Behind the Magic – Chinwe Egwim, the Nigerian Economist, Thought Leader & Trailblazer
Today on Behind the Magic, I interview Chinwe Egwim, a Nigerian economist with over 500 published economic notes, primarily geared towards financial, development and macroeconomics. She is the Senior Economist at FBNQuest Merchant Bank (an arm of FBN Holdings) and a National Consultant for the services trade project which is partly driven by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development.
Chinwe is a highly-sought after thought leader and has spoken on several reputable platforms. Her TEDx talk on “Equipping the Female Economy” has contributed to conversations around lifting women. She has also been featured across multiple media platforms like CNBC Africa and BBC, to give expert advice around global and domestic economic trends and today she’s sharing a little bit more on who she is personally, what motivates her, how she has succeeded in a male dominated industry and how she plans to continue to pave the way for other women in the economic and finance world.
1. Where are you from originally and how long have you lived in Lagos? What do you love about your city?
I. I’m from Imo State, located in Eastern Nigeria. However, I have lived in different cities across the globe and moved to Lagos about seven years ago.
II. It’s interesting, the one thing I complained about when I initially moved to Lagos, is the same thing that I now love most about the city – its fast pace. I just really enjoy the platter of opportunities available for one to be more and do more. The cosmopolitan vibe is also something I love about Lagos.
2. Can you share your educational background?
I studied Economics. My first degree is in Economics from Kwame Nkrumah University in Ghana and my Master’s degree in Financial Economics from Kingston University London. My PhD is underway and I am sure you can guess in what discipline – Lol! Aside from degree related programs, I have engaged in a handful of professional and executive learning (educational) certification courses geared towards data analysis, research, investment analysis and leadership. I am also an alumna of the European School of Economics.
3. What’s your career path and what led you down that road?
I. I am an Economist with relevant experience in financial, development and macroeconomics. My career trajectory so far has been modeled after the staircase scenario. I am very deliberate with regards to career progression and this informs the sort of opportunities I say yes to, and the extent that I am willing to go with regards to targeted projects and my personal development. At the longer-end of my career curve, I see a huge part inclining towards development and economic policy roles either in the public sector or specific development agencies.
II. Apart from catching the flare for what I currently do at an early stage in my life and being stimulated by impact-driven roles, my parents and mentors have played a key part in leading me down “this road” and I continue to seek guidance from them as I climb my career ladder.
4. What is your brand all about and who is your ideal audience?
I. At first glance, this seems like an easy question but as I attempt to answer it, it’s not so easy. Let me try to take a good stab at it. Right now, my brand is hinged upon six core pillars which are Experienced Economist, Corporate Executive, Author, Advocate for Women Empowerment, Strategist for SMEs and Investor.
II. My ideal audience depends on what I am focusing on with regards to each pillar I have mentioned. However, broadly speaking, anybody that is deliberately taking steps to genuinely do more and be more would fit comfortably into my ideal audience.
5. Why are you so passionate about economics and women? Where does it come from?
To seize the platters of opportunities available require knowledge seeking with economics at the forefront, as it is a core driver of almost everything that we do. My passion for economics was strengthened when I realized I could use it as a tool to shape conversations that assist decision-makers and stimulate actionable steps for relevant impact. Women are engines of economies. The opportunity cost of ignoring the female economy is terribly expensive. There are so many unnecessary issues women deal with you. Why can’t girls and women have equal rights to participate in education, society, economics and politics? It is mind boggling! Every human should have the right to access and the right to compete for opportunities. This is clearly not the case, and I am committed to using my voice and platform to keep pushing for change with regards to this, amplifying female-led achievements and “loud-ing” collaborations and opportunities that empower women.
6. How are you paving the way for other women in a male dominated industry and how are you bridging the gender gap?
I am very deliberate with mentoring professionals. It is not always easy but I make the effort to create time. For wider and effective impact, I accept a lot of speaking engagements geared towards career progression and development, where I share hacks & tips and most times, connect with participants (mentees). From a technical angle, I have put out several publications that have assisted with sharpening a handful of professionals within my space. I am intentionally active on female empowerment platforms that engage in structured mentoring. Lastly, but definitely not least, if value is well communicated, I am always happy to make recommendations and connect women to opportunities.
7. What’s one of your greatest fear and how do you manage your fears?
Hmm, very interesting question. I think it is the fear of missing the mark – I tend to lean heavily on perfection with regards to anything I am doing and so the thought of not excelling as I believe I should poses as a major fear for me. However, I have identified ways to mitigate this. One way is by creating sufficient time, for any relevant task, so I prepare more before execution.
8. What’s one thing people will be surprised to know about you?
Lol! I enjoy playing video games. I was way more frequent with playing when I was younger and had ample time.
9. You recently wrote a book, what inspired you to write it and how does it feel to have accomplished your goal?
I. I saw a gap and I was fully aware that I have what it takes to assist with closing that gap. As Economists, Financial Experts or Industry Leaders, we tend to talk to ourselves a lot and we understand each other but there are so many people aching to make sense of economic-related matters and they do not just get it, because of the technical terms and/or “jargon”. I am usually asked to break things down to relatable and digestible levels- basically, simpler formats. That is what my eBook does. It is an easy guide for anyone trying to stay economically alert, from an African’s vantage point.
