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Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes

Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes

Founding Partner & CEO, Aruwa Capital Management
Nigeria

Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes is the Founder and Managing Partner of  Aruwa Capital Management, one of the few women owned and led private equity funds in Africa investing into untapped investment opportunities in West Africa in the small to lower mid-market. Adesuwa launched Aruwa Capital Management with her own money in Lagos in July 2019 and left the comforts of a six-figure salary, in order to make an impact in society with her skills and track record and change the narrative for women and small businesses across Africa. Adesuwa is an entrepreneur, CEO, mother, investor and women’s empowerment advocate. She is one of the youngest female private equity fund managers in Africa launching Aruwa  Capital at 29 years old. Adesuwa is a big believer that investing in women is not only the moral thing  to do given the role women play in society and the multiplier it can have in terms of poverty alleviation  for families but also because investing in women and for women has been proven to deliver outsized  and superior returns. Adesuwa is focused on using Aruwa Capital Management’s investments as a case  study to make the business case to invest in women as fund managers, entrepreneurs, consumers and  stakeholders in society.

Aruwa Capital Management is a Lagos based, early-stage growth equity and gender lens $20 million  fund that invests between $500,000 and $2.5 million in equity and equity linked instruments into  established and rapidly growing businesses in Nigeria and Ghana that are currently overlooked by  other private equity funds and financial institutions. Aruwa invests in businesses that either provides  goods or services that cater to the untapped $15 trillion female economy and improve women’s lives or businesses that are founded or led by women or employ women in their workforce or value chain  due to the increased profitability of gender diverse teams. Due to its focus on the early-stage growth  segment that is free of competition and its focus on showcasing the increased returns that can be  generated when investing in women as consumers and entrepreneurs, Aruwa can successfully  combine outsized financial returns with long lasting positive socio-economic development and women  empowerment outcomes in Nigeria. Aruwa invests across rapidly growing and essential sectors such  as healthcare, fintech, renewable energy, essential consumer goods and tech enabled B2B services. Aruwa Capital has successfully made four investments across multiple sectors since its inception and  is one of the pioneers of early-stage growth and gender lens investing in Nigeria.  

Adesuwa has over 14 years of investment banking and private equity experience from top global  institutions. Prior to founding Aruwa Capital Management, she spent five years as Managing Partner  of Syntaxis Capital Africa, a provider of growth capital to SMEs in Nigeria and across Sub Saharan  Africa. Syntaxis Africa was part of Syntaxis Capital, a private equity fund active in other emerging  markets with $300 million in AUM from global institutional investors. At Syntaxis Africa, she led  transactions totalling more than $200 million across SSA. Prior to co-founding Syntaxis Africa in 2014,  Adesuwa was in the Leveraged Finance and M&A teams at J.P. Morgan in London, where she was  involved in $5.6 billion worth of transactions across emerging markets including Nigeria.  

Prior to J.P. Morgan, Adesuwa worked in Africa-focused PE fund, TLG Capital as an Investment  Professional, involved in transactions across Anglophone Africa including a very successful  investment in Uganda, where she personally invested and generated a very attractive return which  enabled her to launch her own investment fund. 

She was named as an Agent of Impact in 2019 by Impact Alpha and recognised as one of the Top 35  Women Moving Africa Forward for her commitment to gender equality in private equity and across  the society through Aruwa Capital’s investments. In 2021, she was named as one of the Top 100  global leaders combining profit and purpose by Meaningful Business, an award sponsored by Ernst &  Young and one of the 50 Most Influential women in Nigeria by BusinessDay in 2022. 

She started her career at Lehman Brothers and holds a BSc in Economics from the University of  Bristol. She cur-rently sits on four boards in Nigeria across manufacturing, agriculture and hospitality  sectors. 

She is married with a son and enjoys travelling, tennis and cooking.