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“Ecobank Remains Payment Gateway in Africa” – Akinwuntan

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Akinwuntan

“Ecobank Remains Payment Gateway in Africa” – Akinwuntan

AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

SPONSORED BY: H&H

The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has reiterated that the Pan African bank remains the payment gateway for Africa.

Akinwuntan who was speaking on the topic “Optimizing sustainable trade, investment and regional economic integration through effective partnerships between ECOWAS institutions and regional institutions and the organized private sector” at a webinar organised by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) to commemorate the 46th anniversary of ECOWAS on Monday, stated that the bank’s state of the art digital payment and collection platform is promoting trade and commerce across the African continent.

According to him, Ecobank is present in all ECOWAS member states, stressing that the bank will continue to leverage its knowledge, footprint, and payment channels to promote trade and economic activities through its unique and large pan-African network that positions it to support businesses at all levels.

 He noted that “naturally for us as a Pan African bank, we are set up to support the economic integration and development of Africa.

We have the commitment, capacity and network to support the realization of that objective.

We have a platform that leverages technology which enables businesses within ECOWAS to operate as one market.

In terms of payment and collection, we have just one banking platform that serves an entire industry. If you are an individual and you open an account and get our Mobile app, you have access to the 33 countries where we operate, and you can transact across these countries.

It is a payment switch that ensures payment without going through SWIFT but ensures instant value across the network.  For businesses, we have Omni platform, which is a web-based payment platform that enables you to first see your position across the 33 countries and make instant payment.”

Mr. Akinwuntan added that Ecobank is also providing access to market without language barriers; building capacity of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSMEs), and empowering women through various products such as the highly innovative Ellevate, a woman focused package targeting at least 40milion women owned business in the MSME space across Africa, by supporting them to become big businesses.

“We provide access to the market, we know the continent, we know the sub-region and ECOWAS, this is part of what we offer at Ecobank. When you discuss with us in Ecobank, we are able to translate into the language you understand.

Our financial statements are in English and French. In terms of MSMEs, which are critical, we have put in place an MSME Academy in partnership with AUDA-NEPAD solely for capacity building.

But more importantly, we have also set aside N100 billion in Nigeria to support MSMEs. We have a regional trade desk that supports you by giving you access to market, finance, and capacity building. We are able to empower the MSME to gradually become pan African business partners leveraging technology.

Earlier in his welcome address, LCCI President, Mrs Toki Mabogunje said the webinar is to explore the opportunities and challenges of economic integration for stakeholders and for ECOWAS member states, adding that the forum also serves to examine the various trade policies, intra-regional commerce, smooth integration between member states and potential markets with borderless opportunities.

She said LCCI will continue to partner with ECOWAS institutions to realise its objective of wealth creation, economic integration and commitment to peace and development.

Akinwuntan

Akinwuntan

Special Guest of Honour, Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Otunba Niyi Adebayo lauded the efforts of ECOWAS in boosting trade in the sub-region. He was optimistic that collaboration with the organized private sector would further boost commerce and the economy of member states.

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ESG and the Oil & Gas sector: ABSA Advocates a Balanced View

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ESQ/Absa

ESG and the Oil & Gas sector: ABSA Advocates a Balanced View

ESQ/Absa

ESQ/Absa

AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

SPONSORED BY: H&H

Developing a social investment plan that utilizes proceeds from the oil and gas sector is critical to stimulating impactful growth across the African continent.

This view was shared recently by Camillo Atampugre, the Director of Resources and Energy, Absa Securities, United Kingdom, while laying bare Absa Investment’s focus which aims to drive sustainability and advocate for a wider pivot to the Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) initiatives across the oil and gas sector.

According to Camillo, the oil and gas sector remains a key channel of revenue for most African countries. He mentioned that the sector accounts for an estimated 20% of the continent’s Gross Domestic Product (GDP). And in places like Nigeria and Angola, the sector contributes 70% of the overall forex inflow and 60% of government tax revenues while driving growth impacts that reverberate across the labour market, the security and exchange system and other downstream segments.

