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12 Finalists Selected In UBA Foundation National Essay Competition 2018 Amidst Increase In Entries

Gbemileke Ajayi

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UBA Foundation, the corporate social responsibility arm of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has announced the twelve finalists for the 2018 edition of its annual National Essay Competition.

The 12 finalists will sit for the second round of the competition, where three winners will emerge after undergoing supervised essay writing on a different topic from the original entry, on Saturday, November 25, 2018, at the Bank’s headquarters in Lagos

The 12 finalists were selected after a very tedious grading process undertaken by a distinguished panel of judges made up of top professors from reputable higher institutions from the four geographical zones in Nigeria. The students were graded using some parameters including grammar, articulation, arrangement, handwriting, punctuation and strength of argument.

Interestingly, this year’s edition recorded the highest participation, with more entries coming in from various secondary schools across the country – even after entries had been closed. In all, over 6,000 entries were received for this year’s edition.

The names of the finalists in no particular order are: Ugwuagbo Chinweizu of Lydia of Shalom Academy Nsukka; Israel-Olusegun Daniel of The Fountain Comprehensive Secondary School, Ogun State; Alo Praise Ayomiposi of Lagos African Church Grammar School, Lagos State; Adeyemi Abdul-Lateef of Pivic Colege Iba, Lagos State, Adetola Ibukunoluwapo from Vivian Fowler Memorial College, Lagos; Odjegba Omesiri Divine of International High School, Delta State; Hezekiah Tiffany Uruaku of Faith Academy Rivers State.

Others are Ozemoka Halimat Emesomi, University Preparatory Secondary School, Edo State; Idogbo Sharon O. of Holy Child College, Lagos; Adiankpo Ini- Iso Christopher of Nigerian Christian Institute, Uyo and Komolafe Justice Babatunde of Kingsfield College, Lagos State.

The essay competition, which targets senior secondary school students is organized annually, as part of UBA Foundation’s Education initiative aimed at promoting the reading culture and encouraging healthy and intellectual competition amongst secondary school students in Nigeria and across Africa.

This year, the topic is “What is the biggest environmental issue you think your generation will face? How can it be avoided and how can it be solved?”

The Chief Executive Officer of UBA Foundation, Mrs. Bola Atta, who announced the new prizes explained that the first prize for the UBA National Essay Competition is a N2 million educational grant for the winner to study in any African university of his or her choice, a 100% increase from N1m which was awarded last year, while the second and third prizes have increased to N1.5 million and N1m educational grants respectively, up from N750,000 and N500,000 previously obtained.

Atta also explained that the choice of topic for this year’s competition is one that helps promote creative and analytical thinking in students and encourages them to be problem solvers.

UBA Foundation’s National Essay Competition has been taken to other African countries including Ghana and Senegal as well as Mozambique and Kenya. The initiative will spread to more African countries in 2019.

UBA is one of Africa’s leading banks with operations in 20 African countries. It also has presence in the global financial centres; London, New York and Paris. UBA provides banking services to more than 15 million customers globally, through diverse channels.

BUSINESS

Heirs Holdings Signs $600 million Loans With Afrexim Bank, To Scale Its Energy Investments

Gbemileke Ajayi

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As a further demonstration of the African Export-Import Bank’s (“Afrexim”) mandate to facilitate the growth of intra-Africa trade and support the development of African businesses, Afrexim today, signed financing facilities totalling US$600 million with the Heirs Holdings Group, a pan-African proprietary investment holding company.

Heirs Holdings has significant investments across Africa, in the financial services, resources, real estate and hospitality and power sectors. The facilities will further support the Group’s power, oil and gas strategy, as it positions itself as an African leader in integrated natural resources. The signing ceremony took place at the Afrexim Intra-Africa Trade Conference taking place in Cairo, Egypt.

The proceeds of the facilities will assist the Heirs Holdings Group vision of creating a dynamic resource based division, focused on ensuring value creation occurs on the African continent and that value chains are developed, that directly benefit the broader African economy and consumer.

Commenting at the ceremony, Dr. Benedict Oramah, President of Afrexim who signed on behalf of the Bank, stated that the investment by Heirs Holdings would play a key role in addressing some of the fundamental challenges that have affected the power and energy sectors in Africa. He stated that “A world class energy sector is fundamental to the sustainable growth of businesses in Africa. If we do not deal with these basic matters, growth of trade and exports will always be limited”.

