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  Razaq Ahmed started his journey from a small town in Kano State to the forefront of financial innovation and this is proof of his resilience and determination. Born and raised in a northern state, Razaq, along with his Yoruba family, surmounted the challenges of being residents in a town with a different cultural backdrop.
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In his early years, Razaq, like many of his peers, combined education with hands-on work. He apprenticed at a generator repair shop, showcasing his dedication even before he stepped into the world of academia. Despite attending an Army secondary school, he spent afternoons at the repair shop, laying the foundation for skills that would later serve him well. However, fate had different plans for Razaq. At the age of 14, a Hausa-Yoruba crisis erupted in 1999, thrusting the young Razaq and his family into a life-altering situation. As Yoruba indigenes in a predominantly Hausa town, they became vulnerable targets. The family narrowly escaped the violence, thanks to the intervention of the Nigerian Army, leading them to seek refuge in an IDP camp before resettling in Ogbomoso.


In Ogbomoso, Razaq’s resilience and intelligence began to shine. Living near Ladoke Akintola University of Technology (LAUTECH), he seized an opportunity to transform his life. Introduced to a distant relative who was a Lecturer at the Obafemi Awolowo University (OAU), Razaq’s academic journey took a significant turn. In 2003, Razaq Ahmed secured admission to OAU, where he pursued a degree in Economics and graduated with first-class honours in 2007. His academic excellence set the stage for a promising career.
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From 2008 to 2010, during his National Youth Service year, Razaq served as an Investment Analyst at Meristem Nigeria, actively covering the Nigerian equity market. This role allowed him to provide valuable financial advice on portfolio optimization for individual and institutional clients.

Entrepreneurial adventure

Following Meristem, Razaq continued to climb the professional ladder. He worked as a Research Analyst at Vetiva Capital Management, covering sectors like Brewery and Conglomerates. His journey also included roles as a Business Economist and, later, Gas Commercial at Shell Petroleum. In 2012, Razaq Ahmed founded Sart Partners, an investment management and financial advisory firm. His entrepreneurial spirit and dedication were further evidenced when, in 2017, he co-founded CowryWise alongside Edward Popoola. CowryWise, a financial technology company, aims to digitize the investment management industry in Africa. The platform provides access to savings and investment products tailored for the African middle class, contributing to financial inclusion on the continent.
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Final Thoughts

The journey of Razaq Ahmed is not just a personal success story but a beacon of inspiration for aspiring entrepreneurs. His commitment to education, coupled with his resilience in the face of adversity, has shaped him into a key player in Africa’s financial technology terrain. CowryWise’s success, backed by venture capital firms and international support, is proof of Razaq’s vision and determination to make a positive impact on the financial terrain of the continent.
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This article was first published on 24th January 2024


Chidiogo Shalom Akaelu holds a degree in English and Literary Studies, from the University of Nigeria. She is a freelance writer, editor and founder of Loana Press, a budding online publishing outlet.

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