African Public Institutions can be run like Ethical, Result-Oriented Businesses – Nwagba, GEEP
African public institutions can and should be run like ethical and result oriented business. This declaration was made by Uzoma Nwagba, a young business leader and Chief Operating Officer, COO, Federal Government Enterprise and Empowerment Programme, GEEP.
Uzoma Nwagba, 31, whose main responsibility is driving GEEP’s three main products namely: FarmerMoni, MarketMoni, and TraderMoni, revealed that within 2 years, GEEP has achieved a current total of about 2 million beneficiaries and projects to reach the 10million mark beneficiaries figure by 2023.
Implemented by the Bank of Industry, the technology-driven collateral-free and interest-free micro-loan scheme is an integral part of the Federal Government’s financial inclusion agenda. The programme which has attained the status of “Africa’s largest social enterprise programme”, is one of the National Social Investment Programmes (NSIP) under the Office of Vice President, Prof Yemi Osinbajo.
Uzoma, the team lead for the project, is a young Harvard MBA graduate, who also holds a First Class in Electrical Engineering from Howard University. He leverages his experience in finance and technology as he steers the government initiative full throttle.
A typical day involves Nwagba wearing different hats as he drives stakeholders in the project including vendors, technology partners, agent networks, payment partners, government officials, and debriefing and mind mapping sessions with BOI’s Executive Director, Mrs. Toyin Adeniji.
Other days, you can catch him in full action on the field with his sleeves rolled up, directing delegations of high-powered government and bank officials in a tour of live market activations of MarketMoni and TraderMoni even as they engage the beneficiaries one-on-one. The operation of GEEP includes 4,000 agents across the country, and over 2 million beneficiaries till date.
In the words of a member of the team, “Uzo is very smart and very confident. He works even harder than us, and asks a lot of questions.”
His hands-on approach to leading a young and vibrant team across Nigeria, majority of whom are under the age of 35, has been responsible for the innovation and creativity GEEP deployed to bank the seemingly unbankable at the grassroots and margins of society.
Nwagba’s leadership at GEEP is built on seeking to do the impossible, values that guided him during his tenure as Student Government President during his undergraduate days at Howard University.
His recent selection as one of the twenty-three Desmond Tutu Fellows 2019 by the African Leadership Institute for his impact in public service, driving such a massive project across 36 states of the country, reaching over two million Nigerians is testament to that.
With a career that spans finance (Goldman Sachs, New York and African Capital Alliance) and technology (Microsoft, Redmond), the engineer-turned-public servants believes “African public institutions can be run like ethical and result-oriented businesses”.
Banking on brilliant and credible young Nigerians like Uzoma, the Federal Government’s has made an optimistic projection to reach 10 million Nigerians through GEEP by 2023. “Nigeria’s financial revolution will be digital and young Nigerians like GEEP’s COO, Uzoma Nwagba, will continue to spearhead it”, a source in the office of the VP noted.
To underscore the impact of GEEP leadership and team, Nigeria’s Bank of Industry recently clinched the coveted award in the category of ‘Financial Inclusion’ at the 2019 African Bankers Awards. The award was courtesy of GEEP’s reaching the most disadvantaged and low-income segments of the nation with its collateral-free and interest-free micro-loans and ultimately contributing to financial inclusion, development and growth.
With the award, GEEP has distinguished itself as the most impactful financial inclusion project in Africa. It fought off stiff competition from other nominee institutions in the category; these include 4G Capital (Kenya), Amhara (Ethiopia), Cofina (Senegal) and Jumo (South Africa).