CAPTAIN Edward Boyo is the Chief Executive Officer of Overland Airways. He is a globally renowned expert in aviation and air transport development.
Together with his team of professionals, Boyo has diligently managed Overland Airways, Nigeria’s most consistent, longest -serving airline that has provided uninterrupted flight services over the past 15 years in Nigeria. As Overland Airways marks its 15years Anniversary, Captain Boyo in this interview reiterates the commitment of the Airline to serve the economy.
Overland Airways is marking its 15 years of flight services, and is today the most consistent longest -serving airline in Nigeria. As the Chief Executive Officer of the airline, how would you describe the journey so far?
Overland Airways has served the economy diligently for the past 15 years and we are thankful to God Almighty for that. just like any other business, the journey of Overland Airways is replete with exciting and challenging moments. When we started out our journey as an airline, we had a singular vision and objective to be successful in serving the economy by moving people from one location to another in safety and comfort and in a professional manner that adds value to their businesses and living.
We anticipated there would be challenges, and we as much as possible try to be realistic when addressing these challenges.
In other words, our journey is a journey driven by commitment to service. The Nigerian economy is faced by many challenges, and every Nigerian is expected to come out with solutions at various levels and competencies. Our niche is in providing Nigeria with air interconnectivity, connecting people and places together to create business and pleasure; and we serve with all our heart in that regard. That is our journey as Overland Airways.
We pioneered flight services to Ibadan, Ilorin, Akure, Dutse, Jalingo, Asaba, Kaduna, Abuja, among others, to assist investors, students, government officials, holiday makers and others get easier and safer means of movement to and from remote economies.
This has paid dividends to these economics and that is the essence of our journey as an airline. We have stepped up our core competences and capabilities over these years, for instance Overland Airways has undergone the International Air Transport Association (IATA) Operational Safety Audit (IOSA) and is listed on the IOSA Registry.
Overland is also a proud member of IATA, a community of respectable Airlines dictating global best practices and standard in the world today. These are world-class achievements and Overland Airways today sits among the world’s leading airlines in terms of operational safety standards and overall quality.
It would have been a disservice if we ventured into service with the wrong tools and capabilities. Therefore, part of our commitment is to serve the right way, bringing our global experiences into delivering the excellent world class services that Overland Airways provides today.
Make no mistakes about it, setting up an airline is easier to achieve than running the airline sustainably which is a complex and challenging task. Our ability to run Overland Airways successfully and sustainably over these past 15 years is a feat that has preserved and set Overland Airways apart today as an industry leader setting standard of top-quality airline management in Nigeria and the West Africa region. As long as mankind exists, the journey of an airline continues. So I can say that even at 15 years, the journey of Overland Airways has just begun.
You are about the only airline Chief Executive Officer that is also a Pilot actively flying your passengers regularly. What has been your key motivation and driving force?
Well, I will say that I am actuated by the need to serve. I believe the resources should not be wasted but brought to bear on driving our corporate economic goals. Again, flying is a vacation which I see as a service. I also believe no one is too big to serve whenever one finds oneself. When we set the right direction through our own activities as leaders, it becomes easier to bring the next generation into line as example, is a good way to express leadership.
At Overland Airways we have six core values, namely professionalism, excellence, safety, accountability, working hard and integrity. When you look at these, there is no provision for laxity; and to provide leadership under these concepts should come with a good measure of appropriate examples. To me I see it as leading from the front rather than from the sidelines or back.
Finally, I enjoy it and I am not about to leave it; my passengers too enjoy it and they are not about to give it up. It’s a unique selling proposition of Overland Airways and a win-win for all sides. it is an important part of the sweet service experience we deliver to our passengers.
Overland Airways had previously hinted of plans to venture into West African markets. Where are you now on this?
Let me start by saying that Overland Airways is proud to be a member Airline of IATA. This international seal of excellent world-class airline standard complements Overland Airways’s characteristic high quality service. The same commitment we have to help transform hinterland economies in Nigeria is what we are taking to the regional arena to integrate the regional economies in West Africa. Nigeria is our home and Africa is our world.
