Author: Uzoma Oguh

  • 5th July, 2024
  • < 1 min reading

We are delighted to announce that ETK Group has been shortlisted for the 2024 Allica Bank Great British Entrepreneur Awards – Global Entrepreneur of the Year category for the East of England region!

The Great British Entrepreneur Awards & Community, often referred to as the “Grammys of Entrepreneurship,” celebrate the achievements of the UK’s most dynamic and innovative businesses.

Each year, the awards receive thousands of applications, demonstrating the competitive nature and high standard of the competition. This year’s shortlist showcases businesses with a combined turnover of £2.9 billion and approximately 20,000 employees, highlighting the significant roles of these businesses in driving economic growth across the UK.

This award is a testament to the hard work of the ETK team and our commitment to the growth of the UK’s economy and businesses. We’re excited about what the future holds for our mission to support UK businesses in expanding into other markets.

We look forward to celebrating with other finalists on the 18th November, 2024 at the JW Marriott Grosvenor House London.

  • 5th June, 2024
  • 2 min reading

Celebrating a Trailblazer in International Trade!

ETK Group Managing Director Bolaji Sofoluwe was recently named one of the Global Top 100 Export and International Trade leaders.

In celebration of Global Africa Day on May 25th, 2024, under the theme “Championing the Vision of Global Africa as a Unified Economic Block and Single Market,” Most Influential People of African Descent (MIPAD) unveiled the honourees list for the 2024 Most Influential Global Top 100 Export and International Trade Edition in recognition of their exceptional commitment to driving economic progress across continents. Please see the full list here:

This groundbreaking list celebrates the achievements of Africans who are making waves in diverse sectors. From CEOs forging billion-dollar deals to social entrepreneurs tackling global challenges, these Trade Champions are proving that African ingenuity is a driving force for positive change in the world economy.

For Nigerians and Africans across the continent, this list is a powerful source of inspiration and a testament to the immense potential of the African diaspora in driving economic growth and prosperity.

Bolaji, alongside other prominent African leaders in Trade and Export including Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala, the first African and woman to lead the World Trade Organization (WTO); Dr. Doris Nkiruka Uzoka-Anite, Nigeria’s Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment; Kanayo Awani, Executive Vice President, Intra-African Trade Bank (IATB); Kemi Arosanyin, CGBP, the Director, Trade Development (Africa & Caribbean) at the World Trade Centre; H.E.Wamkele Mene, the Secretary General of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) were recognised for their groundbreaking achievements in trade and export around the world. The full Global Top 100 list is available via

Bolaji’s contributions are truly exceptional, as she excels in trade promotion and holds the prestigious role of Department for Business and Trade Export Champion. As a business growth strategist focused on market expansion and internationalisation, she also provides companies and businesses with the representation and knowledge necessary to enter and expand across African markets. Bolaji has personally spearheaded projects in over 34 African countries.

At ETK Group, we’re not just advisors; we’re your partner in conquering the African market. Our strategic expertise opens doors for companies looking to thrive on this dynamic continent.

  • 28th May, 2024
  • 2 min reading

ETK Group Limited has announced the launch of Africa’s Next Global Innovation Challenge – ANGIC – an initiative that seeks to identify and bolster sustainable enterprise development and link African innovations and solutions with global challenges.

Focusing on growth-stage ventures with existing products that are solving specific problems in Nigeria, Ghana, Kenya, South Africa, Morocco, or Rwanda, ANGIC will bridge the gap between African ingenuity and pressing global challenges. Through a curated blend of capacity support and access to markets, the innovation challenge will identify and empower growth-stage businesses to scale existing solutions, drive sustainable enterprise development, and make a profound global impact.

Innovation challenge call for application poster
Africa Next Global Innovation Challenge

African innovators and businesses hold significant potential to address the challenges faced by Africa. However, they often lack access to investors, essential support, funding, and face capacity constraints. A significant number of small businesses on the continent struggle due to operational limitations and gaps in critical areas of capacity necessary for growth.

In collaboration with The Nest Innovation Park, ETK will implement Africa’s Next Global Innovation Challenge to address these challenges in a bid to give exemplary innovations and businesses from Africa a chance to expand their reach into global markets.

