Nigeria’s very own Dr. Rabiu Olowo emerges winner, Forty under 40 Africa Awards, one of only few winners represented from the country.
The prestigious award organized by Black White Hover Law Practices, celebrates the continent’s most influential and accomplished young business leaders under the age of forty who are committed to business growth, professional excellence, and community service.
Held on the 25th of March 2023 in Johannesburg – South Africa, the event hosted around 126 nominees and delegates from 23 countries including Eritrea, Egypt, Zimbabwe, Uganda, Nigeria, Kenya, Ghana, Tanzania, Cameroon, South Sudan, Morocco, Benin, Mauritius, Sierra Leone, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Algeria, Botswana, Tunisia, Eswatini, Lesotho, Gambia, and South Africa.
The event is aimed at identifying an impressive cross-functional and successful people from a wide range of industries who have risen through the ranks of their organizations, industries, and careers at a relatively young age with verifiable records of meaning impact to Government, Business and Society.
Consequently, the 37-year-old Commissioner for Finance in Lagos State, was awarded for his stellar track record in the Governance category.
His role as Honourable Commissioner for Finance cuts across Revenue Management, Expenditure Management, Investment Management, Debt Management as well as Reporting geared towards attaining improved transparency and accountability for the 5th largest economy in Africa.
The Lagos State Ministry of Finance under the strategic leadership of Dr. Rabiu Olowo assisted the Lagos State Government to achieve an unprecedented height of triple A (AAA nga) ratings by International Rating Agency – FITCH. This is a reflection of the State improved Accountability and Transparency in the management of public funds for the purpose of delivering Infrastructural projects., including the management of debts.
The Lagos State Finance Commissioner has demonstrated impassioned commitment working with Ministries, Departments and Agencies under the leadership of Governor Babajide Sanwoolu to making Lagos State the best city to live, work and do business. He works across boundaries to providing strategic alliances which includes the financial and technical close of West Africa’s first metro line – Lagos Blue Line which will move hundreds of thousands of people as a part of the strategic transport master plan of the State. He also demonstrated strategic finance partnering working with the Ministry of Agriculture to deliver the biggest Rice mill on the African continent, the *Imota Rice Mill*.
I’m the last 4years, Dr. Rabiu Olowo has continued to champion the revenue acceleration process that has seen Lagos State revenue increased by double digits, evidenced by a CAGR 12%.
His role working with and assisting the Ministry of Health as a member of the Governor’s War Cabinet during the worst pandemic of this century – COVID 19 is impressive. Working with the Governor and members of the War cabinet to making decisions for over 20m Lagosians, thereby striking a balance between between their lives and livelihood.
Dr. Olowo has in entirety contributed immensely to public policy development and implementation impacting several sectors like Education, Agriculture, Transportation, Health and all other areas of Governance.
Other accolades to his name as the Commissioner for Finance in Lagos State include:
i) Optimizing revenue through a revenue monitoring framework that yielded 85% State-wide Revenue performance during COVID-19 pandemic.
ii) raising N150b syndicated deficit financing at a competitive rate of 14% in his first 3months of in office as a timely intervention to finance gaps in State’s Infrastructure.
iii) raising the N100B Series III Bond at 12.25% – the largest Bond Issuance ever embarked upon by any Sub National entity in the country., achieving a rate far below inflation.
iv) full conversion of LASG Financial Statements from cash basis reporting to accrual basis reporting with over 1,300 Accountants in Lagos State being trained on IPSAS (ACCA Certified), a review of the Land Use Charge with the enactment and implementation of a new law towards delivering a more liberal tax regime to promote voluntary compliance, amongst many others.
Prior to entering mainstream public sector, Dr. Olowo worked for top local and multinational organizations across a range of industries including Financial Services, FMCG, Professional/Academic Organizations, Manufacturing, Healthcare, and Startups, contributing to various forms of business advancements. Some of these companies include: Zenith Bank Plc where he served in various capacities including Senior Supervisor, Internal Audit and Financial Control & Compliance Officer; British Pharmaceutical Giant, GlaxoSmithKline, working across Nigeria, West Africa, Europe, Middle East & Africa (EMEA) also covering a range of capacities including but not limited to Senior Finance Officer, Corporate / Financial Reporting Manager, Risk Manager & Compliance Business Partner, Regional Anti-Fraud Specialist, and ultimately General Manager / Head, Internal Audit.
He also has garnered experience, working with the Dutch Global Diary Leader, FrieslandCampina where he served as a Chief Audit Executive, Business Process & Financial Control providing strategic leadership for independent assurance, financial compliance business partnering, amongst others. Other positions held prior to his call to governance include working with the world’s leading, and largest, professional body of management accountants, The Chartered Institute of Management Accountants (CIMA), UK as a volunteer Lecturer / Global Learning Partner and Chairman, Management Accounting; The Association of Certified Fraud Examiners (ACFE) Texas, USA as a Training Director, and Country Lead, ACFE Body of Knowledge and Chief Instructor, West Africa.
Having emerged as the best graduating student in Accounting from Kogi State University where he attained his BSc degree, has certainly kept the momentum through the years. With an MBA from University of Lagos, and an MSc in Accounting and Finance from Robert Gordon University, Aberdeen, UK.
Dr. Rabiu Olowo is a life long learner, and earned a PhD in Forensic Accounting and Auditing. He is currently an Adjunct Professor at the Lagos State University MBA programmes.
The high performer who was also recently named the 2022 Public Finance Administrator of the Year at the Leadership Excellence awards, holds a long list of qualifications and professional certification.
He is a Chartered Accountant (ICAN), Chartered Management Accountant (CIMA, UK), Chartered Tax Practitioner ( CITN), Certified in International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS) and International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS)., (ACCA). He is an alumni of Harvard Kennedy School of Government.
Congratulations are certainly in order, as Nigeria is truly proud to have one of its own, ably representing her, at a continental and global scale so boldly.