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UBA emerges best institution in Digital Banking across Africa

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Pan-African financial services group, United Bank for Africa Plc, has once again made an addition to its growing list of enviable laurels as it was named Africa’s best bank  in the Digital category at the prestigious Euromoney awards in London.

This further lends credence to UBA’s dominance in the digital banking space. The Euromoney awards ceremony which was held on Wednesday, July 11, 2018 covers more than 20 global product categories, best-in-class awards and the best Banks in over 100 countries around the world, recognising institutions that have demonstrated leadership, innovation, and momentum in the markets in which they operate.

In selecting its recipients, Euro money’s principle is hinged both on quantitative and qualitative data to honor institutions that have brought the highest levels of service, innovation and expertise to their customers.

At the awards ceremony, UBA beat other nominees taking away the prize for best institution in Digital banking across Africa, an affirmation of its recent investment in cutting edge technology, one of which gave birth to Leo, the chat banker that has disrupted banking across Africa.

In a bid to be the undisputed leading financial services industry  in Africa in the area of innovation and technology, UBA has steadily included new and emerging trends to its range of solutions in-branches, across subsidiaries and on digital platforms. The emergence of LEO, has been a continuous directive to push the banking sector beyond financial services and to show that the bank truly comprehends the shift in operations and the movement of the global world with technology today.

The Euromoney award, which is a recognition of innovative products and services introduced by the bank in recent times and targeted towards meeting customer needs, comes on the heels of recent awards to UBA, including Finnacle Client Innovation Awards and Best Bank Awards won by five of its subsidiaries across Africa by The Bankers Magazine. UBA was also declared the best Bank in Africa in 2017.

Receiving the award at a well attended event in London, the Group Managing Director, Chief Executive Officer, United Bank for Africa, Kennedy Uzoka, appreciated the organizer’s for the recognition, noting that UBA’s dedication to hard work and particular emphasis to offering quality services to customers are being acknowledged.

According to Uzoka, the award affirms the Bank’s strong management and un-matched commitment to service excellence.

He said: “This only goes to show that our resolve in continuing to deploy innovative solutions that place customers first, using cutting edge technology for their collective satisfaction and excellent banking experience is important to us. This recognition will further spur us to do more in meeting the needs of our customers with unrivalled services.”

Uzoka stated “for us at UBA, the award is quite an accomplishment, considering Mark Zuckerberg, CEO Facebook and President Emmanuel Macron of France’s recent endorsement both of which centred around highlighting the distinguishing value of UBA’s leading digital opportunities”.

“Also, our recent launch of Leo in 15 African countries is evidence that UBA has on its agenda, the objective of digital creativity especially in service for our trusted customer base across the African continent.  This award reminds us as an institution not to relent in our pursuit of excellence and to continue to lead the new digital age in Africa, within the financial services industry’.

Clive Horwood, Euromoney Magazine’s Editor explained that:  “Despite fierce competition, one bank stood out in the last year for the inventiveness of its efforts in digital banking: United Bank for Africa. One of its signature launches in Nigeria was Leo, an e-chat service using artificial intelligence to help customers execute transactions on Facebook”.

“Recently, Mark Zuckerberg gave a nod to the service, during a talk at a recent developers’ conference – a sign of its recognition at the highest levels of digital technology. The bank also recently added retina and fingerprint recognition and technology to reduce business travel greenhouse emissions. If it fulfils its ambitious plans to partner with fintech companies, UBA could continue to lead African banks in the area of digitilisation. “Horwood noted.

UBA is one of Africa’s leading banks with operations in 20 African countries and in London and New York, with   presence in Paris.

Adjudged to be at the forefront of innovation and convenient banking, UBA is one of the first financial services institutions on the continent to deploy Finacle 10x, a new information technology platform that boosts its services and electronic banking channels.

Today, UBA provides banking services to more than 15 million customers globally, through diverse channels and over a thousand touch points.

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BUSINESS

Q2: Dangote Cement invests $3bn on plants, grinding terminals across Africa

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…. employs 27,952 Nigerians in 2017

 

Group Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Cement, Joe Makoju has revealed that the company has invested a whopping $3B to build manufacturing plants and import/grinding terminals across Africa.

The company’s operations, according to Makoju are in Cameroon (1.5Mta clinker grinding), Congo (1.5Mta), Ghana (1.5Mta import), Ethiopia (2.5Mta), Senegal (1.5Mta), Sierra Leone (0.7Mta import), South Africa (2.8Mta), Tanzania (3.0Mta), Zambia (1.5Mta).

For the second quarter under review, Makoju also revealed that while total Nigeria sales volumes went up by 13.9 per cent to 7.8Mt, Pan-African volumes reduced by 3.9 per cent, mainly due to shutdown in Tanzania.

In all, the company, which employed 27,952 workers in Nigeria in 2017 had its revenue increased by 16.9 per cent and its earning per share also increased by 3 per cent to N6.60 kobo per share for the second quarter, ended in June 30, 2018.

Makoju said: “Our first-half performance was very strong and driven by an excellent recovery in Nigeria, where our sales volumes increased by nearly 14 per cent and revenues rose by more than 18 per cent. Pan-African operations saw a slight fall in volumes but both revenues and EBITDA increased because of better pricing and currency conversion effects.