At 15years we are old enough to venture. Our studies and practical demonstration at home matches tell us we shall overcome the challenges of the away matches and we are set to go.
In fact, Overland Airways has been operating excellent charter services in the region over these past 15years; but we will extend our schedule services to the region to play our part in the economic integration of West Africa.
This is inline with the ICAO concept of ‘No Country Left Behind ‘, and also reflects our passion to drive the realization of the African Union’s Agenda 2063 objective to transform Africa’s economy. We must begin to emphasize on professionalism and world-class standard in providing solution to challenges confronting us as a region. It is necessary that we add value and not only wait for solutions from abroad.
Overland Airways is widely known as an economic development partner opening up hinterland routes. What is the motivation for the airline in this regard?
Hinterland routes or secondary airports in remote economies are all a key part of the national economy that should be adequately developed to ensure fair distribution and transformation of national wealth. Providing easy access enables hinterland economies develop faster and benefit from various economic development schemes.
Overland Airways fills the gap in economic development by interconnecting hinterland economies and also linking them to hub economies. That is why we have dedicated flights to places like Ibadan, Akure, Ilorin, Asaba, Dutse, Jalingo, etc.
Even though there is an increasing rate of rural-urban migration, the rural and semi-urban areas still hold a greater portion of Nigeria’s over 180 million population and abundant workforce, as well as untapped natural resources such as arable land, mineral resources, etc .
These resources are of no benefit if they are not exploited and transformed to add value to people’s lives. Some of these remote economies produce some of the best solid minerals and agricultural products in the world today.
Overland Airways ensures that investors, agribusiness owners, researchers, students, agencies, and community dwellers have easy air access to these locations which are usually considered inaccessible or difficult to access by road for accelerated development.
Sustaining world-class airline services to these hinterland routes comes with courage and determination and a high level of airline professionalism. And they love us because we bring world-class, airline services to their doorsteps. What more can they ask for, as we are always willing to do more to create greater value for them, which is the reason why Overland Airways is in existence.
What do you look to in another 10 to 15 years for Overland Airways?
If God grants long life, I will be around for another 15 years. The vision of Overland Airways and commitment to economic development remains firmly the same, and can only be strengthened as the years go by. What will expand is the scale of operation in the evolution of the airline. We will continue to embrace technology and improve investment in our human capital and operating Assets, in order to increase the value we create for the customer.
This means that we will expand our routes sustainably within Nigerian and the West Africa region, and also partner with Airline entities from other regions within and outside Africa to complement our route expansion efforts. We will also expand our fleet with more aircraft to serve our customers better. Overland Airways will become a household name on every lip in Africa, outlive many generations to exist and infinitum and will become the foremost economic development partner in the region.
$1.5m Prize Pool: Top 10 Finalists of “Africa’s Business Heroes” Grand Finale Announced
The 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes (ABH) prize, a flagship philanthropic program created by the Jack Ma Foundation’s Africa Netpreneur Prize Initiative (ANPI), has selected the top 10 finalists, who will pitch at the competition’s grand finale in November, for a chance to win a share of a US$1.5 million prize pool.
The ten outstanding entrepreneurs – half of whom are female – have been selected from over 22,000 applications across all 54 African nations, following several rounds of rigorous evaluation. With an average age of 34 years, the top ten represent eight African countries: Cameroon, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Senegal, Uganda, and Zimbabwe, and their businesses span key industries such as agriculture, fashion, education, healthcare, renewable energy, and financial services.
“I continue to be amazed by the passion, resilience, and vision of Africa’s entrepreneurs, and I look forward to meeting these ten extraordinary businesswomen and businessmen at the finale. I am excited to learn more about how they are driving positive change and progress across the continent,” said Jack Ma, Founder of the Jack Ma Foundation and Alibaba Group.
The passion, excellence, and diversity of the finalists reflects the DNA of the competition. The ABH program will recognize 100 African entrepreneurs and allocate US$100 million, over a ten-year period, in grant funding, training, mentoring and learning initiatives, access to key networks, and to develop a vibrant entrepreneur community to support Africa’s future business leaders. This is a testament to the Jack Ma Foundation’s long-term commitment to support Africa’s entrepreneurial ecosystem.
