Founder's Note

Stephenie Coker Rank

Founder & Chairperson
Stephenie Coker Rank is a visionary Portuguese Nigerian Global Entrepreneur & Consultant, renowned for her extensive work with leading Private Equity, Venture Capital, Development Finance Institutions, and Impact Investors worldwide. With expertise spanning diverse sectors including Consumer Goods, Healthcare & Education, Food & Beverage, Energy, Financial Services, Manufacturing, Real Estate, Infrastructure, and Technology, she has consistently demonstrated her adeptness in stakeholder management and leadership engagement, even within complex and multicultural contexts. Her impressive credentials include certifications in Entrepreneurship from Harvard, Emotional Intelligence and Resilience from Berkeley, and proficiency in eight languages.
Beyond the surface, Portugal and Nigeria share a profound connection that extends far beyond untapped business and investment prospects. This connection is rooted in shared culture, values, and, in some instances, even a similar mindset, fostering a sense of humanity and warmth in interpersonal interactions. This relationship has deep historical roots, pre-dating Nigeria’s independence in 1960. Notably, the Portuguese were the earliest Europeans to set foot in what is now Nigeria, predating British colonial influence. Explorer Rui de Sequeira’s visit to the Lagos area in 1472 resulted in the naming of the region around the city as Lago de Curamo, meaning Lake of Curamo. Interestingly, the name Lagos, formerly Nigeria’s capital, is also found in the Algarve region of southern Portugal. During this era, diplomatic ties flourished between the Oba of Benin, in present-day Edo State, Nigeria. Today, streets in Benin City, Edo State, and Lagos State still bear Portuguese names as a testament to this historical connection.
Over the past two decades, Nigeria has emerged as a primary supplier of Liquified Natural Gas (LNG) to Portugal, serving as a cornerstone in the burgeoning business relationship between the two nations. Recent developments include the establishment of roots by Portuguese conglomerate Mota-Engil within Nigeria’s railway sector, leading to an influx of Portuguese citizens and companies keen to explore opportunities within the Nigerian market. Notably, Portuguese Football Coach Jose Peseiro’s appointment as Head Coach of the Nigerian National Football Team in May 2022 further solidified the cross-cultural collaboration, with over two hundred Nigerian football players now competing in various Portuguese clubs.
A significant milestone in this journey was reached in June/July 2022, with the inaugural Presidential State visit by a sitting Nigerian President to Portugal. This historic occasion culminated in the signing of several impactful Memorandums of Understanding (MoUs) between the two nations. These MoUs encompassed areas such as diplomatic training, research, cooperation in culture, women and girls’ development, empowerment and gender affairs, youth and sports. The joy was palpable, as Portuguese President Marcelo de Sousa, now in his second term, expressed, “I waited six years for this marriage.”
The birth of the PNBTI Forum arises from the collective aspiration to realize the shared objectives and agreements between Portugal and Nigeria, bolstering bilateral relations across various domains and beyond. As a private sector initiative endowed with years of experience and an extensive network within both public and private spheres, our mission at the PNBTI Forum is to expedite business and investment interactions between Portugal and Nigeria.
At the heart of the PNBTI Forum’s endeavor lies a commitment to go beyond mere economics, business, and investments. We recognize the pivotal role of Women and Girls’ Development, focusing on capacity-building and empowerment initiatives. Furthermore, our unwavering dedication extends to fostering the realms of Arts, Culture, Creative Industries, and Sports, as these sectors serve as universal languages, fostering meaningful collaborations and enriching human relationships.
We invite you to join us on this transformative journey as we pave the way for a strengthened partnership between Portugal and Nigeria, grounded in mutual respect, understanding, and shared aspirations.
Warm regards,

Stephenie Coker Rank
Founder & Chairperson PNBTIForum


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