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Union Bank, one of Nigeria’s most trusted financial institutions, in collaboration with Connect Nigeria has announced the launch of the Top 100 Emerging SME campaign at the just concluded eBusiness fair for mall to Medium Enterprises (SMEs) which held recently at the Eko Hotel & Suites in Lagos.

The eBusiness fair, organized by Connect Nigeria and sponsored by Union Bank, is reputed as one of the largest gatherings of SMEs on the African continent drawing business owners, startup founders and aspiring entrepreneurs from across the continent.

The Top 100 Emerging SMEs list is an initiative aimed at identifying, honouring and supporting Nigeria’s leading upcoming SMEs who have shown resilience by thriving despite the challenging business environment while maintaining ethical business practices.

Speaking about the launch of the initiative, Union Bank’s Head of Retail Segments, Paul Aseme said: “As a bank that recently crossed the century mark, we are committed to supporting the growth of Nigerian businesses so they can also be profitable and sustainable in the long term. We will continue supporting the SME sector which we recognize is a vital part of the Nigerian economy.

Through this project, we intend to acknowledge and celebrate upcoming SMEs whose hard work and persistence deserve to be recognized.”

The selection process to pick the top 100 emerging SMEs will involve a combination of voters’ polls and judges’ assessments. riteria to be considered in selecting the top SMEs will include innovation, scalability, business feasibility, market opportunity, reach and revenue.

Also speaking at the launch, Emeka Okafor, CEO Connect Nigeria said “The top 100 SME , is a project aimed at amplifying the best from the SME segment in Nigeria. Through diligent research, we hope to present the most authentic list of top 100 emerging businesses from different industries. We are pleased that Union Bank is partnering with us on this which is a clear indication of their commitment to the sector and Nigeria as a whole ”

Interested SMEs are invited to visit http://www.connectnigeria.com/top100/ to submit their entry.

Individuals are also invited to vote for the SMEs of their choice on the same site.

The Top 100 SME List is another example of Union Bank’s continued support for upcoming Nigerian businesses. Last year, 2017, the Bank, in partnership with Co-creation Hub (CcHub) launched a first-of-its kind business acceleration program ‘Start up Connect’ which is an opportunity for Nigerian companies, creating technology-based solutions for the next generation African market, to partner with CCHub and Union Bank for rapid growth.

Union Bank’s commitment to SMEs has earned it the “Best Bank to Support Nigeria’s Small and Medium Scale Enterprises” award at the 2016 Business Day Annual Banking Awards.

BIG STORY

BREAKING: South Africa Enters Technical Recession After GDP Declines For A Second Quarter

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Reports from South Africa show that the country’s economy, the second largest in Africa, has again dropped into a technical recession.

This was after the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP) for the second quarter of 2018 compressed further by 0.7 percent, according to figures released on Tuesday by Stats SA.

This marks two consecutive periods of contraction the country was recording, which therefore equates to a recession.

In the first quarter of this year, South Africa’s GDP contracted by 2.6 percent.

“Real gross domestic product (measured by production) decreased by 0.7 percent in the second quarter of 2018, following a decrease of 2.6 percent in the first quarter of 2018.

“The largest negative contributors to growth in GDP in the second quarter were agriculture, transport and trade,” the Stats SA said in its report today.

This is the first recession South Africa is entering into since its new leader, Mr Cyril Ramaphosa, took over from Mr Jacob Zuma, who also witnessed an economic recession while in office.

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BUSINESS

UBA’s Leo Launched On WhatsApp

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Pan-African Financial Institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) has announced the commencement of its chat bank ‘Leo’ on the WhatsApp platform.

With Leo on WhatsApp, customers who are users and lovers of the app can now perform basic banking services including checking their balances on the go, transferring funds, paying bills, among other services.

The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, UBA, Mr. Kennedy Uzoka, who expressed excitement about the development remarked that the bank is continuously working in line with customers’ demand to ensure that banking services are made convenient and without stress.

He said, “This only goes to show that our resolve in continuing to deploy innovative solutions that place customers first, using cutting-edge technology for their collective satisfaction and excellent banking experience is important to us. This recognition will further spur us to do more in meeting the needs of our customers with unrivalled services.”

“Our recent launch of Leo in 13 other African countries is evidence that UBA has on its agenda, the objective of digital creativity especially in service for our trusted customer base across the African continent.”

