been lauded home and abroad and she is on secondment to the Abu Dhabi National Oil Company as a legal adviser, amongst other things, CSR initiatives from a legal perspective.
Mudiaga-Erhueh has transcended language, racial and gender-based barriers to prove herself an invaluable asset, she never forgets to give back by actively participating in the CSR activities of the companies for which she works and mentoring other lawyers eager to translate their interest to practice into interesting, viable careers.