Kafilat Araoye: The Stalwart Shaping the Future of Nigerian Banking System

by Joseph Omoniyi
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With a remarkable career spanning over three decades, Kafilat Araoye, an embodiment of knowledge, leadership, and innovation has not only navigated the intricacies of the banking sector but has also become a stalwart in shaping its future. Beyond her professional pursuits, Kafilat’s influence extends to education and community service, making her a well-rounded personality worthy of admiration.

Kafilat’s journey began at the prestigious University of Ife, now Obafemi Awolowo University, where she earned her first degree in History in 1985. However, it was her pursuit of an M.Sc. in Industrial Relations & Personnel Management from the University of Lagos in 1987 that set the stage for her illustrious career. Graduating as the top student in her class foreshadowed the remarkable achievements that would follow.

Her commitment to continuous learning is evident in her numerous certifications in Islamic Finance from renowned institutions such as the Ethica Institute of Islamic Finance and the Chartered Institute for Securities & Investment/Bahrain Institute of Banking & Finance. Kafilat has also honed her skills through executive management courses at globally acclaimed institutions, including Cranfield School of Management (UK), Lagos Business School, Institute of Management Development (Switzerland), and INSEAD (France). Her global perspective was further enriched by specialized banking courses and conferences in the USA and South Africa.

Kafilat Araoye’s entry into the professional arena came in 1988 at the National Oil and Chemicals Marketing Company Plc, later known as Conoil Nigeria Plc. Her journey reached new heights in 1990 when she joined Guaranty Trust Bank Plc, becoming the pioneer Head of Human Resources. Her impactful tenure included international assignments, such as the implementation of core banking applications in Jordan. She left GTBank in 2015 with the distinguished title of General Manager, but her influence continued to reverberate through her consulting ventures until 2018.

In 2018, Kafilat accepted the mantle of Managing Director Designate for LOTUS Bank, contributing her wealth of experience to a financial institution in formation. With a career spanning over 25 years, Kafilat’s expertise covers every facet of core banking, with a focus on international and domestic operations, payments, general management, business development, risk management, human resources, and strategy.

Kafilat’s impact extends beyond boardrooms and financial institutions. She has served on the Governing Boards of various educational institutions, including Fountain University Oshogbo. Currently, she is a board member of Crescent Schools in Victoria Island and the City of Knowledge Academy. Her dedication to community service is evident through her role in the Elder’s Council of the Al Muhtudeen Islamic Foundation (formerly Muslim Youth Forum).

Kafilat’s influence isn’t confined to the borders of Nigeria. She has actively participated in Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) Implementation Committees, contributing to settlement and payment solutions from 2002 to 2007. Internationally, she represented Nigeria at the Banking Techniques and Practice Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce from 2006 to 2011.

Her commitment to professional development is underscored by her membership in the Chartered Institute of Bankers Committee on Capacity Building and Certification from 2014 to 2020. Currently, she serves as a member of the Advocacy & Strategy Committee of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria.

With the power of her wide knowledge, perseverance, and community engagement, Kafilat Araoye has etched her name in gold, in the banking sector, coupled with her commitment to education and community development, she is positioned as a role model for aspiring professionals.

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