He advised that considering the overt contribution of the oil and gas sector to the African economy, a strategic approach to the adoption of cleaner energy is advisable. This is to forestall a sudden snap that could hamper the attainment of the shorter to medium terms growth projection on the continent.

He further pointed out the various responsible steps being taken across the continent to ensure compliance with the various ESG requirements as regard achieving a gradual transition into cleaner energy and repositioning the oil and gas sector to sustain a balanced socioeconomic impact along the trajectory.

“Recognising the strategic role of the sector in their economies, places like Angola and Nigeria have taken steps to improve Governance elements.

In Angola, the President has put significant focus on cleaning up the image of the sector and courting foreign investors while the Nigerian national assembly recently passed the Petroleum Industry Bill which is aimed at making it easier for investment into Nigerian oil and gas operations”, Atampugre explained.

Citing the social investment roles being played by the major operators in the oil and gas sector Atampugre revealed: “For instance, oil major Shell has played a pivotal role in investing in healthcare infrastructure to help in the fight against the likes of Ebola and HIV as well as being a major party in the first community-based health insurance program in the country. Similarly, dual-listed oil and gas player Oando has trained over 2800 teachers and financially supported 88 schools via its Oando Foundation”.

He referred to the framework for achieving a faster transition to cleaner energy. Amongst them is the renewed emphasis placed by government and operators in the energy sector in Africa to implement regulatory and social investment strategies that are aimed at alleviating poverty and providing access to affordable energy.

He concluded that Absa, a specialist investment bank, is committed to helping the continent achieve its socioeconomic growth agenda as well as provide guidance that ensures compliance with various ESG goals.

He said: “As an investment bank that specialises in funding oil and gas projects in Africa and has a deep understanding of the continent, we look forward to working on projects which tick all three of the ESG elements in a socially conscious manner”.

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InterswitchSPAK: Inspiring The Next Generation in Tech

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Interswitch Spark
InterswitchSPAK: Inspiring The Next Generation in Tech

Interswitch Spark

Interswitch Spark

 
AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM
SPONSORED BY: H&H
Amid a flurry of reality television shows across a gamut of themes keeping viewers glued to their screens, there can never be enough educational programmes that aim to develop and hone the knowledge base of students, and this is where the InterswitchSPAK competition comes in.
The InterswitchSPAK competition was developed with a narrowed focus on subjects around Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM), with a view to sustaining interests in these subject areas for students in schools across the African continent.
The programme also serves as a reminder of the importance of improving the standards of STEM education on the continent, while providing the students with an opportunity to participate on a platform that avails them access to better education. The programme equips young African students with a renewed mindset to owning the solutions to Africa problems.
Highlighting the foregoing point, the winner of the InterswitchSPAK 2.0 competition, 16-year-old Oyindamola Aje of Jesuit Memorial College, amplified the goal of the competition in a “thank you” message to the InterswitchSPAK organisers in a video.
Oyindamola who is currently pursuing an honours degree in Chemical Engineering at the Texas A&M University expressed his gratitude to the management of Interswitch Group for giving Africa students a platform such as the InterswitchSPAK.
He restated the company’s invaluable support to pursue his dreams and their commitment to fulfilling their promise which includes a N7.5 million in scholarship, a well programmed brand-new laptop, and monthly stipends.
The video clearly reiterates the mission of the competition, which is to empower young Africa students in the STEM subject area and support them to carve a clear path in their individual careers that would in turn “make Africa a better place”.
The InterswitchSPAK National Science Competition is for students in all Senior Secondary Schools (SSS2) across the country, be it public or private, with a N12.5 million university scholarship prize to the winners, and free registration.
The first-place winner gets N7.5 million spread over a period of five years while pursuing an undergraduate programme, a laptop and monthly stipend.
The second-place winner gets N4 million over a period of three years, a laptop and monthly stipend. The third prize winner gets N1 million, which is received within the year with a laptop.
Students in high school in Kenya also participate in the competition, thereby fostering an inter-country and intra-continental educational experience.
As a technology giant, especially in the digital payment space, Interswitch continues to entrench itself as a bastion of advancement in the tech sector, and through the InterswitchSPAK competition, students who have found themselves enamoured of the possibilities present in STEM are given opportunities to make their dreams a reality.
Aside from the exciting prizes for the first, second, and third place winners, they also get the optional chance of being an intern at Interswitch, giving their career in STEM a jumpstart.
Created in 2017, the competition has gone on to positively impact the lives of the participants, and the journey appears to not slow down, as the programme organisers have put measures in place to ensure that the 2021 edition is conducted after the competition was suspended the previous year due to the pandemic.

