The Mettle Approach

Mettle Consult was established from the realisation of the limited understanding of the African continent and culture in Scandinavia with regards to doing business. Having sat through many seminars across the world, that sought to educate Westerners on the high costs (monetary and otherwise) of doing business in Africa, a trend became apparent - there is a single story about Africa, that of difficulty, chaos, corruption, and uncertainty, which inadvertently breeds fear. As an African who has spent a significant part of her life living in the Western world, Chisom has always felt the responsibility to change that single-story and at the same time, make a positive impact on the business landscape. Knowing that it takes a village to run a successful business venture, she sought like-minded individuals, most of whom are Africans, who had the education, experience, network and grit to make the desired difference. Thus, the Mettle team was created. While we have different backgrounds and experiences, what brings us together is our work ethic and strong desire to change the negative single-story of Africa.

We are a group of innovative and entrepreneurial professionals who are motivated by change, results, and progress. We are doers, bold, principled, and circumspect. We have an international background with experiences that spans across 5 continents. We are particularly passionate about bridging the business cooperation gap between Africa and the rest of the world. Each one of us has spent a significant time working and living in West Africa. We are well aware of the difficulty of doing business in Africa, we have first hand experience. But most importantly, we have navigated and sailed through it. We are fiercely anti-corrupt and highly compliant with laws, both foreign and domestic. We believe that in order to successfully do business in Africa, you need Africans on your team, as your sparring partners. One of our core comparative advantages rests in our abilities to easily translate the local African business contexts to highest Western standards.

"We are not in the business of telling you what you want to hear. We are in the business of telling you what you need to know. "

The Team

Chisom Udeze

Chisom Udeze
Founder & Lead Strategist
Areas: Economy, Energy, Oil & Gas, Trade & Commerce

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Chisom Udeze

Economist & Lead Strategist

Chisom is an economist with a strong passion for Africa and entrepreneurship. She is highly knowledgeable in and has a versatile expertise in business processes and practices. An energetic researcher, business strategist and analyst, she has a track record of bringing business ideas from infancy to adulthood. She is driven by value creation, efficiency and effectiveness, and motivated by measureable results. Chisom is an excellent communicator and facilitator, having brokered many successful business projects and partnerships in Africa. While working at Madre, she also assisted in designing and facilitating training events and seminars at the African Women’s Millennium Initiative (AWOMI), and at the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (UNCSW), at the United Nations in New York City. She has also worked as a Lecturer of Economics at Utrecht University.

As the founder of Mettle Consult, she aims to positively impact the business landscape in Africa by challenging the status quo and fears that accompanies successful business operations in West Africa. Born into an entrepreneurial family, she spent many years learning from her family’s businesses on navigating the full life cycle of conducting business in Nigeria, from conceptualization to successful operations. As an entrepreneur, her first venture was the founding of a private secondary school, Xanadu Academy (currently under construction) in Nigeria. She is also co-founder of Language121 AS, an online language school based in Norway, and co-founder of a small construction company in Lagos, Nigeria. Chisom has experiences from and is interested in the non-profit, oil and gas, energy, finance, trade (import/exports), research and higher education sectors. She has lived and worked in 6 countries in North America, Europe, and Africa.

Work Experience

Chisom founded Mettle Consulting with working experiences from organizations such as ExxonMobil, Madre; Utrecht University; International Indigenous Women’s Forum (IIWF); Xanadu Academy; Language121 AS; Friends of New York Corps—Turtle Tree; China American Psychoanalytic Alliance (CAPA); and Middlebury College.

Education

Undergraduate:
BA in Economics, University of Mississippi (USA); BA in International Studies—Global Economics and Business (Regional Focus: Europe; Language: French), Croft Institute for International Studies (USA)
Post-Graduate:
MSc. in International Economics and Business (Development and Globalization), Utrecht University (Netherlands); Masters of Public Administration & Masters of Arts in International Education Management, Middlebury College (USA).

Languages

English, Igbo, Yoruba, French, Norwegian (A2)

Kim-Andre Nikolaisen

Kim-Andre Nikolaisen
Technology Analyst & Country Specialist
Areas: IT, Construction, Research & Compliance, Oil & Gas

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Kim-Andre Nikolaisen

Kim-Andre Nikolaisen

Technology Analyst & Country Specialist 

Kim-Andre is a technology autodidact, having studied Social Sciences and Human Geography at NTNU and Utrecht University. He is a generalist with a desire for finding solutions to business problems. He is passionate about synergizing the ease of technology to day-to-day business operations. He has spent about two years working as an Operations Manager in Lagos, Nigeria, and has garnered knowledge about the local market and people. He has a strong desire and a track record of driving growth with his ideas and business solutions. In addition to Nigeria, he has also lived in the Netherlands, Israel, Syria, Switzerland, and Norway.

