ENTREPRENEUR SPOTLIGHT - OKE AFOLABI IS A SUCCESS IN BANK DIGITALIZATION, HOSPITALITY AND JAZZ MUSIC
Oke Kehinde Afolabi is at the helm of four businesses: tech, showbiz; hospitality, and logistics. For some, that would be too much to juggle, but to the Nigerian, "Impossible is nothing. The attitude of Nigeria is of a go-getter country. The attitude of, why not have this and why not have the tallest, boldest, loudest?" he says. "That entrepreneurial spirit is in this country's DNA."
Oke Afolabi, an Associate member of the Business Continuity Institute UK, is a result-oriented Marketing Professional with a proven record of accomplishment in planning and leading comprehensive marketing strategies in support of business goals and objectives. In his current role at Global InfoSwift Consulting Limited (GICL) as a co-founder and CEO, he provides strategic direction, articulates corporate vision, mission and strategy as well as values that define the culture of the team.
"Everything is changing and the newer generation are coming up with these great ideas, so banks need to evolve too," he says of the GICL, he's helped establish. "It's been nice that I can make an impact. I hope that I can leave a legacy, like martin Luther king Jr. says, 'never follow where the path may lead rather follow where there is no path and leave a trail.'"
The company, Global InfoSwift Consulting Limited (GICL) www.globalinfoswift.com, a Lagos based IT company that provide solutions and services to Nigerian financial institutions and beyond. The firm is also a promoter of Omni channel Solution with its Cr2 partners which provides digital banking platforms for Nigerian Banks. CR2, led by Fintan Byrne, is a world-leading vendor within the Digital Banking Platform market, with a market leadership position in Africa.
The platform provides banks with Digital, Self-Service and Payments solutions to grow their business, optimize their customer service cost and deliver an enhanced customer experience. Headquartered in Ireland, Cr2 enables over 100 banks in 60 countries seamlessly connect and engage with their customers on the most critical banking channels today.
Global Infoswift's partnership with CR2 is an ongoing successful relationship which has highlighted the importance of the self-service channels in supporting Nigeria's retail banking growth, with the deployment of CR2's BankWorld Suite of products. The partnership enhances the impact and effectiveness of action through a combined and more efficient use of resources, it promotes innovation and it is distinguished by a strong commitment displayed by both parties in jointly delivering projects like Access Bank Plc. which is currently one of the biggest Banks in Africa.
"We're a massive country," says Oke. "More than half of his country's population are younger than 24. We're growing, and we have this huge, youthful population. What's going to happen when the country's economy relies on these people to drive it forward? How will they fund themselves and be aware of their finances?" he added.
In May 2013, Oke was sought after by the Irish Government (Enterprise Ireland) to help facilitate a financial service seminar to inspire business men in Ireland to see investment opportunities in Nigeria, His exceptional facilitation style was attested to when the Government led several business men to Nigeria on a major trade mission to the country in conjunction with representatives from the Central Bank of Nigeria.
The ISO 27001 (Information Security Project) project delivered by Afolabi Oke for the Central Bank of Nigeria in particular led to the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria at the time, Lamido Sanusi Lamido, mandating all the commercial Banks they regulate to implement the same ISO standards to ensure we have a more secured financial sector. Oke currently works with the central Bank to also help audit some of the commercial Banks in compliance to the standard. In the Nigerian Financial Industry today, Global InfoSwift (GIS) has established herself as a driving force behind the successes achieved by most Banks in the area of their compliance with the CBN IT Standard requirements and other Technology related solutions and services
Some of the other organizations are:
Zenith Bank (Integrated Management System ISO 27001, ISO 22301, ISO 20000)
MTN Nigeria (Backup and Recovery solutions)
Wema Bank (ISO 27001, ISO 22301,20000 & Cobit Framework)
Providus Bank (ISO 22301, ISO 20000, ISO 27001, Cobit & PCIDSS)
Special Court of Sierra Leone (backup and recovery solutions)
Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (Symantec antivirus / backup and recovery sols)
Nigerian Social Insurance Trust Fund (ISO 27001)
Heritage Bank (ISO 27001 and PCIDSS)
Polaris Bank (ISO 27001, ISO 22301 and ISO 20000)
Guaranty Trust Bank (ISO 27001, 22301 and ISO 20000)
Central Bank of Nigeria (The First Regulator to be certified to ISO 27001 in West Africa)
First Bank of Nigeria (First commercial Bank to be certified to ISO 27001)
He is a sought-after speaker and provides mentorship for the youth, start-up seed funding, and entrepreneur development
The Showbiz side of Oke Kehinde Afolabi
In fulfilling the UNESCO initiative, which is promoting Global Peace, Unity & dialogue through music, Runway Jazz founded by Oke Afolabi was birthed to include Nigeria as one of the participating 196 countries and to serve as a platform to engage music and art enthusiasts and jazz aficionados, giving stylish expression to art and culture through music and fashion. The focus on Jazz music really broadens its appeal, particularly in Nigeria and across Africa, and introduces an innovative music/fashion franchise onto the Nigerian entertainment scene. Runway Jazz engages stakeholders from a broad spectrum of industries, including fashion houses and brands, food & beverage, entertainment, private and public sectors in Nigeria and from its international communities.
He is redefining luxury and African culture in hospitality industry through The Grandeur
Its Majestically situated in the plush Victoria Island of Lagos, The Grandeur, which was recently opened by Her Excellency Mrs. Bamidele Abiodun, wife of the Ogun State Governor features elegantly bespoke Rooms and Deluxe Suites, as well as a Conference Center (and Meeting Rooms) which are perfect for all types of meetings and events. The epitome of sheer luxury boasts an amazing roof-top terrace that offers a transcendent view at the heart of the island, allowing guests an elevated experience and a secluded ambience of serenity. The lavish decor combine African, American / European inﬂuences with modern designs and the very latest technology in most breath-taking and stunning Luxury rooms, also offers a world-class restaurant, bar and lounge which serve both continental and local cuisines.
In addition, The Grandeur provides a world-class gym and enchanting state-of-the-art swimming pools. Among numerous other hospitality services and premium offerings, The Grandeur offers guests the convenience of a documentary studio, conference room, video conferencing facilities, executive work spaces and as well as a business center. Oke Afolabi came up with the idea to utilise the Grandeur to showcase the work of the local art community to exhibit their work to guests who will be visiting "This will provide a much-needed platform for local artists to showcase their talent, at the same time nurturing the enjoyment and appreciation of arts and culture on the Grandeur.