GTBank Wins Nigeria’s Best Bank & Africa’s Best Bank for CSR at EMEA Finance Awards… MD Named CEO of the Year

Foremost African financial institution; Guaranty Trust Bank plc reaffirmed its position as a leading global brand with its recent recognition as the “Best Bank in Nigeria” and the “Best Bank for CSR in Africa.” The Bank’s Managing Director and Chief Executive Office, Segun Agbaje, also won the award for the CEO of the Year, which he won in 2013, thus becoming the first ever repeat winner in the history of the awards

EMEA Finance is a leading bimonthly global industry publication that reports on the major financial events and happenings initiated and influenced by the international financial industry active in Europe, Middle East, and Africa. The award celebrates Africa’s most innovative bank taking into consideration its market strength, profitability, growth and earnings, potential and quality of management of the financial institutions.

According to Christopher Moore, Publisher and Chief Executive of EMEA Finance Magazine: “In recent years, GTBank has attracted laudable accolades for its efforts in growing local communities through key interventions for SMEs in the Fashion and Food industry. This novel initiative of the Bank, has enabled it create free platforms for budding entrepreneurs across Africa to grow their businesses. In recognition of the bank’s effort in impacting local communities across Africa, GTBank is the proud winner of the 2017 Best Bank for CSR in Africa.”

He further stated that “GTBank’s emergence as “Best Bank in Nigeria” demonstrates its ability to continuously deliver notable success by leveraging cutting edge technology to deliver excellent services to a diverse African community and bolster efforts towards on-boarding the unbanked”

Receiving the award on behalf of the Bank, Segun Agbaje, Managing Director/CEO of GTBank said: “We are honored to be recognized as the Best Bank in Nigeria and Africa’s Best Bank for Corporate Social Responsibility. These awards reflects our progress in building strong, value adding relationships with our customers and demonstrates that of far greater importance to us, beyond providing first class service, is the role we play in our host communities.”

He further stated that, “I am humbled to be recognized as CEO of the Year for a second time; this award is a testament to the hard work and dedication of the amazing team of people at GTBank. We will continue to differentiate ourselves by aggressively pursuing innovative solutions that create sustainable value for all our customers and stakeholders whilst championing high impact CSR initiatives to support the economic growth and social progress of our communities.

GTBank has consistently played a leading role in Africa’s banking industry. The GTBank brand is regarded by industry watchers as one of the best run financial institutions across its subsidiary countries and serves as a role model within the financial service industry due to its bias for world class corporate governance standards, excellent service delivery and innovation. The Bank operates from over 238 branches within the country and has banking subsidiaries in Kenya, Rwanda, Uganda, Cote D’Ivoire, Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Sierra Leone and the United Kingdom.

Unilever Nigeria To Boost Nigerian Economy With Launch Of Blue Band Factory

Unilever Nigeria has officially opened its state-of-the-art Blue Band factory at Agbara Industrial Estate, Ogun State. Built with innovative manufacturing technology, the factory complements government’s efforts at boosting local investment and making significant contributions to the nation’s economic growth and development.

During the launch, The Executive Vice President, Unilever Ghana Nigeria, Yaw Nsarkoh, said that the Blue Band factory is the latest addition to the various long-term investments Unilever has made in Nigeria, which would not have been possible without the support of all its stakeholders.

“Prior to the siting of this factory we have also had cause to exploit economies of scale and ensure consistent access to reliable sources of raw material input. I am delighted that the result of our painstaking efforts and the support we enjoy from our stakeholders has led to the commissioning of an ultra-modern Blue Band factory today.” He said.

Speaking further, Yaw said that to sustainably serve our consumers, the new Blue Band factory is equipped with the Fast Blending technology. This technology uses 50% less energy compared to other manufacturing processes that utilize heat exchangers. This recapitulates our commitment to decouple the growth of our business from environmental impact.