Education

Undergraduate: BSc. in Human Geography, Norwegian University of Science and Technology (Norway) and Utrecht University (Netherlands)

Work Experience

Kim-Andre joins Mettle Consult with working experiences from TechUp; Language121 AS; Trafikkdirigering AS; Fiskerøkeriet AS; SRF Radiators.

Languages

English, Norwegian, Swedish, Danish, Spanish, German

Kene Obi

Kene Obi
Data Analyst & Compliance
Areas: Market, Data Analyst & Compliance

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Kene Obi

Data Analyst & Compliance

Kene is a Physicist with significant experience in laser and optics research. He has strong investigative skills and has a proven track record of examining projects and applications for compliance with government statutes and regulations. A prolific researcher, he is skilled at conducting actionable and data driven research in areas such as Strategy Development, Market Entry Plan, Commercial Due Diligence, and overall Compliance.

Kene’s investigative skills were bolstered by a few years in graduate school, where he conducted research in photonics and bio sensing applications using micro-lasers. He has published several papers in reputable physics journals including the Physical Review Letters. Kene is interested in the promotion of science in Africa, and the development of Africa through technologically driven business innovation and solutions. He is also interested in Law, and how that applies to the regulation of scientific advancement all over the world, and Africa in particular.

Work Experience

Kene joins Mettle Consult with work experience from Washington University in St Louis; the United States Army; and the United States Patent Office in Dallas.

Education

Undergraduate: BSc. in Physics, Grinnell College (USA)
Post-Graduate: MSc. in Electrical Engineering, Washington University in St Louis (USA); Juris Doctor Harvard University (USA)

Languages

English, Igbo

Annie Amauche

Annie Amauche
Market Operations Manager
Areas: Market, Strategy, Negotiations & Business Intelligence

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Annie Amauche

Market Operations Manager

Annie is passionate about understanding consumer behavior, and formulating marketing strategies to acquire and retain her target market. Her ability to gain insight into consumers in diverse markets and/or industries is buttressed by her MBA career, which focused on Business Intelligence. Annie is an expert in Business Analytics with advanced knowledge of most BI software. Annie has extensive experience in working with multi-functional teams in strategy to define long-term business direction. She has demonstrated a flawless ability to analyze situations and generate value adding strategies and resources. Having worked as the Nigerian National Operations Coordinator, and thereafter, as the West African Sales Operations Manager at Nestlé, she has a track record of exceeding expectations in branding, decision-making, negotiations, pricing strategy, raising net sales and revenues, and actionable solution-based plans. Annie has a remarkable understanding of the Nigerian and greater West African market. She is creative and delivers timely and exceptional projects.

Work Experience

Annie joins Mettle Consult with about a decade of work experience within the Consumer Packaged Goods industry. She has held Marketing and Management roles in companies like Nestle, Mondelez International, Kraft Heinz, and Target.

Education

Undergraduate: Bachelor of Business Administration, University of Mississippi (USA)

Post-Graduate: MBA, University of Denver (USA)

Languages

English, Igbo, German

Jemila Abdulai

Jemila Abdulai
Economist & Communications Specialist
Areas: Economy, Research, Strategy & Branding

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Jemila Abdulai

Economist & Communications Specialist

A media and international development professional, having worked in over 10 countries, Jemila combines her business, communications and project management expertise with her strong passion for Africa. She is the founder and editor of the award-winning website Circumspecte.com, an online platform dedicated to meaningful insights, interaction and creative action related to Africa and Africans.

While working at the African Development Bank (AfDB), she liaised with development practitioners in government, private sector, civil society and academia. She also spearheaded engagement between the Bank and African youth by helping establish the Youth for Results AfriK4R platform and organizing digital events linked to the annual Civil Society Organization Forum and other events at the AfDB Annual Meetings. Jemila has a track record of excellent delivery in digital media, policy research, and project management. She has also worked as a consultant for organizations like the African Center for Economic Transformation, the World Bank Group and the African Development Bank.

An avid collaborator, Jemila seeks to foster innovative action among African youth. In addition to guest lecturing at Ashesi University, she offers professional trainings on blogging and social media, and served as a volunteer and mentor at TechCamp West Africa and Tech Camp Ivory Coast respectively. She has written for Devex and the LSE Africa Blog, alongside features on Al-Jazeera, BBC and Thought Catalog.

