VENTURES AFRICA – The names of those to be on the Board of Directors of the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund were finally unveiled by the country’s Minister of Finance Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala last week to much anticipation. The minister announced that Alhaji Mahey Rafindadi Rasheed would act as Chairman of the Fund. This is one more step in what has so-far been a fast-paced and prosperous career in financial services and investment.
With such a dedicated career, it is only fitting that Mahey Rasheed has been chosen to lead the Nigerian Sovereign Wealth Fund at its opening hour. The Fund has three significant aims: saving funds for future generations, funding development of national infrastructure, and protecting the economy against commodity price shocks. These are no slight aims, and will require Mahey Rasheed to call upon his wealth of experience and investment-centred expertise.
From the very start of his career, Alhaji Mahey Rafindadi Rasheed immediately delved into the world of investment finance, working at the New Nigeria Development Company. Mahey Rasheed next joined the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), swiftly moving through the ranks to become Deputy-Governor of the Bank by 1991. Mahey Rasheed is thus no stranger to team-leading a finance institution, and will be able to bring a seasoned experiential approach as he leads the Sovereign Wealth Fund in its varied tasks during its young years.
At CBN, Mahey Rasheed was involved in managing Nigeria’s external debts, and overseeing the foreign exchange market. With significant expertise in these areas, he will be able to provide a leadership that is comprehensive in approach and unites the three branches of the Fund under an inclusive and innovative strategy. With hopes that the Fund will make Nigeria more attractive to foreign investors, Mahey’s background in external investment and financing will be of particular importance in terms of securing appropriate and advantageous partnerships.
Mahey Rasheed has played an active role in advising on many Government projects. Notably, he has acted as a member on the Federal Government Budget Review Committee, and also went on to be a Federal Government Representative in the Liquefied Natural Gas (NLNG) Project, and the Gas to Liquid (NGL) Project. While he holds a place on the boards of many companies, Mahey Rasheed was also appointed Chairman of the Nigerian Security Printing and Minting Company by the Federal Government of Nigeria. He currently also acts as a member on the Board of Directors of First Bank Plc. With such a wealth of varied and prestigious board and management experience, he is ideally placed to chair the SWF in the transparent and professional manner that is expected; and will be able to merge his Government project experiences with his private sector know-how.
Never turning his back on development and self-improvement, Mahey Rasheed has continued studying throughout his career. He first earned a post-graduate diploma from the University of Essex in the United Kingdom, and thereafter went on to obtain the degree of Master of Public Policy in 2006 from highly reputed Harvard University. This dedication to remaining continually up to date with the latest technical and intellectual developments highlights his suitability to spearhead an innovative and pivotal campaign such as the SWF – he will be able to lead in the establishment and implementation of new strategies and policies in order that the Fund will be a stable organisation capable of achieving long-term aims. Among these long-term aims: the goal of securing funds for future generations. His clear connection to the next generation of economists and investment professionals will add an alternative twist to the manner in which he approaches the question of providing strategic funding for the future generations of Nigerians, as per the specific aims of the SWF.