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UBA Pioneers Financial Inclusivity For The Visually Impaired, Introduces UBA Braille Account Opening Form:

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UBA Pioneers Financial Inclusivity For The Visually Impaired, Introduces UBA Braille Account Opening Form:

 

Braille Account Opening 4: l-r: Past-Chairman, Anglo-Nigerian Welfare Association for the Blind(ANWAB), Ogie Eboigbe; Tutor, Pacelli School of the Blind, Sister Christiana Ekechukwu; Board Member, ANWAB, David Okon; Chairman, ANWAB, Ms Barbara Wey; Official, Ministry of Education, Grace Abimbola; Former, Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Persons Living with Disability, Adenike Oyetunde-Lawal; Executive Director, Finance and Risk Management, United Bank for Africa(UBA), Ugochukwu Nwaghodoh; Nigerian Musician and Producer, Cobhams Asuquo; and Executive Director, Group Operations, UBA, Alex Alozie, during the launch of Braille Account Opening Form for virtually impaired people, held in Lagos on Tuesday

 

Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA), has launched the UBA Braille Account Opening Form, a first-of-its-kind initiative in the Nigerian and African markets, designed specifically to cater to the financial needs of the visually impaired.

Until now, this unique and special section of society has been disadvantaged, but with this ground-breaking initiative, UBA has fully demonstrated its unwavering commitment to providing an excellent user experience for all its customers, regardless of their individual abilities or disabilities.

The new UBA Braille Account Opening Form was launched at the UBA Head Office in Lagos on Tuesday, in an event that had in attendance key executive members of the bank and guests including Multi-Award Winner, Nigerian Musician, Producer, and Songwriter, Cobhams Asuquo, General Manager, Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs (LASODA), Dare Dairo; Former Senior Special Assistant to the Lagos State Governor on Persons Living with Disability, Adenike Oyetunde-Lawal, as well as students from the Pacelli School of the Blind.

While endorsing the laudable initiative, Award-winning Music Producer, Cobhams Asuquo, described the Braille account as an innovative initiative that presents UBA as a bank with a heart that pays keen attention to the needs of the blind and disabled.

Asuquo said, “Before now, we have always been at the mercy of the reader when we want to do things like open accounts for ourselves, but this account opening form has come to solve the problem of access which has previously been a huge limiting factor for people like me who are blind. With this initiative, UBA has promoted our ideal of inclusivity and has helped to put back freedom in our hands while opening us up to the variety of opportunities and options available to us.

Continuing he said, “UBA has blazed the trail, I am beyond elated, as this new initiative will send a strong note to others to replicate the same feat and make people realize that banking services can and should be done with humanity in mind. Thank you UBA for amplifying this much-needed cause, I endorse this 100 percent and I believe it is a much-needed first step that will lead to so many others.”

Speaking earlier, UBA’s Executive Director, of Finance and Risk Management, Ugo Nwaghodoh, said the bank continues to look for ways to make the physically challenged and others to be comfortable in their life-long relationship with the financial industry.

He said, “In our quest to drive all-encompassing financial inclusion, we decided to support the visually impaired by developing a Braille Account Opening form and these special customers now have the same opportunities available to our customers. The ultimate benefit is to ensure that everybody has the right to select and choose the kind of account they want to operate, and this account opening form will go a long way to ensure this.”

The UBA Braille Account Opening Form was produced with the support of the Anglo-Nigerian Welfare Association for the Blind and is the first of its kind in the industry, designed specifically to cater to the needs of visually impaired individuals. With this innovative solution, UBA is empowering blind customers to independently initiate and complete the account opening process, ensuring their seamless integration into the financial system.

The General Manager, Lagos State Office for Disability Affairs; LASODA, who was also at the event, commended the entire team for conceiving the idea. He said, “I am so elated at this initiative, and I am happy to hear that this is also going to be replicated in the 19 African countries where UBA is present. I say thank you to this bank for this beautiful project. It is true that Government cannot do it all, and we are glad when we see institutions charting the course for others.”

United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with 35,000 employees group-wide and serving over 35 million customers globally. Operating in 20 African countries and in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and the United Arab Emirates, UBA provides retail, commercial, and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting-edge technology

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Africa’s Finest: 6th Edition of The GTCO Fashion Weekend Holds in November Lagos.

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Africa’s Finest: 6th Edition of The GTCO Fashion Weekend Holds in November Lagos.

Africa’s Finest: 6th Edition of The GTCO Fashion Weekend Holds in November Lagos.

The Fashion Industry is in for another exciting experience as the GTCO Fashion Weekend returns for its 6th edition in November.

