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Leading In Africa: UBA To Expand Footprint To 25 African Countries

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Group Chairman Elumelu reconfirms Africa network as strategic priority, pledges further capital for African growth

The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Group recently held its first ever Senior Leadership Forum reflecting the strategic importance and growth potential of its pan-African business. UBA Group Chairman Mr. Tony O. Elumelu convened the Forum to review the impressive growth that the bank’s African network had made over the past 11 years and to provide a platform to reaffirm and embolden its strategic goals.

The Forum brought together 90 participants, including the entire Board of UBA, all Chairmen and all CEOs of UBA subsidiaries across Africa and the United Kingdom. It was timed to coincide with UBA’s Annual General Meeting and Group Board Meeting.

“We are one bank, the United Bank for Africa”, Mr. Elumelu said as he opened the Forum. “Bringing together our senior leadership talent from across the continent and the distinguished leaders who chair our subsidiary businesses is a powerful demonstration of our commitment to forge one bank for Africa.”

“As long-term investors and, may I say, pioneers in pan-African commercial and investment banking, we are deeply committed to the markets in which we operate and to harnessing the potential represented by the wider African economy. Our intention is to be the leader in African financial services, and our recent transactions show this. We see clearly the potential of Africa” said Mr. Elumelu.

UBA subsidiaries operate in 18 African countries and now contribute more than 25 per cent to Group operating revenue. UBA is increasingly recognized as a strong pan-African brand, hailed for democratising banking in its countries of operation whilst participating in landmark financial transactions, including:

  • A USD$1.2 billion oil financing agreement with NNPC and Chevron where UBA provided funding for Chevron and NNPC to develop 36 new oil wells that will significantly expand Nigeria’s oil production capacity
  • A USD $315 million facility to the Government of Ghana for road projects on the strength of Road Fund levies domiciled with UBA Ghana
  • A US$250 million Crude pre-payment facility for Democratic Republic of Congo-based Orion Oil representing the largest reported transaction structured by an African investment bank in 2015 involving fresh capital within the African market.
  • A 234 million Euro oil and gas financing deal with Société Africaine de Raffinage (SAR) of Senegal, which underscored its capacity to fund big ticket transactions across Africa
  • A USD $180 million to Delta Energy Zambia for the procurement and supply of petroleum products to marketing companies in Zambia
  • A USD$90m University of Dakar hostel construction project financed solely by UBA Senegal – African capital, building African infrastructure for African education

“We have done a lot but in many senses we are only beginning to reap the rewards of our network and potential. We are a truly pan-African institution and after this period of consolidation, we know that the continuing expansion of our Africa footprint is a key goal. We must ensure that we have presence in at least 25 countries in the near to medium term, starting from the UMOA and CEMAC zones,” said Mr. Fogan Sossah, Chairman of UBA Senegal during the Forum.

In keeping with the objective of creating an institution worthy of the patronage of clients and the trust of regulators and governments, the three day forum focused on the critical issues and drivers for success across the continent. Seminars were held on Corporate Governance, Corporate Institutionalisation, Board Effectiveness, Compliance, Accountability and more.

Speaking on the breadth and depth of the Forum’s individual sessions, Mrs. Gisele Mudiay, Chairman of UBA Democratic Republic of Congo said: “! Our aspiration for the next five years is to pool knowledge of our individual operating environments and leverage that knowledge to help our customers realize their business goals.”

Noting the difficulties that exist in operating in the diverse economic environments across the African continent, Mr. Ekoto Mukete, Chairman UBA Cameroon said: “While we operate in challenging business environments, we benchmark ourselves against global standards, which means we are able to add real value to our stakeholders. This forum has ensured that we are an army of one, working in each corner of Africa and driving toward one common goal.”

The approval of additional injection of capital into its East African subsidiaries in Uganda, Kenya and Tanzania was communicated at the forum as the group re-affirmed its committment to growth in its countries of operations across the continent.

