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GLOBAL SUMMIT: ZENITH BANK GMD, ONYEAGWU ADVOCATES IMPACT INVESTMENT FOR AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT

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EBENEZER ONYEAGWU

 

 

The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive of Zenith Bank, Mr. Ebenezer Onyeagwu, has called for increased impact investing in Africa for the continent to attain its full potential. He made the call during his keynote address at the Africa Investment Risk & Compliance Summit 2021 organised by the Emerging Business Intelligence & Innovation (EBII) Group which held at the prestigious University of Oxford, United Kingdom, on Friday, July 30, 2021. Mr Onyeagwu delivered his keynote address after the special keynote address by His Excellency, Nana Addo Dankwa Akufo-Addo, President of the Republic of Ghana & Commander-in-Chief of the Ghana Armed Forces, who was the Special Guest of Honour. Her Excellency Dr Amani ABOU-ZEID, The African Union Commissioner in charge of Infrastructure and Energy, also delivered a keynote address at the Summit.

 

Delivering the keynote address with the theme “Leveraging Impact Investment Opportunities for Growth in Africa”, Onyeagwu described impact investing as an investment that yields optimal returns for investors, value for all stakeholders, and guarantees continued sustenance and existence of humanity. He decried the shallowness of Africa’s financial market as depicted by the fact that no African exchange is among the Morgan Stanley developed markets index, only two African exchanges (Egypt and South Africa) are in the MSCI Emerging Markets Index, and just six African exchanges are in the MSCI Frontier Market Index. He noted that although the International Finance Corporation (IFC) estimates that the global investors’ appetite for impact investing could total as much as $26 trillion, only approximately 8% of the assets of impact intent funds are focused on Africa. According to him, this is not significant enough, and Africa appears to be in the room but not on the table, considering that Africa is in dire need of investment and the continent’s 1.3 billion people represent about 17% of the global population of about 7.8 billion.

 

Citing the immense opportunities in Africa that represent enormous investment proposition for discerning investors, including the huge population, large market and active labour force, and the rich natural endowment, Onyeagwu described Africa as “the new frontier” for global growth. He made a case for increased impact investment in Africa, noting that investment opportunities on the continent cut across agriculture, healthcare, housing, infrastructure, electricity, and the creative sectors.

 

Onyeagwu exuded immense optimism on the coming into effect of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) initiative, which would create a single, continent-wide market for goods and services, business and investment as being in one country on the continent grants investors access to the entire continent. He also called investors’ attention to Africa’s rich natural endowment, which includes 60% of the world’s uncultivated arable land and 9% of the world’s freshwater bodies, noting that Africa holds enormous potential for organic food production. He, therefore, implored investors in the agribusiness value chain to focus attention in Africa for organic food production instead of genetically modified food in other climes. 

 

Onyeagwu also noted that as a socially responsible organisation, Zenith Bank continues to promote impact investment in Africa. For example, the bank has maintained strong advocacy for investment in Africa through its flagship sponsorship of “Inside Africa” on CNN for 16 consecutive years, which is helping to highlight the immense creativity and talent that abound on the continent and the enormous investment opportunities on the continent of Africa. He also said that the bank leverages its in-depth knowledge of the African market to guide investors and hedge their exposures. According to him, the bank has been on a steady Environment, Social and Governance (ESG) investment journey, which started with ESG integration as a business strategy as well as being a signatory to the Nigerian Principles for Sustainable Banking and the United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative (UNEP FI) Principles for Responsible Banking. For its efforts, Onyeagwu noted that Zenith Bank received recognition as the “Best Company in Promotion of Gender Equality and Women Empowerment in Africa” at the 2020 Sustainability, Enterprise and Responsibility Awards (SERAS).

 

In his call to action, Onyeagwu called for a paradigm shift, noting that Africa is a work in progress, and leaders in the public and private sector should not despair. He encouraged leaders to champion the changes they want to see, pay close attention to responsibility and accountability in leadership. He also called for the de-risking of Africa through reforms, improved ease of doing business, respect for the rule of law and sanctity of contract, and human capital development. Onyeagwu expressed satisfaction with the several reforms of the Federal Government of Nigeria, including the Road Infrastructure Tax Credit Scheme (RITC), the establishment of the Rural Electrification Agency’s (REA) Rural Electrification Fund (REF), Infraco Plc, and several other development finance initiatives of the Central Bank of Nigeria. He also noted that several African countries, including Ghana, Kenya and Rwanda, are recording massive improvements in the ease of doing business, leveraging digital technology to simplify government processes and deepen the financial system. 

 

He implored Africans to see themselves as brothers and sisters, say no to xenophobia, and speak with one voice and not with discordant tunes. Onyeagwu implored the rest of the world to look at Africa as an investment destination that guarantees optimal returns. He noted that Africa has profound talent that abounds across the world and contributes to the development of these climes, and this should be reciprocated. He encouraged Africans to imbibe the spirit of UBUNTU – “I AM BECAUSE YOU ARE” since we are all connected in humanity. 

 

Zenith Bank is Nigeria’s largest and one of Africa’s largest financial institutions by tier-1 capital, with shareholders’ funds in excess of NGN1.1 trillion ($2.64 billion) as at December 31, 2020. The bank is a clear leader in the Nigerian financial space, with several firsts in the deployment of innovative products and solutions that ensure convenience, speed and safety of transactions.

 

The Emerging Business Intelligence & Innovation (EBII) Group is an independent specialist compliance and global risk management consultancy firm offering education and expert consulting services to entities in the West seeking opportunities for diversification and growth in emerging markets and Africa. The Group supports African entities and governments with their risk management and compliance requirements and delivers practical and genuine support to firms by providing a comprehensive and relevant assessment of risks, enabling them to successfully navigate their risks and ensure adherence to their compliance requirements.

