Africa, Rise and Shine

Business Tips from The Godfather of Nigerian Banking

About The Book

The road to success is rarely linear and never easy. But with courage, hard work, perseverance, and dedication to duty, Jim Ovia, founder and chairman of Zenith Bank, proves we can achieve the unthinkable.

Jim has been called the Godfather of Banking by Forbes Africa. And this should be no surprise. In a time of tension between military and civilian regimes, periods of incredible economic instability, and a decaying infrastructure, Jim founded Zenith Bank in Nigeria. Under Jim’s leadership, what started with $4 million in shareholders’ funds, grew into one of Africa’s largest banks, an internationally recognized institution with more than $16 billion in assets.

His story is a living testament to his message that success results when we act with courage and dare to try. Africa, Rise and Shine is part-memoir, part-inspirational business guide, reminding entrepreneurs and investors around the world of this valuable lesson: You must never allow the perceptions of others impact your own vision of what is possible for the future.

“Jim Ovia’s entrepreneurial flair demystifies Africa; showing his meteoric rise from humble beginnings to building a formidable bank. A wonderful African success story.”

- Sir Richard Branson

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"Jim Ovia has been my personal friend and trusted banker over the last 25 years. Africa Rise and Shine lays bare the secrets to Zenith Bank’s success from one of Nigeria’s most respected businessmen. Jim’s inspirational tale of success against all the odds is an important lesson of how adversity can always be surmounted. His principles of doing business can be applied globally as demonstrated by Zenith Bank’s London Stock Exchange listing. This book is an essential read for anyone that wants to do business in Africa."

Aliko Dangote, GCON
Founder / President
Dangote Group of Companies

"Having personally negotiated with Jim Ovia to create the landmark Prudential Zenith Life Insurance partnership, I have seen his artistry at deal making firsthand. Jim’s ability to step back and take a long-term perspective has been a key factor in his business success. His twelve rules for building profitable businesses, whilst critical for African enterprises, could equally be applied globally. How I wish I had read Africa Rise and Shine prior to sitting down to the negotiation table with him!"

Matt Lilley
Prudential Africa

"Jim Ovia speaks from experience about an exciting and important story: the rise of Africa’s banking markets. Not only are they growing faster than almost any other region, they are also a hotbed of innovation, especially when it comes to bringing millions of previously unbanked customers into the formal financial system. It’s an important tale that deserves the attention of all."

Dominic Barton
Global Managing Partner
McKinsey & Company

"When the dust settles and the definitive history of contemporary Africa is written, Jim Ovia will be prominently cited as one of the founding fathers of Africa’s modern banking system. Africa Rise & Shine enshrines how Ovia pioneered the creation of one of the continent’s most successful banks, and demonstrates how believing in yourself, aiming for excellence, building a team, and listening to your gut—all with an unwavering ethical stance—frame the model for the next generation of great entrepreneurs everywhere. Jim Ovia’s story redefines the power of today's self-made man."

David Applefield
Special Projects Representative
Financial Times

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Book Jim To Speak At Your Next Event

Jim Ovia’s story is proof that no matter how humble your origins, you can accomplish great things with the right frame of mind. With his inspirational and instructive tone, he is the mentor today’s aspiring entrepreneurs need.

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