Work Experience

Jemila joins Mettle Consult with working experiences from Circumspecte; African Development Bank (AfDB); African Women's Millennium Initiative (AWOMI); Devex; African Center for Economic Transformation; and Esoko.

Education

Undergraduate: BA in Economics and French, Mount Holyoke College (USA)
Post-Graduate: MA in International Economics and International Affairs from Johns Hopkins SAIS (USA)

Languages

English, Arabic, French, Italian, Dagbani, Twi, Wolof

Uchenna Onuzo

Uchenna Onuzo
Economist & Market Analyst
Areas: Economy, Energy, Trade & Business Intelligence

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Uchenna Onuzo

Economist & Market Analyst

An economist with varied experience in international development and market research, Uche has held working positions in Pacific island countries, the US, Nigeria and India. Through her research, she has contributed to promoting economic development by identifying appropriate economic and social drivers that inform policy and planning, on the public and private sectors. As an economist with the Pacific Community (SPC) in Fiji Islands, an international development organization owned and governed by its 26 country and territory members, she advised ministers, policymakers and the private sector in Pacific island countries on energy and transport issues. 

She has also served as a graduate consultant for UNICEF, and a market research analyst for an e-commerce firm in New York. She has written several reports that have driven policy change at national and international levels, including co-authoring a World Bank report on maritime transport, a UNICEF consultancy report that was referenced in the UN Secretary General’s International Solidarity Report, and the 2015 UNESCAP Review of Developments in Transport in Asia and the Pacific.

Work Experience

Uche joins Mettle Consult with working experiences from companies such as Houston Downtown Management District (Downtown District) and Central Houston Inc; Secretariat of the Pacific Community (SPC); UNICEF; New York City Economics Development Corporation; The Boys LLC (PexSupply.com); and KPMG.

Education

Undergraduate: BSc. in Economics, Smith College (USA)

Post-Graduate: MSc. in Public and Economic Policy, London School of Economics (United Kingdom)

Languages

English, Igbo

Prince Mbanefo

Prince Mbanefo
Trade & Compliance Specialist
Areas: Market, Trade & Compliance

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Prince Mbanefo

Trade & Compliance Specialist

Trade & Compliance Specialist

Prince has years of experience in the areas of International Trade Regulations and Policies, WTO Laws, Competition/Antitrust Law, and Management. As a Global Trade Advisor at Sandler Trade LLC, Washington DC, Prince drafted petitions, and facilitated hearings by the U.S. government to aid the countries of Georgia and Fiji, in bringing their worker and labor rights regime up to par with international standards, which is a major criterion for eligibility under the U.S. Generalized System of Preferences (GSP). He Created and implemented trade logistics for the import and export of goods for various clients, making sure they are in line with country-specific trade regulations. 

Prince has also conducted seminars at the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) in Imo-State, Nigeria, on how to maximize export opportunities afforded by the U.S. trade preference programs such as the GSP and the Africa Growth and Opportunity Act (AGOA). Consequently providing farmers, exporters, and small business owner’s duty saving opportunities. As a Global Trade Advisor, Prince researched and drafted a successful petition on behalf of 40 U.S. small batch importers/exporters. This petition was filed to the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and advocated for the small batch importer “third-party testing” carve-out for meeting lead content, phthalates and ASTM F-963 specifications. Prince has also wrote successful petitions for the country of Brazil to the U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) and the U.S. Trade Representative (USTR) to grant tariff breakouts to the U.S. Harmonized Tariff System to help expand GSP utilization.

With a high interest in International trade and development, Prince has assisted and instructed companies from Kenya, Uganda, Timor-Leste, and other developing countries on how to get their products exposed to U.S. buyers through product displays, field trips, product design and quality, packaging, labeling, and U.S. Consumer Product Safety requirements and compliance. He also has in-depth knowledge of ever evolving trade laws and regulations in West Africa, with special expertise on Nigeria.

Work Experience

Prince joins Mettle Consult with working experiences from Washington DC Superior Courts; CVS Caremark Corporation; Eurasia Center; Sandler Trade LLC; and Enterprise Rent-A-Car.

Education

Undergraduate: BSc. in Communications, Legal Institutions, Economics and Government; The American University (USA)
Post-Graduate: LL.M in International Economic Law and Development from Universitat De Barcelona, (Spain)

Languages: English, and Igbo.

