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Heritage Bank MD, Sekibo calls for innovation to boost agric development

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Managing Director/Chief Executive, Heritage Bank Limited, Mr. Ifie Sekibo has called for innovation in the agricultural sector in order to maximise the sector’s contributions to the nation’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP).

Sekibo made this call while speaking to a group of investors stressing that innovation is necessary to tackle the challenges to productivity in the agricultural sector.

Speaking on the challenges and potentials of Nigeria’s agricultural sector, he said: “Statistically, we are about 198 million people as nation though we believe we are about 210 million, GDP growth 1.5 percent, before recession, we are doing about 6 percent and we are at 11.28 percent inflation but still hoping it comes down. Agriculture is 22.86 percent, Industry 23.18percent and services at 53.97 percent. Essentially, we will say our economy is driven by services.

“Nigeria has a very large market, plenty labour force, plenty of waterways because almost every part of Nigeria has waterways and enough land to feed ourselves and nearly half the world because we truly have a land fertile for Agriculture and we have only utilized 40 percent of which we waste about 70 percent of the lands.

“For rice, Nigeria should be producing about 6.3 metric tonnes and one begin to wonder why we are poor as a nation if we have such opportunities. Instead we are doing about 2.3 metric tonnes and you can see the gap of about 4 million metric tonnes that we could have produced but we are importing.

“That is a negative for our economy. A lot of other gaps in the Agricultural sector shows that indeed we have a lot of room for investments. You will realize that every state of this federation and every Geo-political zones has a lot to offer, the North-West, North-East is a hub for agriculture only if we do the right thing and maximize the opportunities.

The South, we can spoon the world in the South only if we maximize the opportunities that abound in the zone.
“So why are we not making progress as a nation especially in the areas of Agriculture? They are due to some few challenges which include our import supplies, production, processing and basically trade which are components of Agriculture.

“The vulnerability shocks we have out there can be dealt with if we put in place innovations platform, strategies and the likely outcomes. These are essentially what we need to do. If we can achieve some of these innovations in Agriculture, we will turn our country around.

We need to look at the issue of climate change; we need to look at why we have been unable to create inventions and innovations that make our work in the Agricultural space.”

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Union Bank, MamaMoni set up innovation hub for low income women

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Coordinator, Mandela Washington Fellowship, Austin Emeanua; Head, Corporate Communications and Marketing, Union Bank, Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem; Founder, Mamamoni Empowerment Foundation (MEF), Nkem Okocha and Trustee, MEF, Okhai Olaghere, during the launch of the Mamamoni Innovation Hub sponsored by Union Bank, in Lagos recently

As part of its commitment to boost women empowerment, talent development, and financial inclusion, Union Bank recently partnered with MamaMoni Empowerment Foundation to set up an Innovation Hub for low-income women and girls from urban slum communities. The hub, which is located in Amuwo-Odofin area of Lagos State, was formally opened on the 21st of May, 2019.

The vocational training program has been established to enable the girls and women to build sustainable means of living. It is anticipated that each year, over 400 underprivileged beneficiaries will receive training in vocational skills such as hairdressing, make up, fashion designing, mobile farming and furniture making. Other courses to be offered at the hub include financial literacy, coding and personal branding.

Speaking at the launch of the innovation centre, Ogochukwu Ekezie-Ekaidem, Head of Corporate Communications and Marketing at Union Bank, applauded the efforts of the MamaMoni team in improving the outcomes of women in underserved communities through micro loans and empowerment schemes. She said;

“Union Bank is proud to have been a principal partner of the MamaMoni Foundation over the years. We identified this initiative as one that will help amplify our efforts to support women and drive financial inclusion. It is our hope that this innovation centre will go a long way in improving the lives of women from low-income communities and their families as they strive for a better future.”

In 2016, Nkem Okocha, founder of the MamaMoni Foundation emerged a winner in the LEAP Africa Social Innovators Programme (SIP) sponsored by Union Bank, receiving a grant of N1,000,000 to expand the MamaMoni operations. Since then, the Foundation has impacted over 6,000 women by providing them with micro loans and basic vocational and financial literacy skills.

Union Bank is committed to enabling the success of the average Nigerian and continues to champion the cause for the women empowerment. Earlier this year, the Bank launched its women’s proposition, tagged αlpher, a platform to empower women across all segments of the Nigerian society through capacity building opportunities, networking platforms, scholarships and tailored financial services. Established in 1917 and listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 1971, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc. is a household name and one of Nigeria’s long-standing and most respected financial institutions. The Bank is a trusted and recognizable brand, with an extensive network of over 300 branches across Nigeria.

In late 2012, a new Board of Directors and Executive Management team were appointed to Union Bank and in 2014 the Bank began executing a transformation programme to re-establish it as a highly respected provider of quality financial services.

