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UBA GMD, Oliver Alawuba, Advocates for Women Empowerment to Unlock Africa’s Abundant Opportunities

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UBA GMD, Oliver Alawuba, Advocates for Women Empowerment to Unlock Africa’s Abundant Opportunities

 

The Group Managing Director of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Mr. Oliver Alawuba, yesterday declared that African women must be empowered to become critical stakeholders in the development agenda before the continent could unlock its abundant opportunities which are in its people, natural resources and talents.

Alawuba stated this in Lagos, during the UBA Africa Conversation 2023, with the theme “Innovating the Continent for Growth,” which reflected the United Nations’ and the Africa Unions’ vision of innovation, technology and the need to create opportunities in the continent.

He said: “The irony of African challenge is that in Africa we have challenges and opportunities sitting side by side. Now between the opportunities and the challenges there can be a gap. How big the gap is, is actually the conversation. If you think the gap between the challenges and Africa is huge then the conversation will take too long.

“But for us in the UBA, we believe that between the challenges and the opportunities is a thin line. And we are committed to unlocking the opportunities in other to fill up those challenges.

“This year too, we are believing that women of Africa need to be celebrated. And we think for us to unlock those opportunities, we must empower African women to be critical stakeholders in the development agenda for Africa.

“So today, we have carefully chosen this conversation to celebrate the achievements of the African women. We are going to have a panel today that will be really amaze you and give you the confidence that we are on the right path to development.”

He stated that UBA Group was expressing its believe in empowering women by ensuring that over 50 per cent of members of its board were made up of women, adding that the bank was committed to developing financial products that would address the needs of the African woman.

“In the UBA too,” says Alawuba, “we will continue to develop products that will speak to the challenges that African women are going through in their businesses and their workplaces.

“You would like to know that in UBA we are the banks with the highest number of female directors on the board. Over 50 per cent of our board members are females. And out of those women we have three executive directors. In fact, for the first time in the life of the UBA, we have one of the executive directors as the chief executive officer of the UBA Ghana. And she is one of the panelists that you are going to hear from today.”

He added: “We know that in Africa we have a continent of vast opportunities, talents and resources that we need to unlock.

“So, as individuals and as corporates we need to corporate with each other to innovate and create the change needed to develop this continent. The time to develop it is now. The people to develop it are we here. And like our group chairman will always say ‘no one but us can develop Africa.’”

The GMD of UBA further stated that he believed that the founders of the African Union (AU) had today and, “us in mind in all their discussions when they believed that a time would come, and that time I do say is now, when we take up the challenge to develop this continent for ourselves and our future generation.”

He explained that a look at UBA’s vision and mission statements would highlight two critical words: Africa and institution.

“So, our institution is more than a bank. UBA is more than a bank. We have a mission to change Africa. We have a mission to change the world. And we believe that once we change Africa, we will indeed change the world,” he said.

Alawuba noted that the theme for this year’s conversation was apt to the challenges and economic problems that Africa is going through now in a world of turmoil.

He said the 2023 conversation was part of the UBA’s annual Africa Day celebration because the banking institution is highly committed to Africa becoming the continent of the future.

“So, the month of May is a month that everyone in UBA looks up to because we believe that Africa needs to be celebrated. Our culture and our uniqueness as Africans need to be celebrated too,” he said.

The 2023 UBA Africa Conversation was graced by the Group Chairman of UBA, Mr. Tony Elumelu, who lent support to the event that commemorated Africa Day.

The all-female choice panelists were made up of the Chief Executive Officer of UBA Ghana, Ms. Abiola Bawuah; President and Group Chief Executive Officer of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (Transcorp), Mrs. Owen Diana Omogiafo; Business and Technology Executive, Ms. Foluso Gbadamosi; the current holder of Guinness World Record for Longest Cooking Time, Ms. Hilda Effiong Bassey and the Creative Director and Founder Bankee Kuku, Ms. Bankee Kuku-Lawson

 

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First Bank reinforces commitment to empowering FMCG distributors

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First Bank reinforces commitment to empowering FMCG distributors

First Bank reinforces commitment to empowering FMCG distributors

 

FirstBank of Nigeria Plc has reaffirmed its dedication to bolstering businesses through a range of initiatives aimed at fostering a robust business environment and stimulating economic growth.