Commending Unilever Nigeria at the launch, the Governor of Central Bank of Nigeria, Godwin Emefiele, described Unilever as a company that has shown and demonstrated confidence in the Nigerian economy through its continuous investment drive in the country. “The siting of this factory could not have come at a better time than this. With this development, you have shown resilience amidst the challenges that you face in running a business of this size. I commend you for this initiative and as a government, we will continue to make deliberate efforts to support and encourage companies to invest in Nigeria through our policies. This is the only way we can grow this economy and create employ opportunities for Nigerians.” He said.

Also, speaking at the launch, the Executive Governor of Ogun State, Senator Ibikunle Amosun, said, “We must commend the efforts of Unilever Nigeria for their unrelenting resolve and commitment to Nigeria’s economy through their investment activities. There is no doubt that this will impact on the socio-economic development of the nation as a whole.”

Blue Band, is a trusted and ideal brand among families for spreading on bread, cooking and baking. With the production of the product locally, its availability will be enhanced to meet the needs of consumers and customers.

Mobile Money Operators Record N555bn Transactions In Six Months

Mobile Money Operators (MMOs) in the country have recorded N555.83 billion inter-scheme transactions in the first six months of year 2017, report says.

According to the latest e-payment industry fact sheet, the total number of mobile money users also stood at 2.3 million during the period.

The report shows that the N555.83 billion was achieved in 24.17 million deals among the 21 licensed MMOs by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).

It noted that all the 21 MMOs have been integrated to the Nigerian Inter-Bank Settlement System Plc (NIBSS) platform for interoperability.

Folorunso Alakija Inspires 300 Women At 2017 Flourish Africa Conference

Folorunso Alakija is one of a handful of successful female entrepreneurs on the continent listed as one of Forbes most powerful women in the world. The 66-year-old business magnate has persistentlychampioned the causes of women in Nigeria from her work with widows and orphans through the Rose of Sharon Foundation which Alakija uses as a medium to empower thousands of impoverished women and their children through a number of initiatives designed to give them a better standard of living.

Her organization, Famfa Oil, one of the largest indigenous oil companies in Africa, has built schools, science labs, roads as well as providing scholarships along side its partners to thousands of young students all over Nigeria. Her philanthropic work continues this year with the launch of the women empowerment platform, Flourish Africa.

Flourish Africa is the first platform of its kind designed to create an impact in the lives of women in Africa by providing the tools they need to fulfill their God given potential. Through a series of conferences, workshops and mentorship programs, the platform hopes to bring women from all walks of life together to share in their unique experiences and become who God has destined for them to be.
The first Flourish Africa conference took place at the Renaissance Ikeja Hotel in Lagos at an exclusive invitation only event hosted by Forbes Africa Head of Digital Media and Partnerships and West Africa Correspondent, Peace Hyde, which saw applications from over 2000 women vying for the opportunity to be part of the 300 people who were selected to partake in the exchange of knowledge from powerful women like Folorunso Alakija, Ibukun Awosika, Senator Daisy Danjuma, Mrs. Fashola, Juliet Ehimuan Chiazor, Uche Pedro, Ayo Mogbepe and many more.

Dangote Commissions Mfila Plant In Congo

Dangote Cement Plc on Thursday, formally opened its 1.5mtpa capacity cement plant in Mfila, Congo Brazzaville, amid ecstasy by the government and the indigenes of the Country.

The new plant estimated at $300 million has potentials for about 1000 direct employment and thousands of several other indirect jobs.

President of the Republic of Congo, Mr. Denis Sassou Nguesso while inaugurating the plant said the investment was an industrial revolution, sort of, within the Economic Community of the Central African States (CEMAC), saying his country was happy to host the investment.

According to him, his government has observed the operations of Dangote cement in other African countries and it has helped buoy their economies by sparking off other allied industries expressing the hope that Congo situation would not be an exception.

The Congolese President described the coming on stream of the Dangote cement as timely and encouraging because it is starting operations at a time the total government revenues have plummeted by 31.3 percent and revenues from the oil sector have fallen 65.1 percent since 2015 due to a slide in global crude prices.

