I travel to meet Dr Adesola Adeduntan in Edinburgh, where he had been invited to give a keynote address at the Edinburgh School of Business about the role of financial institutions in driving financial inclusion. Fittingly, as you land in Edinburgh, you are greeted by billboards from different investment funds advertising their credentials in responsible and sustainable investment and how environmental, social and governance (ESG) considerations underpin their activities.
With economists and politicians questioning capitalism and the Western liberal model, today the emphasis is very much on a stakeholder-based approach, whereby growth and prosperity is more equally attributed and takes into consideration the needs of the wider community. Sustainable investment has become de rigueur among corporate jargon.
Dr Adesola Kazeem Adeduntan, CEO of First Bank of Nigeria, is a veteran in the Nigerian banking and corporate world. His overriding message, clearly expressed throughout his interview responses, and also at the various talks he gave during the day (at the Business School and at a law firm), is on the importance of doing good if you’re to do well – financially – in Nigeria and indeed, Africa.
A telling sign
FirstBank is actually the oldest bank in Africa. It was established in Lagos in 1894 as the Bank of British West Africa. Last year, it celebrated its 125th anniversary. It is also the biggest bank in Nigeria in terms of assets and branch network.
For Adeduntan, a veterinary doctor by training, it becomes clear, once we have settled down for our discussion, that the institution’s longevity is a telling sign: it not only proves the bank’s resilience, it also shows that it has the right structures in terms of governance and the right business model, with the country’s development at its core. The theme of the anniversary celebrations was about how the bank has been woven into the fabric of Nigerian society.
The clear message to the industry is that while it is possible to make a quick buck, you can only enjoy the sort of longevity it has if you conduct your business with the interests of the country at heart.
Nonetheless, it’s apparent Adeduntan does not want to dwell too long on past glories. Using the analogy of a car, he says that there is a reason why the windshield is large whilst the rear-view mirror is small.
The challenge of fintech
As in most sectors, traditional ways of doing business have been coming under increasing disruption from ever-evolving technology. The banking industry is no exception and seems to be under siege from an expanding fintech onslaught.
I ask him if he is worried that non-financial companies will be entering the banking sector, especially given the recent change in regulation by the Central Bank that allows non-traditional finance institutions, namely mobile operators, to enter the fray.
He says he is not worried as his bank has one of the best-defined strategies when it comes to financial inclusion and that it has the largest digital banking network in Nigeria.
Much of this has been developed through the bank’s FirstMonie Agents system: 46,000 agents represent the bank across the country. Currently, 9m customers transact on their USSD platform (by mobile phone, both smart and analogue) in addition to 3m customers transacting on the FirstMobile platform.
The agent network, the biggest of its kind in the country, enables the bank to provide services to the most remote rural communities; and because it doesn’t need to have an extensive branch network, it means that these services can be supplied at a fraction of the cost of a ‘legacy’ banking model.
Adeduntan prefers to use the phrase ‘financial deepening’ when talking about the unbanked. Financial inclusion has increased from the low 20s to approximately 40% in Nigeria over the past seven years and is expected to double to the mid-80s within the next five years.
He says ‘financial deepening’ occurs when financial inclusion starts playing an important role in economic development. It’s about layering additional products on the current agency banking network – services such as micro-credit, micro-insurance and micro-pension.
The aim is to provide value-added services whilst at the same time increasing the savings rate; this aspect, which is critical in driving investment rates, has been one factor behind Asia’s rapid growth.
It is in this area, he says that the bank has a vital role to play and a distinct advantage over new entrants. Technology, he emphasises, will play a crucial part in broadening financial inclusion. In addition, it is important to partner and collaborate with different stakeholders such as NGOs and other organisations dealing with the bottom of the pyramid, to help them reach out to different groups and also improve financial literacy.
Last year saw a boom in venture capital investment into Nigeria. For example, $400m was invested in a number of fintech start-ups during November alone. Is he not worried that these fintech players, with their lower cost base and ability to use technology, AI and big data to overcome traditional hurdles, are going to take the majority share of the pie when it comes to servicing the unbanked?