 

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FIRSTBANK COMMEMORATES 2022 INTERNATIONAL YOUTH DAY, DEDICATING THE WEEK TO CELEBRATING THE YOUTH

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First Bank of Nigeria Limited has announced its commemoration of the 2022 International Youth Day, globally celebrated today, 12 August 2022 and themed “Intergenerational solidarity: Creating a World for All Ages.” 

 

The International Youth Day is commemorated every year on 12 August, bringing youth issues to the attention of the international community and celebrating the potential of youth as partners in today’s global society. The Day also amplifies the message that action is needed across all generations to achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and leave no one behind. 

 

Leading up to the day, the Bank dedicated the week of 8 – 12 August with a lineup of activities to reiterate its commitment to Youth Empowerment.

 

As a Bank renowned for its role in developing the economy through sustainable employment and entrepreneurship endeavours, the 2022 edition of the Youth Week will promote economic empowerment and employment, digital technology, and education as its focus during the celebration.

 

The Youth Week comprises various activities, including a Fashion illustration workshop, Design skill training, Gen Z/Millennial Webinar and many more exciting activities. These activities would give participants opportunities to win various exciting gift items.

 

Under the [email protected] program, the Bank will empower the youths through Artistry Workshop Sessions & Arts Classes. Interested in the art of fashion design and illustrations, visit the Bank’s social media handles – Instagram: @firstbanknigeria, Facebook: First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Twitter: @FirstBankngr – for information on how you can be among 10 lucky winners to have the opportunity to learn the business of fashion at Claire Idera fashion studio. 

 

Likewise, the Creative design workshop will enable youths design skill training; design thinking principles and their application in the context of layout, typefaces and colour. Interested youths can also participate on the FirstBank social media handles, where 25 lucky winners will be selected to learn the Art of Design at Geneza School of Designs.

 

Commemorating the Youth Week, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank said: ‘’We remain committed to celebrating the younger demography whose voices, actions, vigour, and tireless participation in the political, economic, and social activities have continued to birth major contributions towards the sustainable development of Africa and the world at large. The planned activities will promote better collaboration and solidarity across generations to foster successful and equitable relationships, and partnerships thereby ensuring “no one is left behind” and empowering everyone to leverage their full potential toward achieving the much-desired Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).

 

This Youth demography has a striking significance for us at FirstBank with the Millennials and Gen Zs constituting almost 60% of our workforce. This shows that youths are an integral part of our organisation and every country where we operate”, he concluded.

 

For more information and participation in the Youth Week, kindly visit the bank’s verified social media platforms; Instagram: @firstbanknigeria, Facebook: First Bank of Nigeria Limited, Twitter: @FirstBankngr

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BUA CHAIRMAN, ABDUL SAMAD RABIU GIFTS FG 10BILLION NAIRA AS SECURITY SUPPORT FUND THROUGH HIS ASR AFRICA AS HE VISITS BUHARI

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Leading Nigerian Businessman, Industrialist and Philanthropist, Abdul Samad Rabiu, paid a visit to President Muhammadu Buhari today in Abuja, to update him and to thank him for creating an enabling environment for business to thrive, and also brief him on the strides BUA Group has made in the past few years.

Thereafter, Rabiu briefed the President on the activities of his foundation, The Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative (ASR Africa) during which he also announced the donation of a N10billion Nigeria Security Support Fund from ASR Africa towards the provision of some security equipment, medical and other supplies, upgrade of health facilities and other infrastructure for families of those on the frontlines.

According to Rabiu, the visit was in order to identify with President Muhammadu Buhari, during whose tenure BUA has built over 10 factories with two of the Group’s subsidiaries now amongst the top 10 largest publicly listed companies in Africa, and to further support the efforts of his administration in business as well as in the security space.

In his response, President Buhari said it was heartwarming to see and hear of Nigerian companies doing so much within Nigeria, and Africa especially in the area of production using locally available raw materials. He also expressed his elation at the achievements of BUA which had led to phenomenal growth within such a short time. “As a Government, we know we have done a lot in this regard, and we will continue to do more to support the aspirations of serious businesses, big and small, by providing an enabling environment as well as supporting value creation within Nigeria..”

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BITFINEX HANGOUT LECTURES ATTENDEES ON THE PROSPECTS OF BTC

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Bitfinex is one of the top and oldest trading platforms in the world. It is a trading platform for sophisticated and professional traders. After millions of secured transactions carried out on Bitfinex, communities have emerged from various parts of the world. These communities have expanded to multiple professionals helping each other grow on their crypto journey.

Time out in Bitfinex was created by and for the African community and it was graced with the attendance of two crypto industry leaders, Chuta Chimezie, the founder of Blockchain Nigeria User Group, and Linda I.A Obi founder of Techonomy.

The event began with a welcome and Introduction by Paolo Ardoino, the Chief Technology Officer for Bitfinex. Linda I.A Obi spoke on the inclusion and diversity of female representation in crypto-trading, crypto-trading techniques for beginners and advanced traders and she also shared the pros of trading with Bitfinex.

Chuta gave an insight on trading and blockchain in particular. He spoke about crypto in Africa and the need to position yourself rightly in the space by acquiring as many relevant skills as possible. Members of the community asked the speakers questions and were able to learn and gain a balanced view of the cryptocurrency industry as a whole and its future.

We are really excited that Bitfinex is finally coming to Africa.

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