Commenting on the importance of consolidating pan-African financial expertise and exporting the successful Nigerian model, incoming Group MD/CEO and previous head of UBA Africa, Kennedy Uzoka said: “I have experienced the potential of our pan-African businesses. I know that we can and I commit to ensuring our leadership across Africa. The Senior Leadership Forum reaffirms UBA’s ambition to be the leading pan-African Bank across key indices – brand equity, human capital, customer service and profitability.”

Other items on the agenda at the forum included Know Your Customer (KYC) and Anti-Money Laundering (AML) policies and compliance standards across the Group. The Group Compliance Officer  Uche Ike stated that “compliance is non-negotiable. We operate as a global bank, in global centres. We have seen how swiftly internationally and within Africa banks have lost hard earned reputations through laxity in policy compliance and we will not tolerate this in UBA Group“.

The Forum coincided with the 54th Annual General Meeting of UBA(where participants were also able to celebrate the Bank’s strong financial performance) as the week long activities culminated in the dedication of staff at the annual UBA CEO awards ceremony.

UBA reported strong financial results in 2015, in what is largely recognized as a challenging macro environment. Gross earnings were N315bn whilst operating profits stood at almost N70bn. UBA Africa operations currently contribute approximately 25% of these earnings but are expected to grow significantly and over time contribute as much as 50% to overall Group profitability.

 

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Heritage Bank Identifies High Prospects In Nigeria’s £4bn Gold Market

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Heritage Bank Plc, Nigeria’s most innovative banking service provider, disclosed that Nigeria’s Gold market is worth £4 billion Pounds with high prospects of profitability for all players in the subsector.

The MD/CEO, Ifie Sekibo, who stated this at the Nigeria-Canada Investment Summit, held in Abuja, yesterday also disclosed that the enormous potential of the industry was one of the reasons why Heritage Bank delved into the mining sector despite enormous risks.

According to him, the bank has Dukia Gold as its partner that would facilitate access to local miners and artisans to get value for their commodity at international market price after being registered with Dukia Gold.

Sekibo, who was represented by the Team Lead, Agric Finance and Export, Adelana Ogunjirin, explained that prior to now, local miners of Gold found it difficult to trade their commodities favorably but with the involvement of Dukia and its partner, Heritage Bank, a Quality-and-Quantity test will be conducted based on the arrangement they made with Dukia Gold and that will lead to added value to the smallholder miners. He explained that this will leverage the small miners the opportunity to also trade their commodities at the international market price.

He further stated that a metric tonne of gold is currently valued at $30million adding that it is worth investing in the industry, especially as gold is a kind of commodity that does not easily lose its value.

He said: “Mining sector is an area which has not been fully tapped in terms of the potentials around it, as there are quite a lot of opportunities around that sector. Recently we secured a $1 billion funding line with our funding partner AfreximBank, which also is to support areas like solid minerals.

“Now with respect to this we have looked at the value chain of this space and we have looked at the opportunities that are there. A lot of fund providers have not really delved into this and it is because of the lack of understanding of the market.

“In terms of value, gold is an area where you can enhance the value. You hardly see Gold losing value and you see that in different exchanges you even trade those commodities.

“Looking at it in terms of trend, you see that gold is something that will appreciate definitely. So in terms of the profitability of this business, we have looked at it, the crunch, the numbers we see that is a space that the Bank will definitely earn a lot of income.”

He also expressed optimism that other banks would like to come into the Nigerian mining sector but maybe studying to understand the sector properly.

“Definitely other banks will come into the sector. For us, we are leading, but the truth is they need to play in an area and space that they understand, as not everybody would be able to play in that space.

“Heritage Bank has already carved a niche for itself in agribusiness space, just like the Gold commodity, this would be exported. So, in terms of export proceeds too, there are opportunities to be explored. Generally, looking at the Nigerian outlook, in the long run, this will also enhance the country’s external reserves. There are multiplier effects of what we are doing today and that is why we are also moving in this direction,” the MD noted.

Also speaking, Managing Director, Nigeria Export-Import Bank, NEXIM, Abba Bello, revealed that the bank had gone into high-level discussions with heavy equipment manufacturers and suppliers that would lease equipment to miners for exploration and processing, adding that this was expected to make the equipment accessible and affordable.

