The Group Managing Director/CEO of Access Bank PLC Herbert Wigwe has been recognized as the African Banker of the Year at the 2021 edition of the African Banker Awards.
A winner of one of the most prized categories at the Awards ceremony for the second consecutive year, Wigwe was recognized for his stellar leadership in the market expansion of Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest bank despite the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic. Over the last 12 months, Access Bank has established a presence in South Africa following its acquisition of Grobank.
Accepting the award, Wigwe said Access Bank is focused on promoting corporate discipline, adding that the Bank wants to be in key markets on the continent, building a payment gateway and providing trade finance support.
“We want to be seen as the best bank supporting the African Continental Free Trade Area agreement (AfCFTA). In terms of diaspora remittances, we are present in key areas in the continent,” he said.
The African Banker Awards have become the most respected and recognized industry event celebrating African banking achievements. The organizers this year, put emphasis on recognizing and rewarding institutions that contributed to the real economy which has suffered from the impact of Covid-19 as well as contributed to women empowerment on the continent.
Commenting on the award, Group Publisher of African Banker and Chair of the Awards Committee, Omar Ben Yedder said, “Herbert is one of the most respected bankers on the continent, without a shadow of a doubt. The Bank has gone from a lower-ranked Nigerian bank when he joined the group as Deputy CEO to become one of Africa’s leading financial services groups. He has shown a relentless pursuit for growth but has done so in a measured and calculated manner. What he and his team have done at Access Bank is nothing short of remarkable.”
The Awards ceremony held virtually during the Annual meetings of the African Development Bank.
Firstbank DecemberIssavybe: Top 11 Events To Rock Your December
Whenever the conversation is on financial inclusion in Nigeria, FirstBank leads the pack. With over 150,000 banking agents, a fully digital banking center, and other innovative solutions, the nation’s premier bank is surely doing a great job connecting Nigerians with access to convenient banking products and services.
But that’s not all. FirstBank is also enabling Nigerians to have the best of the yuletide and holiday season year in year out. The bank is aiding its customers to create exciting memories and enjoy fun times with family and friends through their participation in glamorous musical shows, comedy, dance, drama, and other entertainment from A-list superstars and performers.
This is being coordinated via the FirstBank DecemberIssavybe initiative as it bankrolls top entertainment events for maximum pleasure throughout the month of December.
To enjoy the premium concerts, stage plays, fashion, and food events; lucky customers and followers of the Bank’s social media pages – Facebook: First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Instagram: @firstbanknigeria should look out for posts on how to participate in the ticket giveaways.
Here are the top 11 events that FirstBank is powering to rock your December.
BURNA BOY LAGOS CONCERT
Nigerian Grammy Award-winning superstar, Burna Boy will at the Eko Convention Centre on Monday, December 27 lead other top singers to thrill music fans with many monsters hit songs like Kilometre, Questions, Ye, Want It All, and others.
DAVIDO 10TH YEAR ANNIVERSARY CONCERT
Davido aka OBO will on Friday, December 24, shut Lagos down at his 10th-year anniversary concert at the glamorous Eko Convention Centre. David has been in the news for his extreme generosity which has got his fans loving up on him. The show will feature many other superstars.
MAMMA MIA, THE SMASH-HIT MUSICAL
A 65 member (All Nigerian) cast and crew licensed adaptation of the global show live in Lagos showing between December 29, 2021 and Jan 2, 2022. It’s a show for the whole family; not just as the Only jukebox musical in Lagos this Christmas; it’s absolutely THE most “Ridiculously enjoyable” show to watch this holiday.
An adaptation of the original musical created in 1998 by British theatre producer Judith Cramer, who engaged British playwright Catherine Johnson, to write a story woven around the multiple hit songs of Swedish pop group ABBA, composed by Bjorn Ulvaeus and Benny Andersson. The original story was carefully and skillfully adapted with a Nigerian nuance by seasoned theatre director Najite Dede. The Nigerian production is woven with shades of cultural colours, which are visible not just in the language and gesture but also in the costume, choreography, and characteristics, while the original soundtracks remain the same, this production infuses Abba’s music with local drums and percussions to deliver a distinctive Nigerian edition, resulting in an ecstatic euphoria from the Audience!