To participate, qualified businesses can enter the challenge by visiting from May 27 – June 28, 2024.

“Our mission with ANGIC is to contribute to the export of innovative solutions and products from Africa to other markets in the UK, US, Europe, Brazil, or other markets around the world. With this challenge, we want to prioritize innovations that are focused on improving sustainability and the socio-economic status of Africans. At the end of this inaugural edition of ANGIC, our aim is to facilitate the successful export of at least four innovative solutions and products from Africa to global markets,” says Bolaji Sofoluwe, Managing Director at ETK Group.

Africa’s Next Global Innovation Challenge will provide selected businesses with opportunities to scale their solution with expert support in research and development, training, and capacity development, access to global markets, access to ETK Group’s network of international partners and industry experts for guidance, as well as the opportunity to accelerate the growth of their businesses with mentorship from ETK and other industry experts around the world.

“These exports are expected to generate a minimum of $100 million in revenue, directly contributing to the socio-economic advancement of African communities. We will ensure that each exported innovation aligns with the mission of improving the socio-economic status of Africans.” Added Bolaji.

 About ETK Group    

Founded in 2010, ETK is a UK-based Africa-focused trade and advisory consultancy with a presence in 34 African markets. Our vision is to contribute to the growth of African businesses through advisory work and by facilitating access to export markets for businesses of various sizes across the continent. ETK has facilitated market entry and provided market support services to over 200 clients across Africa, the UK, and in other markets. ETK contributes to the growth of African businesses and markets by helping enterprises to expand into other markets and connecting international businesses from other markets with trade and investment opportunities on the continent. ETK provides support to SMEs across diverse sectors with capacity development, sustainability consulting, strategy, planning, and project management and implementation to facilitate growth.

  • 6th May, 2024
  • 3 min reading

As the world transitions from carbon-based sources of energy to a more sustainable future, demand is increasing for a range of minerals and metals required for the transition to cleaner sources of energy. From uses in home appliances, transportation, construction, electrical components, and medicine to aerospace technology and infrastructure development, minerals are essential components of modern life. In addition to these applications, minerals such as copper, nickel, platinum, silver, gold, aluminium, cobalt, and lithium are used in renewable energy technologies like batteries for electricity storage, wind turbines, and photovoltaic cells for harnessing energy from the sun. 

Sustainable Development Goal 7 (SDG7), which calls for “affordable, reliable, sustainable, and modern energy for all,” aims to increase the share of renewables in the global energy mix and ensure universal access to affordable, reliable, and clean energy. The decarbonizing technologies required to transition to wind, solar, batteries, and other sustainable energy sources are driving increased demand for these scarce natural resources, creating significant economic opportunities for countries where the minerals are found but also posing social and environmental risks. 

Risks Associated with Mineral Mining 

While minerals are essential for the transition to an electrified future, their extraction from the ground creates a range of social and environmental challenges in countries where the minerals are mined. Extractive industries pose risks to human health, water supplies, and ecosystems. Mining can ravage landscapes, decimate biodiversity, lead to human rights abuses, and be a significant source of greenhouse gas emissions as well. 

Other risks include deforestation, soil erosion, water contamination, dust, and noise pollution. Land-based mining is encroaching on wildlife areas and accelerating the rates of extinction of endangered plant and animal species. The extensive land required for mining is also impacting indigenous populations and leading to a crisis of pollution and toxic waste in local communities. 

Economic Opportunities for African Countries 

With growing demand, proceeds from critical minerals are poised to rise significantly over the next two decades. Global revenues from the extraction of just four key minerals—copper, nickel, cobalt, and lithium—are estimated to total $16 trillion over the next 25 years, in 2023-dollar terms, says the IMF. With sub-Saharan Africa estimated to hold about 30 percent of the volume of proven critical mineral reserves needed to power the transition to renewable energies, this means that Africa stands to reap over 10 percent of these cumulated revenues, which could correspond to an increase in the region’s GDP by 12 percent or more by 2050, according to the IMF. 