Mrs. Olaitan Martins, Group Executive of Transaction Banking, reiterated this commitment during an interactive session with Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCGs) business owners held on Wednesday in Lagos.

The session was specifically designed for FMCG distributors in the Southwest region to provide insights into business development strategies and avenues for expanding their revenue streams.

Martins reiterated that the forum was a component of the bank’s continuous endeavors to actively involve and instruct its customers on business improvement, acknowledging the crucial function performed by principals and important distributors in the FMCG industry.

significance of supporting businesses

Highlighting the significance of supporting businesses that contribute to the national economy through the distribution of fast-moving commodities, Martins underscored the importance of the bank’s clientele, which comprises major distributors and principal players in Nigeria’s corporate landscape.

“The participants in today’s event represent the core distributors and principals within the FMCG sector, serving as integral components of Nigeria’s distribution network for fast-moving commodities.
This occasion serves as both a platform to acknowledge and celebrate their contributions to the nation’s economy and an opportunity to provide valuable insights into managing the intricacies of the value chain business,” stated Martins.
She further emphasized the imperative of providing support to customers navigating the inherent risks associated with business operations, reaffirming the bank’s commitment to assisting its clientele in navigating these challenges effectively.

Martins underscored First Bank’s enduring presence in Nigeria, spanning over 130 years, and its pivotal role in both the nation’s economy and the lives of its citizens.

She elucidated that the distributor’s scheme is geared towards providing financing solutions to companies, thereby contributing to the growth of the economy.

“FirstBank is steadfast in its commitment to supporting every business endeavor. We stand ready to assist, but it is imperative that we collaborate and work together to foster economic growth and national development,” she affirmed.
Engagement with distributors
Earlier, Mobolade Ojeahere, Group Head of Transaction Banking at FirstBank, highlighted the necessity for the bank’s engagement with distributors in light of exchange rate fluctuations.

He explained that the interactive session aimed not only to gather feedback but also to identify solutions and capitalize on challenges as opportunities for growth.

During the session, bank officials presented various products offered by the institution, dispelled misconceptions surrounding bank loans, and elaborated on strategies for distributors to leverage available opportunities.

Discussions also delved into market trends within sectors heavily influenced by FMCGs and emphasized the importance of digital solutions and embracing cashless transactions, especially within the FMCG sector, which boasts a substantial market share in Africa valued at 41.78 billion dollars.

The panel addressed inquiries ranging from calculations for different bank facilities to interest rates on various products, addressing concerns about overdeductions and elucidating product dynamics while providing valuable advice to attendees.

Subsequently, awards were conferred upon the top-performing distributors from the Southwest region in recognition of their outstanding contributions.

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Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria PMI® – Input Costs Rise At Record Pace In February

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Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria PMI®: Input Costs Rise At Record Pace In February

Stanbic IBTC Bank Nigeria PMI®: Input Costs Rise At Record Pace In February

Price pressures intensified in the Nigerian private sector during February and were unprecedented in over a decade of data collection. Both input costs and output prices increased at the sharpest rates on record, with rising prices impacting demand.

As a result, rates of expansion in output and new orders slowed sharply over the month, while employment decreased for the first time in ten months. Meanwhile, business confidence dropped to the lowest on record. The headline figure derived from the survey is the Purchasing Managers’ IndexTM (PMI®). Readings above 50.0 signal an improvement in business conditions in the previous month, while readings below 50.0 show a deterioration.

The headline PMI dropped markedly in February to 51.0 from 54.5 in January, remaining above the 50.0 no-change mark for the third month running, but only just. The improvement in business conditions was the weakest since the recovery in the private sector began last December.

Input costs surged higher in February, often as a result of exchange rate weakness, which drove up material costs but also raised fuel prices. The latest rise in overall input costs was by far the sharpest since the survey began in January 2014, with around 78% of respondents signaling an increase over the month.

