David Tosin Bakare, 43, of Lagos, Nigeria, is proud to be the first citizen of an African nation to enroll in Bar-Ilan University's one-year International MBA program.
As part of the course, Entrepreneurship: From Idea to Market, Bakare – an entrepreneur himself – has partnered with an Israeli classmate and with Naomi Bareket, an American IMBA alumna, in designing a social business project to help break the vicious cycle of poverty in Africa.
With a three-pronged focus on women's empowerment, youth support and enhancement of entrepreneurial motivation, the project employs an "innovative micro-credit model and smart agriculture driven by 21st century technology using the power of social media."
Bakare, who grew up in megacity slums, has an all-too-clear understanding of the challenges facing impoverished Africans wishing to get ahead in life. Intent on helping the poor obtain interest-free loans to launch their businesses, he explains that "our model is anchored in the success of the concepts of micro-credit and micro-finance pioneered by 2006 Nobel Prize Laureate Prof. Yunus Mohammed in Bangladesh."
"It differs from current micro-financing in Africa which is more profit driven and therefore not achieving the social business goal of poverty alleviation."
Bakare says that "Israel's excellence in technology and agriculture" will play a pivotal role in the successful implementation of this venture, which he plans to launch in Nigeria in January 2019.
Bakare, who holds a BA in mass communication from the University of Nigeria, headed marketing at an international brewery before establishing a marcom consultancy firm a decade ago. He has consulted for governments, organizations, and companies such as the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation.
A practicing Christian, he says "I was drawn to Israel, the 'Start-Up Nation' which doesn't have numerical strength and yet is a global leader."
Noting that "Israel is exporting the best of agricultural technology to Africa," he believes that his continent needs to "forge closer ties with Israel if it wants to make tremendous progress."