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Access Bank Restates Commitment to Deepen Presence in Kenyan Market After Discontinuation of Sidian Bank Acquisition




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Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest lender, Access Bank PLC, has cited the failure to fulfil some requisite conditions as the reason for calling off the proposed acquisition of Sidian Bank. The discontinuation ends Access Bank PLC’s binding agreement with Centum to acquire the entire 83.4 percent shareholding held by the investment company in Sidian Bank Ltd.

According to a statement issued by the Bank’s parent company Access Corporation to the Nigerian Exchange Ltd on Thursday, 12 January 2022, “The completion of the proposed transaction was subject to fulfilment or waiver of certain conditions before the Long Stop date as defined in the transaction agreement.

Although regulators have all been supportive in engagements around the transaction, certain conditions precedent including those required of Sidian Bank which were needed to prudently complete the transaction have not been met and the parties were unable to reach an agreement on the variation of these conditions in a manner to deliver the desired outcome for the parties.

“Consequently, we hereby notify the Nigerian Exchange Ltd and the investing public that the Sidian acquisition will no longer be completed by the Bank.”

This development, however, will not affect Access Bank’s drive to promote regional trade finance and other cross-border banking services in the East African Community (EAC) and broader COMESA region as it works towards its vision to be Africa’s gateway to the world. To this end, Access Bank reassures stakeholders of its commitment to pursue responsible opportunities to expand its footprint in Kenya – which represents the largest market and trade corridor in East Africa.

“The Bank remains committed to growing its franchise in a safe and sound manner in Kenya and the broader East African Community and will continue to explore a variety of organic and inorganic opportunities to grow its market share therein,” the statement, signed by Sunday Ekwochi, Company Secretary of Access Holdings PLC, read.

Recall that Access Bank already made a strategic entry into the highly-competitive Kenyan financial ecosystem through the acquisition of Transnational Bank Plc of Kenya (now Access Bank Kenya) in 2020.

Other notable strategic expansion executed by Access Bank in recent years include acquiring the defunct Diamond Bank Plc in 2018, a process completed in 2019. In 2021 the Bank announced the acquisition of Cavmont Bank Limited and merged its existing operations in Zambia following the acquisition

The Bank also completed the acquisition of Grobank of South Africa in 2021, and in the same year completed the acquisition of about 78.15 percent holding in African Banking Corporation of Botswana Limited.

Access Bank’s expansion drive promises great value for stakeholders and presents enormous opportunities to support the growth of trade and payment ecosystem.

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The Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc (‘the Company’) has announced the appointment of Ms. Bolaji Agbede as the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer of the Company following the unfortunate demise of its former Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Herbert Wigwe, on February 9, 2024.

The appointment is subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria.

Until her recent appointment, Ms. Agbede was the Company’s most senior founding Executive Director in charge of Business Support.

She has nearly three decades of professional experience cutting across banking and business consultancy services. Ms. Agbede commenced her professional career in 1992 at Guaranty Trust Bank and served in various capacities within the Commercial Banking and Operations functions rising to the position of Manager in 2001.

She subsequently served as the Chief Executive Officer of JKG Limited, a business consulting outfit in 2003.

Ms. Agbede joined Access Bank Plc (‘the Bank’) in 2003 as an Assistant General Manager and was responsible for managing the Bank’s portfolio of chemical trading companies.

She served as the Bank’s Head, Group Human Resources between 2010 and 2022 and was appointed the Company’s founding Executive Director, Business Support in 2022.

She has a track record in successful people integration in business combination and culture transformation.

She holds a Bachelor’s degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Lagos (1990) and a Masters of Business Administration Degree from Cranfield University UK in 2002. She is a member of the Chartered Institute of Management UK and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria.

Ms. Agbede has attended several renowned leadership and professional development programmes including the High-Performance Leadership Programme organised by the IMD and the Strategic Talent Management Programme organised the London Business School.

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Africa Re, Africa’s leading reinsurance company, recently held an Evening of Tributes, themed “The Colossus” for its immediate past Group Managing Director, Mr Bakary Kamara. The event which was held on the evening of Saturday, 10th February 2024, at The Sky Restaurant, Eko Hotel, saw friends, colleagues, family and industry leaders gathered to celebrate the life and legacy of Mr. Bakary Kamara.

Born in 1949, Mr. Kamara’s journey in the insurance sector was marked by dedication, vision, and transformative leadership. His tenure at Africa Re saw tremendous growth in premium income, profit and shareholders fund. The Evening of Tributes, organized by the African Reinsurance Corporation, is a powerful testament to the enduring impact “THE COLOSSUS” left on the African insurance landscape.

During the Evening of Tributes, a heartfelt video montage played, telling the story of Mr. Bakary Kamara’s remarkable journey, from his early career to his visionary and influential leadership at Africa Re.

Distinguished speakers, including Mr Corneille Karekezi, the Group Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer (GMD/CEO) of Africa Re, vividly portrayed his character in their heartfelt tributes. “When giants leave this world, they leave behind giants; they leave behind strong institutions, they leave behind strong families, they leave behind good culture. Africa Re is not a normal institution, it’s a very complex institution because we are not in one country. We have all the cultures of the African continent in one institution.”

