How This Ivy-League Trained Nigerian Entrepreneur Built A Multi-Million Dollar Business
By design and the laws of the universe, wealth rarely comes to anyone by chance. The road to fame and fortune is no doubt, earmarked with lots of thorns and thistles. One must slowly and painstakingly build through the odds, exerting a great deal of determination, self-will and patience to prevail. And also does having a good education and entrepreneurial skillset.
This is the success story of Hakeem Belo-Osagie, a graduate of the Harvard business school, lawyer and economist. He is the current chairman of Metis Capital Partners, a company dedicated to brokering and executing lucrative, large-ticket transactions in Africa to select blue-chip, foreign investment partners, former president of United Bank for Africa, and former chairman of 9mobile, formerly known as Etisalat. He was a key player in the growth of the Nigerian economy through his involvement in many private spheres.
Here’s how he did it:
Early Life And Education Of Hakeem Belo-Osagie
Belo-Osagie was born in Lagos in 1955 to Tiamiyu Belo-Osagie, a gynaecologist, and his mother, Iyalekitue Bazuaye, a nurse.
He hails from Benin city, Edo State, Nigeria.
Belo-Osagie started his secondary education at King’s College, Lagos and completed it at the United World College of the Atlantic in Wales. He holds a law degree from Cambridge University, a Masters in Politics, Economics and Philosophy from Oxford University and an MBA from the renowned Harvard Business School.
His Early Career
After graduating from the Harvard Business School, Hakeem Belo-Osagie returned to Nigeria where he began his career as a petroleum economist and lawyer and secured a job as the Special Adviser to the late Mallam Yahaya Dikko because of his connections with the Nigerian government.
Young Hakeem was also the Special Assistant to the Petroleum and Energy Minister, (late) Alhaji Rilwan Lukmon. He was also Oil Policy Review secretary and LNG Committees chairman.
He subsequently worked in the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation Petrochemicals Division and later left the public service in 1986.
The Start Of Credit Transactions And Investments Limited (CTIL)
After resigning from public service, Hakeem Belo-Osagie formed Credit Transactions and Investments Limited (CTIL), an energy consultancy company that had gained expertise and contacts in the oil industry in 1986. Fortunately for him, the CTIL’s clientele grew within a short time and Hakeem’s company consulted for several companies from the United States, Europe and Japan.
Hakeem later switched from the advisory business into the finance industry. He purchased 51% of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) shares from the Nigerian government and eventually became chairman of the bank in 1998 for five years before he resigned in 2004. In 1992, he set up FSDH Merchant Bank Limited, formerly known as First Securities Discount House. FSDH Merchant Bank Limited was among the first merchant banks to be licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria in the new era.
Over time, Hakeem Belo-Osagie expanded his horizon to telecommunications and other significant sectors of the Nigerian economy. He was chairman of Emerging Markets Telecommunications Services Limited’s board of directors; a mobile telephone operator operating under the Etisalat brand. His holding company, Premium Telecommunications Holdings, is a major player in the industry and operates as a shared venture with Mubadala Development Company and the prestigious Etisalat Group.
Hakeem Belo-Osagie Today
Hakeem Belo-Osagie was the director of Etisalat Nigeria, Nigeria’s fourth-largest mobile telecom network, with more than 18 million subscribers. From a career of an oil economist and an attorney of the federal republic of Nigeria, Hakeem grew to become a key player in the Nigerian economy for over three decades through his involvement in several private sector businesses, especially in the oil, finance, and telecommunications sectors.
Hakeem Belo-Osagie’s Impact On Society
Belo-Osagie and his wife are among the biggest donors to Johannesburg’s African Leadership Academy (the “ALA”), a residential high school that aims to educate the brightest students in Africa. Established in 2008, the highly selective ALA immerses promising youth in a rigorous two-year leadership, service, and African studies program.
The ALA alumni network comprises approximately four hundred young leaders from forty-three countries across the continent. In 2012, the academy showcased the “Hakeem and Myma Belo-Osagie Wing,” named in recognition of the ALA’s support and advocacy of the couple on their behalf. The couple recently founded the “Africa Promotion Fund for the Hakeem and Myma Belo-Osagie” at Yale with funds to provide scholarships for African students studying at Balliol College, Oxford.
Hakeem Belo-Osagie’s Awards And Recognitions
Hakeem Belo-Osagie was mentioned on the Forbes list in 2014 as the fiftieth richest man in Africa from fortunes derived from his diversified investments.
A member of the Nigerian bar association, Belo-Osagie gained an appointment to the International Advisory Board of the Brookings Institution in Washington DC, which was described as the most influential think-tank in the world.
Hakeem Belo-Osagie and his wife are recognised as members of the Harvard University’s Global Advisory Council. He also holds an honorary position as a member of the Yale’s Presidential Council on International Activities and the New York University President’s Global Council. He was appointed non-executive chairman of the Abuja Investment Corporation from 2007 to 2011.
Hakeem Belo-Osagie also has investments in the real estate sector. He has stakes in Duval Properties Limited. Duval Properties Limited is an immovable company engaged in the production of residential and commercial property. Duval Properties Limited is one of the signature sponsors of Jabi Lake, Abuja’s $120 million shopping centre, in which Osagie has investments. The astute entrepreneur is also a keen philanthropist and pioneer.
Belo-Osagie also chairs in Chocolate City Music Group, a leading Nigerian entertainment company. He is married to Dr Myma Adwowa Belo-Osagie. They have four children, including Yasmin Belo-Osagie, who is a co-founder of She Leads Africa.
To Sum It Up
The success story of Hakeem Belo-Osagie shows that getting a good education, being focused on anything you set out to do and building great relationships can someday help you build a great career and business.