“The 2020 Africa’s Business Heroes competition has been incredible. The quality of the entrepreneurs and their ideas has been exceptional and this is a testament to the talent that exists across the continent. I am extremely excited to follow the rest of the competition and see who will come on top as the 2020 African Business Hero!” said Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu, ABH semi-finale judge and Founder of soleRebels, Garden of Coffee and Tefftastic.
“It’s been fascinating to be part of this unique initiative. From the start, I was struck by the diversity of people and projects involved, with the finalists providing almost even split of talented men and women from all over Africa. This competition has shone a light on our continent, and helped to showcase African solutions to African problems. As someone who knows how challenging it is to boot-strap their own business, I was heartened to see that many of the entrants are entirely self-funded, and have shown great determination, ingenuity and spirit to get this far. All the finalists are truly deserving of the opportunity they have been given. Jack Ma represents the very best in global entrepreneurship, so I am delighted to have been involved in such a fantastic project.” commented Nicolas Pompigne-Mognard, ABH semi-finale judge and Founder and Chairman of APO Group.
On November 13th and 14th, Africa’s Business Heroes will host its Grand Finale, and winners of the 2020 ABH prize will be announced on November 14th, 2020.
During the online Grand Finale pitch, the top ten Heroes will present their business ventures, as well as their vision and leadership profile, to the finale judging panel that includes: Jack Ma, Founder of the Jack Ma Foundation and the Alibaba Group; Ibukun Awosika, Chairman of First Bank of Nigeria and Founder/CEO of The Chair Centre Group; Strive Masiyiwa, Founder and Executive Chairman of Econet Group; and Joe Tsai, Executive Vice Chairman of the Alibaba Group.
The next few weeks will be crucial for the finalists to finesse their pitches and leverage the in-depth training, learnings and insights that they have gathered along their ABH journey, culminating in the finale. All of this will be part of ABH brand-new business entertainment televised show, due to air in five episodes from November 21st to December 19th across Africa. The show will give the audience exclusive access to the real-world stories of the entrepreneurs of this edition, following them as they go head to head in the finale, and unveiling the key insights and advice shared by the finale judges, alongside the best moments and experience of the competition. By showcasing the huge talent of the contestants, ABH hopes to talk to the entrepreneurial spirit of startups and small businesses in Africa and around the world, inspiring them to pursue their aspiration and turn their ideas and solutions into concrete business ventures.
Meet the Top 10 finalists:
Abdulai A Dasana, CEO & COO, Amaati Company Limited (Ghana)
“We nourish the world” – Amaati is a social enterprise whose mission is to build sustainable communities through the use of an extinct and neglected crop called Fonio. The company is led by Abdulai A. Dasana, an agricultural technologist with a decade of experience in finance, banking and SMEs, and with a vision to revolutionize the agriculture sector to benefit the most vulnerable.
Aboubakar Karim, CEO & Founder, INVESTIV (Côte d’Ivoire)
“Technology and passion for agriculture” – INVESTIV is an Ivorian company whose mission is to help build the future of African agriculture by leveraging innovative technologies to support smallholder farmers throughout Côte d’Ivoire and West Africa. The company is led by Aboubakar Karim, a 25 years old agro-economist.
Axel Emmanuel Gbaou, CEO & Founder, Le Chocolatier Ivorien (Côte d’Ivoire)
“Cocoa revolution in progress” – Le Chocolatier Ivorien manufactures and offers Africa-made, handcrafted and quality chocolate, promoting sustainable cultivation techniques and a fairer distribution of income in the cocoa chain through a direct partnership with female growers. The founder Axel, who started his career as a banker and established the company in his mother’s kitchen, holds a degree in International Public Law, and a Master’s in Taxation.
Chebet Lesan, Founder & CEO, Bright Green R. Energy (Kenya)
“Revolutionizing Africa’s kitchens” – BrightGreen Energy produces life-saving fuel bricks that reduce the cost of cooking for underserved communities across Africa and save forests. The company is led by Chebet Lesan who has a background in Leadership from The University of Cambridge, Product Design from The University of Nairobi, Supply Chain Management from Rutgers School of Business and a Business-Design Fellowship from Massachusetts Institute of Technology D-lab.