Bello said, “For equipment supplier or outright purchase of equipment, we have gone into discussions with Bluecare and now Mantrac for the supply of heavy equipment for gold processing or exploration on lease basis and, it is something that does not exist currently within the industry.

“Barrick Gold and Bullion Mart is something that happens in the mining world. You don’t have to own the equipment, but there are vendors who supply the equipment for explorers to hire.

“Discussions have gone very far with the equipment suppliers and very soon we will announce the programme.”

Meanwhile, the Country Manager, ITM, Nigeria, Habibah Waziri, raised concerns on human resources development that would sustain the sector.

Waziri also said there is a need to formalize the sector and also invest in human capital in the sector for growth and development.

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UBA Partners With British Airways To Reward Loyal Customers

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Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc and the global airline, British Airways have announced a collaboration to reward loyal customers who are cardholders of the Bank.

The promo which will last for six months from November 2019, will witness UBA customers getting significant discounts when they purchase their British Airways tickets using their UBA cards. The promo will allow customers to enjoy up between 10% to 15% discount on any ticket purchased during the campaign. The ticket fares is exclusive of taxes as is applicable to purchases of all goods and services.

The collaboration is aimed at increasing customer experience and satisfaction for both UBA Cardholders and customers of British Airways.

The General Manager, Corporate Bank, UBA Directorate, Mr Muyiwa Akinyemi, who expressed delight at the collaboration, noted that the promo between the two organizations was carefully thought out to ensure that loyal customers of the two institutions are duly rewarded while ensuring that they also receive more value for their money. He added that for persons without a UBA account, all they require to benefit from this promo is to procure a card instantly from any UBA branch nationwide.

“UBA is excited to collaborate with one of the foremost Airlines in the world to run a promotion aimed at rewarding our cardholders and premium customers who will enjoy discounted tickets and other ancillary benefits such as loyalty points on the British Airways Executive Club.”

He explained that as a customer-centric institution, UBA is always on the look-out for services and reward schemes that will ultimately benefit the customers, in line with its Customer 1st policy.

Akinyemi noted that the bank has plans to partner with other airlines in the future to provide further opportunities for reducing the cost of travel for its customers. “For now, we are partnering with a pre-eminent airline that offers class and distinction,” he said.

The Commercial Manager for British Airways in West Africa, Mr. Kola Olayinka, noted that the airline is pleased to partner with the bank due to its huge customer base and wide reach, adding that with the partnership, more customers will be able to enjoy the promo.

He said, “British Airways is excited to partner with UBA, Africa’s Global Bank, to create a mind-blowing promotion aimed at raising awareness about this service to be rendered by both institutions.”

Continuing, Kola said, “In addition, the discounts provided by British Airways will reduce the cost of travel and encourage the Bank’s customers to make more foreign trips during the period and also reward their customers and staff as a way of giving them something very tangible.”

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Heritage Bank Convenes Strategic Agribusiness Meeting With Sumitomo Corporation

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L-R: John Gbassa, CEO/MD of WAO Global Trading Ltd; Koji Shirotani, Divisional Manager, Sub-Sahara Africa Business Development Division; Afolasade Alonge, Divisional Head, Corporate and Specialized Banking, Heritage Bank Plc; Masafumi Tanimoto, General Manager, Accra Liason Office; Tsuyoshi Ueda, Assistant Managing Director; Jude Monye, Executive Director of Heritage Bank; Olugbenga Awe, Divisional Head, Agric Finance & Export and Takuya Yamamoto, General Manager, Middle East & Africa, Sumitomo Corporation, during discussion between the Heritage Bank and Sumitomo Corporation on mechanisation & Agric Business, held at bank’s head office, weekend.

Nigeria is at the threshold of the much-needed agricultural revolution, as food production remains a significant challenge all over the world, hence whilst, Heritage Bank Plc is forming an alliance to further create formidable partnership arrangements with Sumitomo Corporation that will lead to impactful agribusiness within the segments of the agricultural value chain.

This relationship that is focused on mechanization and agribusiness will complement the efforts of the Central Bank of Nigeria’s (CBN) to fast track development of the agricultural sector and enhance national food security.

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