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Tony Elumelu Joins Trump Senior Adviser Jared Kushner in Bahrain To Launch US Government Growth Strategy for Palestine and Middle East

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Heads of States and other global leaders convened at the Peace to Prosperity Workshop in Bahrain, organised by the Presidency of the United States of America in partnership with the host government, the Kingdom of Bahrain, to launch the US growth strategy for Palestine and the Middle East; a first step in the long journey towards establishing an enduring future for the region; the West Bank, Gaza, and beyond.

Providing the African perspective upon special invitation from the US Government, Tony Elumelu, Founder, the Tony Elumelu Foundation and Chairman, the United Bank for Africa, headlined the summit, speaking on the opening plenary alongside Christine Lagarde, Managing Director, International Monetary Fund (IMF); and HE Mohammed Al-Sheikh, Minister of State & Member of the Council of Ministers, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia, to share practical recommendations to unlock future economic prosperity for the Palestinian people, using what is done at the Tony Elumelu Foundation as a replicable model for the economic empowerment of young men and women from the West Bank and Gaza.

Elumelu stressed the urgency and importance of supporting and empowering young Palestinians to ignite the entrepreneurial ecosystem and strengthen the Palestinian economy. For stable growth, he reiterated that young Palestinians must be empowered with jobs and economic opportunity to contribute meaningfully to their nation’s development.

“I come from Africa; and the reality is that we do have a lot of similarities with the Palestinian people; especially in the area of demographic make up. With over 60% of its nearly 5 million strong population under 30, the young people of Palestine need Jobs Jobs and more Jobs! Without jobs, there will be no economic hope. Big corporations and government alone cannot supply the jobs demanded by Palestine’s demographic pressures. We need SMEs and startups to address joblessness in the region, create jobs and opportunities in local communities for millions of our Palestinian young brothers and sisters to become employed, meaningfully engaged, and full of economic hope, which in turn leads them away from extremism.”

The renowned investor and philanthropist who is leading by example through the Tony Elumelu Foundation which has committed US$100m to empower young African entrepreneurs, called on endowed Middle Easterners and their philanthropies to step up and become more involved in empowering the young ones of Palestine. As he explained, “In the 21st century, we cannot keep relying on western donors to help empower our own people; we must step up and create a platform where they may partner with us for scale, just as we are doing at the Tony Elumelu Foundation.”

The Tony Elumelu Foundation annually identities and empowers entrepreneurs across all of Africa’s 54 countries with non-refundable seed capital of $5000 each, mentoring and training, and in over five years, has supported 7,520 young Africans. To resolve joblessness in the region, Mr Elumelu offered his Foundation’s unique economic empowerment model to be replicated in Palestine. “Young Palestinian people need similar opportunities like the ones we currently give young African entrepreneurs through the Tony Elumelu Foundation. We acknowledge that given Africa’s huge numbers, we are touching only a top of the iceberg, but we have seen first-hand how this model transforms individual lives, families, communities and cities.”

Agreeing with Elumelu on his call for an increased focus on SMEs and young people, Saudi Arabia’s Minister of State Mohammed al-Sheikh, stated: “The younger population and proper planning is essential to creating economic prosperity in the West Bank and in Gaza. If you look at the demographics in the region, it is a young population.

As the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia looked to diversify its economy and carry out the structural changes to be less reliant on oil revenue, this required real commitment and hard work and buy in from everybody, with small-to-medium enterprises at the front and center of the Kingdom’s Vision 2030.”

Elumelu also called on the government to play its own role in supporting and prioritising the young people of Palestine: “Governments must play their own role: ensuring good governance is in place, prioritising infrastructure and the fight against corruption, and creating an enabling and conducive environment so that when these young Palestinians get opportunities, they can succeed.”

He continued: “As an investor, something that speaks volumes to me when I want to chose a country to invest in is this: is the private sector in that environment doing well? Do they have small and medium scale enterprises that are flourishing? This to me is the real signal of how successful my investment will be because what it is good for local investors is good for international investors. If economic conditions for local investors are not favorable, they can’t be for foreign investors. Government must ensure that local SMEs thrive to signal to global investment community that Palestine is open for business.”

Joining Elumelu in advising on the role of the government in creating a conducive environment for the private sector, Christine Lagarde, MD, IMF added, “We have seen a pressing need for capacity development in the field of public finance management, central bank strength and domestic revenue mobilization. These are the background in which private sector can have a predictable environment within which they can operate.

