Toyin Umesiri…Taking Africa to the world
After over a decade working in corporate America: Fortune 1 (Walmart) and Fortune 150 (Whirlpool Corporation), Nigeria-born-US based businesswoman, Toyin Umesiri made the big leap to full time entrepreneurship after she resolved to follow her passion for Africa.
Following a trip to Africa in 2015, Nigeria to be precise, Umesiri committed to using the lessons learned, skills acquired and global networks built as leverage in empowering people in the continent.
Her experience spans developing technology solutions and global strategy for apparel merchandising, manufacturing, finance, logistics and supply chain for leading brands. She led the team responsible for designing the global sourcing and supplier management solutions at Walmart in the UK and North America.
As CEO of Nazaru, a platform that allows Africa’s exporters to showcase what they want to sell on the global market, and convener of the Trade with Africa Business Summit, Umesiri leads a company that drives increased U.S. commercial interest in Africa by fostering Business to Business (B2B) dialogue that leads to mutually beneficial arrangements.
Passionate about empowering women, Umesiri in 2016 was featured in a book titled Leading Women and also listed as a leading and inspirational woman in technology on the platform.
Poised to promote Africa entrepreneurs, she is set to host the inaugural Trade with Africa Business Summit 2018 in Bentonville, Arkansas. Billed for May 10 and 11, the summit she said is designed to promote Africans and their brands globally and network them with top world entrepreneurs.
“The timing is right for U.S. businesses to develop effective strategy towards Africa. By 2050, Africa is projected to have a quarter of the world’s population, and presently, it has some of the fastest growing economies with GDP growth rate of five percent or more.
“The Trade with Africa Business Summit 2018 is the inaugural event that convenes investors, global business leaders, policy leaders, change agents and innovators driving digital acceleration, sustainable agriculture, global trade and women empowerment on the continent of Africa,” she said.
The aim of the event is to ignite a fresh dialogue that educates and showcases effective strategies for increasing trade between the U.S. and African countries. It also positions the State of Arkansas as a favorable destination for African business and political leaders looking to create partnerships with the U.S.
It would be recalled that in year 2000, the United States established the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA) to support U.S. trade with Africa. Though some level of success has been accomplished, U.S. still engages at less than two percent of total global trade with Sub-Saharan Africa.
“On the U.S. side there are several constraints including lack of awareness, supporting business data, and misconception and information gap. On the African side there is lack of information related to available business partnerships and opportunities for African businesses as well as education on ways to secure investments needed to build the level of capacity required to meet U.S standards,” Umesiri stated.
Speaking further on the summits, she said, “The Trade with Africa Business Summit 2018 provides an effective platform to strengthen linkages by bringing together African and U.S. business and political leaders and their supporting service providers. Bentonville, Arkansas is the home of Walmart, the world’s leading retailer, and is a thriving trade and economic hub and hence the perfect location to establish new trade opportunities. Like many African countries Nigeria has a huge export potential that is yet untapped and we want to help close that gap in order to contribute positively to the economy.”
She enjoins Nigerians and indeed Africans, who want to export to the U.S. to take advantage of the summit and participate, stressing that investors, policy makers, innovators as well as buyers and sourcing technical experts would be speaking at the event.
“We encourage those who want to export to the U.S. to participate. We have engaged partnerships with the Arkansas World Trade Center, US Africa Chamber and USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub. The Trade with Africa Business Summit is a production of Nazaru LLC, and it is being executed in support of key organisation like the World Trade Center and USAID East Africa Trade and Investment Hub and the US-Africa Chamber of Commerce in Texas.
“We know that creating productive dialogue starts by highlighting the strengths that Africa has to offer U.S. investors looking to partner on the continent. There is currently opportunities yet untapped particularly in the small-medium business communities in Africa as well as the U.S. We are creating an all-encompassing one-stop shop where SMEs Large Scale organizations across Africa and the United States can find answers and solutions to trade.”