II. Accomplishing this specific goal felt exhilarating!
10. What is the book about and what do you hope it does for people?
The Understanding Economic “Jargon” eBook carefully breaks down how important economic indicators and the general investment climate react to economic shocks and upswings. We all apply economics to our day-to-day activities, this book will help its readers stay economically alert and serve as a guide with regards to navigating the macroeconomic landscape. Especially, for those that are keen on staying ahead. I used a simplistic approach to write this book so that anyone that gets a copy, will have a better grasp and can do better with decision-making going forward.
11. What are you currently working on? Are you involved in any business ventures, organizations, creative endeavors or projects in the corporate world? Please share!
Well, there are always interesting tasks at work and within my industry that keep me excited. Aside from my 9-5 tasks, I have a few other exciting projects coming up this year, under DAS Hub Africa. I am a Founding Partner of DAS Hub Africa – a solution-driven platform focused on helping individuals and SMEs strategically reposition for success. We are launching a resource hub soon, so please visit – https://deliberateachiever.com/ to find out how you can stay in the loop. I am also working on releasing a mini pod series, follow me on Instagram (Chinwe Egwim) or – https://www.instagram.com/chin_way/ to catch periodic releases of this. Lastly, if time permits, hopefully I can finish an ongoing book project.
12. What does success mean to you? What’s your formula for being successful?
Consistently achieving my goals. My formula- understanding my why, clearly articulating what is required to achieve my set goals, remaining focused and executing accordingly.
13. What has been the most impactful thing, resource or experience that has helped you succeed in your life and career?
Hmm, I can’t mention just one thing. I will list a few: researching, reading books, listening to podcasts, attending summits or seminars, mentorship, sponsors and surrounding myself with an amazing support system.
14. What has been a major challenge and what keeps you going in the difficult times?
Hmm! I’ll skip to what keeps me going in the difficult times hinged upon a recent major challenge. The answer is, I keep reminding myself that failure is not fatal instead it is part of life’s journey and I soak myself even deeper in God’s word.
15. Looking back on your life, what would you tell your teenage or young adult self, based on what you know now?
Stop worrying about the future. Equip yourself and Thrive!
16. What’s the biggest life lesson you learned in the past decade?
Exhaustion can kill, self-care is a necessity ▪ Failure is not fatal, it is the courage to continue that counts. ▪ The ripple effect from self – investment is immeasurable ▪ Financial cushions get depleted, consistently seek ways to rebuild ▪ Your NETWORK is directly correlated to your SUCCESS level ▪ VISIBILITY indeed pushes technical skills into rooms that have resulted in mind blowing opportunities ▪ Sister Circles Rock
17. How has life been for you the past few months during this Pandemic?
I saw a quote from the IMF that described the pandemic as – The Great RESET. I echo same, as this is not only a “reset” situation for economies but for individuals as well. The primary positives from this unfortunate health crisis is that I have been able to slow down, prioritize and REST.
18. What has been your Quarantine survival and selfcare tip?
- I am actively reaching out to others via text, video calls, phone and social media.
- Making better use of my home office to keep productivity high
- Engaging in webinars on specific topics to stay informed
- I am also trying really hard to stick to healthy meal schedules
19. As an economist working at a leading Financial Institution, what is your take on the current economy in Africa and globally?
The global economy witnessed a severe economic shock. The spread of a respiratory virus which is believed to have originated in China almost resulted in total shutdown of the global economy. The Covid-19 pandemic has adversely affected economic activities across the globe. The crashing oil prices as well as the slump in financial markets triggered in part by the Covid-19 outbreak threw people across different economies into panic in early 2020. Understanding how economic indicators react is the first step towards positioning better for different economic cycles. Grab a copy of my eBook to get more on my view 🙂
20. Can you share some tips on how we can all cope and thrive financially despite a recession?
If you were not already doing this, start setting aside a percentage of your income to invest every month (no matter how little) – you need to build financial cushions. If you have the time you should consider additional sources of income (but make sure that there are no conflicts with your core 9 to 5) as a business owner, you should consider pivoting. Also for business owners, apart from reducing debt, optimizing business efficiency and rethinking your suppliers, you need to boost sales during tough economic periods by becoming more innovative with your sales approach in order to stay at the top of people’s spending priority lists. As someone that runs a household, prioritize spending and knock off luxury items for now. Identify critical areas that need financial attention and focus on that. Perhaps, budgeting should be considered.
21. What keeps you up at night?
Nothing specific. Perhaps, difficulty with hitting a personal or professional goal. However, I am able to catch good sleep.
22. How can people contact and connect with you?
You can connect with me on LinkedIn: Chinwe Egwim and Instagram: @chin_way or send an email to email@example.com
23. How can people purchase your book?
My eBook is available for purchase on AMAZON and Okada Books.