The highly anticipated event is scheduled to hold on November 11th and 12th, 2023, at the GTCentre, Plot 1 Water Corporation Drive, Oniru, Lagos.

The GTCO Fashion Weekend is an annual consumer-focused fair designed to showcase the best of Africa’s Finest fashion to a global audience.

Over the years, the event has firmly established its place as an incubator for diverse talent, creativity, and enterprise in fashion retail, bringing together some of Africa’s prominent fashion brands alongside relatively newer labels to interact with universally celebrated fashion icons and engaging style personalities.

In keeping with tradition, this year’s event will feature insightful masterclasses and thrilling runway shows together with free stalls for over 120 fashion retailers.

Colourful façades, lively music, and a delightful ambience are popular elements of GTCO fairs and work together to create a multisensory, thoroughly fulfilling experience for all attendees.

Speaking on the 2023 GTCO Fashion Weekend, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, Segun Agbaje, said; “Fashion is not just about making items of clothing or style accessories, it is about exploring feelings and channelling creative expressions to create experiences that resonate with various buyers, across different markets.

The GTCO Fashion Weekend is constantly evolving to reflect the rapid growth of the global fashion industry in terms of size and sophistication, as we continue to draw on the endless possibilities in fashion retail to create better outcomes for individuals, indigenous businesses, and our communities.”

He further said; “The landscape for fashion design is always shifting; so too consumer needs. The 2023 GTCO Fashion Weekend provides a unique opportunity for local fashion retailers to seize on emerging trends and buyers’ preferences to reposition their businesses and thrive amidst the uncertainties and complexities of the future.”The GTCO Fashion weekend is one of the main platforms of Guaranty Trust Bank for ‘Promoting Enterprise’ primarily to benefit its growing retail and SME customer base as well as support the indigenous Creatives Industry.

Guaranty Trust Bank is the flagship subsidiary of Guaranty Trust Holding Company Plc, a leading financial services company providing banking and non-banking services across eleven countries spanning West Africa, East Africa, and the United Kingdom. The Group operates a diversified, ‘Proudly African’ franchise and is renowned for its innovative approach to customer service and stakeholder engagement, especially through its non-profit, consumer-focused fairs and capacity building initiatives for small businesses, which has endeared the GTCO brand to millions of people across Africa and beyond.For more information on this event, please visit, https://fashionweekend.gtcoplc.com Attendance is FREE.

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Ecobank Introduces “EPAC Studios” To Promote Africa’s Creative Industry

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Ecobank Introduces "EPAC Studios" To Promote Africa's Creative Industry

Ecobank Introduces “EPAC Studios” To Promote Africa’s Creative Industry

Ecobank Nigeria has opened a creative studio for the promotion of talents and creativity across the African continent. Known as EPAC Studios, it is a carefully crafted space for telling authentic African stories in art, culture, lifestyle, and entertainment. The studio is hosted on the Ecobank Pan-African Centre (“EPAC”), an edifice situated along Ozumba Mbadiwe Road in Victoria Island, Lagos. The Pan African Centre with a scintillating ambience enhances productivity and service delivery; it houses smart offices, a restaurant, a multipurpose conference hall, gym, creche, a parking lot that can accommodate 130 vehicles at a time, experience and game centre and a rooftop terrace, among others.

Announcing the opening of the studio, Head, Marketing and Corporate Communications, Jide Sipe, said the initiative by the bank is to further showcase and develop the creative industry, stating that the space is an open canvas for the public to explore, collaborate and create premium indigenous content for television, online and mobile platforms.

“The studio is designed to inspire and entertain people and also project brands through engaging and quality videos. For us as a bank, we believe in the power of inclusivity, this is why EPAC Studios is a free-to-use space, accessible to all creative minds. We are embracing partnerships and collaborations with other brands to foster a dynamic environment where ideas flourish. EPAC Studios is more than just four walls and a roof, it represents a world where we are your partners in creativity. Understanding that dreams are meant to be fulfilled, our focus is on helping you turn those dreams into reality,” he said.

“To the creative mind, I dare say EPAC Studios is the hub for innovation and expression. Our primary goal is to collaborate with you, giving life to your visions and amplifying your voices. We’re here to support your journey, offer you resources, expertise, and a platform to shine. And for those who enjoy savoring the fruits of creativity, EPAC studios allows you dive into a world of original content, from exhilarating game shows to thought-provoking podcasts and compelling product service videos.”

Ecobank Nigeria is an affiliate of the Ecobank Group, the leading private pan-African banking group. Ecobank Nigeria offers a comprehensive suite of financial services and solutions to our Consumer, Commercial, Corporate and Investment Banking clients.

