O’Neill, Adesina, Parlour Lead Dignitaries to Airtel Premier Launch

By Uche Peter

Lagos, Nigeria; March 22nd, 2014: Top dignitaries including Foremost British Economist and honourary Professor of Economics at the University of Manchester, Terence James "Jim" O'Neill; Nigeria's Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr Akinwunmi Adesina and Arsenal Football legend, Ray Parlour have confirmed attendance at the unveiling of Airtel Premier, an exclusive event for distinguished personalities.

O'Neill, a former chairman of Goldman Sachs Asset Management, who is best known for coining BRIC, the acronym that stands for Brazil, Russia, India and China and the term MINT-Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria, and Turkey-will speak on the theme, 'Nigeria: How the 'N' in MINT is going global".

Dr. Adesina will speak on Agriculture as one of the pillars of making Nigeria achieve its potentials as one of the MINT fast growth developing economies of Mexico, Indonesia, Nigeria and Turkey while Airtel's Chief Executive Officer & Managing Director, Mr Segun Ogunsanya, will speak on the role of telecommunications in making Nigeria a true global economic player.

Arsenal Legend, Ray Parlour, will participate in other activities marking the launch of Airtel Premier. His visit comes under the partnership between Arsenal Football Club of England and the Airtel Africa Group.

The exclusive event, which will also feature the unveiling of the prestigious Airtel Premier Club as well as good music and comedy, is scheduled for Sunday, March 23rd, 2014 at the Eko Hotel & Suites, Victoria Island, Lagos at 6.00pm.

O'Neill (born 17 March 1957) earned his Ph.D. in 1982 from the University of Surrey with a thesis titled 'An empirical investigation into the OPEC surplus and its disposal' under the supervision of David Hawdon, Jim O'Neill began his career in finance working at Bank of America in 1982.

From 1988 to 1991, he was in charge of the fixed income research group at Swiss Bank Corporation, and he served as SBC's chief of global research. He joined Goldman Sachs in 1997 and he was appointed as the head of global economics research in 2001, which is also when he published the seminal BRIC paper. No candidate has ever been named to replace him as Chief Economist.

Dr. Adesina is a distinguished agricultural development expert with 24 years of experience in developing and managing successful agricultural programs across Africa. He graduated with Bachelors in Agricultural Economics with First Class Honors from the University of Ife, Nigeria (1981), where he was the first student to be awarded distinction by the university. He obtained his PhD (Agricultural Economics) in 1988 from Purdue University, USA where he won the Outstanding PhD Thesis for his research work.

Until his appointment as the Honourable Minister of Agriculture in 2010, he was the Vice President (Policy & Partnerships) for the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA). Dr. Adesina has held senior leadership positions in some of the foremost agricultural institutions in the world.

Parlour, Arsenal Legend, spent 14 years in Arsenal between 1992 and 2004 during which he played 339 times scoring 22 goals in the process for the gunners. He also won with the London club three premier league titles, Four FA Cups, a League Cup, Three FA Community Shield, one European Cup Winners Cup.

Parlour's best moments were in Arsenal shirts as he only got ten caps for the England national team, the Three Lions, which he played for from 1999 to 2000.