The Canadian Mining Journal on Africa’s mining potential reports that the extraction and export of these mineral resources contribute significantly to national revenues, foreign currency reserves, and employment. Lithium, cobalt, copper, manganese, graphite, and many other critical minerals are abundant in the region. Africa produces over 60 metal and mineral products and has huge potential for mineral reserve exploration and production. Over 30% of the world’s mineral reserves are found in Africa, with practically every country on the continent producing at least one critical mineral. According to the Policy Centre for the New South’s research on Africa’s mining potential, sub-Saharan Africa accounts for around 80% of global platinum production, 50% of manganese, two-thirds of cobalt, and a considerable proportion of chromium. 

In spite of the abundance of raw materials, many African countries still export most of the mineral resources in their raw forms. Approximately 70% of mined minerals are exported to Europe or Asia for refining. This shows that local processing options for critical minerals are still limited. 

Mining vehicles digging coal: Source

Since the bulk of the economic benefit from these minerals is derived from the refining of the raw materials, the greatest economic gains are realized elsewhere. Developing local processing industries could significantly create higher-skilled jobs and increase tax revenues, thereby supporting poverty reduction and sustainable development. Africa can generate even greater windfalls by not only exporting raw materials but processing them as well. Raw bauxite, for instance, fetches a modest $65 per ton, but when processed into aluminium, it commands a hefty $2,335 per ton in end-2023 prices according to the IMF. 

In line with this, many governments on the continent are undertaking structural reforms to support domestic companies in mining and related processing sectors to retain greater economic value onshore. This includes implementing policies aimed at restricting the exports of raw mineral resources. For instance, Ghana has implemented a green minerals policy aimed at retaining a greater portion of the value chain from the country’s natural resources. Namibia and Zimbabwe have taken similar steps regarding the export of unprocessed lithium. 

Realizing the Gains While Minimising the Risks 

If managed properly, the extraction of these critical minerals has the potential to transform the region’s economic status, according to IMF’s latest Regional Economic Outlook. Accessing these critical minerals in ways that minimize the impact on local communities, protect biodiversity, respect the land rights of indigenous communities, protect workers, and reduce the environmental impacts on surrounding ecosystems is essential if we are to create a sustainable future for everyone. Massive wealth transfers of raw materials in ways that negatively impact communities in the global south to the benefit of consuming economies in the global north are not the answer to a sustainable future. 


  • 12th April, 2024
  • 3 min reading

In the last decade, Africa has seen an unprecedented increase in the number of scalable ventures and entrepreneurial activity.  This rise is being driven by a new generation of innovative entrepreneurs who are leveraging technology to drive growth and make a significant impact across the continent, as well as attract more investors who are interested in Africa’s potential.  

According to Africa the Big Deal, by Q4 of 2019, funding raised by African startups hit $0.7bn, surging to $1.8bn in Q1 of the 2022 financial year, with a total of 125 startups making up this figure. In 2023, African startups raised $2.9 billion in funding, with the big four (Nigeria, Egypt, Kenya, & South Africa) retaining their position as the top investment destinations in Africa. As of February 2024, startups across Africa raised a total of $217 million, representing a 182% increase when compared with January. 

Image Source: Moove. The African startup offers vehicle financing for mobility entrepreneurs


Though the investment landscape in Africa offers many opportunities for investors and startups, finding the right partner remains a challenge for investors and small businesses across the continent. Identifying suitable firms or trusted partners is one of the obstacles for investors looking to invest in African startups, while entrepreneurs face the challenge of attracting the right investors to their businesses.  

In today’s complex business environment, where even some of the most recognised names compromise on integrity, it has become important for investors and business owners to have the right partners for growth and investments. While it is critical for investors to know the health of the company they intend to invest in, entrepreneurs seeking financing should study potential investors for any red flags.  

But what does it take to build a fruitful partnership between African founders and investors looking to invest in African businesses? During our recent webinar on “Fostering Institutional Investment in Africa,” Anthony Osijo, Group CFO of Bboxx, gave valuable insights into how both investors and entrepreneurs may build fruitful partnerships in the dynamic African market.  

Image Source Bboxx: Bboxx is transforming lives and unlocking potential by connecting consumers and deploying innovative energy solutions across Africa.