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United Bank for Africa, Banking Beyond Borders

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United Bank for Africa, Banking Beyond Borders

United Bank for Africa, Banking Beyond Borders

 

United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc’s highly commended first-half financial statement was driven partly by growths in the group’s operations in other African markets and other parts of the world. Deputy Group Business Editor, Taofik Salako, reports that the growing influence of Nigerian corporates, especially financial institutions, in other non-Nigerian markets underlines the importance of the economic diplomacy of the new government

United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc was the most active stock at the country’s stock market last week, sustaining the momentum of activities that greeted the release of the group’s financial report and accounts for the first half ended June 30, 2023.

Since the release of the six-month results seven days ago, UBA’s share price has risen by more than 20 per cent as investors continue to react positively to the audited statement.

With more than 270,000 shareholders and 37 million customers, UBA, a first-generation legacy bank, is a leading tier one bank, the top hierarchy of the major financial institutions of systemic importance to the country; euphemistically referred to as “too big to fail”.

The performance of such an institution provides a bird-view of the macroeconomic analysis, especially given the interconnectivity of banking, business growth, returns, wealth distribution and the average living standards of the mass of economically active populace.

Independent market analysts have generally acclaimed UBA Group’s performance as impressive. Cordros Securities said UBA Group’s results were “impressive financial performance”, adding that it expected the “strong earnings growth to remain by year-end”.

FSDH Capital stated that UBA “reported a robust set of numbers”, noting that “investor reaction to the robust second quarter 2023 results was buoyant”.

Economic Interconnectivity

The release of the UBA results came as President Bola Tinubu rounded off a multi-level foreign trips, largely centred on re-energising Nigeria’s global presence and recognition as an economic force to reckon with. Tinubu rolled many things into his participation at the G-20 Summit in India, hosting a bilateral Nigeria-India Presidential Roundtable that brought India and Nigeria’s private and public sectors together, a direct interaction with the Nigerian community in India, many bilateral discussions on the sidelines of the G-20 Summit and a well-applauded message at the main G-20 Summit.

With $14 billion immediate investment pipeline and several commitments secured in India, Tinubu moved to United Arab Emirates (UAE) to straighten a frosty relationship. The president resolved the lingering issues of visa ban on Nigerians and suspension of flights to Nigeria by UAE airlines.

Beyond the lifting of visa ban on Nigeria by authorities at UAE and the resumption of operations by UAE airlines as well as the investment deals in India, analysts said the biggest gains of the trips were the Nigerian businesses and investors. Tinubu, who is championing a socio-empaehic market-economy, was accompanied on the India trip by a large number of Nigeria’s leading investors and enterpreneurs; a mix of public and private sectors that has been the trademark of the new administration.

The connection between Nigeria’s economic diplomacy and the growing international influence of Nigerian businesses was illustrated by the UBA Group’s results.

Facts of the results
Key extracts of the audited results for the six-month period ended June 30, 2023 showed that UBA recorded triple-digit growths across major income lines, as the pan-African banking group continued to show substantial progress in increasing the contribution and market share from its subsidiaries in Africa and globally.

The six-month report showed that UBA’s profit before tax leapt by 371 per cent from N85.75 billion in first half 2022 to N404 billion in first half 2023. Profit after tax jumped by 437.8 per cent to N378.24 billion in first half 2023. Gross earnings grew by 164 per cent to N981.78 billion in June 2023 as against N372.36 billion in comparable period of June 2022. Operating income rose by 206.6 per cent to N783.96 billion in June 2023 as against N255.67 billion reported in comparable period of 2022.

The balance sheet indicated that total assets continued on upward trajectory, rising above the N15 trillion mark. It hit N15.38 trillion, representing a 41.7 per cent leap from N10.86 trillion recorded at the end of last year. Customer deposits also rose by 42.4 per cent to N11.14 trillion as against N7.8 trillion recorded at the end of 2022 while shareholders’ funds increased to N1.712 trillion, reflecting the group’s strong capacity for internal capital generation.

The impressive performance prompted the board of the bank to increase interim dividend payouts by 150 per cent. Shareholders will receive N17.1 billion as interim dividend for the first half 2023 as against N6.84 billion paid for first half 2022. This implies a dividend per share of 50 kobo in first half 2023 as against 20 kobo paid for first half 2022. The report indicated annualised return on average equity of 57.7 per cent as against 17.1 per cent it recorded last year.