Mr. Tony Elumelu, the Chairman of Heirs Holdings, commented that “We are delighted to be partnering with Afrexim. The Bank continues to play a critical role in the economic and social development of the continent. Together, we illustrate that Africa can create world class institutions, which are capable of successfully making the long-term investments necessary for Africa’s economic transformation and catalyse the enabling environment that will unleash Africa’s potential”.

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UBA Academy Gets CIBN Accreditation for Excellence in Training, Capacity Building

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In recognition of its high standard, quality of human resources development, training and capacity building, The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria(CIBN) has certified and awarded UBA Academy the certificate of accreditation in line with the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Competency Framework for the banking industry .

UBA Academy, the dedicated learning and development centre of the Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, was accorded the new recognition of excellence at a ceremony presided over by the President/Chairman of Council of the institute, Dr. Uche Olowu in Lagos on Thursday.

According to the president of the institute, UBA Academy was conferred with the new status having met the rigorous standards set for the delivery of their suites of programmes by the Institute.

The certification follows rigorous assessment exercise carried out by the institute’s Capacity Building Committee, the accreditation agency under the competency framework for the country’s banking and finance industry instituted by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

“This Accreditation is an affirmation that UBA Academy has adopted and complied with the minimum assessment standards for programmes run by the organisation, which have gained a label of recognition and distinction,” Olowu said.

According to him the accreditation of UBA Academy would enable its graduates to be eligible for exemptions from various subjects in the banking professional examinations thereby facilitating their completion of the Chartered Banker examination. “This will not only enable them comply with the provisions of the Competency Framework for the banking industry, it will go a long way in the strengthening of the intellectual resources and capabilities available in their institutions,” he concluded.

Speaking at the ceremony, the Bank’s Group Head Human Resources, Mrs Patricia Aderibigbe, while appreciating the recognition conferred on the UBA Academy, said the academy has already embarked on training for the future with digitisation of its training programmes and modules.

“With Ignite, UBA has taken training into the future as we believe that the only way to get the best results and continually stay ahead of the curve is to continually sharpen our most important asset – our people, using mobile technology,” Aderibigbe said.

Aderibigbe promised that UBA Academy will continuously seek improvement in ensuring that it serves the needs of industry in a changing banking industry.

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Union Bank Shines At Sustainability, Enterprise And Responsibility Awards (SERAs)

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Union Bank has won the Best Company in Environmental Excellence Award and the peoples choice Award for the Most Outstanding Company in CSR/Sustainability’at the 2018 Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility Awards (SERAs). The awards were presented at the SERAS ceremony which took place recently at the MUSON center in Lagos.

Following an extensive vetting process that included an on-site inspection of applicants’ Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and sustainability projects and initiatives, Union Bank was nominated across seven award categories including The SERAs Innovation Prize, Best Company in Education and Best Company in Sustainability Reporting.

Commenting on the two awards received by the Bank, Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem, Head Corporate Communication, and Marketing at Union Bank said:

Corporate citizenship is a core pillar of our brand and business strategy. We are committed to being a sustainability champion in Nigeria and we are always improving our business operations, social engagement and innovation practices to ensure beyond compliance, we are leading the charge to deliver a sustainable future for Nigeria. We thank the SERAS team and all members of the public who recognise the work we are doing.”

Now in its 12th year, SERAs is an annual project organized by TruContact CSR, which aims to promote and raise awareness about the roles organizations to play with an emphasis on their responsibility towards stakeholders and the social development of Africa. The theme for this year’s edition was ‘Poverty Eradication through sustainability: Turning Challenges into opportunities’.

As part of its Citizenship and Sustainability efforts, Union Bank represents Nigeria on the global financial inclusion working group at the World Economic Forum. The bank is a member of the Business Call to Action (BCtA) group and United Nations Global Compact (UNGC) and has recently published its first UNGC Communication of Progress report.

Union Bank also publishes an annual Citizenship, Sustainability and Innovation report which highlights its strategic approach, initiatives and impact made in these areas within the last year.

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