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Elumelu Addressing the Entrepreneurs

This week, fifteen delegations representing the United Nations and several countries, including Germany, Canada, France, Qatar and Algeria took part in the Tunisian government’s International Investment Conference dubbed “Tunisia 2020.”

In the last 5 years the Tunisian economy has struggled following a democratic uprising which ushered in weak growth and economic uncertainty. The conference sought to attract direct investment by assembling global financial leaders and institutions.

During the event, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Chairman and billionaire philanthropist Tony O. Elumelu, CON called for a shared approach to African development, calling it, “the only route to achieving sustainable economic development, political stability and economic prosperity on the African continent.”

He encouraged youth engagement and pointed to entrepreneurship as the most secure route to sustainable development, saying, “it is imperative for African Leaders to implement growth policies that would see the youths as catalyst to development, thus avoiding the socio-economic crisis as experienced in Tunisia and other countries in Africa in past years.”

Mr. Elumelu promised to support Tunisia’s economic transformation by investing in young aspiring entrepreneurs through his Tony Elumelu Foundation — the leading philanthropy in Africa championing entrepreneurship and entrepreneurs across the continent as the catalyst for sustainable growth in Africa. He pledged to help catapult Tunisian entrepreneurs into the next generation of top African business leaders, through the $100 Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Programme.

Other conference attendees included:

Prime Minister of Tunisia, Youssef Chahed
Prime Minister of Algeria, Abdelmalek Sellal
President and Vice-President of European Investment Bank, Werner Hoyer and Andrew McDowell
Chairman of the Arab Fund For Economic and Social Development, Abdul Latif Yousif al-Hamd

In his opening speech, President of Tunisia, Mr. Beji Caid Essebsi said that the two-day conference, which was attended by more than 2,000 delegates, was designed to generate up to $30 billion for 145 projects over the next four years. All toward a vision of ensuring the North African nation can stem flow of foreign direct investment out of the country’s ailing economy.

On his part, Mr. Elumelu insisted that to stimulate economic growth in Tunisia and Africa as a whole, his economic philosophy of Africapitalism provides a blueprint, saying that African unity should be about shared challenges and experiences, shared ideas and goals, and bonds of blood and trade.

“I believe that shared prosperity can only be achieved when the government and private sector work in shared purpose to advance the economic and social development of nations and the continent.” he said.

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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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