Advising development agencies on a more inclusive model for even greater impact, Elumelu stated: “Development agencies should also not sit in their offices abroad to design growth programmes and strategies for the Palestinian region, but must ensure that the people of Palestine are actively involved in pulling their people out of poverty. Development agencies must assist in a strategic manner, working with local partners who understand local nuances, so that the over $19 billion spent so far by the World bank and allied institutions on innovation and entrepreneurship is more impactful, transforms more lives and addresses the real issues on ground.”

In conclusion, the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation commended the US Government for this timely initiative and intervention but counseled on the importance of longevity and sustainability. “For what we are gathered here to be sustainable, endure over time and lead to sustained prosperity, we must involve the Palestine people. Until we collectively agree that any economic plan we put in place for Palestine and the region must be anchored by and on the small and medium scale enterprises to be permanent and fundamentally address the issues, we will continue to rely on quick fixes. We must prioritise inclusive growth that brings all to the table – women and youth especially – which in turn will create more hope and beget more security and peace. To achieve this, there must be collaboration between the Palestinian people, friends of Palestine, neighbours of Palestine, and led by the wealthy and endowed elite in the Middle east, to work together to economically empower young Palestinians. It is not too difficult a task for us to touch significant numbers out of the 2-3 million youth in the region.”

He continued, “The Tony Elumelu Foundation is ready to deploy our expertise in collaboration with the wealthy elite from the Middle East region, to create an affirmative plan, and send a strong message of hope for the Palestinian young people. If we prioritize them and create the right future for them, we will signal a new beginning in this part of the world. Only then will we achieve security and peace permanently because these young people will become inclusive stakeholders and the true champions of prosperity.”

BUSINESS

Zenith Bank Records Improved Half Year 2019 Results, With Interim Dividends Of 30 Kobo Per Share

Gbemileke Ajayi

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In a clear demonstration of its resilience and strong market share, Zenith Bank Plc has announced its audited results for the half-year ended 30 June 2019, recording positive growth across key financial metrics, thus affirming the bank’s position as one of the leading financial institutions in Africa.

As a testament to its commitment to its shareholders, the bank also announced a proposed interim dividend pay-out of 30 kobo per share.

Gross earnings grew by 3% from ₦322.2 billion to ₦331.6 billion driven by the significant growth of 24% (YoY) in non-interest income from ₦88.6 billion in H1 2018 to ₦109.7 billion in H1 2019. In particular, fees from electronic products increased by ₦17bn (168%) from ₦10bn in H1 2018 to ₦27 in H1 2019, demonstrating significant progress in our retail banking initiatives. This top-line growth filtered through to the bottom-line as Profit Before Tax (PBT) increased to ₦111.7 billion reflecting a 4% growth over ₦107.4 billion reported in H1 2018 with earnings per share (EPS) increasing by 9% to ₦2.83 in H1 2019 from ₦2.60 compared to the prior period.

Between December 2018 and June 2019, the Group’s total deposit increased by 3% with retail deposits growing by ₦267 billion (31%), from ₦861 billion to close at ₦1.1 trillion. Despite the growth in our deposit base, we optimized interest expense leading to a 4% reduction from ₦74.7 billion to ₦72.1 billion due to the Group’s improved funding mix and our profound treasury management skills. Net Interest Margins (NIMs) witnessed a compression from 10% in the same period last year to 8.6% in H1 2019, as a result of the declining yield environment but the cost of funds improved from 3.4% to 3.0%.

Our robust risk management ensured that our absolute Gross Non-Performing Loans (NPLs) remained flat. However, the marginal movement in NPL ratio was as a result of the 3% reduction in our loan book from ₦2.02 trillion as at December 2018 to ₦1.95 trillion at the end of the period. We are creatively deploying new retail loan products to ensure we capture a reasonable share of the retail loan market. We remain committed to maintaining our strong balance sheet with a liquidity ratio at 74.6% and Capital Adequacy Ratio (CAR) at 25%, ensuring we remain above regulatory thresholds.

Zenith Bank Half Year 2019 Abridged Financials

Going into the second half of the year, we will continue to consolidate our leadership in the corporate space while our retail banking drive will continue unabated. We expect to see an improvement in economic activities even as we maintain our promise of delivering a unique service experience to our customers.

