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The European Investment Bank and United Bank for Africa (UBA) have agreed a new EUR 60 million lending programme to support private sector investment across Nigeria. This represents the EIB’s largest ever loan to UBA and will allow UBA to provide longer term loans than currently available to private companies in Nigeria.

The new private sector lending programme was formally agreed on the side-lines of the World Bank Annual Meetings in Washington DC by Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President of the European Investment Bank and Kennedy Uzoka, Group Managing Director and Sola Yomi-Ajayi. Head of Global Financial Institutions at UBA.
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“Private sector investment is crucial for creating jobs and ensuring sustainable economic growth. The European Investment Bank is committed to unlocking investment across Africa and we are pleased to build on past success to strengthen our partnership with UBA that will benefit projects across Nigeria.” said Ambroise Fayolle, Vice President of the European Investment Bank.

Speaking at the signing ceremony, Kennedy Uzoka, Group Managing Director, UBA said “Our growing partnership with the European Investment Bank underlines our long term objective of facilitating the development and growth of African businesses. This facility will enable UBA bridge critical financing gaps for Nigerian companies and deepen our capacity to support their growth aspirations in the local and international market place”

Ambassador Michel Arrion, Head of the European Union Delegation to Nigeria and ECOWAS, described the programme as an example of the catalytic role the EU and its institutions like the EIB are playing to support Nigeria’s economic development. “We look forward to more fruitful partnerships with Nigeria, and particularly with the private sector, which remains the engine of economic growth”.

This represents the first Nigerian operation under the European Investment Bank’s new dedicated Nigeria Private Enterprise Investment Facility, a wider million lending scheme intended to support private sector investment in the country. Under the new initiative private sector entrepreneurs and companies will be able to use loans with a longer tenor than traditionally available to invest and expand activities across a range of sectors.

The new loan will also fund capital expenditure by UBA to strengthen their support for private investment, through expansion of their branch network and improving information technology.

The European Investment Bank has supported infrastructure and private sector investment in Nigeria since 1978.

The European Investment Bank is the world’s largest international public bank and over the last five years has provided EUR 12.8 billion for investment across Africa.

BIG STORY

Kings of Finance: GTBank Named Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand

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Guaranty Trust Bank plc has been ranked Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand in the 10th-anniversary rankings of Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands, the pre-eminent survey and ranking of the Top 100 admired brands in Africa. The rankings were announced in a novel global virtual event and will be published in the June issue of the African Business magazine.

In a special report examining the results of the 2020 survey, the founder of Brand Africa, Thebe Ikalafeng, said GTBank’s “clever marketing, global presence and some of its flagship food and fashion events have undoubtedly helped make it a fixture of daily life in some of its key markets, especially its home base Nigeria.” He added that the bank, which recently won plaudits for building a 110-bed Care Centre in response to the Covid-19 Pandemic, “has taken banking and finance to the people.”

GTBank has long been regarded as one of Africa’s outstanding brands and enjoys a massive youth following thanks to its innovative and forward-thinking approach to financial services and customer engagement. It currently commands the largest social media following amongst all financial institutions in Africa and in 2019, the Bank hosted over 700,000 people at its consumer-focused events, GTBank Food and Drink Festival and The GTBank Fashion Weekend, among them dozens of business leaders and industry experts from around the world.

In 2019, GTBank removed all banking charges for young undergraduates under the age of 25 on its GTCrea8 Account Package. The move was unprecedented in the financial services sector but not unusual for a bank that had pioneered Zero-Naira Account Opening in the country, and in which people over the age of 65 also bank for free. GTBank is also blazing the trail in digital technologies; after leading the USSD banking revolution in Nigeria with its 737 Service, the bank is driving the digitization of consumer lending with Quick Credit, a first-of-its-kind digital lending product that gives individuals and small businesses instant, real-time access to loans anytime, anywhere via their mobile phones.

Brand Africa’s ranking of GTBank as Africa’s Most Admired Finance Brand is only one of its many accolades. In 2019, the was recognized as the Best Bank in Africa and Best Bank in Nigeria, by the Euromoney Magazine and the Best Banking Group and Best Retail Bank Nigeria by World Finance Magazine. In the same year, the Bank also dominated the Central Bank of Nigeria’s Electronic Payment Incentive Scheme (EPIS) Efficiency Awards for the third year in a row, taking home 8 of the 12 honours for banks at the forefront of driving the digitalization of financial services.

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COVID-19: CBN Issues Directive To Banks, Reduces Interest Rates

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has reduced interest rates on its facilities through participating in Other Financial Institutions (OFIs).

The rate has been slashed from 9 to 5 percent per for one year, effective March 1, 2020.

This was contained in a circular to banks on Wednesday by the Director of Financial Policy and Regulation Department, Kevin Amugo.

Similarly, CBN intervention facilities obtained through participating OFIs, Microfinance Banks (MFBs), Primary Mortgage Banks, among others would be given a further one-year moratorium on all principal repayments.

This is also effective on March 1, 2020.

OFIs have equally been granted leave to consider temporary and time-limited restructuring of the tenor and loan terms for households and businesses, subject to the recently issued guidelines for restructuring affected credit facilities in the OFI sub-sector.

The Director, Corporate Communications Department, Isaac Okoroafor, said the decisions were part of the bank’s efforts to cushion the effects of coronavirus on Nigerians, businesses and regulated institutions.

He assured that the CBN would also continue to monitor developments and implement appropriate measures to safeguard financial stability and support stakeholders impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

However, the Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting of the CBN for the month of May will be held on Thursday.

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GTBank Celebrates Children’s Day

Gbemileke Ajayi

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