President Mohammadu Buhari who was represented at the event by a powerful delegation led by the Minister of Mines and Steel Development, Dr. Kayode Fayemi commended Alhaji Aliko Dangote and his Cement Company for championing economic renaissance of Africa with the construction of cement plants across several African countries saying the sterling accomplishment makes the Dangote Cement brand, and indeed Aliko Dangote himself, worthy ambassadors of Nigeria.

President Buhari said his government has consistently supported and encouraged the Dangote Group in its quest to contribute its quota to the economic emancipation of the African continent, which is blessed with a plethora of natural resources. “I believe that it is only home-grown practical solutions that can address the myriad issues plaguing Africa today and one of such challenges that Africa has been grappling with for decades is the infrastructure deficit. I am confident that massive investments in cement production, which is a key driver of infrastructural development, will contribute in no small measure, to addressing this perennial problem.”

President Buhari recalled with satisfaction that local cement manufacturers such as Dangote Cement, Lafarge and BUA, have exploited one of the solid minerals, limestone which is a basic input for cement production and which Nigeria has in abundance, in different parts of the country to achieve self-sufficiency in local cement production in 2015, and is now a net exporter of the product.

“The backward integration policy of the Federal Government in the cement sector, which was launched in 2002, has contributed to this success story by successfully substituting imports with local production, we have saved over $2billion spent on cement importation into Nigeria, annually.

“We have also started using cement for road construction in the country due to its numerous advantages over the more common bituminous road. Again, in this area, Dangote Cement is leading the charge, through AG-Dangote, its joint venture with Andrade-Gutierrez, a construction giant in Brazil”, Nigeria’s President stated.

Chairman of Dangote Cement Plc, Aliko Dangote in his address said his company was delighted to have completed the plant on schedule saying the addition of Dangote Cement’s 1.5 million metric tonnes per annum plant has more than doubled the total cement production capacity of Congo-Brazzaville, which now stands at 2.550 million metric tonnes per annum, far in excess of national demand.

“It is envisaged that this will contribute substantially to the availability and affordability of cement in the country and the Republic of the Congo will no longer need to depend on imports to bridge the gap between demand and supply.

“It is our hope that the inauguration of the plant will boost Congo’s economy, conserve foreign exchange that would otherwise have been spent on imports for the country, and create employment opportunities down the value chain.”, he stated.

Nigeria’s Economy Is On The Path Of Recovery, Says Buhari’s Aide

The Special Adviser to the President Muhammadu Buhari on Economic Matters, Dr. Adeyemi Dipeolu, has said that Nigeria’s economy is on the path of recovery.

Dipeolu said this following a GDP figures released by the National Bureau of Statistics (NBS), with oil, agriculture and industrial sectors leading the charge.

According to him, the report is a clear indication that the Nigerian economy has improved further.

“The Buhari administration welcomes the new growth figures, and will continue to work diligently on a daily basis to ensure inclusive growth, to which we have always been committed through the active pursuit of a raft of policy initiatives, past and present,”  a statement signed by Mr. OlaLaolu Akande, Senior Special Assistant to the President on Media & Publicity, reads.

Dipeolu, in the statement, noted that such initiatives include but not limited to the Social Investment Programmes, Anchor Borrowers Scheme, longstanding Budget Support Facilities to the States, plus other bailout packages, ensuring the comprehensive payment of workers’ salary & pension backlogs among others.

He also revealed that Federal Government will be ramping up the implementation pace of the Economic Recovery & Growth Plan.

“The latest NBS GDP figures show that the Nigerian economy grew by 1.4% year-on-year in real terms in the third quarter of 2017 (Q3 2017).  This is a steady continuation of the positive growth of 0.55% (now revised to 0.72%) experienced in Q2 2017 and reinforces the exit from the 2016 recession.

“The positive growth in Q3 is consistent with the improvements in other indicators.  Foreign exchange reserves have risen to nearly $34 billion while stock market and purchasing managers indices have also been positive.

“The naira exchange rate has stabilised while inflation has declined to 15.91% from 18.7 in January 2017.  While inflation is not declining as fast as desirable, it is approaching the estimated target of 15.74% for the year in the Economic Recovery and Growth Plan.

