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AfCFTA: We are well-positioned to make payments smooth for our customers – Ecobank Group CEO

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Stakeholders Endorse Ecobank Stewardship Pack and School Bundle

The Group Chief Executive Officer, Ecobank Transnational Incorporated (ETI), Ade Ayeyemi, has affirmed that the pan-African banking group is facilitating smooth and instant payments across Africa as countries start the implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area Agreement (AfCFTA).

 

Ayeyemi who made this assertion during an interview with the media recently pointed out that Ecobank has been able to effect international payment across the 33 countries where it operates on the continent through its Rapid Transfer platform. He reiterated that the bank’s platform can be scaled to accommodate other African countries under the AfCFTA based on their respective regulations.

According to the Ecobank Group Chief, the banking group  is one of the key supporters of the AfCFTA which he believes will be of great benefit to both the continent and customers of the bank. “With this Pan-African exposure, the governments and our customers will re-evaluate their businesses to efficiently take charge of bigger opportunities. So, if you manufacture goods in Aba for the Nigerian market, you can now start thinking of how to expand your manufacturing capacity to be able to export across West Africa and also other African countries, not just looking at Nigeria as a market alone. And as you change your demand forecast, you need to now improve your capacity to produce and that will mean importing new machinery to expand your manufacturing base, develop bigger market and hire more people.”

He is optimistic that the introduction of the AfCFTA would curb the regulations and government policies limiting the flow of foreign exchange. “Banks will work with other banks like Afrexim Bank to provide a swift payment platform as Africa will be the first market for most African products. For instance, there is no need for Nigeria to import rubber from Malaysia when rubber is being exported by Côte d’Ivoire.  It is better within the African space. So, there is a whole range of businesses that we are having conversations with our customers, the governments and the African Union, because of our pan-African presence.”

The AfCFTA which came into effect this January, aims at creating a single African wide market for goods and services. It will pave the way for rapid dismantling of impediments to cross-border trade leading to free movement of business, persons and investments across the continent, thus leading to the establishment of the Customs Union. It will bring together all 55 AU member states, covering a market of more than 1.2 billion people. It is set to be the world’s largest free trade area since the formation of the World Trade Organization In terms of numbers of participating countries.

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ACCESS BANK COMMENCES ACCELERATOR PROGRAM, TO EMPOWER STARTUPS THROUGHS AFRICA FINTECH FOUNDRY (AFF)

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ACCESS BANK COMMENCES ACCELERATOR PROGRAM, TO EMPOWER STARTUPS THROUGHS AFRICA FINTECH FOUNDRY (AFF)

The Africa FinTech Foundry (AFF), an initiative of Access Bank Plc has commenced its accelerator programs.

 

The initiative is set to empower emerging startups, with mentorship programs, advisory and has committed N10 million in cash to the top three finalists.

 

The accelerator program which opened its entries last month, received 306 registrations and after rigorous assessments was later shortlisted to 30 participants.

 

Theses finalists were further screened by the Head of the Africa Fintech Foundry, Mr. Daniel Awe; Group Head, Emerging Businesses, Access Bank, Mrs. Ayodele Olojede; and Vice President, Investments MBO Capital and Fintech Consultant, Mr. Oshone Ikazobor, in a bid to narrow it down to 10 -15 finalist.

 

Speaking on the sidelines of the event, Awe said the AFF was committed to empowering startups with resources and to ensure start-ups are equipped to scale their businesses.

 

He said: “If a start-up has an idea and you throw it into a market of 42 million customers, the acceleration is going to be faster. So, it is using the entire ecosystem of our group to build the future of the country.”

 

“In the next 10 years, these guys coming here we see them becoming a unicorn worth over $100 million and a season is coming where would see these startups becoming the next drivers of our economy.”

 

On funding available for the start-ups, he added: “Funding is based on ideas and what would be required to move the idea forward. We have a commitment of about N10 million. After they come into the accelerator program, there are a top three but the other ones are going to be exposed to investors.

 

“This initiative would have a direct impact into the economy because it is targeted at the medium scale businesses and these are the businesses that can change economies in terms of reducing employment rate and socioeconomic levels.”

 

Also speaking at the event, the Head, Retail Product Insight and Capabilities, Access Bank Plc, Mr. Rob Giles said: “We are looking for companies with ideas that can solve real world problems and were we are different from venture capital firms is we offer an environment where startups can be supported, nurtured, advised and get access to people who are further ahead on their journey like mentors.

 

“We have seen three companies that can go all the way and our job is to make sure they stay the course and structure their foundations from the very beginning that would allow them to scale.”

 

Furthermore, speaking to one of the participating startups, the Founder, Farm Delight Ms. Love Uduma, a start-up focused on agriculture value chain from production to distribution and consumption said this platform is an impactful stream for startups to get support from.

