#IWD2021: Leading Nigerian Women in Islamic Finance


Monday, March 08, 2021 / 8:00AM / Bukola Akinyele-Yisau for WebTV / Header Image Credit: EcoGraphics

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As the world marks 2021's International Women's Day with the theme "Choose to Challenge", our writer captures the remarkable strides of women in the Islamic finance business in Nigeria.


Islamic finance is based on ethics, values, economic empowerment, financial inclusion, sustainable development, infrastructure development, asset management, deepening insurance and risk management amongst other evolving financial concepts based on Sharia.


Below are some of the outstanding women that support and drive the development of the non-Interest finance in Nigeria, Africa's largest economy.


Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed- Federal Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning

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Zainab Shamsuna Ahmed (born 16 June 1960) is a Nigerian accountant. She is the current Minister of Finance, Budget and National Planning  appointed on August 21, 2019 as President Muhammadu Buhari brought the two ministries under her as one, making her to the de facto Minister of Economy. She got her first degree in Accounting from Ahmadu Bello University in 1981, after-which she proceeded to Olabisi Onabanjo University for her MBA.


She is the Ex-Officio Member of the Board of Governors of the Islamic Development Bank (since 2018) and has attended several events on Islamic Finance in Nigeria.  


Under her watch the Islamic finance market has experienced growth with Sukuk issuances and a renewed partnership with the Islamic Development Bank, ISDB.


Hajara Adeola - Managing Director/ CEO Lotus Capital Limited

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Hajara Adeola is the managing Director and Chief Executive of Lotus Capital Limited. She has over 20 years' experience working in top tier global investment banks in the UK and Nigeria. Prior to founding Lotus Capital, she previously worked with Arthur Anderson Consulting (now Accenture). UBS Warburg, BNP Paribas and ARM Investment Managers. Hajara is regarded as the top industry expert in Islamic fund management in Nigeria Qualifications: MSc Finance ( Durham University)  MBA International Management ( Exeter University) BSc Pharmacology (King's College, London)  She has been instrumental to the development of Islamic finance products in the capital market and the issuance of the Sukuk bond in Nigeria.


Ummanhani Amin- Managing partner At The Metropolitan Law Firm


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Ummanhani Amin is the Managing Partner at the Metropolitan Law Firm and Metropolitan Skills Limited. She oversees the delivery of a range of complex legal assignments of Metropolitan Law Firm, making the firm amass a growing list of high-powered clients. She is also a certified PPP Expert from the Institute of Public Private Partnership (IP3) Washington, and has significant interest and experience in Property Law, Trusts, Capital Market Law, Oil ad Gas Law, Islamic personal Law and Islamic Financial Laws. This has made companies trust her to advise them on a range of litigation and corporate issues.  Ummanhani Amin was the Chairperson committee for the 4th African International Conference on Islamic Finance in Nigeria in 2019.


Amongst others, she serves as a company secretary for Capegate, who are the market leaders in the innovative sourcing, aggregation, and deployment of Micro Utilities. Luxembourg.


Thaibat Adeniran-  Head: Halal Takaful Nigeria, Cornerstone Insurance PLC

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Thaibat Adeniran is the Head of Halal Takaful Nigeria at Cornerstone Insurance Plc., where she is responsible for the Takaful team and ensuring the marketing of new Islamic product. Prior to Cornerstone she was Assistant Manager at African Alliance Insurance Company Limited where she was responsible for Marketing the new Islamic products and also educating the public on the product offering. She holds an MBA in Business Administration from the University of Ado Ekiti and HND in Business Administration from the Kwara Polytechnic, Ilorin, an Associate / Post Graduate Diploma in Islamic Banking and Insurance from the Institute of Islamic Banking and Insurance London and associate member of the Nigerian Institute of Management. 


Adeola Sunmola- Lawyer/ Partner Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie's

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Adeola Sunmola is a partner in Udo Udoma and Belo-Osagie's banking and finance, power, projects, and infrastructure (including real estate development), and compliance and investigations teams. Her specialisations include syndicated lending transactions; debt restructuring; debt restructuring; financing for power; manufacturing, real estate and infrastructure projects; Islamic finance, as well as anti-corruption compliance and corporate investigations in Nigeria.