“Agricultural growth was 3.06% in the third quarter of 2017, maintaining the positive growth of the sector even when there was a slow-down in the rest of the economy.

“The industrial sector grew at 8.83% mostly due to mining and quarrying.  The oil sector grew very strongly as forecast in the ERGP and partly as a result of the policy actions in the plan to restore growth in the sector.

“The service sector is yet to recover but should soon begin to be positively affected by the improvements in the real economy and the effects of the dedicated and focused capital spending of over N1.2 trillion on infrastructure by the Federal Government.

“It is expected that the economy will continue to grow given these developments and the reform, and improvements in the business environment shown by the upward movement of 24 places in the recently released World Bank’s Ease of Doing Business Rankings which was better than the target of 20 places specified in the ERGP,” the statement reads in part.

Nigeria’s GDP Records 1.4% Growth In Q3 — NBS

In the third quarter of 2017, Nigeria recorded a growth in its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) by 1.4 per cent, data released today by the National Bureau Statistics (NBS) revealed.

In the report obtained by Sundiata Post, the stats office said this growth is the second consecutive positive growth since the emergence of the economy from recession in the second quarter of this year.

In the data released on Monday, NBS said, “This growth is 3.74 per cent points higher than the rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2016 (–2.34 per cent) and higher by 0.68 per cent points from the rate recorded in the preceding quarter, which was revised to 0.72 per cent from 0.55 per cent (Q2 was revised following revisions by NNPC to oil output and hence led to revisions to Oil GDP).

It noted that quarter on quarter, real GDP growth was 8.97 per cent year-to-date Real GDP growth stands at 0.43 per cent.

In the quarter under review, aggregate GDP stood at N29,451,303.99 million in nominal terms higher when compared to N26,537,651.01 million in Q3 2016, resulting in a Nominal GDP growth of 10.98 per cent.

“This growth is higher relative to growth recorded in Q3 2016 of 9.15 per cent,” the stats office stated in the report on Monday.

NBS further disclosed that in the period under review, oil production is estimated to have averaged 2.03 million barrels per day (mbpd), 0.15million barrels higher than the revised daily average production recorded in the second quarter of 2017 (revised from 1.84mbpd to 1.87mbpd).

Oil production during the quarter was higher by 0.42million barrels per day relative to the corresponding quarter in 2016, which recorded an output of 1.61mbpd.

It added that real growth of the oil sector was 25.89 per cent (year-on-year) in Q3 2017. This represents an increase of 48.92 per cent relative to rate recorded in the corresponding quarter of 2016.
Growth also increased by 22.36 per cent when compared to Q2 2017 which was revised from 1.64 per cent to 3.53 per cent.

Quarter-on-Quarter, the oil sector grew by 21.10 per cent in Q3 2017. As a share of the economy, the oil sector contributed 10.04 per cent of total real GDP in Q3 2017, up from figures recorded in the corresponding period of 2016 and up from the preceding quarter, where it contributed 8.09 per cent and 9.04 per cent to GDP respectively.

It was also stated that the non-oil sector grew by -0.76 per cent in real terms during the reference quarter. This is lower by -0.79 per cent point compared to the rate recorded same quarter, 2016 and -1.20 per cent point lower than in the second quarter of 2017.

This sector was driven this quarter mainly by Agriculture (Crop), Other services and Electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply.

In real terms, the Non-Oil sector contributed 89.96 per cent to the nation’s GDP, lower than the share recorded in the third quarter of 2016 (91.91 per cent) and in the second quarter of 2017 (90.96 per cent).

FG Unveils Plans To Create Special Economic Zones

The federal government says it has plans to create special economic zones in some states to drive the industrialisation target of the nation.

President Muhammadu Buhari said this at the opening of the 2017 Lagos International Trade fair with the theme “promoting industrialisation for economic recovery and sustainable growth”.

The President, who was represented by the Minister of Industry, Trade and Investment, Dr. Okechukwu Enelamah said the economic zones would be structured to provide all necessary infrastructures needed to make industries thrive and contribute meaningfully to the nation’s GDP.

