Hakeem Belo-Osagie
Nigeria
Hakeem Belo-Osagie
  • Chair, United Bank for Africa (currently with Etisalat Nigeria) (Financial services)
Born Lagos, Nigeria (1955). Bachelors, Oxford University (1976); MBA, Harvard Business School (1980).
“The biggest challenge in Africa… is that you constantly have to manage the government and the regulatory agencies. They play a far more pervasive role in Africa than they do in the United States.”

Summary

Hakeem Belo-Osagie, chairman of Nigerian-based United Bank for Africa (1988 to 2004), illustrates the difficulties of building a multinational financial institution active in multiple African countries. Belo-Osagie highlights the strategic problems he faced navigating local regulations in the Nigerian banking sector while seeking to build global competitiveness. He further recounts the political turmoil he encountered while trying to significantly reduce staff as he tried to privatize his operations, and the particular difficulties Nigerian entrepreneurs and business leaders faced in the early 2000s trying to overcome the stigma associated with the country due to online fraud activity.

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Hakeem Belo-Osagie, chairman of Nigerian-based United Bank for Africa (1988 to 2004), illustrates the difficulties of building a multinational financial institution active in multiple African countries. Belo-Osagie highlights the strategic problems he faced navigating local regulations in the Nigerian banking sector while seeking to build global competitiveness. He further recounts the political turmoil he encountered while trying to significantly reduce staff as he tried to privatize his operations, and the particular difficulties Nigerian entrepreneurs and business leaders faced in the early 2000s trying to overcome the stigma associated with the country due to online fraud activity.
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Video Clips by Topic

Osagie 1

Hakeem Belo-Osagie, head of the United Bank for Africa, in Nigeria, explains that the success of any business depends on the talents of many people, with different sets of skills, and not just the leader. 

Keywords: Leadership, Nigeria


Osagie 3

Hakeem Belo-Osagie, former chairman of Nigeria-based United Bank for Africa, talks about his ability to attract U.S. investors even during a time of military rule in Nigeria.
Keywords: Fundraising, Nigeria


Osagie 4

Hakeem Belo-Osagie, head of United Bank for Africa, describes the difficult decision to dramatically cut staff at his bank in Nigeria, where such layoffs are uncommon, and the reactions of the relevant trade union and of the remaining staff.



Osagie 5

Hakeem Belo-Osagie, former chairman of Nigeria-based United Bank for Africa, discusses the challenge, in African countries, of managing the government and regulatory agencies, as compared to in the United States, where businesses can focus on managing customers.


Interview Citation Format

"Interview with Hakeem Belo-Osagie, interviewed by Obi Isiadinso, March 2002, Creating Emerging Markets Project, Baker Library Historical Collections, Harvard Business School, http://www.hbs.edu/creating-emerging-markets/."