It was all glitz and glamour as business leaders from the Academia, FSI, FMCG, Telco, Media, etc. came together last weekend to celebrate Prof. Uchenna Uzo, a Professor of Marketing and a Faculty Director at Lagos Business School, following his successful delivery of the 14th Inaugural Lecture, at the Pan Atlantic University.
The dinner which was hosted by Terragon, was held at the exclusive Capital Club Lagos and had in attendance members of management of Pan-Atlantic University/Lagos Business School including, Prof. Enase Okonedo (Vice-Chancellor, PAU), Prof. Juan Elegido (Former Vice Chancellor, PAU), Prof. Chris Ogbechie (Dean, Lagos Business School), amongst others. Top business leaders including Olatomiwa Williams (Country Director, Microsoft Nigeria), Emmanuel Ojo (CEO, RedTech Ltd), Chizor Malize, (MD/CEO, FITC) and Elo Umeh (CEO, Terragon), were also in attendance.
In his welcome remarks, CEO of Terragon, Elo Umeh poured encomium on the academic genius, describing him as an extraordinary talent, and a marketing scholar who has been a key collaborator for Terragon. Guests at the event also gave glowing tributes to the man of the moment, applauding his humility, grit, discipline, and sterling contributions to the academic and business communities in Nigeria and Beyond.
Prior to the celebratory dinner, Prof. Uzo delivered the 14th Inaugural Lecture at Pan-Atlantic University. His lecture titled: “The Hidden Gem: Success in Africa’s Informal Markets”, shed light on the pivotal role played by informal markets in driving economic growth across Africa.
In his lecture, Prof. Uzo asserted that the growing adoption of digitalisation will not be the death of the informal market in Nigeria. According to him, the informal market which described the part of any economy that is neither taxed nor monitored by any form of government, is estimated to be 57.7 percent which represents approximately $1.167 billion of Nigeria’s GDP.
He went further to debunk 3 myths that often obstruct the understanding of Africa’s informal market. They include, perception of the informal markets as illegal/ black markets that concentrate on flouting the laws of the land which is a fallacy as some consumer goods rely on this channel for over 60% of their revenues, aldo businesses use this informal market to test for product and price acceptance before full roll out. Secondly, the perception that Africa’s informal marketplaces will completely or eventually transition to modern markets in the formal economy, however the entry and exit of a number multinational retail conglomerates in the Nigerian market completely debunks this claim. Lastly, the notion that the informal sector does not have structure, contradicts the inability of new “sellers” to trade in any location without going through a defined approval process established by the “area fathers”.