We will either find a way or make one… Tazame 5.0 – Partner’s Address By Niyi Yusuf

The contemporary business environment is dramatically different from what it was ten years ago, and it continues to evolve at an increasing rate. Consumer trends, macroeconomic shifts, technological advances, changing demographics, competitive dynamics and pandemics are accelerating the pace of change, leaving many businesses struggling to grow amidst the turbulence.

Juxtapose this with several emerging market and developing economies (such as Nigeria) who continue to struggle with the COVID-19 pandemic and lagging vaccination efforts, reversed poverty reduction gains and aggravated insecurity and other long-standing challenges, and you will see the need for institutions, enterprises, and governments to deliberately seek new sources of growth.

Our message this year is simple: embrace disruption as stability is no longer guaranteed, you must plan to reignite growth in your operations despite uncertainties.

Whether you are exploring new market opportunities including expansion into new regions, identifying new channels, targeting new customer segments, or even creating new product categories, enterprises and governments must rethink their growth strategy and move from “surviving” in their chosen industries, to “thriving” and even dominating. This simple truth lies at the core of our focus this year at Verraki and is a catalyst for every interaction we have with our clients.

The Great Plague of London, lasting from 1665 to 1666 that led to the death of a quarter of the population of London, was the last major epidemic of the bubonic plague to occur in England. Many businesses and institutions were shut because of the plague. Isaac Newton was in his early 20s and a college student at Trinity College, Cambridge. The Cambridge University sent students home to continue their studies during the plague and Isaac quarantined himself at Woolsthorpe Manor, the family estate about 60 miles northwest of Cambridge. This was the most productive time of his life as it was the period he discovered calculus and the laws of motion. Isaac Newton returned to Cambridge in 1667, theories in hand, and within six months, he was made a fellow; two years later, a professor. The year-plus he spent away at home was later referred to as his annus mirabilis, the “year of wonders.”

Despite the heightened insecurity reports, rising inflation, unemployment, poverty, and the many issues bedeviling the country today that threaten to increase our anxieties, we are reminded of the words of Hannibal, a Carthaginian General, who responded when his generals told him it was impossible to cross the Alps, into Italy, by elephants during the Second Punic War (around 218 BC) “We will either find a way or make one.”

As Nigerians, we have a role to play in creating the economic, political, and social systems that we want. As we opined in our Democracy Day message, the attacks on democracy remind us of the fragility of democracy and the need to protect it at all costs. As Nelson Mandela once said, “What is important is not only to attain victory for democracy; it is to retain democracy”. We must believe that the bond that unites us is greater than the forces aiming to divide us and rededicate ourselves, to the ideals of a united, just, peaceful, and progressive society.

In this edition, we are sharing updates on our 2nd Anniversary (yes; we are 2 years already!) and our work catalyzing high-quality growth for 31 corporate clients (including 62% of the companies listed on the Premium Board of the Nigerian Stock Exchange) across 16 industry sectors in 51 projects. From helping Africa’s biggest corporates (MTN & Dangote) automate their back-office processes for greater efficiency, to working with the largest smartcard production facility in Sub-Saharan Africa (Secure ID), to reigniting growth for several other companies while incubating future unicorns via our ventures practice; we have been busy building the type of Africa that we want.

One of my colleagues recently said that Africa is the land of opportunities and the world’s last-mile for growth. We can create the type of opportunities that move us forward by standing up to be counted, rolling up our sleeves, and doing all we can to create new sources of and reignite growth in what we do.

Foremost Africa nationalist, Kwame Nkrumah leaves us with a stirring charge “The task. Countrymen - the task ahead is great indeed, and heavy is the responsibility; and yet it is a noble and glorious challenge - a challenge which calls for the courage to dream, the courage to believe, the courage to dare, the courage to do, the courage to envision, the courage to fight, the courage to work, the courage to achieve - to achieve the highest excellencies and the fullest greatness of man. Dare we ask for more in life?”

Welcome to the 5th edition of Tazame!