PIONEER AFRICAN WOMEN IN LAW
Dr. Myma Belo-Osagie
Partner Emerita (Of Counsel) at Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie (UUBO)
By Titilayo Arowolo
Dr. Myma A. Belo-Osagie (née Bentsi-Enchill) was born in Accra, Ghana on February 22, 1954. Belo-Osagie is Partner Emerita (Of Counsel) in the law firm of Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie (‘UUBO’) which she co-founded in 1985.
For her primary education between 1959-1965, Belo-Osagie attended several different schools: The Montessori School in London, United Kingdom; International School in Sekondi, Ghana; Ridge School in Kumasi, Ghana; and Ridge Church International School in Accra. She then attended Achimota Secondary School in Accra between 1965-1972.
Belo-Osagie continued on to pursue her higher education. She obtained a Bachelor of Laws (LL.B) in 1975 from the University of Ghana at Legon. She attended the Ghana School of Law in 1977 and qualified as a barrister and solicitor of the Ghanaian bar. She then attained an (LL.M) Master of Laws in 1978 and an (SJD)Doctor of Juridical Science in 1985 from Harvard Law School. During her studies in the United States, she was admitted to the New York bar in 1983. During her time at Harvard Law School, she worked as a research assistant to Dean David Smith, Head of International Legal Studies. She attended the Nigerian Law School from 1983 to 1984 and was called to the Nigerian Bar in 1984. She is a member of the Ghana Bar Association, Nigerian Bar Association, New York State Bar Association, American Bar Association, and International Bar Association.
Her professional legal career has focused on facilitating corporate and commercial businesses. Belo-Osagie is Partner Emerita (Of Counsel) at Udo Udoma & Belo-Osagie (UUBO), a firm she co-founded in 1985. While at UUBO, she advised national and international clients in energy, natural resources and the environment, telecommunications, and corporate restructuring.
Belo-Osagie has been widely recognized for her work. She is ranked as one of the World’s Leading Lawyers in the Corporate Mergers and Acquisitions section of the Chambers’ Global Directory. Additionally, she has been recognized by International Financial Law Review (IFLR) 1000 as a prestigious IFLR 1000 Woman Leader. IFLR1000 Women Leaders are the most prominent female lawyers working in financial and corporate transactions, as well as contract, licensing, and regulatory project work within their jurisdictions. This is an elite group of lawyers with outstanding reputations within their markets who have expertise and experience working on complex deals, who have risen to hold leadership roles with their firms or their practices, or who combine both of these characteristics. She fulfilled the qualifications of this award as a founder of UUBO, where she advised a wide variety of clients on matters involving corporate restructuring, acquisitions, foreign investment matters, telecommunications regulation, oil and gas investment, financing matters, and infrastructure projects.
She has been called on by various institutions for her legal expertise. She assisted in drafting the Nigerian Telecommunications Act in 2003 and advised the International Financial Corporation on its equity investment in the 2003 Africa Telecommunications Deal of the Year Award. She has advised several local, regional and international companies, organizations, institutions and governments on a variety of transactions.
Belo-Osagie dedicates her time to various social, cultural, and educational institutions. She sits on the board of various for-profit entities including African Fabrics Holdings, Pensions Alliance Limited, and the Africa Opportunity Fund. She acts as a trustee or member on the advisory boards and councils of several not-for-profit organizations, including the African Leadership Academy, Ashesi University, the Growing Businesses Foundation, the Corona Schools Trust Council, and the African Wildlife Foundation. Additionally, Belo-Osagie is the Chair of the Advisory Board of the Harvard University Center for African Studies. She is a member of the Harvard Global Advisory Council and the Harvard Law School Dean's Advisory Board. She has published several articles on Nigerian petroleum regulations, Nigerian environmental law, and foreign investment in Nigeria. She actively champions education by funding scholarships for a number of African students and supports an inter-school competition for the Corona Schools, a leading educational institution in Nigeria. She also taught in the Harvard Business School Short Immersion Program named Africa Rising: Understanding Business, Entrepreneurship, and the Complexities of a Continent. In 2018, she became an International Honorary Member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.
She is passionate about gender equality and focuses some of her time advising female-led small business enterprises (SMEs) seeking to transition from the informal to the formal sector. She is an avid collector of African art, and for many years supported the Arts and Business Foundation in Nigeria. She is involved in various private efforts to improve the health needs of children in Nigeria.
Dr. Belo-Osagie is a pioneer woman because of the trailblazing steps she has taken in her field. Her inspiring rise to the top has inspired other women that they can do the same. She has not only accomplished success but she has also created opportunities that empower women and children.
Belo-Osagie is currently married to Hakeem Belo-Osagie and they have four children together.