 

Gains of global focus

UBA groups its businesses under three geographical segments of Nigeria, the home country; ‘Rest of Africa’, which comprises all subsidiaries in Africa, excluding Nigeria and ‘Rest of the World’, which comprises of UBA UK Limited, UBA New York branch and UBA Abu Dhabi. UBA operates some 1,000 business offices and touchpoints across 20 African countries. Beyond London, New York and Abu Dhabi, it also has notable presence in Paris and Cayman Island.

A segmental analysis of the businesses showed significant growths across the international subsidiaries, providing additional boost for equally impressive performance at the Nigerian market.

The ‘Rest of the World’ saw 182.1 per cent growth in turnover and 170.6 per cent increase in profit in first half 2023. The ‘Rest of Africa’ also reported 64.7 per cent growth in turnover with 55.6 per cent and 62.8 per cent increase in pre and post-tax profits respectively. Altogether, the non-Nigerian businesses accounted for almost a third of UBA Group’s turnover and about a quarter of the group’s pre-tax profit during the first half 2023.

Analysts have noted that the UBA’s global outlook has further validated the effectiveness of UBA’s long-term global strategy and positioning as the financial intermediary for Africa and the rest of the World, led by its largest shareholder and chairman, Mr. Tony Elumelu. A multi-preneur, Elumelu’s concept of ‘Africapitalism’ seeks to deploy private resources in critical sectors of African economy as a driving force for continental growth. This concept is also embedded in the Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF), which provides grants, training, mentoring and other resources to innovative African youths and start-ups.

Group Managing Director, UBA Plc, Mr. Oliver Alawuba, said the first-half of the year’s result has again demonstrated the benefits of the group’s long-held diversification strategy across Africa and globally.

“The three core geographical pillars of our business-Nigeria, ‘Rest of Africa’ and ‘Rest of the World’ are making strong contributions to the group’s profit, further justifying our global strategy and business positioning across Africa, UAE, France, UK and USA, and demonstrating the benefits of positioning UBA as the financial intermediary for Africa and the rest of the world,” Alawuba said.

According to him, the growth of the group’s international business, most recently in the UAE, reinforces the group’s earnings quality.

He said the latest results underscored the group’s commitment to consistently deliver value to its shareholders, noting that the group recorded strong growths in revenues and profits from its operations.

According to him, the group made progress in digital payments, retail penetration and also benefitted from the effect of revaluation gains, arising from the harmonisation of foreign exchange rates at the different access windows in Nigeria.

“Our business is on a steady growth trajectory, as we further strengthen our risk management traditions and practices necessary technology investments to deliver premium service to our customers. We have also continued to finance landmark projects in critical sectors of the economies across Africa, facilitating intra-Africa trade with our valuable offerings and provide a versatile last-mile distribution network for Africa-bound donor and multilateral agency funds,” Alawuba said.

 

Analysts’ perspectives

Analysts also shared the optimistic view of the outlook for the group. FSDH Capital noted the positive trajectory of performance quarter on quarter. “Sequentially, the company recorded a steady 162.0 per cent quarter-on-quarter growth in gross earnings to N710.6 billion in 2Q23. The net interest income grew 32.5 per cent quarter-on-quarter to N158.5 billion, primarily due to a 23.2 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in interest income from amortised cost and FVOCI securities.

Also, this was supported by a 41.3 per cent quarter-on-quarter increase in net fee and commission income to N73.7 billion in second quarter 2023, compared to N52.2 billion in first quarter 2023 and a significant rise in net trading and foreign exchange income to N392.2 billion in second quarter 2023, compared to N26.1 billion in first quarter 2023, leading to a robust 242.6 per cent quarter-on-quarter expansion in operating income to N608.2 billion in second quarter 2023,” FSDH Capital stated.

 

Outlook

Executive Director, Finance and Risk, Ugo Nwaghodoh, said the group’s annualised return on average equity at 57.7 per cent was bolstered by improved operating income and revaluation gains.

“Our half year 2023 financial numbers reflect excellent performance across key metrics, as we diligently execute our priorities for the year. It also pointed out that the group maintains robust capital buffers to support business growth and loss absorbency. The group’s shareholders’ funds stood at N1.7 trillion, with a capital adequacy ratio of 36.4 per cent,” Nwaghodoh said.

UBA stated that it believes that its international business has significant potential for continuing growth and to materially contribute to group’s revenue and profit in the future.

Alawuba said the first-half performance served as a strong impetus to deliver superior returns this year.

“As we approach the last quarter of the year, the group remains strategically positioned to sustain the strong performance, consolidating on first half 2023 results, to deliver superior returns to our esteemed shareholders,” Alawuba said.

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