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Access Bank Partners SME.NG To Support Digitalisation Of Women Businesses

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Access Bank, through the W Initiative, a brand dedicated to inspiring, connecting, and empowering women in all categories, has partnered with SME.NG to provide a one-stop-shop solution for women entrepreneurs in Nigeria.

As an organisation that sees providing female entrepreneurs with an opportunity to access easy finance, wider market, technical as well as business support to be of fundamental importance, the Bank has partnered with SME.NG to launch the Ebi marketplace; an online platform which will be Nigeria’s first all women’s e-market place with a fusion of financial services, trading opportunities, access to advisory services, mentorship, networking and so much more.

In an Interview with Victor Etuokwu, the Executive Director of Retail Banking Division, speaking on Access Bank’s Interest in supporting female-owned businesses, he said, “Women SMEs face major challenges in the areas of funding, business networks, technical know-how and business management amongst others. It is therefore imperative to support the digitization of women-owned businesses in Nigeria by providing them with economic opportunities, business sustainability, and improving resilience to the negative effects of the economic downturn which would reduce the bottlenecks faced in running their businesses.

“To this effect, Access Bank, through the W Initiative is set to onboard 1500 female entrepreneurs on the Ebi Marketplace platform to ensure viability and resilience to economic shocks.”

In her remarks, Ms. Thelma Ekiyor, the Managing Director of SME.NG, stated that “Access Bank’s commitment to women through the W initiative makes the Bank the ideal partner for the Ebi Marketplace”.

It is believed that Access Bank’s commitment to empowering female entrepreneurs will continue to contribute immensely to the growth of SMEs in Nigeria and further impact the social and economic growth of the country.

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Access Bank To Acquire $300m Worth Angolan Firm, Finibanco

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Access Bank has signed an agreement to acquire 51% majority shareholding in Finibanco Angola S.A from Montepio Holding SGPS S.A, the parent company, Access Holdings Plc revealed.

The Nigerian commercial bank purchased existing shares owned by Montepio, the holding company for Banco Montepio, a Portuguese commercial bank.


This will increase the number of branches under Access Bank, which has been ranked as the largest commercial bank in Africa by number of customers. Finibanco have over 20 branches, with a total assets worth $300 million.

Access Bank has been acquiring banks in other African countries to expand its payment gateway between the African and global market trades.

The Nigerian lender had acquired Kenyan lender, Sidian Bank Ltd, African Banking Corporation of Botswana Limited, African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited, as well as Cavmont Bank.

According to a statement by Access Holdings, “The Transaction, which is subject to regulatory approvals in Nigeria and Angola is expected to close in the first half of 2023 following fulfillment of customary conditions precedents.

“It will be consummated at 1.0x tangible book value less pre-agreed adjustments to be determined by a customary completion audit. Upon completion of the Transaction, the Bank is expected to increase its shareholding in Finibanco S.A and has reached certain conditional agreements in this regard.” The statement reads.

The Group Chief Executive Officer of Access Holdings, Herbert Wigwe, said, “At Access, our vision remains clear as ever and our determination to harness accretive opportunities within and outside Nigeria is our core strategic focus.


“Angola represents an opportunity for our shareholders to participate in what we believe will engender stronger value upside as Africa fully emerges.

“We remain committed to making these disciplined and well-structured investments towards creating a strong, holistic platform that will be competitive, diversified, and compelling for years to come.”

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UBA Foundation Receives Leadership Award In Corporate Social Responsibility

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Africa’s global bank, the United Bank for Africa’s Foundation was recognised as a leader in Corporate Social Responsibility at the 10th anniversary of the Marketing Edge brands and advertising excellence awards in Lagos.

The highly impactful initiatives of the UBA Foundation such as the annual National Essay Competition; Read Africa; Each Teach One; the Food bank, amongst others, are being cascaded across the African continent to reach more people every year.

Through its essay competition initiated more than nine years ago, hundreds of students have received grants to study at tertiary institutions in Africa and the ripple effects are being felt within their communities as more children get a chance to go to university.

Speaking on the leadership award UBA Foundation CEO, Bola Atta noted that there is a lot of work to be done to improve lives.

“We are doing this one step at a time and in different countries across the geography where the United Bank for Africa operates. It is fundamental for people and organisations to give back.

“It is also very African to nurture one’s communities and uplift others around you. So we do what we do with a lot of passion and focus on developing and nurturing’.

Emphasising one of the key initiatives of the Foundation, the National Essay Competition, Atta thanked the organisers of the Marketing Edge award for excellence for the recognition.

“It is good to know we are doing it right and to be reminded that we must do even more. One of my favourite initiatives at the Foundation is the National Essay Competition because I have seen first-hand how it changes lives.

“The award we are receiving is for all the children across Africa who are aspiring for a better life. With the start of a new academic year, the 2022 edition has commenced and we are increasing the prizes by as much as 40%.

“The first prize winner will now receive an educational grant of N5 million to study at any African university; the second and third prizes now stand at N3 million and N2.5 million respectively. This takes into consideration the rising cost of living. We want our students to study well, worry free, so that they may excel”, Atta said.

Managing Director and Publisher of Marketing Edge, John Ajayi, commended the UBA Foundation for its strong footprint across the continent.

“Through its Read Africa Initiative and the scholarship grants, the Foundation has consistently done exceptionally well to transform the lives of many on the continent of Africa. These initiatives are truly impactful”, he stated.

Ajayi further said the awards were borne out of the need to recognise outstanding Game Changers whose relentless support has helped give hope to Africa and at the same time, drive sustainable development.

“These organisations clearly understand that agility, innovation, flexibility, decisiveness and commitment needed to accelerate the pace of change Africa craves for”.

The awards nights attracted dignitaries and Business leaders, from different industries across Nigeria.

UBA Foundation embodies the UBA Group’s CSR objectives and seeks to impact positively on societies through several laudable projects and initiatives.

The Foundation, through its education pillar, has donated hundreds of thousands of books to students in Africa under the ‘Read Africa’ initiative aimed at encouraging and promoting the reading culture in African youths.”

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CBN Raises Interest Rate To 15.5% To Fight Inflation, Attract Foreign Investors

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On Tuesday, the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) raised its benchmark interest rate, known as Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), to 15.5 percent, the third straight hike this year.

After the two-day Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting in Abuja, the CBN also raised the cash reserve ratio (CRR) to 32.5 percent from 27.5 percent. The CRR is the share of a bank’s total customer deposit that must be kept with the central bank in the form of liquid cash.

This was in consideration of the persistent rise in inflation rate and fragile growth. Nigeria’s headline inflation accelerated to the highest level in 17 years at 20.52 percent in August 2022, from 19.64 percent in the previous month.

The CBN had in the last few months increased the MPR by a combined 250 basis points to rein in inflation. In its meeting in May 2022, the CBN raised its benchmark interest rate by 150 basis points to 13 percent, the first time in six years. It raised it further in July by 100 basis points to 14 percent.

After the meeting, MPC members unanimously voted to retain other parameters. Consequently, the CBN retained the Asymmetric Corridor of +100/-700 basis points around the MPR: and the Liquidity Ratio at 30 percent.

Godin Emefiele, governor of the CBN, who announced the decision after the meeting said: “The MPC noted with concern the continued aggressive movement in inflation, even after the rate hike at its meeting in May and July 2022, and expressed its unrelenting resolve to restore price stability while providing the necessary support to strengthen the fragile recovery.”

It is expected that the hike in interest rate for three consecutive times will also lure foreign inflows into the country and ease the pressure on the naira.

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