 

On her expectation, she said: “I am expecting tech support and a good relationship with the tech community. We have the agricultural aspect covered but we need the technology assistance and also funding.”

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Nigerian Breweries Declares N337 Billion Revenue For 2020

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Nigerian Breweries Declares N337 Billion Revenue For 2020
Nigerian Breweries Declares N337 Billion Revenue For 2020

Nigerian Breweries Plc has declared a revenue of N337.01 billion for the financial year ended Dec. 31, 2020.

 

The revenue represented an increase of 4.3 per cent compared with N323 billion recorded in the corresponding period of 2019.

 

The company disclosed this in its audited financial statement to newsmen signed by its Legal Director/Secretary, Mr Uaboi Agbebaku, on Monday, in Lagos.

 

He said that the company posted a profit after tax of N7.52 billion during the review period against N16.1 billion achieved in the comparative period of 2019.

 

Agbebaku said that the board of directors would be recommending to the shareholders at the forthcoming Annual General Meeting (AGM) a total dividend of N7.52 billion.

 

“Recall that the company had earlier in 2020, paid an interim dividend of N1.99 billion which translated to 25k per share.

 

“The final proposed dividend of N5.52 billion at 69k per share will be payable to shareholders upon approval on April 23,” he said.

Agbebaku said that only qualifying shareholders whose names appear on the company’s Register of Members at the close of business on March 10 would be paid the final dividend.

 

“Directors would also be recommending to shareholders for their approval at the forthcoming AGM, a right of election for qualifying shareholders to receive new ordinary shares in the company as against the final dividend in cash,” he added.

 

According to Agbebaku, the board of directors expressed confidence in the company’s position to continue to deliver return on investment to shareholders.

 

He added that the company remained committed to not only keeping its balance sheet strong but ensuring that the health, safety and welfare of its employees, customers and partners were protected.

 

Agbebaku noted that the company made various donations in cash and kind valued at about N531 million out of a phased commitment of N600 million to the federal and seven state governments COVID-19 Task Forces Relief Funds.

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Stakeholders Endorse Ecobank Stewardship Pack and School Bundle

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Stakeholders Endorse Ecobank Stewardship Pack and School Bundle
Stakeholders Endorse Ecobank Stewardship Pack and School Bundle

 Stakeholders in faith-based organisations and education sector have endorsed the two new products recently introduced into the financial market by Ecobank Nigeria, saying they can provide solutions to their needs. The products Ecobank Stewardship Pack and the Ecobank School Bundle are targeted at religious and educational institutions at all levels respectively.  The Ecobank School bundle is designed to help educational institutions manage their banking needs more effectively so they can concentrate on providing world-class education. It comprised a bouquet of digital offerings that includes Omniplus/Omnilite, Collegepay, Ecobankpay, Web collections Paydirect, Point of Sale Terminals (POS), NIBBS platforms, EBILLS PAY, Asset Finance and Ecobank School Loan. The Ecobank Stewardship Account on the other hand is designed to help religious organizations run their daily operations smoothly and earn interest at the same time. Also referred to as The Good Steward Pack, its features include: zero monthly maintenance charge and interest rate payable on average monthly balance amongst others.

 

Speaking at the virtual launch, Prof. Humphrey Adebayo, Vice Chancellor, Covenant University, Ota, commended Ecobank Nigeria for taking the initiative to create the innovative products, stressing that they would add value to the operations of the various target groups. He lauded Ecobank for rising to the challenges of covid 19 pandemic by providing services to the banking public through its various digital offerings, stating that the new products would further free time for them to focus on core roles.

 

According to him, “The pandemic has disrupted human activities, and changed the perspective of the world thereby increasing the need for more digital and innovative solutions to the problems it created, which will further facilitate the ease of doing of business. Education and religious institutions were highly affected by the lock down, creating a gap in the system. Digital solutions become extremely important for online learning and services with digital financial solutions being helpful with collection. This has helped in freeing these institutions to focus on their core activities. The digital platform provided by Ecobank is efficient and guarantees a high level of security and allow for real time banking services and with minimal downtime. The new Ecobank products will undoubtedly add value to these institutions.”

 

Alhaji Mohammed Balarabe, a seasoned Banker and chief launcher at the event said the target group would find them useful as they embark on their conventional activities. According to him, “The new normal presents a lot of challenges in almost all aspects of our life in particular, the faith-based organizations and educational institutions because of their conventional way of carrying out activities. In a bid to address these challenges, Ecobank introduced these targeted products that will help tackle them. I believe more will come our way from the Ecobank platform.”

