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.”
GAIM 4 DRAWS: 13 New Millionaires Emerge In Fidelity Bank’s Savings Promo, Begin 2020 On A Happy Note
Thirteen lucky customers of Fidelity Bank Plc have started the new year on a strong note having emerged millionaires in the third monthly draw of the Get Alert in Millions (GAIM) promo season 4 in Lagos on Tuesday. The bank also rewarded loyal customers with cash prizes worth N16 million in the categories of N2 million and N1 million respectively.
The electronic raffle draw, which was held at the bank’s Broad Street Branch, Lagos Island was witnessed by the relevant regulatory bodies including the National Lottery Regulatory Commission (NLRC), Lagos State Lotteries Board (LSLB) and Consumer Protection Council (CPC). Lucky customers who emerged winners in the draw cut across all regions of the country.
The winners include Dare Abiodun Emmanuel; Ugwu Philomena Nneka; Chinenye Catherine Olunna; Egberi Agbarha Kelvin; Ivang Stanley Oham; Chinelo Loveth Egbuchunem; Dare Abiodun Emmanuel; Itabiyi Gbolahan Olakunle Hassan & Adejoke Jokotade; Larei Chindo; Chigozie Darlington Emoka; Khadijah Umar; Muazzam Ad Maizare; Isabella Chekwube Uche; Omolade Bamitale Olatawura.
Others are Joseph James Abah; Oghenetega Emmanuel Erus; Blessing Chidinma Okafor; Loveline Uche Okonkwo; Nafisat Ali Lawal; Comfort Ita Asuquo; Mohammed Halima Sadiya, amongst others. The bank doled out 19 consolation prizes in form of fridges, television sets and power generating sets.
Speaking during the event, Managing Director/CEO, Nnamdi Okonkwo, noted it is the bank’s 9th promo in 12 years whilst adding that a total of N16 million and 19 consolation prizes will be given out at the third draw. Okonkwo who was represented by the Executive Director, Shared Services and Products, Chijioke Ugochukwu, further added that the draw will see a total of N50 million in cash and 54 consolation prizes to over 93 winners.
“We would have given out a total of N50 million in cash and 54 consolation prizes to over 93 winners. We expect more winners to emerge at subsequent draws because the promo is still on and in addition to the N50 million that we will be giving out, we still have N70 million and several consolation prizes yet to be won”, he said.
Shedding light on how people can qualify for the draw, Head, Savings Group, Fidelity Bank Plc, Janet Nnabuko, stated that both existing and new customers can win by simply topping their account with N10,000 for existing customers or someone opening a new account and building it up to N20,000.
She further disclosed that to qualify for the star prize of N3 million one needs to build his account to N50,000 while aspiring for the grand prize of N10 million, one only has to grow his account to N200,000.
Fidelity Bank is a full-fledged commercial bank operating in Nigeria with over 5 million customers that are serviced across its 250 business offices and various digital banking channels. The bank focuses on select niche corporate banking sectors as well as Micro Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs) and its currently driving its retail banking businesses through its robust digital banking channels.
Access Bank Breaks Into Cameroonian Market
Nigerian banking group Access Bank just created a subsidiary in Cameroon. With an initial capital of about XAF14.5 billion, the new subsidiary’s headquarters will be in Douala, Cameroon’s economic capital.
The administrative board of this subsidiary is constituted of seven members with only one Cameroonian, the legal notice published for the creation indicates. These members are Patience Melone, Iyabode Soji-Okusanya, Fatai Oladipo, Abraham Aziegbe, Ibukunoluwa Odegbaike, and Elliz Nzo Azu.
Created for a duration of 99 years, the bank has chosen Price Water House Coopers as its external auditor and will operate in the management of current accounts, savings collection, checks payment and credit granting.
As required by the rules in force, the launch of Access Bank Cameroon’s activities in Cameroon is still subject to the issuance, by the Ministry of Finance and the banking commission COBAC, of various legal notices and authorizations to the bank’s shareholders.
If it succeeds in launching its subsidiary in Cameroon, Access Bank Plc will become the 16th commercial bank to operate in the country and will meet one of its compatriots, United Bank of Africa (UBA), on that market. Let’s note that it is entering the Cameroonian market some years after the departure of another Nigerian group, Oceanic Bank International namely.
Some years ago, Oceanic Bank International took over 54.5% of Union Bank of Cameroon’s (UBC) assets saving it from bankruptcy. However, in 2011, Ecobank had to buy Oceanic Bank International’s assets in UBC, which is a well-rooted bank in the Anglophone regions of Cameroon.
Let’s note that last January 15, 2019, Access Bank Plc’s executive director Victor Etokwu announced that apart from the Cameroonian subsidiary, the banking group would create subsidiaries in two other African countries this year. The banking group will then have 18 subsidiaries in Africa.
UBA Recruits 4000 New Staff, Promotes Over 5,000 Staff Members; Increases Salaries Up To 170%
Over 5,000 staff of the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, started the new year with a lot of cheer as the bank yesterday announced its promotion to new grades as well as salary upgrades with immediate effect this January.
Those who are beneficiaries of this exercise will receive up to 170% increase in their salaries and benefits, whilst a good number have been moved to higher grade levels.
In a carefully planned restructuring embarked upon by the bank in the last quarter of 2019, UBA has transformed its grading system and processes to become one of the most competitive within the industry. The bank crashed its grade levels to 12 levels from entry-level to the top of the pyramid where previously it had been 16 levels. This means that staff will now find it much easier to attain top leadership management positions at UBA as their careers progress much faster.
In a massive recruitment drive, over 4000 new staff members resumed in the last week of December 2019 in Nigeria alone at the bank. UBA currently stands as the highest employer of labour amongst Nigerian banks with a staff strength of close to 20,000.
UBA’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Uzoka, who announced the bank’s new staff improvement initiatives to the excited employees, noted that UBA is continually seeking new ways to improve the fortunes of its staff as they are the backbone of the organization.
Uzoka who spoke to the staff in a bank-wide live broadcast said, “As a leading financial institution, we do not take issues relating to our staff lightly. We take great pride in being a listening bank that has the ears of our employees as they turn the wheels which makes the organization successful for our customers and shareholders. UBA recruits highly talented staff who perform at the best standards and deserve to be remunerated accordingly’
Continuing, Uzoka said ‘ we have also taken steps to ensure that our bank remains at the top tier as it relates to a talent pool. We want to train the best and we have crashed the grade structure to make it easier and faster for our employees to progress along with their careers. With this new grade structure, it will be possible for a new graduate employed at UBA to rapidly chart their own careers and become GMD by the age of 36.”
UBA is one of Africa’s leading banks with operations in 20 African countries. The bank also has a presence in the global financial centers of London, New York, and Paris. UBA provides banking services to more than 17 million customers globally, through diverse channels.