“We’re working with Lagos state, we are working with other states in the country to make sure that these zones demonstrate what are needed, where you see infrastructure, lower the cost of doing business, make regulations easy. We must show examples, there’s power in examples and by so doing,  I think the whole thing will catch up for the rest of the country”, he said.

Jumia Facilitates Timely Delivery Of Alcoholic Beverages With Jumia Party

Nigeria’s number 1 online food ordering website, Jumia Food has announced the launch of Jumia Party, a new category on Jumia Food website/app which allows customers to order their favourite alcoholic beverages and get them delivered within barely 60 minutes. The service, which offers free delivery on orders above N10,000, is currently available only in Lekki, Ikoyi and Victoria Island.

Managing Director of Jumia Food Nigeria, Olamide Bada made the announcement in Lagos recently. She described the new category as a faster, cheaper and easier channel of buying alcoholic beverages and getting them delivered in an hour’s time. She also added that Jumia Food has formed a partnership with Pernod Ricard to retail all its product lines such as Absolut Vodka, Martell Blue Swift, Jameson, Chivas Regal, The Glenlivet, Seagram and many more. Pernod Ricard is a French producer of distilled beverages that also owns a wide variety of international beverage brands.

“We are absolutely excited about our partnership with Pernod Ricard. This provides us an opportunity to cater to our customers’ needs, especially those who wouldn’t have the time to buy directly from offline retail shops. Jumia Party is a faster and cheaper alternative for them to order and get their favourite drinks delivered in no time. This partnership has been successfully operational in other African countries, such as Kenya; there’s no doubt that the Nigerian market will be excited about this new category on Jumia Food,” said Bada.

To place an order on Jumia Party, you are simply required to login and confirm the legal drinking age of 18 years; select preferred products; add the purchases to the cart; and confirm delivery location on checkout. Users have the option of paying cash or via mobile money payment service. Jumia Party is also giving customers offers on selected brands and surprise gifts during the festive season.

“The last thing you want is to run out of drinks while you are at a party – whether planning or attending. Nigerians can now worry less about this because of Jumia party. The best part being that you can have drinks delivered to your doorstep within the hour! True convenience,” said Joy Uzuegbu, Head of Marketing for Jumia Food Nigeria.

As the Jumia Black Friday festival – slated for November 13 through December 13, 2017 – approaches, Bada said lovers of alcoholic beverages should get ready for amazing and exclusive deals and merchandise on select products purchased on the Jumia Food website.

Ecobank Hosts Customer Forum, Pledges More Support For Import, Export Trade

Ecobank Nigeria has organized customer forum for exporters and importers targeted at boosting trade and commerce in the country.

Country Head, Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Rotimi Morohunfola, said, the forum held in Lagos at the weekend, is one of the several avenues by which the Bank extends support to promoters and stakeholders in export and import business.

He explained that the engagement, basically an interactive session afforded the Bank the opportunity to obtain feedback from participants with a view to serving them better. According to him, “We take into cognizance the role of exporters and importers in the economy.

The economy is largely driven by trade. This is why we decided to hold this forum to engage our customers, feel their pulse, and also bring in the regulators like CBN to build capacity and further enlighten them on new trends and market practices.”

Morohunfola further re-assured participants of the Bank’s determination to support them at all times, urging them to continue to do business with the Bank.

Presentations were made by Transaction Services Group, Treasury and Trade Operation departments of the Bank.

On support for small businesses, Head, SME, Commercial Banking, Ecobank Nigeria, Sunkanmi Olowo, said the Bank had put in place several initiatives to promote small and medium enterprises (SMEs).

According to him, “Ecobank is commonly regarded as SME friendly bank. This is because of our support for the sub sector. For instance, we have an online mall called MyMall which presently have over 5000 SMEs trading on the platform globally; we are in partnership with EDC and Lagos Business School (LBS) where SME operators are trained and empowered to start their businesses; we offer window for them to access foreign exchange and also explore the CBN window to assist them.

We Are Ready For Business, Emefiele Tells Investors

The Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr. Godwin Emefiele, has urged foreign investors to come over to the country.