 Tosin Ajose- Lead Advisor, DEALHQ Partners

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Tosin Ajose is a business lawyer with over a decade experience. She is well known for her commercial savvy, excellent analytical skills, vast transactional experience and her relentless desire to add value to her clients through innovative solutions, forward thinking and attention to details.


An astute public speaker and an IFLR ranked leading lawyer in financial restructuring and capital markets, Tosin has over 500 high value transactions to her credit across, corporate commercial, mergers & acquisition, private equity, capital markets, real estate, finance(project/corporate) and infrastructure practice areas.  Tosin, is a Partner and the Lead Advisor at DealHQ Partners, an Africa-focused transaction advisory firm in Lagos, Nigeria. She was recognized at the Nigerian Legal Awards as one of 40 under 40 lawyers in Nigeria in 2018 and in 2019 she was named "the Africa Woman in Real Estate" by API, South Africa.


Tosin, has done extensive policy work in the Financial Services space, first as a Legal Enabler under the Central Bank of Nigeria's FSS 2020 initiative, subsequently as a professional member of the National Housing Finance Programme set up by the Federal Ministry of Finance with a mandate to overhaul the Nigerian mortgage finance sector, she is currently a member of the Advisory Board of the African Proptech Forum, a member of SEC Committee on Market Infrastructure and Commodities and  a volunteer with the Presidential Delivery Unit, office of the President Federal Republic of Nigeria and a member of the  housing and urban development thematic group of the National Economic Summit Group. 


Tosin is a thought leader in the Finance (including alternative and Islamic finance), Real Estate, Construction and Capital Markets space, she holds to her credit several speaking engagements annually both within and outside the legal industry.


Tosin is a member of the Institute of Directors, Nigeria and sits on the Board of 3 indigenous Nigerian Companies and 2 not for profit board where her contributions to strategic thinking and governance are greatly acknowledged.


Azeezah Muse-Sadiq- Partner at Banwo & Ighodalo

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Azeezah Muse-Sadiq is a partner at Banwo & Ighodalo and an invaluable member of the Firm’s Capital Market team. She has advised on numerous debt and equity securities issuances including the Sukuk issuance by the Federal Government of Nigeria, mergers and acquisition as well as corporate reorganization. She often engages relevant regulators in devising ingenious solutions required to facilitate complex and novel transaction structures.     


Ifeoluwa Dixon- Senior VP & Head, Fixed Income Portfolio FBNQuest Asset Management  Limited

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Ifeoluwa Dixon is a Senior Vice President and the Head, Fixed Income Portfolio Management at FBNQuest Asset Management. She also doubles as the lead portfolio manager of the FBN Money Market, Fixed Income and Eurobond Funds.


Ifeoluwa has about 15 years professional experience which spans portfolio management for institutions and retail clients. Prior to joining FBNQuest Asset Management Limited in 2011, she worked with Crusader Sterling Pensions as an investment analyst after which she moved to Guaranty Trust Assurance and progressed into the role of the team lead of Fixed Income and Money Market Portfolio Management at Assur Asset Management (now AXA Mansard Investments). She was a founding employee of Assur Asset Management Limited and Assur Property Development Company (now AXA Mansard).


She is a Certified Treasury Professional (CTP); Ethica's Certified Islamic Finance Executive (CIFE) and Ethica's Advanced Certified Islamic Finance Executive (ACIFE). Ifeoluwa has key competencies in portfolio management, financial statement analysis as well as tracking and forecasting macro-economic and other key market indicators.


The New Female Normal


Women are climbing the corporate ladder fast and deliberately by showing their capacity for management, thought and execution, the combination of these skills have shaped the way the corporate world works as women have taken on increasingly important roles in different global organisations ranging from the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr. Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, International Monetary Fund (IMF) Dr. Kristina Georgieva and European Central Bank (ECB), Dr. Christine Largard. Women are equally on the ascendancy in non-finance related fields. The new age has come to the realisation that the suppression of half the globe's population is inefficient, unwise, and unproductive. Increasingly even the world of Islamic finance is joining the pro-female buggy train and promoting women into positions of highest competence.

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