The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of United Bank for Africa (UBA), Kennedy Uzoka, and singer Ayo Balogun, popularly known as Wizkid, have addressed the importance of their partnership to Nigerian small and medium businesses.
While speaking on the reason behind the choice of Wizkid as the bank’s Ambassador, Uzoka said the decision was prompted by UBA’s commitment to small and medium enterprises.
Speaking during the fireside chat at the 2019 Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Forum, the UBA CEO said the bank is unrelenting in its effort at ensuring SMEs thrive within the business environment in Nigeria.
“We are unveiling Wizkid as our brand ambassador to show our unrelenting support for SMEs and to further create a platform for them to thrive. This is a strong collaboration that will help us as an institution to propel our dream of making Africa a truly self-sufficient economy.”
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It should be noted that Wizkid’s partnership with UBA is meant to be a representation of the music industry which has been sidelined for many years from banks’ investment and government support that Nollywood has been enjoying.
The music industry is saturated with small and medium record labels that are single-handedly operated by Nigerian artistes themselves. The international success recorded by the likes of Wizkid, Davido and Tiwa Savage has renewed foreign interest in the music industry as it was during the early era of the industry.
The only record label that has enjoyed private placement remains Mavin Records, a label established by music producer, Michael “Don Jazzy” Collins. Mavin in January this year, announced a “multimillion-dollar” equity investment partnership with Kupanda Holdings for its expansion drive.
With the industry expected to hit N18 billion next year, having clocked $33 million in 2015, it’s no surprise that UBA is positioning itself as a key partner as the bank continues to diversify its interest to include fashion and other SME-driven markets on its focus list.
“UBA is a bank that is interested in the growth of SMEs as well as youth empowerment and we have done many things in the past in this regard. We have partnered the Tony Elumelu Foundation to support the youths across Africa who we know are the future of our continent’s economic renaissance,” Uzoka added.
On his own part, Wizkid stated that the music industry and entertainment as a whole was in need of capital support from financial institutions to propel its growth. The ‘Ojuelegba’ crooner hinted that the partnership with UBA will not be limited to the music industry.
“It is my passion and my biggest dream to help the youth and to build schools around Africa, and this partnership, I believe, is a step towards that direction; UBA and Wizkid, now let’s change the world.”
Wizkid is the founder of Starboy Entertainment, a record label with several artistes under its umbrella.