A TRUE CHRISTMAS STORY BY LIVE THEATRE
Live Theatre Lagos presents a musical stage play titled ‘A TrueChristmas Story’ which is an adaptation of the popular nativity story. This musical speculates how Joseph met Mary and the events leading to the birth of Jesus situating the story in our contemporary African milieu. The romantic comedy explores the themes of love, commitment, devotion, and communality. Christmas is a globally enjoyed holiday that traverses religion, gender, and age, and the play, A True Christmas Story captures the essence of the holiday which is love and sharing. This free-to-attend play provides fun for the audience and empowerment for the Cast and Crew.
#ATXS would feature brilliant thespians like Hafiz Oyetoro (Saka), Akah Nnani, NeduWazobiaFM. This epic theatre is interspersed with dance and spectacular music renditions ranging from Ballet to Soul, Acapella, Fuji, High Life, Funk, Galala, Shaku-Shaku, and Hip-Hop. It was held between 16th and 18th December 2021.
AFRICA FASHION WEEK
Africa Fashion Week Initiative of Nigeria is a catwalk, exhibition, and learning platform designed for the promotion of fresh and emerging designers. Africa Fashion Week Nigeria aims to revive the decline of local textile industries in Nigeria by the opening of the Adire Oodua Textile Hub in Ile-Ife, Osun State Nigeria.
The Adire Hub which was opened in March 2021, facilitates the production of natural dyes, locally sourced materials, old ancient methods, new technology to create Adire pieces. The Hub provides training to low-income women and youth in Ile-Ife and its environs. The Hub enables us to promote circular economies – from farm to fabric to fashion, to financing SMEs.
CULTURATI 2021 – THE AFRICA ENTERTAINMENT FESTIVAL
CULTURATI is a high-status fusion of cultural events, exhibitions, and award brands – cleverly tailored toward recognizing the tireless contributions of art luminaries in different creative endeavours. The 2021 edition was held on 3 December at the Balmoral Centre, Federal Palace Hotel.
FIRST VIOLA – BLACK TIE CHRISTMAS
The Black Tie Christmas Concert is a charitable event convened to raise funds for the music education of underprivileged children in orphanages that are of primary and secondary school age. The event was held on 19th December at the Agip Recital Hall, Muson Centre, Lagos.
THE LIVESPOT X-FESTIVAL XPERIENCE
TheLivespotX Festival is a multi-day hybrid convergence of everything X-traordinary, X-citing, and X-clusive, that celebrates urban pop culture. We’re bringing adynamicX-perience that is fully compliant with the current pandemic era we live in and targeted at a diverse audience with each concert day tailor-made to suit each group of attendees.
The festival includes a string of hybrid events (physical & virtual) that feature headline acts performing live, pristine sound, world-class lighting, immersive experiences, exotic cuisine, and much more. It is designed to meet and exceed the entertainment cravings of Nigerians especially during DettyDecember
In a very crowded entertainment market, Mainland laffs offers a refreshing approach to family entertainment. With this second edition, ML is establishing its number 1 position as the only comedy show in the country that is safe for parents and their wards. Tagged Family Comedy Show, it enables the entire family will enjoy an evening of fun, laughter, and entertainment with a variety of children virtuoso and comedic performances, stage plays, comic interludes, and much more…. Mainland laffs is a vision of the Trevent Company, and it is one of the fastest-growing family entertainment events in Nigeria. The event took place on 5 December at D’Podium International Event Centre, off Adeniyi Jones, Lagos
Fuji: A Opera explores the music genre and its sub-culture through archive footage, costume, memorabilia, and imagery. Fuji music takes center stage at the maiden edition of Fuji: A Opera, which kicks off on Monday at the Alliance Francaise de Lagos/The Mike Adenuga Centre, Ikoyi, Lagos. Pioneering Fuji founders such as General Ayinla Kollington, K1 De Ultimate, King Wasiu Ayinde Marshall, and other icons add colour at the commencement of the week-long event.
