POLITICAL ANALYSIS and BUSINESS DEVELOPMENT
A former career diplomat for over twenty years with the British foreign service (including two tours in central Africa), after moving to the City of London in 2005 I established myself as one of the private sector’s top political analysts globally, as well as leading a Frankfurt-listed investment fund, African Development Corporation (ADC), specialising in financial services in Sub-Saharan Africa.
My association with the then start-up ADC began in 2008, first as an advisor to the Supervisory Board then as a member of the board. As such, I helped oversee the fund’s listing on the Frankfurt stock market and the narrowing of our portfolio from a range of sectors to a tight focus on financial services, evolving into the strategic objective of building a new pan-African bank. Consistent with our strategy, we successfully acquired BancABC and a major share in Union Bank of Nigeria. I took over the chair in 2013 (when we bought ourselves out from our parent company), from which position I steered the fund’s merger with Atlas Mara in 2014, before moving on in mid-2015.
In the City, I was Senior Political Analyst at Nomura International plc from October 2008 until July 2015, having first joined Lehman Brothers International in that capacity in August 2005. Today, as a consultant, I provide similar services to a number of financial institutions worldwide. As such, I seek to identify, track, analyse and illuminate to investors political events worldwide likely to impact on financial markets. In addition to my signature periodical Politics and Markets, I am the co-author of major studies on China, on India, on Indonesia, on North Korea, on Iran/Israel and on geopolitical risks related to the shift of the global economic centre of gravity back towards Asia, as well as numerous shorter papers. I am a frequent commentator on current politics on television and radio worldwide and a regular speaker at conferences and other events.
I am also President of the Strategy Committee of the Paris-based consultancy, QALIS; a member of the Advisory Board of Africon GmbH; a member of the Practitioners’ Advisory Board of the journal Global Policy; and a guest editor of the online journal Arab Digest. Additionally, I am a past-president of the British Society for Middle Eastern Studies (2010-2013) and a former member of the Council (2010-2015) and Executive (2012-2015) of the international relations think tank Chatham House.
I cut my teeth on business development as Director of UK Trade & Investment USA from 2002 to 2005, advising American firms on establishing/expanding their business in the United Kingdom (over 150 successful projects in 2004-05 alone).
My wife and co-founder, Clare Sullivan, and I decided eight years ago that we would ultimately look to base ourselves in southern Africa with the aim of assisting Africa’s business development primarily by advising small- and medium-sized enterprises on preparing business plans, raising capital etc with the aim of growing their business and fulfilling their potential. To this end, we established Alavan Business Advisory (www.alavan.biz) and relocated ourselves to Livingstone in Zambia in 2015.
In this age of increasing complexity and information overload, I firmly believe that, although sound analytical skills are essential to both strands of my work, at least as important is an ability to get to the ‘right’ people through the establishment and nurturing of policy- and investment-related networks worldwide, an area in which I specialise.