In a world still struggling with stereotypes and other gender-related issues, the rise of outstanding women is serving as a beacon of hope to the younger generation.
There are quite a number of Nigerian women that have stood and looked above setbacks to become financially successful by contributing to Nigerian society.
These are women who refused to be pulled down by the fear of the female career limitation in the country. They were tenacious, resilient and determined to rise to their full potential despite the odds against them.
WIN has chosen to celebrate five (5) Nigerian women doing amazing things in the world of Finance.
- Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala – (DG, World Trade Organization)
Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala took office as WTO Director-General on 1 March 2021. She is a global finance expert, an economist and international development professional with over 30 years of experience working in Asia, Africa, Europe, Latin America and North America. Dr Okonjo-Iweala was formerly Chair of the Board of Gavi, the Vaccine Alliance.
She is a skilled negotiator and has brokered numerous agreements which have produced win-win outcomes in negotiations. She is regarded as an effective consensus builder and an honest broker enjoying the trust and confidence of governments and other stakeholders.
Previously, Dr. Okonjo-Iweala twice served as Nigeria’s Finance Minister (2003-2006 and 2011-2015) and briefly acted as Foreign Minister in 2006, the first woman to hold both positions. She distinguished herself by carrying out major reforms which improved the effectiveness of these two Ministries and the functioning of the government machinery.
She had a 25-year career at the World Bank as a development economist, rising to the No. 2 position of Managing Director, Operations. As a development economist and Finance Minister, Dr Okonjo-Iweala steered her country through various reforms ranging from macroeconomic to trade, financial and real sector issues.
2. Miriam Olusanya – (MD, Guaranty Trust Bank)
Miriam Olusanya is the Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank, the first woman to ever hold the position. She assumed this position in July 2021.
She is a graduate of Pharmacy from the University of Ibadan and a Master of Business Administration from the University of Liverpool.
She has over 23 years of banking experience across various units, including transaction services, asset and liability management, financial markets, corporate finance and investor relations.
Olusanya joined the Bank in 1998 and has been in charge of managing the Bank’s Naira and Foreign Currency Balance Sheet, Asset and Liability Position as well as Money Market, Foreign Currency and Bonds Trading.
Olusanya also serves on the Board of Guaranty Trust Bank (Gambia) Limited as a non-executive director.
3. Kafilat Araoye – (MD/CEO, Lotus Bank)
Kafilat holds a first degree in History from the University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University (1985), and an M.Sc. in Industrial Relations & Personnel Management from the University of Lagos (1987),graduating as the best student in her class.
She has attended various executive management courses at the Cranfield School of Management (UK), Lagos Business School, Institute of Management Development (Switzerland) and INSEAD (France).Ross business School, University of Michigan(USA).
She started her career in 1988 at National Oil and Chemicals Marketing Company Plc (now Conoil Nigeria Plc), and moved in 1990 to Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, as the pioneer head of Human Resources.
Having put over 25 years into banking, Kafilat has expertise in virtually all areas of core banking, with emphasis on International and Domestic Operations, Payments, General Management, Business Development, Risk Management, Human Resources and Strategy.
She was part of several Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Implementation Committees on some Settlement and Payment solutions between 2002 and 2007 and represented Nigeria at the Banking Techniques and Practice committee of International Chamber of Commerce, between 2006 and 2011.
Kafilat has served, and currently serves as Member of the Governing Board of many institutions (secondary and university),amongst them Fountain University Oshogbo, Currently member, Board of Crescent Schools, Victoria Island and City of Knowledge academy, as well as Elder’s Council, Al Muhtudeen Islamic Foundation (formerly Muslim Youth Forum).
4. Ibukun Awosika – (Former Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria)
A graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, Awosika was the first woman to become the Chairman of First Bank after several years the bank was established.
She is a businesswoman, author, and motivational speaker. She is also a co-founder and past chairperson of Women in Business, Management, and Public Service (WIMBIZ).
She was appointed a member of Binance Global Advisory Board in September 2022.
Ibukun started her early career days as an audit trainee at Akintola Williams & Co and Alberta Nigeria Ltd, before she moved on to establish her own furniture manufacturing company called Ouebees Limited.
She is also a Fellow of the African Leadership Initiative and Aspen Global Leadership Network as well as a member of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group. She is a member and former Chairperson of the board of Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund.
Ibukun is the author of three books called, The “Girl” Entrepreneurs, Business His Way, and The ‘Girl’ Entrepreneurs: Our Stories So Far Kindle Edition.
She is a recipient of several awards such as the Forbes Woman Africa Chairperson Award (2020), YNaija Person of the Year (2015), International Women Entrepreneurial Challenge Award (2008), Golden Heart Award (2007), among others.
5. Aishah Ahmad – (Deputy Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria)
Currently, Aishah Ahmad is the Deputy Governor for Financial System Stability at the Central Bank of Nigeria. She is a member of the CBN Governing Board, Monetary Policy Committee, Financial System Stability Committee and the Committee of Governors.
Before she became the Deputy Governor of the apex bank, she had acquired knowledge from different financial institutions. She served as an Executive Director, Retail Banking at Diamond Bank and worked at Zenith Bank and Stanbic IBTC.
Appointed in 2018 as the Deputy Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Aisha Ahmad is an Accountant, financial manager, and analyst.
She started her career as a Group Accountant at “Manstructs Group Nigeria Limited” and at Z.O. Ososanya & Company. She later assumed the position of an Executive Assistant, Treasury Group.
She further assumed the Head of Retail Banking at Zenith Bank Plc and the Head of Private Banking at NAL Bank Plc, now Sterling Bank. She also served as the Head of Business Development at Zenith Capital Limited.
Aishah Ahmad is a strong advocate for female and youth empowerment; she volunteers at SOS Children’s Villages, Nigeria and was former Chairperson, Executive Council of Women in Management, Business & Public Service, WIMBIZ; a leading women-focused NGO in Sub-Saharan Africa.