Key insights include:  

For African startups and businesses:  

Understanding Investors’ Interests: Understanding that different investors have different interests is key to attracting the right investors. The investment goals or interests of traditional institutional investors, like private equity and venture capitalist firms, differ from those of development finance institutions and impact investors as well as sovereign wealth funds. Your investment proposals must be tailored to align with the interests of different types of investors. A recent Morgan Stanley report reveals that more than three-quarters (77%) of global investors are interested in sustainable investing.  

Value Proposition: Clearly articulate the value your business brings to the table. Your value proposition should be clear, concise, and compelling. It should be easy for investors to understand what your business does and why it is different from other businesses in your industry.  

Long-Term Perspective: Seek investors who have a nuanced understanding of Africa and are committed to long-term partnerships. Pitch for investors looking beyond the temporary market trends in Africa and fusing on the fundamental values and growth potential of the business on the continent. This will help you avoid making impulsive moves toward investors for your business. IMF Global Financial Stability Report, which looked at the underlying drivers of investment decisions by institutional investors, found that this type of investor usually have a long investment horizon, with obligations that often stretch out over decades.  

Image Source: Apollo Agriculture Kenya-based agritech Apollo Agriculture, helps farmers access farm inputs, financing, and markets.

For potential investors in Africa:  

Resilience: There are obvious barriers associated with investing in Africa, including governance and regulations. Investing in Africa requires resilience and staying power due to its unique challenges and opportunities. However, there are huge benefits for investors who look beyond the short-term benefits.  

Local Expertise: Partner with entities that have a deep understanding of the African market and its nuances. Before partnering with an investor, ensure their values and vision align with yours. A shared vision and core values create a strong foundation for a successful partnership.  

Considerations: Focus on companies that have a history of revenue growth and a promising future growth trajectory. Assess growth potentials, returns, and financial propositions when making investment decisions.  

Navigating the dynamic African market to form effective partnerships requires a deep understanding of its complexities and nuances. ETK’s due diligence services help bridge the gap between potential investors and African startups, making the journey more streamlined and focused. By aligning interests, articulating value propositions, and creating long-term strategies, entrepreneurs can attract the right investors, while investors can leverage local expertise and resilience for sustainable growth. In this ever-evolving landscape, developing partnerships based on shared values and visions paves the way for mutual success and impactful contributions to Africa’s business ecosystem. 

  • 11th March, 2024
  • < 1 min reading

ETK Group was featured in the Spring 2024 edition of Horizon Magazine UK, shining a spotlight on our Director of Growth and Strategy, Terser Adamu.

In this feature of Horizon – Spring ’24 Edition – Africa Culture Class Article, Terser shares insights on some of the fantastic trade and investment opportunities that the African market offers!

This edition of the magazine consists of 84 pages of specialist advice and guidance. Horizon Magazine UK aims to equip you with the tools to take your international trade to new heights.

Key themes explored in the article include:

👉 Overlooked Potential: Africa’s thriving market has been misunderstood for too long.

👉 Changing Perception: More are recognising Africa as a lucrative business and investment hub.

👉 Diversity as Opportunity: Africa’s cultural diversity offers fertile ground for innovative ventures.

👉 Relationship Building: Emphasising the importance of building lasting connections in African markets.

👉Flexibility in Approach: Adapting strategies to navigate the nuances of African business culture.

It’s truly an honour for us to contribute to this edition of the magazine and to showcase the work that we’re doing at ETK Group to facilitate trade and investment in Africa.

Many thanks to the team at Horizon Magazine UK for consistently producing such useful and informative content in every edition

  • 9th March, 2024
  • < 1 min reading

On Friday, March 8, 2024, ETK Group organised an Afternoon Tea at the UK House of Lords for a group of inspirational women across diverse professions to celebrate International Women’s Day, very kindly hosted by Lord Kulveer Ranger.

During the event, we had an insightful panel discussion chaired by ETK Group Managing Director, Bolaji Sofoluwe, alongside the incredible Rupa Ganatra Popat Founder and Managing Partner of Arāya Ventures, and Alice Hopkin, Special Adviser to the UK Home Office.

The panellists shared great insights and experiences on women in business, government-led initiatives, and whether or not legislation was needed to increase investment in women.

