Taiwo Afolabi, born a twin on the 29th of April 1962, is a Nigerian Businessman and lawyer. He studied law at the University of Lagos, where he also got his Masters in International Law and Diplomacy and was called to Bar by the Body of Benchers in 2009. He is the CEO and Founder of the company SIFAX which deals in Maritime, Aviation, Haulage, Hospitality, Financial Services and Oil and Gas. Dr Afolabi was initially working with the Nigerian Express Agencies Limited, where he was head of operations before he began the SIFAX Group in 1988. SIFAX Group is operating in many countries like the US, the UK, Ghana, South Africa, Holland, Belgium, Morrocco, Spain, Djibouti and others. Currently, he is a Fellow of the Nigeria Institute of Financial Management and the Institute of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria.

Dr Afolabi is a member of the Order of Niger and he was awarded businessman of the year in 2014 by the Sun Awards. He has a conference organized in his honour titled the Taiwo Afolabi Annual Maritime Conference (TAAM Conference) organized by the students of the University of Lagos and sponsored by the SIFAX Group. SIFAX has subsidiaries such as Ports and Cargo Handling Services Limited, SIFAX Off Dock Limited, SIFAX Stevedoring Limited, Skypower Aviation Handling Company Limited and SIFAX Shipping Limited.

He is a member of professional bodies like the Nigerian Institute of Financial Management (NIFM), Institute of Freight Forwarders of Nigeria (IFFN) and the Chartered Institute of Arbitrators of Nigeria. Dr Afolabi has undergone both maritime and aviation training in the past, both locally and internationally.

Dr Afolabi is popularly known for his philanthropic work in relation to education, ranging from the primary to tertiary level. This includes the 1,000 capacity lecture theatre he built at the Ladoke Akintola University and the 18 seaters Toyota Hiace Bus donated to the Medical Student Association of the Obafemi Awolowo University. His outstanding works have made him a recipient of many awards. He is also the Honorary Consul-General of the Republic of Djibouti in Nigeria, a member of Ikoyi Club 1938, Member of IBB Golf Club at Abuja and a member of the Building Committee of the Nigerian-British Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

In 2018, he received the Excellence Recognition Awards for Entrepreneur of the Year. SIFAX Group also won the Shipping Company of the Decade Award and he himself won the Maritime Industry Living Legend Awards.


Many times science has pointed out that children can inherit the trait of their parents and this is the story of Dr Afolabi whose mother was a first-class trader and he ran her business with her. He can be said to have picked up a lot of lessons while joining her to hawk her wares and this way he was able to plunge himself into business. He also sold newspapers for commission while in Secondary School before he officially started his career at the Nigerian Express Agencies Limited.

He is a man who loves sports, and he especially loves watching and playing football. One would not expect that though he is deeply invested in his endeavours as a businessman, he is still fully into his law practice and he has practised for about 40 years now, since 1981.

One lesson to be gleaned from his story is the way he works hard with a huge wave of positivity and risk-taking. Even though he had a very flourishing role at his job at the Nigerian Express Agencies, he still gave it up to do business and today he has created a huge group that contributes hugely to the economy of Nigeria.

There are steps you might want to take today but are unsure about. Consider your goals and the reasons and you might as well be on your way to becoming the next big story. Keep Pushing till you reach your goal.

Written By: Joyce C. Nwezeh Obi-Akejelu (Writer, Social media manager and graphic designer with Africa4AfricaWomen/Assert/PAWES).


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