The Bank currently offers a variety of banking services to both individual and corporate clients including current, savings and deposit account services, funds transfer, foreign currency domiciliation, loans, overdrafts, equipment leasing and trade finance. The Bank also offers its customers convenient electronic banking channels and products including Online Banking, Mobile Banking, Debit Cards, ATMs and POS Systems.

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Leaders Emphasis importance of history to African Devt at UBA’s Africa Conversations

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l-r Chairman of Ghana’s Convention People’s Party, and daughter of Mr. Kwame Nkrumah, Ms Samia Nkrumah; Nobel Laureate, Professor Wole Soyinka; Group Chairman, UBA Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu; Guinean Historian and playwright, Professor, Djibril Tamsir Niane; Afro musician, Mr. Femi Kuti; and Legal Practitioner and Moderator, Ms. Ayo Obe, during the panel discussion themed ‘Africa’s History Redefined, our past, the path to the future,’ organised by UBA to mark Africa’s Day in Lagos on Wednesday

African leading minds have called on Africans to be mindful of their rich history, which according to them creates the path towards the socio-cultural, economic and political development of the continent

The strong African voices which included Group Chairman, United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu, Nobel Laureate, Wole Soyinka; Professor emeritus and authority in Sahelian history, Djibril Tamsir Niane; Ghanaian Politician, Samia Nkrumah and Famous Musician, Femi Kuti spoke during the first edition of UBA’s Africa Conversations, a symposium organised by the United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc at the UBA House in Lagos, as part of activities marking this year’s Africa Day celebrations. The theme of the panel session was “Africa’s History Redefined, Our Past, the Path to the Future”.

Opening the conversation, the Group Chairman, UBA, Tony Elumelu stated ‘UBA understands the past- that Africa as a continent has always been united by the struggle for identity. UBA is a symbol for the development of Africa, for the economic empowerment of our people, the Small and Medium Enterprises as well as the big corporations. Thus, identifying with Africa and indeed Africa Day is synonymous with who we are as a bank. It presents us the opportunity to remind ourselves, the world and indeed Africa that we owe ourselves the duty of making Africa the continent of our dreams.”

Elumelu added that it is important for Africans to remember history as this will help prepare for the future. ‘Our past provides a veritable tool to fashioning the continent’s development, renaissance and economic growth’ he emphasised.

Speaking strongly on the issue, professor Wole Soyinka, who commended UBA’s initiative for opening up discussions on these pressing topics decried the growing erosion of history from the curriculum in African schools, adding that the lack of knowledge of our past makes children’s growth on the continent truncated. “How can we cope with the modern phenomenon if we do not know the past? We should never forget the importance of history as it is not just an academic exercise,” he enthused.

Corroborating Soyinka’s position, Professor Niane opined that reminiscing about Africa’s rich history is important as there is no people without history. He said, “A lot of work has been done by Africans and we have to be happy about it. There is the need to continue the conversation about African unity. Policies have been put in place and our democracy can only get stronger. Peace will reign and Africa will be reunited. Economic transformation is also important but it is not the only thing we should concentrate on.”

Samia Nkrumah, the daughter of Kwame Nkrumah of Ghana, who commended UBA for prioritising African entrepreneurship, called for a renewed attempt at African unity, which according to her, has to be a collective effort of the people.

Nkrumah said, “As we work in our individual smaller countries, it will be easier to achieve more if we work together and complete unification can only come if we work together; we won’t go anywhere unless we use unity as a political project.’ She added.

On his part, Femi Kuti emphasised the importance of History, saying “Our children need to learn this history so that they can come up and build the continent. We need everyone – both boys and girls to work towards this vision.”

The UBA Conversations, an initiative of the Pan African financial institution, aims at aggregating discussions necessary for the growth and development of the continent. It is being held as part of the activities to mark the 2019 edition of Africa Day celebrations by the bank.

With presence in 20 African countries as well as in the United States, France and The United Kingdom, UBA’s passion for Africa’s growth is part of who they are.

The bank is set to continue conversations around these important topics that are required to galvanise the African economy with the aim of attracting the much needed support that will boost SMEs and support business growth on the continent.

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Fidelity Bank CEO, other executives visit incoming Lagos Gov. Sanwo-Olu

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Incoming Governor of Lagos State, Mr. Babajide Sanwo – Olu receiving the Fidelity Bank delegation led by the MD/CEO, Mr. Nnamdi Okonkwo when Fidelity Bank officials paid a courtesy visit to the Governor. From left: Branch Leader, Ikeja 1 Strategic Business Unit (SBU), Charles Nwadike; Executive Director, Lagos and South West, Mrs. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe; Governor Sanwo – Olu, MD/CEO, Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Okonkwo; Team Lead, Corporate Banking, Omobolaji Odubanjo and Regional Bank Head, Ikeja, Ken Opara … Tuesday

Fidelity Bank Team led by the MD/CEO, Nnamdi Okonkwo paid a courtesy visit to the incoming Governor of Lagos State, His Excellency, Babajide Sanwo – Olu.

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