He said that would only be the case if the banks do not manage to reinvent themselves. In Edinburgh, he actually spent a large part of his day visiting tech hubs around the university in the city and speaking to fintech companies. FirstBank, he adds, has a number of partnerships with fintechs as well as its own Digital Laboratory developing new solutions for the bank.
Nevertheless, he firmly believes that the ‘legacy banks’ will still continue to play a very central role, especially “in this part of the world where banks are quite dominant and they have significant buying power”.
In terms of settlements and deposits, he sees many of these new players as partners they can work with, even if in some areas they will be competitors.
Scope for growth
Despite the impressive strides made by the banking sector in Nigeria, Adeduntan believes there is still a massive scope for growth for the sector. He points out that none of the country’s top banks have made the Top 10 Banks in Africa list, despite Nigeria being the continent’s largest economy.
He thinks that with the signing of the African Continental Free Trade Agreement, “we are entering a very interesting period for the banking sector, not only in Nigeria but Africa in general.”
On the domestic front, does he expect further consolidation? “Within certain thresholds,” he answers. “Anything that would allow the strengthening of the entire banking sector, I am sure the Governor of the Central Bank would be positive about.”
He also points to demographics and the high rate of the unbanked as great opportunities for the growth of the sector continentally. “According to UNICEF, two billion babies will be born in Africa in the next 30 years,” he said. “And in places like DRC [where FirstBank has a presence] financial penetration is as low as 5%.” Put the two sets of figures together and, in theory at least, you get vast opportunity. But he adds the all-important caveat that demographics are only good if managed properly.
Supporting national champions
It hasn’t all been plain sailing for the bank, however. Adeduntan inherited a bank with several large exposures in the oil & gas and energy sectors, at a time when the oil & gas prices fell considerably, resulting in the devaluation of the naira against the dollar.
He says his management weathered the storm, reduced NPL levels to under double digits, and has strengthened the risk infrastructure, thus enabling the bank to better deal with cyclical downturns in future.
Discussing the role of large companies in the commercial landscape, Adeduntan says it is essential to have big banks like FirstBank, just as it is vital to have national champion companies that have the scale and wherewithal to make transformative investment. Such companies require financial institutions of similar scale to support them. The Dangote Group’s investment into what will become the continent’s largest oil refinery is a case in point, he adds.
Role of the Central Bank
We move on to the regulator and the role of the Central Bank. Does he think that it is too interventionist, dictating how much banks should lend, where they should place their assets?
Adeduntan refused to be drawn into criticism of the regulator, with whom he said he, and other bank CEOs, had a strong relationship. But he did say that the role of a central bank in the development of an emerging economy is clearly different from the role of a central bank in a developed economy.
“It is not unusual that the Central Bank intervenes in critical sectors allied to the loan to deposit ratio. It’s about economic growth; it’s about development; it’s about channelling credit in sectors that are very important for the national economy.
“Let us take agriculture – again, we are one of the biggest lenders into that sector. We found the Central Bank intervention in some of those critical sectors extremely useful and not just for us as a bank, but for the country as a whole. When you look at intervention in agriculture, you have to put it in the context of the size of the population. Nigeria is a country of 200m people today. The business of feeding 200m people is a strategic business. Everything that is being done to ensure that at least we are self-sufficient in food production is strategically important. We find the Central Bank intervention in those areas quite useful and of national importance.”
He reflected the positive attitude of many Nigerian entrepreneurs to the country’s future. He says he has a lot of time for the Economic Advisory Council – composed of credible business leaders and economists – that has been put together by President Muhammadu Buhari. And despite reports that the government is not economy-minded, he thinks that it is a pro-business government.
It was nearly 10.00 in the evening when we finished our talk, his day having started at 07.30am. We went back to sustainability and the role of financial services to make sure they are lending to institutions that are ethical about their business and operating in a sustainable manner.
He said that the journey had started even if it is still early days. “But ultimately,” he said, “this is where we are headed. The Nigerian Sustainable Banking Principle speaks to this particular question. I think it’s evident from the points that I’ve made today, you can say that FirstBank is a bank that is happy to forego a few basis points in terms of its net margins if that means it is contributing to development in a more ethical and sustainable way.