 

At the launch which doubled as Ecobank Public Sector Stakeholder Engagement Webinar titled “Digital enablement of education and faith: Winning tools for new normal lifestyle”, the  products also received endorsement from Mrs. Olabimpe Aderiye, Hon. Commissioner of Education, Ekiti State, Chief ‘Yomi Otubela, National President, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) and host of others.

 

Carol Oyedeji, Executive Director, Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria while welcoming guests at the virtual launch was optimistic that the products can effectively assist educational institutions and faith-based organizations through tailor made digital offerings against the backdrop of the new normal lifestyle occasioned by the covid 19 pandemic. She added that “At Ecobank, we are using digital technology to assist businesses for payments and collections, financially include many millions into formal financial systems, and therefore improve lives across Africa. We are indeed making banking easier, more accessible and more affordable across the continent than ever before.”

 

Moji Oguntoyinbo, Segment Head, Public Sector and Agribusiness, Ecobank Nigeria, said “Ecobank products are designed to bridge the gap and meet funding and other financial needs quickly and efficiently. Education and religion are interwoven right from the onset. Religion institutions have been huge investors in Education. These products are designed to provide secured savings and collection channels especially in the post covid 19 era where digitization is highly helpful to limit the spread of the virus.”.

Stakeholders in faith-based organisations and education sector have endorsed the two new products recently introduced into the financial market by Ecobank Nigeria, saying they can provide solutions to their needs. The products Ecobank Stewardship Pack and the Ecobank School Bundle are targeted at religious and educational institutions at all levels respectively.  The Ecobank School bundle is designed to help educational institutions manage their banking needs more effectively so they can concentrate on providing world-class education. It comprised a bouquet of digital offerings that includes Omniplus/Omnilite, Collegepay, Ecobankpay, Web collections Paydirect, Point of Sale Terminals (POS), NIBBS platforms, EBILLS PAY, Asset Finance and Ecobank School Loan. The Ecobank Stewardship Account on the other hand is designed to help religious organizations run their daily operations smoothly and earn interest at the same time. Also referred to as The Good Steward Pack, its features include: zero monthly maintenance charge and interest rate payable on average monthly balance amongst others.

 

Speaking at the virtual launch, Prof. Humphrey Adebayo, Vice Chancellor, Covenant University, Ota, commended Ecobank Nigeria for taking the initiative to create the innovative products, stressing that they would add value to the operations of the various target groups. He lauded Ecobank for rising to the challenges of covid 19 pandemic by providing services to the banking public through its various digital offerings, stating that the new products would further free time for them to focus on core roles.

 

According to him, “The pandemic has disrupted human activities, and changed the perspective of the world thereby increasing the need for more digital and innovative solutions to the problems it created, which will further facilitate the ease of doing of business. Education and religious institutions were highly affected by the lock down, creating a gap in the system. Digital solutions become extremely important for online learning and services with digital financial solutions being helpful with collection. This has helped in freeing these institutions to focus on their core activities. The digital platform provided by Ecobank is efficient and guarantees a high level of security and allow for real time banking services and with minimal downtime. The new Ecobank products will undoubtedly add value to these institutions.”

 

Alhaji Mohammed Balarabe, a seasoned Banker and chief launcher at the event said the target group would find them useful as they embark on their conventional activities. According to him, “The new normal presents a lot of challenges in almost all aspects of our life in particular, the faith-based organizations and educational institutions because of their conventional way of carrying out activities. In a bid to address these challenges, Ecobank introduced these targeted products that will help tackle them. I believe more will come our way from the Ecobank platform.”

 

At the launch which doubled as Ecobank Public Sector Stakeholder Engagement Webinar titled “Digital enablement of education and faith: Winning tools for new normal lifestyle”, the  products also received endorsement from Mrs. Olabimpe Aderiye, Hon. Commissioner of Education, Ekiti State, Chief ‘Yomi Otubela, National President, National Association of Proprietors of Private Schools (NAPPS) and host of others.

 

Carol Oyedeji, Executive Director, Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria while welcoming guests at the virtual launch was optimistic that the products can effectively assist educational institutions and faith-based organizations through tailor made digital offerings against the backdrop of the new normal lifestyle occasioned by the covid 19 pandemic. She added that “At Ecobank, we are using digital technology to assist businesses for payments and collections, financially include many millions into formal financial systems, and therefore improve lives across Africa. We are indeed making banking easier, more accessible and more affordable across the continent than ever before.”

 

Moji Oguntoyinbo, Segment Head, Public Sector and Agribusiness, Ecobank Nigeria, said “Ecobank products are designed to bridge the gap and meet funding and other financial needs quickly and efficiently. Education and religion are interwoven right from the onset. Religion institutions have been huge investors in Education. These products are designed to provide secured savings and collection channels especially in the post covid 19 era where digitization is highly helpful to limit the spread of the virus.”.

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