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Chairman of Heirs Holdings, Mr. Tony Elumelu, yesterday, while receiving the ‘Person of the Year’ award at the Africa Investor CEO Institutional Investment Summit hosted alongside the UN General Assembly in New York, extolled stakeholders in the public and private sectors committed to improving access to power in Africa.

He first acknowledged the staff and management of Transcorp Power, the biggest producer of thermal energy in Nigeria, providing about 18% of national output: “In accepting this award, I want to dedicate it to Transcorp Power staff who remain committed to realizing our dream of improving access to electricity in Nigeria and making our vision of a well-lit, fully powered Nigeria come true.”

Transcorp Power has supported U.S. President Obama’s Power Africa initiative with a $2.5billion commitment. He thanked the broader coalition of investors in the African power sector, as he urged other institutional investors to consider long-term opportunities on the continent. “I also dedicate this to all stakeholders working hard to improve access to power in Africa. I call on others to please join us in this journey to powering Africa out of poverty.”

As the economies of African regional powerhouses like Democratic Republic of Congo, Mozambique, Uganda, Nigeria and Angola struggle due to excessive exposure to commodities’ prices caused by limited diversification, Elumelu proffered a sustainable solution to reduce Africa’s historical external vulnerability.

“Africa has been faced with this same challenge, in my view, for far too long. I choose to look at the recent episodes of economic contraction across the continent as opportunities to diversify our economies and invest in building critical infrastructure, especially in power, to reduce our susceptibility to commodity shocks and break out of the perpetual boom-bust cycles.”

He emphasized that to ensure a different type of growth trajectory for Africa – one that does not rely exclusively on the export of primary commodities – there must be reliable, accessible, affordable power to support industrialization. “Industrialization must occur on a massive scale for our countries to be powered out of chronic dependency on commodities. We must power Africa’s next phase of development, by targeting and prioritizing growth of our manufacturing, industries and services. And power is the fulcrum that will make this happen,” he said.

Elumelu revealed that while there is an abundance of private capital available to be deployed to develop the African power sector, government must play its part in attracting these investments. He explained, “While there is huge private capital – local and global – seeking investment destinations, as we know, global private capital goes to where it is most welcome.

Therefore, the challenge before African governments should be how to ensure they create the environment that will attract and retain these investments in our continent.” To the foreign investors gathered at the forum, he advised, “Though there are challenges in investing in Africa, these challenges can be overcome by investing in Africa through partnerships with qualified local partners who possess the right knowledge, requisite capital and technical know how.”

Speaking further, Elumelu urged private and public sector stakeholders to work together in what he describes as “Shared Purpose”. “It is critical for the public and private sectors to work together in “SHARED PURPOSE”, which is a key tenet of Africapitalism – the economic philosophy I espouse which calls for the private sector to play a key role in Africa’s social and economic development by investing in strategic sectors for both economic profit and social prosperity.”

Elumelu, who is also co-chair of the African Energy Leaders Group (AELG), a community of African energy leaders including Presidents and leading corporates, concluded his remarks by examining the role of power in creating opportunities for Africa’s jobless youth. “In the 21st century, the level of poverty we have in Africa and the dire youth unemployment, to a large extent, can be solved by improving access to power, and by extension other infrastructure deficiencies and deficits. Even though we are making progress, there is still a lot to be done. We need faster progress.”

BUSINESS

Introducing Zenith Bank Naira Giveaway [Details Attached]

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Zenith Bank Plc is offering its esteemed customers a chance to win cashback up to N2000 when you use your Zenith Bank Naira Mastercard to perform a minimum of 5 transactions in this month of January.

To be eligible to win, you must meet the following criteria:  You must have an active Zenith Bank account and if you do not, simply dial *966#.
CLICK ON THE BANNER BELOW
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BIG STORY

Zenith Bank Flags Off Z-Woman Business Package, Offers N10m Loan At Single-Digit Interest Rate [DETAILS]

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Zenith Bank Plc has introduced a new package for women called the Z-Woman Business Package.

The Z-Woman Business Package is designed to address the unique needs of women-owned businesses.

The package includes:

Loans of up t0 N10m at a single-digit interest rate

Free digital skills training

Free exhibition stands at Zenith Bank events.

To register, please visit www.zenithbank.com/zwoman

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BUSINESS

Access Bank, Wigwe Honoured At THISDAY Silver Jubilee Celebration

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Access Bank and its Group Managing Director, Herbert Wigwe, were honoured as the ‘Bank of the Decade’ and ‘Banker of the Decade’ respectively by THISDAY Newspaper at its 25th-anniversary celebration held at the Eko Convention Centre, Lagos.

The silver jubilee celebration was witnessed by dignitaries including former Commonwealth Secretary-General, Emeka Anyaoku; Afenifere chieftain, Ayo Adebanjo; founder of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote; Managing Director of the Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC), Mele Kyari; and former Governor of Anambra State, Peter Obi.

Receiving the awards, Wigwe attributed his success to the collective effort of all employees of the Bank and customers, saying, “It is such an honour to be recognized by such a prestigious platform, renowned for its work in unbiased and qualitative reportage. This award is dedicated to all members of staff who have worked tirelessly to ensure the growth and success of the Bank and all its subsidiaries. Furthermore, we thank all 32 million of our customers who trust us as we continue our journey to being Africa’s gateway to the world”.

Over the past decade, Herbert Wigwe has overseen the growth of Access Bank, from a relatively small bank into Africa’s largest retail bank. Wigwe has closed a series of strategic high-profile mergers while pushing and driving participation in community-focused initiatives that have endeared the bank to its customers. Since the completion of its merger with Diamond Bank, Access Bank’s customer base has grown from about 13 million to 32 million.

With subsidiaries and rep offices in 13 countries – Ghana, United Kingdom, UAE, China, Lebanon, India, Sierra Leone, Gambia, Rwanda, Zambia, Congo, Cameroon and most recently Kenya – Access Bank continues to defy critics, strengthening its place as a powerhouse in the Nigerian and indeed African banking industry.

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