He made the call at the weekend, at a forum of capital and money market players, investment bankers, treasurers and other fund managers at the London Stock Exchange.

The forum was organised by the London Stock Exchange, in collaboration with the Nigerian Stock Exchange.Emefiele told the investors that the Return on Investment (ROI) in all sectors of the Nigerian economy is among the best in the world.

In his message, titled: “Nigeria is ready for business,” he lauded the country’s emergence from what was its worst recession in decades,The CBN governor explained the ongoing reforms and the huge opportunities available to investors in several sectors, especially agriculture, solid minerals and infrastructure.

Adesina To Set Up Fund For Young Farmers, Agripreneurs With $250,000 World Food Prize money

“I am proud as the Governor of Iowa State to proclaim Dr. Akinwumi Adesina as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate.”

With these words, the Governor of the State of Iowa, Kim Reynolds, officially named President of the African Development Bank (AfDB), Akinwumi Adesina, as the 2017 World Food Prize Laureate, on behalf of the World Food Prize Foundation, setting off an atmosphere of festive celebration at the Iowa State Capitol Building in Des Moines.

Accompanied by Olusegun Obasanjo, former President of Nigeria, and John Mahama, former President of Ghana, Adesina took elegant steps to the podium to receive the award – the world’s highest recognition for food and agriculture, with his wife Grace and his two children, Rotimi and Segun, and a large and distinguished crowd cheering him on. Representatives of the Nigerian Government, Purdue University, his alma mater, friends, associates and Bank staff were among the well-wishers who came in out in large numbers to celebrate the African agriculture icon, known as “Africa’s Norman Borlaug.”

In line with his avowed commitment to a new deal for youth empowerment, Adesina pledged devote the US $250,000 prize money to a fund in support of young African farmers and agriculture entrepreneurs, or “agripreneurs.”

“And so, even though I don’t have the cash in my hand, I hereby commit my $250,000 as a cash prize for the World Food Prize award to set up a fund fully dedicated to providing financing for the youth of Africa in agriculture to feed Africa,” Adesina said.

“We will arise and feed Africa. The day is coming very soon when all its children will be well-fed, when millions of small-holder farmers will be able to send their kids to school,” Adesina said.

“Then you will hear a new song across Africa: ‘Thank God our lives are better at last.’”

The President of the World Food Prize Foundation, Ambassador Kenneth Quinn, paid tribute to Adesina, “whose breakthrough achievements have impacted millions of farmers and those living in rural poverty in Nigeria and throughout Africa, and whose leadership holds great promise for uplifting millions and millions more across that continent.”

In a speech at the colourful ceremony, the Vice-President of the United States of America, Michael Pence, commended the Laureate in a speech read on his behalf by Mark Green, Administrator of the United States Agency for International Development (USAID).

“As our global food system is stretched, and the need to feed more people grows, agricultural transformation will require persistence from leaders like you in driving change and capitalizing on public- and private-sector expertise,” Pence said.

The Vice-President described Adesina’s devotion to the cause of fighting global hunger as admirable, and deeply needed, and on behalf of President Donald Trump, extended heartfelt congratulations.

“The United States is and remains committed to food security, and we will continue to work with leaders like you to find innovative ways to end global hunger,” he said.

The Purdue University Glee Club and multiple award-winning all-female Nigerian signing group Adunni and Nefertiti set the mood of the evening with musical performances, followed by the star act: Omawumi, a popular Nigerian vocalist, who had flown in from Lagos for the occasion. The infectious rhythms of Adunni and Nefertiti and popular songs of Omawumi soon moved Adesina and his wife to get up on the dance floor, where they were joined by Obasanjo.

The evening was capped by an elegant award ceremony dinner in the Capitol Rotunda.

Under President Adesina’s leadership, the AfDB is accelerating agricultural development through its Feed Africa Strategy with planned investment of US $24 billion over the next 10 years. The World Food Prize also recognizes Adesina’s work over the past two decades with the Rockefeller Foundation, at the Alliance for a Green Revolution in Africa (AGRA), and as Nigeria’s Minister of Agriculture of Agriculture and Rural Development.

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