Cyrille Nkontchou, Founder & Chairman, Enko Education (Cameroon)
“Your launchpad to the best universities” – Enko Education operates the largest single network of private schools in Africa that teaches the International Baccalaureate curriculum to democratize access to quality international education for African youth. The company was founded by Cyrille Nkontchou, an economist by training with extensive experience as a fund manager, a banker and a consultant.
Ethel Mupambwa, Co-Founder and Executive Director, Moneymart (Zimbabwe)
“Creating wealth; changing lives”- Moneymart is a Zimbawean based microfinance institution that offers tailor-made business loans to MSMEs and individuals who live off the power grid to access quality solar-lighting-kits. The company is co-led by Ethel Mupambwa, who has nine years of experience in finance and is a Level 2 Chartered Financial Analyst Candidate.
Dr. Emma Naluyima Mugerwa, Founder, MST Junior School (Uganda)
“Little seeds, big dreams” – MST Junior School is a Primary School with a unique approach and learning model. It aims to equip the pupils with unique skills to solve agriculture issues such as food insecurity, waste mismanagement and malnutrition. The school was established by Dr. Emma Naluyima, a vet, farmer and educator with a desire to train young people and change their lives through Modern and Purposeful Farming.
Joan Rukundo Nalubega, CEO & Founder, Uganics (Uganda)
“Buy a soap – save lives” – Uganics is a social business that manufactures life-saving organic anti-malaria soap to address malaria, which kills millions of people every year, and sells around the world at a high profit margin to subsidize sales to poor populations at the same price as regular soap. The company is led by Joan Rukundo Nalubega, a Malaria survivor and a social entrepreneur with a vision to fight Malaria.
Mame Diarra Bousso Gueye, CEO & Founder, Diarrablu (Senegal)
“Artisans & algorithms for a conscious lifestyle” – Diarrablu is a Senegalese fashion tech company merging African artisan traditions with technology to empower African artisans and build an ethical and sustainable fashion future centered around ancestral African craftsmanship. The company is led by Diarra Gueye who has experience in finance, mathematics, and design and recently completed her Master’s at Stanford University with a focus on creative mathematics.
Oluwasoga Oni, CEO & Co-Founder, Mdaas Global (Nigeria)
“Unlocking diagnostics for Africa’s next billion” – MDaaS Global builds and operates modern, tech-enabled diagnostic centers in clinically-underserved communities starting in Nigeria to provide a world-class patient experience at highly-affordable prices. The company is led by Oluwasoga Oni, an MIT-trained system engineer.
Naira strengthens against dollar
Barely 24 hours, the Naira was forced to a downward trajectory by dollar scarcity, it bounced back, closing at N477 to a dollar at the parallel market in Lagos.
The News Agency of Nigeria (NAN) reports that the Pound Sterling and the Euro traded at N608 and N550, respectively.
The Naira, however, weakened marginally at the investor’s window, losing one point to close at N386 to a dollar.
The volume of trade at the window shrunk by 1.83 million dollars when compared to Tuesday, to close at 18.44 million dollars
The Nigerian currency exchanged at N381 to a dollar at the official CBN window.
Oyo govt. will continue to support SMEs, Olaniyan assures
The Deputy Governor of Oyo state, Engr. Raufu Olaniyan has reassured the state’s government commitment to supporting Small and Medium Scale Enterprises in the state,
The deputy governor gave the assurance at the Commissioning of a new shopping mall ATM located in the Oke Ado area of Ibadan.
Olaniyan noted that small scale businesses with adequate support have the potential to be a major employer of labour.
He reiterated the state’s government desire to support entrepreneurs who chose to do business in the state, stressing that the present administration has put necessary machinery in place to make doing business in Oyo state stress free.
Alhaja Adeogun Tunrayo Muslimat, owner of ATM mall had earlier informed that her desire to set up business in the state aside profit was also borne out of her avidity to support the government in the area of job creation, and also boost the economy of her home state.
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