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Nigeria’s Multibillion Dollar Eurobond Offering Is Step In The Right Direction – Akinwuntan

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Nigeria’s Multibillion Dollar Eurobond Offering Is Step In The Right Direction – Akinwuntan

Akinwuntan

Akinwuntan

AJAGBE ADEYEMI TESLIM

SPONSORED BY:H&H

The Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Patrick Akinwuntan has described Federal Government’s plan for a Eurobond issuance in the International Capital Market (ICM) as a step in the right direction, stressing that the fundamentals and potentials of the nation’s economy are strong with capacity to meet its debt obligations.

Akinwuntan, who was assessing the global market as Nigeria makes its announcement of multibillion dollar Eurobond offering, during an interview on Arise TV  Lagos, said the economy is showing strong trends owing to investments in infrastructure such as road and rail transportation which is giving a lot of positive impact to the overall economy, adding that the private sector is also making remarkable improvement in power sector, telecoms, and information technology.

According to him, “You look at the fundamentals, what is the story of this economy? You look at Nigeria, the fundamentals are strong, coming from the lessons learnt in being a mono product economy which was dependent on oil. We have since embarked on the journey of diversification and we are beginning to show early fruits. Exports are improving, Africa Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA)

provides the opportunity to expand that even further. So, you look at the fundamentals, look at the openness of the economy, the transparency of reporting and look at the opportunities to enhance real growth, output, capacity improvements and stability of policies.

All these are factors to look at with a view of participating in the economy like that of Nigeria.”

He observed that international borrowing will allow Nigeria as a country to access more foreign currencies, deepen external reserve, allows more confidence in the medium-term planning in the private sector, adding that it allows a bench mark to be established in terms of how funding and investment are priced within the local economy.

“It also gives more rooms for the local economy to be able to breathe a bit more because when the country takes on Euro bond that portion is reduced from local country financing or public sector debt within the country.

All these factors play strongly to the benefit of the private sector and the entire economy at large.”

“In the last two quarters, we have seen the global market rebounding from the very deep end of the covid-19 that plagued 2020.

We have seen, since the arrival of vaccines, the gradual opening of the global economy such that there is much more optimism now in the market because we have learnt that shutting down the economy is not the best way to handle an epidemic and we have seen support from sovereigns ensuring that there is steady growth within the various economies; supply chain has opened and we have seen in sub-Sahara Africa renewed interest in the Eurobond market in the international debt market; we have seen Benin republic, Ghana, Cote d’ivoire and Kenya all are approaching the market with significant success. Over subscription in each of them ranges from 200% to 300% and an all high in Kenya close to 600% or six times over subscription.

This is a positive period for major economies like Nigeria, which is the lead economy in Africa, to take advantage and invite the global community to hear our story, invest in us and get good returns.”

Citing example with Ecobank’s $300 million Eurobond offer earlier in the year which was over-subscribed by 300 per cent, Akinwuntan advised those approaching international debt market to have clarity of purpose and state clearly their strengths and weaknesses.

“We are the first banking entity in Africa to do that in 2021 and it comes from our long-term planning in the economy of Africa; we are the pan African bank and when we look at Africa, Nigeria is a major player.

Quickly we understood that arising from a scenario of pandemic and all-time lows of 2020 is time to look at the brighter side and we stepped out for the $300m US Eurobond offer which met positive response from investors across the globe within the country.

We attracted more than 3 times in subscription.

But we kept to the book of doing $300m because it is based on our plan in participating in positioning Nigeria, as the leading export country in the AFCTCA environment in the continent and giving our unique position as the Pan African bank, it was very clear to us and the market responded positively.

Our experience also tells us that, what is critical is to have clarity on your strength, be very frank about your weakness or the areas of concern and how you intend to handle that positively.”

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