Unity Bank M.D, Oluwatomi Somefun is not a greenhorn when it comes to the issue of finance and economics. She has been competing with her peers across the world putting her wide knowledge in corporate finance and economics to revitalize Unity Bank to an enviable height. What comes as a big shock to many is how she has been able to thrive excellently in the male-dominated banking industry. Her dedication and ability to make fortune out of misfortune stand her out from the crowd.
Before her role as an executive director at Unity bank, She had a fantastic career with United Bank For Africa UBA group Trustee, UBA Plc, UBA Capital & Trustee Ltd and was the Founding Managing Director/ CEO UBA Pension Custodian Ltd. At a point, the graduate of Obafemi Awolowo University, OAU, was also a Non-Executive Director on the Boards of UBA Foundations, UBA Trustees, UBA Nominees and UBA Registrars.
Ever since she assumed the role as the M.D and Chief Executive officer of Unity bank in 2015, she faced lots of sheer criticism, most especially for her strict decision that has, in the long run, helped restructure and increased the fortune of the bank. Under her watch, the bank sold its non-performing legacy loans, and also relocated the corporate head office of the bank from Abuja to Lagos which is regarded as the commercial hub of Nigeria. She also harnessed the deliberate focus on digital, retail and commercial business as well as supporting the growth of the real sector of the economy through the bank’s participation in the Central Bank Nigeria (CBN) intervention funds to promote agri-business in Nigeria.
An inside source averred that; “She partnered with the Central bank to empower farmers to strengthen food sufficiency in the country through the CBN’s Anchor Borrowers’ Programme (APB). The Bank has enrolled over one million farmers over the last three years which has boosted the production of critical food items in Nigeria (Rice, Maize, Cotton and Wheat) as well as creating of various value-chain opportunities and employment within the Agric Sector.”
Despite the global pandemic last year, she and her team devised brilliant means to improve the fortune of the bank. With gross earnings for the 9 months ended September 2020 grew by 8 percent to 33.906 billion from N31.256 billion in the same period in 2019. “The lender’s Profit Before Tax (PBT) for the 9 months grew by 6 percent to N1.710 billion from N1.611 billion in 2019, while Profit After Tax, PAT equally grew by 6 percent to N1.573 billion compared to the N1.482 billion recorded in the same period in 2019. Profit after tax for the period stood at N543.135 million, an equally 6 percent increase from the N514.631 million recorded in Q3, 2019.”
The alumnus of Harvard Business School and the University of Columbia Business School is unrelenting in her giant strides to keep making a business statement that would crest her name in gold in the finance world. Despite every attempt to pull her down, she has constantly shut down her detractors with impeccable positive results to the delight of many. “The board of directors has given their confidence on her to continue the good work and a partnership that will sustain the legacies of the founders of the bank which is based on customer-oriented services and also keep declaring profit and remain in business.” A source said.
GLOBAL SUMMIT: ZENITH BANK GMD, ONYEAGWU ADVOCATES IMPACT INVESTMENT FOR AFRICA’S DEVELOPMENT
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.
Half-Year Performance: Transcorp Plc Shows Powerful Growth as Profit Leaps by 713%
Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp) has released its unaudited results for the half-year ended June 2021, recording significant improvement across its major income lines.
The Conglomerate with strategic investments in the Power, Hospitality, and Energy sectors, recorded a profit after tax of N6.5bn, rising by 713% up from N0.8bn recorded in June of the previous year. Other key highlights of the result include the following:
- Revenue rose by 53%, from N35.0bn in June 2020 to N53.3bn in the period under consideration.
- Gross profit grew by 60%, from N14.7bn in June 2020 to N23.5bn in June 2021.
- Profit before tax rose by 689% from N0.9bn in June 2020 to N7.1b in June 2021.
Commenting on the performance, Transcorp’s President/Group CEO, Mrs. Owen Omogiafo, reiterated the Conglomerate’s commitment towards producing long-term value and sustainable impact. “We are pleased to see the sustained growth in our group performance, which was achieved as a result of the improved performance across all the sectors we operate in. The revenue achieved in our power business grew by 48%, as a result of improved gas supply and increased generation capacity”, she stated.
Commenting on the hospitality sector, Omogiafo stated that the company’s strategic actions have resulted in a growth in revenue of up to 84%, despite the ongoing impact of the COVID-19 epidemic on the Nigerian and global hospitality industries. She expressed confidence in the company’s recovery strategies, citing the recent official launch of Aura, the company’s digital hospitality platform, as a testament to that confidence.
On the Group’s capacity to sustain its performance, Omogiafo said, “We do not plan to rest on our oars. We will continue to sweat our existing assets and explore new frontiers, as we continue to deliver on our purpose of Improving Lives and Transforming Nigeria.”
Rethinking safe-haven assets and building resilient portfolios with Xend Finance
As with most things in life, feeling overwhelmed as a newbie is simple, and this is especially true in such a volatile market as the world of cryptocurrencies. Regardless of the uncertainty and worries, the world of cryptocurrency has the potential to have a unique and substantial impact on anyone’s financial stability.
Government Bonds, treasury bills, and other forms of fixed income investments are undeniably considered as safe haven investments due to their low risk, but with inflation on the increase, the question arises how safe is money locked up for a specific period of time?
It is therefore important to build a resilient portfolio able to minimize risks and mitigate volatility, diversity into multiple unrelated investments, deliver steady returns and also able to recognize changing market conditions, new opportunities and respond accordingly.
Enter the world of Stablecoins. A less volatile cryptocurrency asset pegged to a cryptocurrency, fiat money, or to exchange-traded commodities (such as precious metals or industrial metals).
Compare to other forms of cryptocurrency assets like bitcoin, or altcoins the advantages of stablecoins are stabilized by assets that fluctuate outside of the cryptocurrency space that is prices are pinned to real-world assets.
Most stablecoins are pegged to the US Dollar as they are an easy way to get exposure to the crypto space without having to worry about volatility.
You can build a resilient portfolio with stable coins by having a good foundation on which you can build and protect your investment portfolio. This is necessary to provide a buffer when the markets are volatile or things go south.
These stablecoins also provide diversification as Investor Phillips Hodges mentioned in an interview emphasized the importance of balancing factors affecting the returns you can get across the different than the classes themselves. Stable coins also provide the extra diversification a portfolio needs to stay afloat in a stormy market, minimize losses due to their low volatility.
Be rest assured as an investor that your portfolio can only said to be strong when you have investments that can stand the test of time. Inflations and rickety market conditions.
If you’re a fund manager looking to get exposure to the crypto space through stable coins, send an email to [email protected] and someone would be in touch with you.
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