In addition, we achieved the largest-ever issuance of Commercial Paper by a Nigerian company when we issued ₦50B Series 1 & 2 Notes at the end of June, with a discount rate that reflected the strength of our Company and its excellent credit ratings.

Of course, our strong performance has been overshadowed by the tragic and heartbreaking events in Ethiopia. I would like to pay tribute to my colleagues Deep Kamra, Beakal Alelign and Tsegaye Gidey and offer our sincere condolences to their families.”

It would be recalled that the Chairman of Dangote Cement, at the company’s recently concluded annual general meeting (AGM), Aliko Dangote attributed the 31 per cent increase in the company’s revenue, of N805.6 billion, for the 2017 financial year, to its pan African operations growth which also recorded a significant increase in revenue from N195 billion to N258.4 billion in 2017.

He said: “Pan African operations increased volumes by 8.4 per cent, with Ethiopia, Senegal, Cameroon and South Africa all performing strongly and close to their operating capacity”

Noting that the company experienced some challenges in operating in sub-Saharan Africa, Dangote said the Management responded in robust fashion and benefited from “…the diversity we have created across our business and because of our local knowledge and attitudes towards doing business in neighboring countries in Africa.”

Explaining the rationale behind the success recorded by the Dangote Cement’s revenue, the acting Group Chief executive, Joe Makoju said “… the increase was helped by our decision to increase our use of local coal in Nigeria and that also helped to improve our fuel security, maintain production uptime and it reduced our need for foreign currency. We source coal from our parent company, Dangote Industries and from another Nigerian supplier, and we are very happy with the way this has worked out for us because it has enabled us to phase out the use of expensive low pour fuel oil in our kilns and also to reduce our use of imported coal”

On the future growth plans for the Group, Makoju said “…As it stands, I think we will focus on building new grinding plants along the coast of West Africa, and ensure we have clinker export facilities in Nigeria. We are looking at the possibility of two new lines in Nigeria, perhaps by the end of 2020 and its likely these will be in Edo state and Obajana, with a combined capacity of 6Mta”

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Fidelity Bank donates N50m to Lagos State Security Trust Fund

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L-R: Divisional Head, Brand and Communications, Fidelity Bank Plc, Charles Aigbe; Executive Secretary/ CEO, Lagos State Security Trust Fund ( LSSTF), Dr. Abdurrazaq Balogun; Executive Director, Lagos and South West, Fidelity Bank, Nneka Onyeali – Ikpe; Chief Security Officer, Fidelity Bank Plc, Peter Okoloh when Fidelity Bank presented a cheque of N50 Million to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund ( LSSTF) as part of the Bank’s contribution in ensuring the safety of lives and property in Lagos State

 

Fidelity Bank Plc on Monday donated N50 million to the Lagos State Security Trust Fund (LSSTF) as part of contributions to improving security of lives and property in the State. The cheque was presented by the Bank’s Executive Director, Lagos and South-West, Mrs Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe to the Executive Secretary, LSSTF, Dr. Abdulrassaq Balogun at a brief ceremony in Alausa, Ikeja, Lagos on Monday.

Onyeali-Ikpe who commended the Lagos State Government for its commitment to preserving public peace, and protecting lives and property of Lagosians, said security was paramount to business success. According to her no activity can thrive in an atmosphere of uncertainty and insecurity.

“We are encouraged to support this initiative and kudos must be given to the Lagos State Government for the peace we are enjoying in the state today. gWe have over 80 branches, about 2,000 staff and millions of customers in the state. We are concerned about their safety all the time” she stated

The Executive Secretary of LSSTF, Dr. Abdurrazaq Balogun, commended the bank for the gesture, saying that Fidelity had been consistent in its support to the Fund from inception to date. According to him the bank has donated a total of N175 million to the LSSTF since the fund was established. “Thank you Fidelity Bank. We are most appreciative of this and what is most touching for us is your consistency. You have always come to our aid every year unsolicited”.

He assured the Fidelity Bank officials that the donation would be used judiciously and reiterated the commitment of the Lagos State Governor Akinwumi Ambode to ensuring that we have a safe Lagos State.

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BUSINESS

CBN sustains Forex intervention, injects fresh $210m

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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), on Tuesday, July 17, 2018 injected the sum of $210 million into the inter-bank foreign exchange (forex) market.

The Bank offered $100million to authorized dealers in the wholesale segment of the market, while the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment got the sum of $55 million, just as $55 million was also allocated for invisibles such as tuition fees, medical payments and Basic Travel allowance (BTA).

In a statement, the Bank’s Acting Director of Corporate Communications Department, Mr. Isaac Okorafor confirmed the figures and restated the apex bank resolve to continue to intervene in the interbank foreign exchange market, in line with its pledge to sustain liquidity in the market and maintain stability.

Mr. Okorafor maintained that the continued forex intervention is to ensure that the Bank meets genuine customers’ requests in various segments of the market.

It will be recalled that last Tuesday, July 10, 2018, the CBN intervened to the tune of $210 million, to cater for requests in the wholesale segment of the market.

Meanwhile, the naira continued to exchange at an average of N360/$1 in the Bureau De Change (BDC) segment of the market on Tuesday, July 17, 2018.

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