Also speaking on the new service, the Group Head of UBA’s Online Banking, Mr Austine Abolusoro, stated “United Bank for Africa is a technology-driven institution with vast knowledge in the business that we do and Leo, being a tested dependable and intelligent personality, will replicate on WhatsApp, the success it has experienced on the Facebook Messenger platform.  It is a solution that is from the customer’s standpoint, easy to use by anyone regardless of your demography.” “Leo is ready and waiting to help with any form of banking services,” continued Abolusoro.

WhatsApp has been in existence for over 9 years, reaching more than 1.5 billion people in over 180 countries. The premium private chat platform has assured that there will be no spam messages as the development is to enable businesses to serve their customers with useful and helpful information.

LEO is already present in over 14 African subsidiaries, including Nigeria, available in three languages, and has now been rolled out to customers on WhatsApp. To use this service on WhatsApp, customers must add the LEO Whatsapp number: +234 903 000 2455 to their phone contacts, then search for UBA Chat Banking on WhatsApp to start enjoying the added convenience and ease of transacting with Leo on WhatsApp.

UBA is one of Africa’s leading banks with operations in 20 African countries and in London and New York, with presence in Paris. Adjudged to be at the forefront of innovation and convenient banking, UBA is one of the first financial services institutions on the continent to deploy Finacle 10x, a new information technology platform that boosts its services and electronic banking channels. Today, UBA provides banking services to more than 15 million customers globally, through thousands of touch points and diverse channels.

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BUSINESS

UBA Appoints Four New Board Members

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The Board of Directors of the United Bank for Africa is pleased to announce the appointment of four new members to its board, subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria(CBN).

The new board members are Mrs. Erelu Angela Adebayo, Ms. Angela Aneke, Alhaji Abdulqadir Jeli Bello and Mr. Isaac Olukayode Fasola.

These appointments follow the retirement of Mrs. Rose Okwechime, Mr Adekunle Olumide, OON, Alhaji Ja’afaru Paki and Mr Yahaya Zekeri, with effect from August 30, 2018.

“I am pleased to welcome Erelu Adebayo, Angela Aneke, Abdulqadir Bello and Kayode Fasola to the Group Board,” said Tony O. Elumelu, the Group Chairman of the Bank.  “These men and women bring a wealth of experience in their fields and will be tremendous assets, as we deliver on our mission to become the leading Pan-African financial institution in all our countries of operation.”

‘I am particularly pleased that two of the newly appointed Non-Executive Directors are women, bringing the total number of women to four, a further demonstration of our commitment to ensuring equality for both men and women,’ added the Group Chairman.

Mr. Elumelu thanked the retiring directors for their contribution, hard work and commitment to UBA, “I would like to express my appreciation to our retiring Directors for their leadership and dedication to UBA and for their contribution to an already impressive 2018. I wish them the very best in their future endeavours”.

This announcement comes on the heels of the Bank’s strong H1 2018 performance with a PBT of N58.1billion. With the successful expansion of its retail operations, UBA now operates in 20 countries in Africa, following its recent acquisition of a licence in Mali and the United Kingdom. The bank also has offices in New York City and in Paris.

About the new Directors

Erelu Angela Adebayo who graduated with an M.Phil in Land Economy from Cambridge University is the former First Lady of Ekiti State in Nigeria. Mrs Adebayo previously served on the boards of several organisations, including the Dangote Foundation, DN Meyer Plc, Wemabod Estates.  Mrs Adebayo is a council member of the Nigerian Stock Exchange and has worked extensively on real estate development and She is the Chairman of the Erelu Adebayo Foundation for the underprivileged.

Ms. Angela Aneke is a board advisor, banker and a strategic thinker with over 30 years’ experience in financial services, in the areas of financial control, strategy, transaction banking, corporate banking, retail banking and governance.  Ms. Aneke has held executive management and board positions in several international and regional institutions, including Ecobank Transnational Incorporated and the United Bank for Africa.

Mr. Isaac Olukayode Fasola is a consummate professional with over 30 years’ cognate experience obtained from Management and Board positions covering banking operations, risk management, credit analysis, insurance, asset management, business strategy/development, performance management and corporate governance.  Mr. Fasola previously served as an Executive Director of a commercial Bank in Nigeria. Mr. Fasola holds 2 MBAs and is pursuing a Ph.D. in Business Administration.

Mr. Abdulqadir J. Bello, a Chartered Accountant, has over 30 years’ corporate experience in the banking sector, during which period he held several senior Management positions in various Banks.  He also previously served as the Group Chief Credit Officer of UBA and thereafter as the Executive Director in charge of Risk Management for UBA Group.

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