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Dr. Taiwo Olayinka Afolabi: The man behind SIFAX

Dr. Taiwo Olayinka Afolabi, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of SIFAX Group, a multinational conglomerate, was born in Ondo to the family of Chief and Chief (Mrs.) Samson Afolabi. He’s a native of Idokunusi Ijebu in the Ijebu East Local Government Area of Ogun State.

He started his educational pursuit at Ansar Ud Deen Primary School, Ondo and thereafter proceeded to Baptist Grammar School, Ibadan, where he obtained his West African School Certificate (WASC). His quest to attain high level of academic excellence and leadership in advocacy led him to the University of Lagos, where he obtained a degree in Law.

He became a member of the noble profession when he was called to the Nigerian Bar by the Body of Benchers on Wednesday, November 4, 2009. He later obtained a master’s degree in International Law and Diplomacy from the same university. He began his professional career with a shipping company, Nigerian Express Agencies Limited, where he distinguished himself and rose to become the head of operations.

With the zeal of entrepreneurship burning in him, he left the company in 1988 to establish what has now turned into a big conglomerate, SIFAX Group, a business interest with diverse investments in maritime, aviation, haulage, logistics, oil & gas and hospitality, among others. From little beginnings, the company, which started as a freight forwarding agency in Lagos, Nigeria, currently operates across the world with presence in the United States, United Kingdom, Ghana, South Africa, Holland, Belgium, Morocco, Spain and Djibouti, among others.

Some of the group’s subsidiaries include Ports and Cargo Handling Services Limited, concessionaire and operator of the Terminal C, Tin Can Island Ports, Apapa Lagos; SIFAX Off Dock Limited, a bonded terminal operator; SIFAX Stevedoring Limited; SIFAX Oil and Gas Limited; SIFAX Haulage & Logistics Limited; SIFAX Logistics & Marine Services Limited; Skypower Aviation Handling Company Limited, an aviation ground handling company and SIFAX Shipping Limited.

With about three decades of rich entrepreneurial experience, Dr. Afolabi, through a dint of hard work, foresight, resilience, vision and knack for excellence, has emerged not only as one of the leading business icons in Nigeria, but also reckoned with across the world.

No doubt his wealth of experience, organisational prudence and business ingenuity have remained invaluable assets to SIFAX Group, which has become a leading player in the Nigerian economy. The company, alongside its subsidiaries, has generated both direct and indirect employment for thousands of Nigerians.

Afolabi is a seasoned maritime consultant and a fellow of many professional bodies including Nigerian Institute of Financial Management (NIFM), Institute of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (IFFN) and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators of Nigeria. He has attended several maritime and aviation-related trainings both locally and internationally on port operations, aviation ground handling operations and management.

Due to his rich experience, Afolabi is a sought-after speaker and facilitator at various industry conferences and mentoring programmes. Besides being renowned for his business acumen, Dr. Taiwo Afolabi has also established a reputation as a public-spirited individual. His philanthropic philosophy has driven him to give hope and support to many public causes. The major focus of this philanthropic initiative is education, where many schools, from primary to tertiary level, have received immense support and assistance.

Some of these interventions include a 1,000 capacity lecture theatre at Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomosho and an 18-seater Toyota Hiace bus donated to the Medical Students Association of the Obafemi Awolowo University, Ile-Ife, Osun State. As a mark of recognition of his outstanding achievements and invaluable contributions to nation building, he has been conferred with various honorary doctorate degrees by four universities, including Ladoke Akintola University, Ogbomosho, Oyo State, Cornerstone University and Theological Seminary, Jerusalem, Israel and USA, European-American University, Dominica and Commonwealth University, Belize. Dr. Taiwo Afolabi is also a recipient of over 30 individual awards from diverse organisations.

The latest of these awards being the 2014 Business Person of the Year which was conferred on him by one of Nigeria’s leading newspapers, Daily Sun. The Federal Government has also recognised the great contributions of this Ogun State-born business icon. He is a recipient of the Member of the Order of Niger (MON) award.

The accolades are not restricted to Nigeria alone; he is also the Honorary Consul-General of the Republic of Djibouti in Nigeria. Dr. Afolabi is a member of the Institute of Directors, Nigeria; Ikoyi Club 1938; IBB Golf Club, Abuja; the Building Committee of the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry, amongst many others. He is a sports lover, who enjoys watching and playing football. He is happily married with children.


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