Key takeaways from their discussion include:

👉 It makes economic sense to support women with funding as women are more likely to reinvest in healthcare, education, and communities.

👉 There is a need to empower women in financial education and incorporate this into the mainstream educational curriculum.

👉 There is a need to expand the table in various aspects of life to allow for diversity of thought, leadership, and equal opportunities.

Our sincere appreciation goes to Lord Kulveer Ranger for hosting us, and Oliver Scheidt deserves special recognition for his consistent support.

A huge thank you to our amazing guests for giving up their afternoon to be with us at the event.

  • 29th February, 2024
  • < 1 min reading

Recently, the Federal Government of Nigeria announced its commitment in 2024 of ₦60 billion (about US$ 37 million) towards achieving net zero emissions by 2060. The roadmap for achieving net zero by 2060 is set out in Nigeria’s Energy Transition Plan (ETP), which stipulates the specific actions the government will take to decarbonise the economy.

The plan focuses on eliminating emissions from the largest sources of greenhouse gases, which taken together, account for about 65% of Nigeria’s CO2 emissions. In thinking about how effective these strategies will be, the following four questions come to mind:

  • How does Nigeria plan to meet its commitments to achieving net zero by 2060?
  • Are the commitments laid out in the ETP compatible with the goal of 1.5 degrees Celsius, and how well is Nigeria doing in achieving its Nationally Determined Contributions (NDCs)?
  • What has been undertaken so far to achieve these objectives, How well is Nigeria doing with respect to meeting its stated objectives, and what more needs to be done?
  • What does this mean for the country, specifically for individuals and businesses?

We thought it would be a good time to review Nigeria’s strategy for achieving net zero and its impact on businesses and households in the country.

In this progress report, Brent Barnette reviews, assesses, and provides expert insights on Nigeria’s strategy for achieving net zero, progress so far, and how the transition is impacting businesses and households

The progress report can be downloaded here Nigeria’s Net Zero by 2060 Progress Report

  • 11th February, 2024
  • < 1 min reading

Institutional investors have a key role to play in helping to close the
sustainable financing gap, which is defined as the shortfall between the expected investment required to meet the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals, and existing investment currently allocated towards achieving those goals. In Africa, the sustainable financing gap is estimated to be approximately 7% of the continent’s gross domestic product (GDP).

As part of our commitment to developing robust, viable, growth-enabled businesses in markets across Africa, we at ETK wanted to explore how the sustainability agenda is affecting institutional investment in Africa.

In this article, we took a look at how the focus on sustainability is creating entirely new business models and new opportunities for existing businesses while considering the challenges these businesses face in accessing financing from institutional investors.

We also delved into how institutional investors and the sustainability agenda are creating a new set of obligations for all businesses – regardless of sector or geography – in terms of transparency
and reporting around non-financial ESG measures.

Our insightful thought piece on how sustainability is changing the way institutional investors engage with businesses in Africa can be downloaded here Sustainability and institutional investment by ETK Group

  • 4th February, 2024
  • 4 min reading


On Sunday, January 28, 2024, the military governments of Burkina Faso, Mali, and Niger jointly announced their exit from the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) with immediate effect. The planned exit will see the number of countries that make up the West African Economic Bloc shrink to 12. 

Widely seen as West Africa’s top political and regional authority, the 15-nation bloc of ECOWAS was formed in 1975 to “promote economic integration” in member states. However, in recent years, the organisation has struggled to reverse rampant coups in the region, with citizens complaining of not benefiting from the abundant natural resources in the region. 

In the joint communiqué, the three Sahel countries said the bloc has not offered significant support to their countries’ fight against insurgency and terrorism, which has led to the loss of lives and rendered millions of their citizens homeless. 

There has been widespread concern about the political and economic implications of the countries’ planned exit on the region’s fragile peace and development. The potential impact of the exit spans various sectors reliant on regional trade, supply chains, and international business within the region. 

In addition to being founding members of the 49-year-old West African organisation,  the three countries are also part of the Sahel region of Africa, which is adjudged to be potentially one of the richest regions in the world due to its abundant human, cultural, and natural resources, as well as its youthful population, yet among the poorest in the world. 