The evening delved beyond professional accolades, revealing the multifaceted dimensions of Mr. Bakary Kamara. His Children, Former colleagues and mentees shared personal stories that highlighted his compassion, generosity, and unwavering commitment to empowering others.

“My Father would tell us that being educated does not mean you are better than the one who has never been to a western school. Being financially independent does not mean that you are better than one with little means. Being a Muslim does not mean you are better than a Christian or a Jew.” said Hada Kamara.

These poignant testimonials resonated with the audience, showcasing a leader who touched lives far beyond the boardroom.

In his heartfelt tribute, Mr. Ken Aghoghovbia, DMD/COO of Africa Re, spoke of the profound impact Mr. Bakary Kamara had on the institution. “Mr Kamara demonstrated the rare combination of tough love and genuine care. Recognizing the potential within each individual, he pushed us beyond our comfort zones, challenging us to dig deeper, strive harder and never settle for less. Thus, the collective goal of staff under his leadership was to be nothing but the best, and as a result Africa Re became a respectable global brand.”

The Evening of Tributes wasn’t simply retrospective; it was a call to action. Industry leaders discussed how Mr. Bakary Kamara’s vision continues to shape the future of African insurance, emphasizing specific examples of how his legacy is being carried forward. This forward-looking perspective cemented his place as a guiding light, inspiring generations of professionals to build upon his foundation.

As the evening concluded, it became clear that Mr. Bakary Kamara was beyond just a leader; he was a symbol of an unwavering commitment to a brighter future for Africa. His legacy will continue to inspire generations of insurance professionals to build upon his foundation and contribute to the continent’s economic and social development.

As we remember Mr. Bakary Kamara’s remarkable life and the profound impact he made, the African Reinsurance Corporation reaffirms its commitment to its vision – a vision of a stronger, more resilient Africa, where insurance plays a vital role in protecting and enabling progress. Mr. Kamara’s legacy serves as a beacon, guiding us as we continue to fulfil our promise.

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FirstBank, Nigeria’s premier financial institution and financial inclusion services provider, was announced as the Best Corporate Bank at the recent prestigious Euromoney Awards for Excellence, Nigeria 2023.

The Bank clinched the coveted award based on its 130-year commitment to enabling its corporate customers achieve success through relevant and tailored financial solutions. FirstBank’s continuous investment in technology has been crucial to its leading industry role in optimally meeting the needs of its corporate customers. Recent investments in technology include the development of its smart and interactive Transaction Banking Platform known as FirstDirect2.0. 

FirstDirect2.0 provides a one-stop shop online banking platform for corporates, offering best-in-class capabilities such as Payments, Collections, and Account Services, and a locally focused phased implementation of Trade and Supply Chain Finance – a first for the Bank. 

The platform offers customers various solutions for corporate cash management (Payments, Collections and Liquidity Management). It will also deliver end-to-end trade solutions for corporate clients covering L/C creation, tracking, bidding and reconciliations.

The Bank’s Corporate Banking model is focused on ensuring that its clients get the same quality of service across the Bank’s geographical locations. The execution of this approach through the deployment of the Global Account Management (GAM) Framework, implemented to enhance cross-relationship management tailored to Customers with a Pan African footprint.

Dedicating the awards to its customers, Dr Adesola Adeduntan, CEO FirstBank Group said: “We are thrilled to announce that we have been recognised as the Best Corporate Bank in Nigeria at the Euromoney Awards for Excellence 2023. 

“We say a heartfelt thank you to all our incredible customers for trusting us. This award is dedicated to YOU,” he concluded.

According to Euromoney, the “Awards for Excellence” – is the definitive annual awards programme of the global banking industry. The awards represent the highest distinction to the banks and bankers who matter most in an industry where differentiation is highly sought after and exceptionally difficult to demonstrate.”

“For over 30 years, Euromoney has recognised the banks and that have demonstrated their differentiation, pioneering a comprehensive awards programme that today remains the industry benchmark globally, it concluded.”

Amongst other awards, FirstBank recently added to its awards kitty, Best Corporate Bank Western Africa, 2023, by Global Banking and Finance; Best Internet Banking in Nigeria, 2023 by International Business Awards; the Most Innovative Banking Brand in Nigeria by Global Brands Awards as well as the Financial Institution of the Year 2023 by Afreximbank Pan-African Business and Development.

About FirstBank
First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank) is the premier Bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for 130 years.

With over 800 business locations and over 232,000 Banking Agents spread across 99% of the 774 Local Government Areas in Nigeria, FirstBank provides a comprehensive range of retail and Corporate financial services to serve its over 42 million Customers. The Bank has an international presence with subsidiaries operating in 9 other countries. These subsidiaries are FirstBank (UK) Limited in London and Paris, FirstBank in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Guinea, Sierra Leone, The Gambia; FBNBank in Ghana and Senegal as well as a Representative Office in Beijing, China. The Bank is at the forefront of promoting digital banking in the country and has issued over 13 million cards, the first bank to achieve such a milestone. 

FirstBank has continued to make significant investments in technology, innovation and transformation, and its cashless transaction drive has been steadily accentuated with over 23 million active FirstBank customers signed up on digital channels including the USSD Quick Banking service through the nationally renowned *894# Banking code.

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