Samaila Zubairu, the pioneer chief financial officer of Dangote Cerment plc, has been chosen by Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) to replace Andrew Ali, its second president and chief executive officer, who is leaving the corporation after completing his two mandatory terms at the helm of the corporation. Ali took over in 2008 and served for 10 years.
Zubairu’s appointments comes after a long search that lasted all of six months during which more than 100 candidates were said to have applied for the position. Although Ali full terms were to end in September, we understand he would be leaving immediately as he wishes to pursue other interest. business a.m. understands that he had wished to leave in March but the long search for a replacement kept him back longer.
The new appointment, many analysts say would settle the corporation which had become a little unsettled following a protracted appointment process in which there were a lot of talks about lobbying that went as far as the Central Bank of Nigeria and ultimately, the Presidency.
business a.m. sources say Zubairu has his work cut out for him and that he would need to move in quickly, being a rank outsider, to smooth long standing egos that would have been a little unsettled by this appointment. One source talked about reposition and reorganisation of the the infrastructure focused finance corporation which has been recognised for its successes in its short about 11 years of existence.
One particular area said to be needed attention is strengthening its professionalism and bringing it back to speed on the vision of its founders anchored on creating an institution that is completely international and using that to achieve beneficial results for the African continent.
“Zubairu will need to look at practices and policies within the corporation that tend to reduce its international credential as a global infrastructure financing organisation,” said an analyst with coverage for multilateral financing organisations.
Okwu J. Nnanna, chairman of AFC said: “On behalf of the corporation, I am delighted to welcome Samaila Zubairu to AFC. In Samaila, we have identified an individual with the exceptional qualities across deal origination, execution, and capital raising that will continue to facilitate AFC’s ability to deliver transformational change through infrastructure investment as it moves into a new era.
“His track record of operational excellence will be of huge benefit to AFC and all its stakeholders as we build on a decade that has seen AFC become a market leader in Africa’s infrastructure space, positively impacting millions of lives every day. I would like to thank Andrew Alli, who over the last decade has turned AFC from a start-up into the world class institution that it is today. His departure is truly our loss, and I am confident in saying I speak for all stakeholders to AFC in wishing Andrew the very best in his future endeavours.”
According to Andrew Alli, AFC’s outgoing president and CEO, serving at the helm of AFC has been the highest privilege of his career.
All, having served his tenor, said he is leaving assured that in Samaila Zubairu, the Corporation will gain a truly confident self-starter and an industry heavy-weight ideally suited to lead AFC into the next chapter of its growth story.
“I wish him, and the AFC family, all the success for the future. As I depart, I am proud to look back on all the things we have been able to achieve across the width and breadth of the Continent, none of which would have been possible without the incredible colleagues I have been honoured to work with, the shareholders who gave me the opportunity to serve and the Board, which has given me support and direction. I shall remain forever grateful to all of them,”he said.
Commenting on his appointmen, Zubairu, said: “Africa Finance Corporation is one of the most dynamic organisations on the continent. In the last decade, we have seen the organisation grow its balance sheet by a remarkable 400 percent, produce competitive returns, whilst transforming African economies through innovative infrastructure development and financing. I am therefore immensely humbled by the distinct honour of this appointment to lead such a distinguished organisation”.
Zubairu expressed confidence on AFC’s market position as being best placed to surmount Africa’s multi-sectoral infrastructure challenges.
Giving credit to the outgoing president and CEO, Zubairu said the corporation’s successes has in no small part been achieved because of AFC’s outgoing president & CEO, Andrew Alli and his team of exceptional professionals.
Zubairu said, “I therefore look forward to joining AFC’s highly reputable team, and together, enhancing AFC’s position as an extremely capable project partner, able to deliver sustainable development projects across the continent.”
A statement from the corporation described Zubairu as a distinguished fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria (ICAN) and an accomplished infrastructure development finance specialist with over 29 years of professional experience.
“He is the CEO of Africapital Management Limited, in which position he established a joint venture with Old Mutual’s African Infrastructure Investment Managers (AIIM) to develop the Nigerian Infrastructure Investment Fund1(NIIF1) for infrastructure private equity across West Africa. He also recently coordinated the $300 million acquisition of Eko Electricity Distribution Plc.”
Zubairu was the pioneer CFO for Dangote Cement Plc, during which he launched Africa’s largest syndicated project finance facility for a local corporate to actualize the Obajana cement project and managed the watershed unbundling of Dangote Industries Limited to listed subsidiaries on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. He has led finance transactions for over $3 billion covering, green-field project finance facilities, acquisitions, corporate transformation initiatives, privatization and equity capital market transactions.
An Eisenhower Fellow who sits on the Eisenhower Fellowship’s Global Network Council as well as the president’s advisory council, Zubairu is said to be an advisory board member for KSE Africa a leading operations and management provider of captive power plants in the mining sector of Botswana and Nigeria and is the Chairman of MDSA Nigeria Limited, a fintech company providing micro loans across sub-Saharan Africa.
Zubairu is also the independent director and chairman statutory audit committee as well as a member of finance and general-purpose and establishment and governance committees of Aiico Insurance Plc. He also serves as an independent director and chairman of the finance committee for new Nigeria commodity marketing company.
Frontpage February 20, 2020