How easy can the exit be for the Sahel trio? 

Article 91 of the ECOWAS Treaty of 1975 requires “Member States wishing to withdraw from the community to give the Executive Secretary one year’s written notice.” While the immediate withdrawal as announced by the joint military government may not be feasible as a result of the countries being signatories to the ECOWAS Treaties, if the exit happens, beyond the political implications, this may have an impact on the future of trade in the region and the continent. 

In a recent discussion with leading pan-African news outlets CNBC Africa and Channels Television, ETK Managing Director Bolaji Sofoluwe provided expert insights on the potential trade disruptions and supply chain complexities resulting from this exit and the broader implications. 

Key Insights from Bolaji’s Discussions:

  • There is a need for clarity on what the three countries are withdrawing from, as there are numerous infrastructures that bind ECOWAS together as a regional bloc.
  • The decision to exit ECOWAS by the three countries should not only be based on political sentiment since the countries are landlocked countries that depend on infrastructure in neighbouring countries to trade with the rest of the world.
  • The exit may have an impact on commodity prices if the three countries continue to transport their goods through other ECOWAS member countries, and they may find themselves in extreme economic isolation.
  • Africa is going through strategic integration in terms of trade and development. The exit of the three countries would mean decoupling the continent, and this would pose a significant setback to the ongoing integration of Africa being achieved through the AfCFTA. 
  • African leaders need to have an honest conversation with each other to stop external interventions in the continent’s affairs and formulate policies that suit the people of Africa.

Impact on Borderless Africa 

The Borderless Africa campaign had a target to achieve an Africa where Africans can move around their continent without the current restrictions or visa requirements, as well as for better trade, integration, and development.

The ECOWAS Protocol on the Free Movement of Persons, Residences, and Establishments allows nationals of member nations, including Niger, Burkina Faso, and Mali, to enter member countries without a visa. According to the 2023 Africa Visa Openness Report, 97% of ECOWAS country-to-country travel routes require no visa for regional individuals. Because people of the three Sahel states trade with West African countries and other nations, they are likely to lose these rights, unless they are protected by separate bilateral agreements. In addition, if the trio leave ECOWAS, the remaining members may begin to levy import duties or require visas from their citizens. 

Impact on Trade Relations and Economic Integration 

The landlocked countries of Niger, Mali, and Burkina Faso are among the poorest on the continent; however, if the secession move by these landlocked countries is carried out, it’ll undoubtedly disrupt the region’s trade and service flow. In 2022, total trade volumes, including imports and exports, from the ECOWAS region to the rest of the world totaled $277.22 billion, according to data from the region’s Trade Information System (ECOTIS) portal. Total exports from ECOWAS were worth $131.36bn. Burkina Faso’s contributed $4.55 billion out of this number; Mali exported $3.91 billion worth of goods; and trade with the rest of the world accounted for $446.14 million. Mali’s imports were worth $6.45bn, Burkina Faso $5.63bn, and Niger $3.79bn. While the economies of the three countries account for just 8% of ECOWAS GDP, withdrawing from ECOWAS may amount to the countries condemning themselves to economic isolation. 

Setbacks on the AfCFTA 

Africa is undergoing profound changes as the region becomes more integrated, accelerated by the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The full implementation of the AfCFTA agreement is projected to increase real incomes by 7%, or nearly $450 billion. 

In addition to the economic impact of the announced withdrawal, it also poses a significant challenge to the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The regional economic blocs are the pillars of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA). The shrinking of ECOWAS is likely to weaken the pillars of the AfCFTA. 

Laudable innovations such as the proposed Eco currency, a centralized currency for the region, and the Pan-African Payment and Settlement System (PAPSS), the centralized payment and settlement system for intra-African trade in goods and services, would be affected by the exit. Also, the progress made with AfCFTA in terms of trade and movement of people would be slowed down by the withdrawal of the three countries. 

While both parties are likely to be affected by the announced exit, there is still room for proactive strategies to mitigate the fallout. The military governments and ECOWAS need to explore realistic avenues for regional cooperation, international diplomacy, and innovative business solutions capable of putting an end to this unprecedented situation.