KOFFI THE GURU, I STAND CORRECTED (ISC)
I Stand to Be Corrected is a stand-up comedy special targeted at the urban audience. Koffi Idowu-Nuel does a solo routine on subjects that relate on family, love, politics, education etc. The event held on the 11th of December at The Terra Kulture in Victoria Island.
Written by Bolaji Israel
Polaris Bank, Eventful Lift 3 Firms With Business Expansion Grants At The Fashion Souk
Polaris Bank and Eventful Limited have reinforced their support for Nigeria’s Small & Medium Enterprises (SMEs) sector with three firms empowered at the just-concluded 5th Lagos Fashion Souk to further grow their businesses.
While handing the cheques to the winners, who were successful in a business pitch, Polaris Bank’s Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Innocent C. Ike, disclosed that the most important factor required by existing and budding entrepreneurs is to get investors interested in their businesses is the entrepreneurial spirit.
Aside from the business pitch winners, special prizes were also given to the Most Original Store and Best Decorated Store at the Fashion Souk. The winners were given equipment grants by Polaris Bank to further expand their businesses.
The overall winner of the pitch, Mrs. Oluwatosin Ogunbanjo, who runs a leather bag and shoe company, Avenue 7, got N750,000 and first runner-up, Victoria Udoh, a painting on Fabric Company, Vudoh was given N500,000 while the second runner-up, Tunde Issa, a Tailor and Founder of the male clothing line company, RoyalKlassicKoutoure, went home with N250,000.
The hugely attended one-day Fashion Souk/business fair which was held at the prestigious Harbour Point facility in Victoria Island, Lagos, on Sunday, provided a platform for more than 150 SMEs in Nigeria’s fashion industry to showcase their creativity, product lines, and economic potentials. Some of the SMEs categories at the fair included: manufacturers, retailers, leather, and jewelry/accessories.
The objective of sponsoring the Fashion Souk according to Polaris Bank was a reinforcement of its support to SMEs as the catalyst for propelling the growth of the Nigerian economy.
Shedding more light on how fundamental entrepreneurial spirit is for business success, the Polaris Bank CEO said he has a habit of telling entrepreneurs that what makes the difference, “Is the creative idea that an entrepreneur has and the ability to sit down and put it together diligently in a well-articulated manner.”
He added that “Creative ideas are the only way to attract funding from banks and individuals who will like to invest in the idea because they will see clearly that it is viable. He said the only way an entrepreneur can achieve that is by sitting down and putting his thoughts together and by making sure he crosses all the T’s and dots all the I’s.”
According to the Polaris Bank CEO, “When such a business proposal is presented to any investor Bank, it will be very convincing and such an entrepreneur will not get a ‘no’ for an answer.”
Earlier in her address too, Chairman of Eventful/Convener of the Event, Mrs. Yewande Zaccheus, appreciated Polaris Bank for consistently supporting SMEs in the country over the years, remarking that the Bank is not only talking but actually putting its money where its mouth is and urged the Bank to sustain the Partnership for a sustainable Fashion Souk.
The highlight of the Fashion Souk was the product launch that SMEs could leverage the Bank’s loan products like Polaris Business Loan, Invoice Discounting facility, and LPO financing among others were pitched with the participating SMEs.
The Bank has developed SME-friendly products to cater to the needs of SMEs based on sector/industry-specific, ranging from SMEs in the Health sector, Education, Manufacturing, General business, Agriculture, Export, Creative Industry, etc.”
Polaris Bank also provides business advisory at no cost while SMEs are encouraged to send in their business proposal for review via- [email protected]
Aside from Polaris Bank, the fashion fair also featured product launches by other top participating Fashion companies like Arami, Tara, Mobos, and Zaron; as well as runways by Clatural, Aaboux/Cornocupia, Woora, and Dyelab, among others.