Consistent with this superlative performance and in recognition of its track record of excellent performance, the bank was recently ranked as the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in 2018 by The Banker Magazine. Similarly, Zenith Bank was recognized as the Best Corporate Governance Bank in Nigeria by The World Finance for the sixth time just as Ethical Boardroom, a Europe based Boardroom watchdog reaffirmed this recognition by naming the bank as the Best Bank in Corporate Governance in 2018. Recognition has also come the way of the bank as it was recently named as the Best Institution in Sustainability Reporting in Africa 2018 (SERAS Awards) and the Bank of the Year 2018

 

(BusinessDay).

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BUSINESS

UBA Partners LCCI For 2019 Lagos International Trade Fair, Promises Customers 20% Discount On Registration

Peter Okunoren

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Pan African financial services institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, and the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry(LCCI) have partnered to organize the 2019 edition of the Lagos International Trade Fair.

The Fair, which holds between November 1st and 10th, 2019, is the 33rd edition and is expected to provide an avenue for networking and other business opportunities that will assist to catapult business activities in Africa’s largest and busiest city, Lagos and in Nigeria.

UBA, which is the headline partner will be working together with LCCI, to provide a veritable platform that is intended to grow both domestic and international trade. It further presents participants and visitors with opportunities to seal medium and top business deals.

In line with UBA’s unflinching support to the growth of small and medium enterprises (SMEs), the bank is giving a 20% discount to its Small and Medium business customers who register to attend the fair.

UBA’s Group Head, Marketing, Mrs. Dupe Olusola, who expressed excitement at the partnership, noted that the bank, with its extensive spread across Africa and other major economies of the world, is always on the lookout for partnership opportunities that will benefit the business environment and the economies where it operates.

Olusola noted that the Bank is delighted as this year’s Lagos International Trade Fair is coming after a very successful organization of UBAmarketplace by the Bank in Abuja, where over 120 SMEs from 20 African countries exhibited their products, attracting over 50,000 footfalls.

She said, “UBA, the Pan African financial institution, has branches in 20 African countries, including the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France and has always been involved in activities that aim to strengthen business connections and networks across key economies.

“Thus, we have decided to partner with LCCI to promote this year’s fair which is in its 33rd edition because the Lagos International Trade Fair has become a genuine avenue for both domestic and international trade through business to business meetings, product launches, enlightenment opportunities for government agencies’ programmes, and international trade partnership deals across borders” she explained.

She added that the partnership will also offer the bank the opportunities to showcase its array of products to its teeming and new customers, adding that the bank will set up stands at various points to serve its customers and attend to various concerns.

The Director-General of the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Mr. Muda Yusuf who praised the collaboration between both institutions, noted that it is a partnership that is expected to yield great benefits, owing to the fact that the LITF hosts an average of 2,000 exhibitors annually, with over 200 foreign exhibitors from 16 countries.

He also added that arrangements have been put in place to make this year’s fair even bigger and better than the previous editions, adding that already, existing and potential exhibitors have been responding positively to register and participate at the Fair.

“We at LCCI believe that this is part of the bold initiatives of the bank with a corporate culture founded upon strong organizational values and performance-driven operating standards”, Yusuf said.

Yusuf stressed that the Chamber would maintain the brand promise of the Fair, with the theme ‘Connecting businesses, Creating value’, adding that this will be sustained this year in all its marketing campaigns.

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BUSINESS

Win N200,000 Cash Prize In The Zenith Bank #ZBZeroBalanceChallenge

Gbemileke Ajayi

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Win big in the Zenith Bank #ZBZeroBalanceChallenge ⠀
How to win?
(1) ‎Post your one minute video on Instagram before 12 noon on Sunday the 18th of August 2019.⠀
(2) Use the hashtag #ZBZeroBalanceChallenge and tag + follow @zenithbankplc on Instagram.⠀
Click Here to view and download the Zero Balance song.⠀
Note!  ‎
  • Winners will be announced on Tuesday the 20th of August 2019.
  • The participant must have zenith zero account
  • To Open zero account, kindly dial #966*0# and follow the prompts

Prizes🎁

1st prize: N200,000 
2nd prize: N100,000 
3rd prize: N50,000 ‎
The promos run from Sunday the 18th of August 2019.
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