Towards 2018 SBL Conference: Financing Intra – African Trade and Development

NBA-SBL 2018 Conference
NBA-SBL 2018 Conference

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Towards 2018 SBL Conference: Financing Intra – African Trade and Development

As we gear-up towards the Nigerian Bar Association Section on Business Law (NBA-SBL) 12th Annual Business Law Conference, Abuja, June 27-29, 2018, let us take a look at the session 2A of the conference, ‘Financing Intra – African Trade and Development’.

NBA-SBL 2018 Conference
NBA-SBL 2018 Conference

There are points that could make Africa a great place to do business and develop her human capacities. There is enormous untapped potential through regional integration in Africa to deliver poverty reduction and development gains; that we can take a fresh look at some regional integration initiatives if the continent is to become better integrated; and that the World Bank Group is likely to support the continent’s governments and communities in this effort.

Regional trade integration has long been a strategic objective for Africa yet, despite some success in eliminating tariffs within regional communities, the African market remains highly fragmented. A range of non-tariff and regulatory barriers still raise transaction costs and limit the movement of goods, services, people and capital across borders throughout Africa.

With the right policies and with political will a great deal could be done to boost African integration.

For all the momentum towards Africa as a single trading bloc, trade and business activities need massive financing. This session will examine how key stakeholders intend to rise to the demands of financing the expansion of Intra-African trade.


Coordinators: Justina Lewa, Company Secretary/ Chief Legal Counsel, Sterling Bank Plc. & Esosa Omo-Usoh, Partner, Solola & Akpana

  • A graduate of the Universities of Jos and Lagos, where she holds degrees in Law, JUSTINA AKPOABUGO LEWA currently serves as Company Secretary and Chief Legal Counsel at Sterling Bank Plc. A lawyer with vast legal and corporate experience – especially in the banking sector – A stint at the Ministry of Justice in Plateau State as a state counsel, where she began her career, she joined NAL Merchant Bank Limited (now Sterling Bank Plc), which saw her rise to the position of a senior manager and head of the company’s legal department.    A member of the Nigerian Bar Association, NBA Section on Business Law, International Bar Association, Lewa has attended a number courses in her field, at home and abroad.
  • Esosa Omo-Usoh  is a Managing Partner at Solola & Akpana, a leading civil/commercial law firm in Nigeria with a reputation for offering quality legal services founded on integrity, professionalism and the best traditions of the Bar.With over eighteen years’ experience as a litigator in legal practice, and co-head Solola & Akpana’s Litigation/Arbitration Practice Group, Esosa Omo-Usoh is actively involved in complex civil and commercial litigation/arbitration, concentrating on disputes arising from commercial contracts, debt recovery, labour and employment issues, tax liabilities, intellectual property, etc. I also regularly provide legal advice and opinions on Nigerian law to correspondent foreign law firms acting in litigation and arbitration disputes arising from Nigeria.

    He was admitted to the Nigerian Bar in 1999 having obtained an LL.B in 1997 from the University of Benin.

    He once served as Secretary of the Continuing Legal Education/Seminar Committee of the Port Harcourt Branch of the Nigerian Bar Association, and Secretary of the Continuing Legal Education Committee of the Port Harcourt Chapter of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, UK (Nigeria Branch).

    Esosa Omo-Usoh is a member of Nigeria Bar Association, NBA Section on Business Law, African Bar Association, International Bar Association, International Association of Managing Partners, International Trademark Association, Chartered Institute of Arbitrators, UK (Nigeria Branch), Institute of Chartered Mediators and Conciliators and some other professional associations.

Session Chair: Abdulsamad Rabiu, President, BUA Group

  • Abdulsamad Rabiu is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate active in sugar refining, cement production, real estate, logistics and port operations. Rabiu is expanding cement production.

Rabiu, the son of a businessman, inherited land from his father. He set up his own business in 1988, importing rice, sugar and edible oils as well as iron and steel rods.

Rabiu’s aim is to double capacity and expand BUA’s current 10% market share in Nigerian cement.

The Executive Chairman/CEO, BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu is the Session Chairman on the topic: ‘Financing Intra – African Trade and Development’.


  • Haresh Aswani – Managing Director, Tolaram Group, Nigeria
  • Samallie Kiyingi – Director & General Counsel, African Export – Import Bank
  • Ade Adeyemi – Managing Director of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated
  • Abba Bello – Managing Director, NEXIM Bank
  • Damilola Adetunji – Partner, Odujinrin & Adefulu
  • Kimathi Kuenyehia – Kimathi & Partners

Damilola attended the University of Buckingham (UK) and the Harvard Law School (USA). She is qualified to practice in the State of New York (1999) and Nigeria (2003).

She is the Corporate/Commercial, Capital Market and Finance Partner at Odujinrin & Adefulu, Nigeria. She has extensive experience in matters relating to banking, capital market, structured trade finance, term loans, syndicated finance; trade finance mechanisms. She has advised on various transactions and represented foreign and domestic clients including African Export-Import Bank (“AFREXIM”), Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, Stanbic IBTC Bank Plc, Addax Petroleum Development (Nigeria) Limited and Lafarge Africa Plc.

Damilola Adetunji is best known in the market for her experience in corporate law. She is frequently engaged in matters such as project finance, takeovers and capital markets work for both domestic and regional clients. Market sources attest to her attentive and creative approach.

She is a member of the Nigerian Bar Association, the International Bar Association and the Capital Market Solicitors Association.

Haresh Aswani serves as Managing Director of Nigeria at Tolaram Corporation Pte. Ltd. Mr. Aswani has been an Honorary Consul-General for Singapore in Nigeria since 2006.

Mr. Aswani has been with the Tolaram Corporation Group since 1984 and established and successfully running trading, industrial and manufacturing companies.

He has established successful businesses in Nigeria, including key joint ventures with Asian companies.

Samallie Kiyingi is a General Counsel at the African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank).

Ms. Kiyingi began her career in Sydney at the Australian law firm, Blake Dawson Waldron (now Ashurst) before being recruited by the international law firm Clifford Chance in 2005 and relocating to London.

As a Senior Associate at Clifford Chance, Samallie was lead counsel on a wide range of structured finance transactions and helped catalyze the firm’s Africa strategy.

More recently, Ms. Kiyingi worked as an Associate Director at the British Arab Commercial Bank and as a Director at Deutsche Bank where she established and ran the bank’s Global Securitization Regulatory Advisory Team. She is admitted as a solicitor in New South Wales, Australia, and England and Wales.

Adefunke Adeyemi is a transformative leader, influencer and change agent, positively impacting lives and the business environment through her passion, work and initiative. She was recently honoured as one of the 200 globally Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) in affiliation with the United Nations,

A product of the prestigious University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, she is a lawyer, advocate and aviation expert, focused on bringing value, best practices and international standards to sectors, businesses and government, through a career spanning almost20 years.

Funke obtained her Master of Laws (LL.M.) in International Commercial Law from University of Cambridge, United Kingdom, read Law at the University of Lagos, Nigeria, both with high honours.

She is currently the Regional Head of Member and External Relations for the International Air Transport Association, advocating for the overall sustainability and growth of the aviation industry, acting as intermediary between airlines, the wider aviation community and the general public. She is responsible for conceptualizing and delivering an ongoing campaign to promote Africa’s socio-economic prospects through enhanced air connectivity across the continent.

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