Nigeria’s fashion sub-sector has huge and untapped potentials capable of reducing the rate of unemployment in the country. According to statistics by the Fashion Association Designers of Nigeria (FADAN), Nigeria’s fashion industry is valued at $10 billion. Africa Development Bank (AfDB) also projects the global fashion industry’s worth to be over $2.5 trillion with Africa’s share estimated at less than 1% of that value in 2020, putting Africa’s entire textile/clothing market at more than $31 billion.
Heritage Bank Registers Farmers In 14 States With LCFE For N41bn Wheat Disbursement Project
Heritage Bank Plc in partnership with the Central Bank of Nigeria has set up plans to disburse a whopping sum of N41billion to farmers from 14 states for the expansion of the wheat production project.
The Bank, however, will register the wheat farmers with the Lagos Commodities and Futures Exchange (LCFE) for successful disbursement, as the farmers are expected to cover about 111, 025 Hectares of land to attain huge milestones in wheat production.
Meanwhile, being the pioneer Bank to finance the first-ever large scale rain-fed wheat production in Nigeria and also a participating financial institution (PFI) under CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme scheme, Heritage Bank has taken adequate steps to create an enabling environment for sustainable growth in wheat production; thereby partnering with LCFE for all value-chain stakeholders to interact and trade ownership titles to specific quantities of wheat by registering members for their clients on the commodity exchange platform.
Speaking at the media briefing engagement with the pressmen, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Ifie Sekibo stated that the partnership is basically to consummate Wheat Seed Multiplication Project under the CBN’s Brown Revolution Initiative, in order to ensure due diligence on loan administration, monitoring, and recovery, which would bring about increase in the domestic production of wheat and close the wide supply gap in the Nigerian agricultural space.
Narrating some of the feats achieved, Sekibo who was represented by the Divisional Head, Agribusiness, Natural Resources & Project Development, Heritage Bank, Olugbenga Awe said that as a bank it partnered with CBN to ensure wheat planting on wet and dry seasons.
What we want to achieve is to end the importation of seeds and make Nigeria self-sufficient in wheat production.
“We are working with about 30 firms focusing only on seed production and also working with CBN to make sure we register all farmers. We believe working with LCFE will move Nigerian farmers from an informal approach to a structured approach”, he said.
He further explained that whilst riding on the success of the wet season, “we decided to focus on the dry season which comes naturally to our people. As a bank, we are working on two things; one is to ensure the continuous multiplication of seeds and the other is to focus on the grains.
Sekibo affirmed that the scheme would help reduce the nation’s food import bill by increasing wheat production, creating market linkages between smallholders farmers and Anchors/Processors, creating an ecosystem that drives value chain financing, improving access to credit by the smallholder farmers by developing credit history through the scheme and many more.
Former Executive Director of Lake Chad Research Institute (LCRI), Dr. Oluwasina Olabanji commended Heritage Bank for its efforts in reducing wheat importation and saving the country from the $2 billion spent annually on the importation of wheat.
He called on other banks to emulate the lender in efforts to achieve wheat sufficiency in the country.
“If this money is saved it could be used for infrastructural development. It is true that there are a lot of linkages not only on financial institutions but also in the value chain, these linkages have been molded together with the intervention of Central Bank of Nigeria and Heritage Bank,” he said.
He explained that the CBN and Heritage Bank’s intervention has become critical due to the high demand for wheat in Nigeria and the inability to meet that demand.
Speaking also, the Managing Director, LCFE, Akinsola Akeredolu-Ale, commended the CBN and Heritage Bank for their support, which have leveraged Nigeria to be on the right track for self-sufficiency in food production.
He said the commodity exchange in partnership with Heritage Bank would provide an enabling environment for farmers, warehouse owners, commodity middlemen, and commodity merchants, to be able to trade Wheat.
He noted that LCFE has created a platform that enhances liquidity in the commodity market, enhances the revenue base of the country, and enables commodity traders to manage risk.
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