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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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 Nigerians Can Use E-Naira Without Internet, CBN Insists

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), has said Nigerians will be able to use e-naira without Internet-enabled phones.

The apex bank which disclosed this in a document with the title ‘Design paper for the eNaira,’ said maximising the value and use cases of the eNaira would depend largely on devices with Internet capabilities.

“The eNaira thus risks further alienating sections of the population who are uneducated, lack exposure and access to internet services or digital devices,” it said.

The document noted that the National Commission for Mass Literacy, Adult and Non-formal Education estimated that 35 per cent (37.1 million) of the nation’s adult population was illiterate, adding that the CBN risked losing adoption to this segment of the population, PUNCH reported.

“To mitigate this risk, the bank factored in the need for inclusiveness as part of the core design principle of the eNaira. This principle has enabled the bank to focus on simplicity and ease of use, ensuring that Nigerians without Internet-enabled phones can access the service,” the CBN added.

The apex bank said the eNaira would complement existing payment options available via the mobile banking apps, Point of Sale terminals, USSD, quick response code and Internet banking, among other channels.

GSMA, a global industry organisation that represents the interests of mobile network operators, had said in a recent report that 19 per cent of people living in Nigeria and other sub-Saharan African countries did not have access to mobile broadband coverage.

According to the organisation, about 47 per cent (210 million people) in sub-Saharan Africa do not use mobile internet.

In its design paper, the apex bank said to ensure inclusive access while also ensuring the integrity of the financial system, the account-based Central Bank Digital Currency model has been chosen for the eNaira.

The CBN said, “The account-based CBDC model at its core mirrors the progress made on the National Financial Inclusion Strategy which enables access to financial services by leveraging last-mile networks to identify users and to provide banking services through channels such as PoS and USSD.

“With the account-based model, the CBN seeks to enable access by leveraging the existing identity infrastructure in Nigeria such as the BVN, NIN, TIN, etc., to uniquely identify individuals and corporate entities.

“Specifically, identity frameworks such as the NIN will enable access for the financially excluded as they can be uniquely identified, thereby enabling the provision of financial services. These identity systems will help ensure a robust KYC framework positioned to enable access for all Nigerians.”

The CBN added that interoperability between the eNaira and other CBDCs was factored into the design of the eNaira.

It said this would help improve cross-border payments and address issues of dollarisation of the economy.

Visa, a payments company, recently said ease of operating CBDCs would determine the success of digital currencies.

It said, “We believe that for CBDCs to be successful, they must have two essential ingredients: a great consumer experience and widespread merchant acceptance. It means the ability to make and receive payments, regardless of currency, channel, or form factor.”

According to Visa, as the number of digital currency networks increases, the likelihood that consumers, businesses, and merchants are transacting on the same network and utilising the same type of money decreases.

“But interoperability ensures that different networks can communicate and share data with each other,” it said.

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Access Bank Acquires 78.15% Stake In Botswana’s Fifth Largest Bank

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Access Bank Plc has announced the acquisition of 78.15 per cent stake in African Banking Corporation of Botswana Limited.

In a statement released to the Nigerian Exchange Limited and investing public signed by its company secretary, Sunday Ekwochi, the bank said the acquisition would form part of the bank’s linkage point for trade and payments in Southern Africa and the larger Common Market for Eastern and Southern Africa region.

According to Access, BankABC is Botswana’s fifth largest bank with sustainable capitalisation and franchise to aid its growth in its local market. The acquisition would provide an opportunity for Access to deploy its digital platforms and product suites to benefit BankABC Botswana’s customers and enable it compete effectively across its core business segments.

The Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer of Access Bank, Dr Herbert Wigwe, said that the acquisition would provide significant synergies through the combination of BankABC Botswana’s “strong retail banking operations” with Access Bank’s wholesale banking capabilities.

“It will also strengthen the quality of earnings through revenue diversification and growth in the corporate and SME banking segments for BankABC Botswana,” he said.

Wigwe added that the combination would take Access a step further in its banking and corporate goals.

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Winners Emerge In UBA Savings Promo

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Pan African financial institution, United Bank for Africa Plc, says it has rewarded its customers in its Bumper Savings Promo in line with its commitment towards prioritising its customers’ financial wellbeing as well as boosting savings culture in Nigeria.

A statement from the bank on Friday said that since it commenced the promo in 2020, over 200 winners had emerged from the initiative that continued to reward loyalty and encourage customers to cultivate savings habit that helped to stay afloat especially during challenging times.

It stated that the promo was opened to account holders of the bank from the six geographical zones in Nigeria, and customers only needed to open a UBA Bumper account and save a minimum of N5,000 in a month to qualify.

“The more multiples of N5,000 they saved, the higher their chances of winning cash prizes and other juicy benefits,” it stated.

According to the bank, the electronic raffle draw, which was the 7th since inception, was witnessed by relevant regulatory bodies including the National Lottery Regulatory Commission and Consumer Protection Council who were on ground to ensure transparency and accountability.

It added that winners that emerged from the draw included Olunwa Ambrose who won the star prize of N2m, Saheed Adediran who, won N1.2m rent for a year; and Adewunmi Sobowale, who won N500,000 shopping allowance.

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