 

Donald Odogwu

Donald Odogwu
Project Manager
Areas: Business Development, Logistics, IT & Project Management

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Donald Odogwu

Project Manager

Donald possesses a variety of skills such as IT, procurement, data analysis, business development, and project management with diverse industry experience from Nigeria and the United States. Additional expertise includes strategy development, market analysis and due diligence.

Industry/Work Experience

He joins Mettle Consult with a rich experience from companies such as IBM, Greater Washington Capital, FedBid, and Madre.

Education

Undergraduate: BBA in Supply Chain Management, Howard University (USA)
Post-Graduate: MSc. in Applied Information Technology, Towson University (USA)

Languages

English, Igbo

Edwin Warden
Economic & Political Risk Analyst
Areas: Peace and Security, Extractive Sector, Sustainable Development

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Edwin Warden

 

Economic & Political Risk Analyst

Edwin is a political scientist with over 7 years professional experience in conducting research and implementing projects in West and East Africa, Scandinavia and South-East Asia. Passionate about Africa’s peace and security, he has been involved  in implementing security sector reforms, peacebuilding projects and election monitoring in Kenya and Ghana. He previously worked at the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative’s International Secretariat (Anglophone and Lusophone Africa Team)  in Oslo where he provided support on transparency and good governance of oil, gas and minerals. 

Edwin has published research papers focusing on conflict analysis, security and peacebuilding, extractive sector governance, disaster risk management and sustainable development. He was part of a team that embarked on a research trip to Sri Lanka and produced a book, in collaboration with the Hambantota Chamber of Commerce, that explained the impact of the 2004 Tsunami on local businesses and the reconstruction process. As an independent consultant, his forthcoming report for the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH highlights the stabilisation effect of natural resource governance in post-conflict countries. He has passion for football, making food and meeting new people with wild dreams. 

Work Experience

Edwin joins Mettle Consult with work experience from the Extractive Industries Transparency Initiative (Norway), UNICEF (Norway), Local Capacities of Peace International (Kenya) and African Centre for Peacebuilding (Ghana).

Education

Undergraduate: BA (Hons) Political Studies, KNUST (Ghana)

Post-Graduate: MA Peace and Conflict Studies, University of Oslo (Norway); MSc. in Development Management, University of Agder (Norway).

Languages

English, Twi, Ga and Fante

Advisory Board

Guntram Buhl
Board Member 
Areas: IT, Management, Strategy, Operational Responsibility & Enterprise Sales

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Guntram Buhl

Guntram is an Engineer with over three decades worth of experience in top-level management positions and driving growth at leading companies. He has held top management and directorial positions in companies such as Software AG, General Motors, Siemens AG, Seeburger AG, and Computacenter AG. He has significant experience in Software Development, IT Outsourcing, Managed Services, Maintenance and Business Intelligence.

In these specified areas, he has held top management roles in Quality Management, Operational Alignment and Responsibility, Enterprise Sales, Product Engineering, and Project Management.

Guntram is also a successful entrepreneur, having successfully founded three thriving companies (in Real Estate, Construction, and Consumer Goods) in Germany.

 

Olusegun Akanji
Board Member
Areas: Banking, Investments, Insurance, Strategy, Innovation, and Business Sustainability

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Olusegun Akanji

With over 17 years presence in the formal work space, Olusegun has over a decade of experience in financial services covering commercial banking, investment banking and insurance. 
He acquired consulting exposure as a strategy and business transformation subject matter expert, working with leading global firms – such as Accenture and Deloitte. 


He is passionate about capital and market formation, business transformation, innovation and project finance across sectors, with specific interest in real estate and small growing businesses. He has attended a number of capacity building sessions within and outside Nigeria. 
Currently, he leads the Strategy and Transformation Team at Heritage Bank Plc. He led the project management for the market re-entry of the Bank in 2013 and also facilitated the acquisition of the former Enterprise Bank Limited. 
He was responsible for the business combination of Heritage Bank and Enterprise Bank to form the new and enlarged Heritage Bank Plc. 

He is an alumnus of the prestigious Wharton University Real Estate Centre and Harvard Business School’s high profile program - Leading Change and Organization Renewal (LCOR). 
He holds a B.Sc and M.Sc from the University of Lagos. He is an MBA alumnus of Lagos State University and University of Bangor, UK. 
He is an associate member of the Nigeria Institute of Management (Chartered), Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and Chartered Institute of Bankers in Scotland. 


Olusegun is a regular TV analyst on business and economic issues in Nigeria. He volunteers as a facilitator in a number of organizations focused on small growing business support. He is a Clean Development Mechanism Coach with The Private Financing Advisory Network (PFAN).