Similarly, output price inflation also hit a fresh record high in February as firms passed through rising input costs to their customers. Steep price pressures acted to limit new orders in the private sector. Although new business increased for the third successive month amid some positive signs of underlying demand, the rate of expansion slowed sharply and was the weakest in this sequence.

This was also the case with business activity, which increased only slightly. Rising activity in the agriculture and services sectors contrasted with falls in manufacturing, wholesale, and retail.

Muyiwa Oni, Head of Equity Research West Africa at Stanbic IBTC Bank, commented: “Stanbic IBTC Bank headline PMI slowed to its weakest level since Dec 23, moderating remarkably to 51.0 in Feb from 54.5 in January. Employment level dropped below the 50.0 no-change mark for the first time in 10 months, while output and the new order’s expansion both weakened significantly in the month.”

“These weaknesses were in line with the sharp local currency depreciation, increase in fuel prices, and rapidly rising food costs in February, thereby driving overall cost pressures in the month. These lingering pressures may push domestic demand low, limiting growth potential in Q1:24.”

Signs of weakness in the private sector led companies to lower their staffing levels for the first time in ten months, albeit marginally. Purchasing activity was also scaled back following a marked expansion in the previous survey period. Firms were able to keep on top of workloads, however, and reduced outstanding business for the first time in three months.

A desire to be able to respond to new orders in a timely manner meant that companies continued to increase their inventories. Meanwhile, suppliers’ delivery times shortened again.

Unprecedented inflationary pressures amid currency weakness and signs of demand softening meant that business confidence dropped to the lowest on record in February. Firms remained optimistic regarding the year-ahead outlook for activity, however, often reflecting business expansion plans and hopes for an improvement in economic conditions.

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Sterling One Foundation Set To Host Africa Social Impact Summit 2024

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Sterling One Foundation Set To Host Africa Social Impact Summit 2024

Sterling One Foundation Set To Host Africa Social Impact Summit 2024

Sterling One Foundation has announced plans to host the third edition of the Africa Social Impact Summit between July 25 and 26 this year.

This was disclosed at a dinner organised to appreciate the Foundation’s corporate and development partners who have contributed to the success of previous editions of the Summit and other social impact initiatives.

The Chief Executive Officer of Sterling One Foundation, Mrs. Olapeju Ibekwe, expressed profound gratitude to the partners, stating that their multi-faceted partnership and moral support have been instrumental to the success achieved over the years.

“Last year, we planned to convene about 1,000 physical delegates at the Eko Convention Center but eventually had over 1,500 participants join us for the two-day summit. Post-event, we have also realised that over 30 percent of the social impact players that joined us got financial and non-financial support just because they were part of the summit.

This is a testament to the immense value the convening offers the ecosystem and why I would like to sincerely appreciate all these esteemed organizations dedicated to fostering sustainable change in Nigeria and across the African continent.”

Among the recognised partners were co-conveners United Nations Nigeria, Coca-Cola Company, the UN Global Compact Network Nigeria, Sterling Bank, Afreximbank, the British Council, Microsoft, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), and the MTN Foundation.

She also appreciated deal rooms and technical partners such as the UNIDO Investment Technology and Promotion Of­ficer (ITPO), African Venture Philanthropy Alliance, Oando Foundation, Palladium SCALE Project, Nigeria Climate Inno­vation Center, Woodhall Capital Foundation, the Impact Inves­tors Foundation, Nigeria Eco­nomic Summit Group (NESG), Lagos Business School Sustain­ability Centre, the Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria, TRACE, Proshare, Ventures Africa, as well as other partners and exhibitors.

Mr. Abubakar Suleiman, a member of the Foundation’s board, also remarked that one of the reasons the Sterling One Foundation exists is to address issues rooted in poor collabo­ration in Nigeria, which has birthed increased costs for the various foundations attempting to resolve the country’s and continent’s problems.

“We wanted to ensure we didn’t repeat the same mistake, so our objective was to bring people together and help them see what they might not have seen before. To that extent, I think the summit has done very well,” he said.

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