“We’ve always made a point that profitability is very important for us at FirstBank, but economic growth and national development is equally very important and speaks to the sustainability question.”
Culled from African Banker
Glo subscribers to enjoy 10% bonus airtime
The special bonus airtime offer gives an additional 10% bonus credit on all E-Top up recharges of N100 and above.
Good times are here for subscribers of national telecommunications network, Globacom, as the company formally unveils a special 10% bonus airtime on all recharges made via E-Top up.
The tantalizing offer is expected to enrich the network experience of Glo subscribers during the festive season.
Globacom in a statement in Lagos stated that the special bonus airtime offer gives an additional 10% bonus credit on all E-Top up recharges of N100 and above, in addition to the actual amount topped up by the customer.
According to the company, all new and existing prepaid customers on Glo network can enjoy 10% bonus airtime upon recharging electronically, via Glo E-Top up. The bonus airtime can be enjoyed all through the upcoming year-end festive season.
It stated that the Glo E-Top up service gives customers the opportunity to top up their Glo lines or those of friends and family without scratching any card, adding that it is convenient and requires no PIN.
“It is non-denominated (flexible) and any value from N1.00 to N500,000 can be purchased in a single transaction. Customers can E-Top up their Glo lines by dialling *777#, Glo Café, through bank USSD codes, Bank ATMs, Mobile Banking Applications, Online/web payment platforms, PoS terminals or by visiting the nearest Gloworld, Glozone outlets, Glo E-Top up retailer”, the operator explained.
Globacom added that, “There is no special code to recharge for you to get the Glo E-Top up bonus, just recharge via any E-Top up channels and you get the bonus. The bonus airtime is valid for 7 days and can be used to make voice calls or send SMS to any network in Nigeria”.
Subscribers can check the bonus airtime balance by dialling #122#. They will also get an SMS notification informing them of the bonus reward.
For those who do not have a bank account, Globacom advised them to visit the nearest Gloworld, GloZone outlet or any Glo E-Top Up retailer to recharge their lines electronically and enjoy 10% bonus airtime.
It will be recalled that Globacom recently introduced N1 E-Top up, thus setting the pace in the nation’s telecommunications industry.
Viral Click Network to revolutionize digital marketing for Blockchain projects
The Viral Click Network is a smart AI-powered marketing tool that combines the reach of publishers with the influence of social media users to market Blockchain projects.
The Blockchain industry has come a long way in redefining how people make money, spend money and store money; starting with Bitcoin, the pioneer cryptocurrency along with big chains such as Ethereum, XRP, TRON and Binance smart chain, the industry has witnessed more than double growth in the past two years.
Understanding how projects built on the blockchain are solving most of human problems is key in mass adoption and the major drivers of the industry going mainstream depends largely on how developers communicate their goals and objectives to the general public.
The traditional method of reaching target audience in the brick and stone market can hardly suffice in getting the message across for blockchain projects because for someone who has not heard or used cryptocurrency has probably embraced the misconceptions associated with the industry; because of this, a strategic approach is needed to break these wall of misinformation in order to bring in more adoption.
At Viral Click Network, the team have studied and researched how to market blockchain projects targeting those already in the industry as well as bringing in new users; depending of a campaign goals and objectives, we are revolutionizing how to use digital marketing for Blockchain project.
What is Viral Click Network?
The Viral Click Network is a smart AI powered marketing tool which combines the reach of publishers with the influence of social media users to market Blockchain projects.
The VCN platform is the first digital marketing platform for Blockchain projects which leverages on the use of AI to authenticate ad impressions and social media shares by participants.
The platform combines the power of human input and artificial intelligence to create an ecosystem of social media marketing that produces specific trends for projects within a specific period of time as requested by advertisers.
We’re taking over the burden of getting Blockchain projects to the right audience that will use and support projects while developers focus on creating and developing the next generation of blockchain products.
The rationale for creating the Viral Click Network protocol is to create an open-source, transparent and fraud-proof replacement to the existing stack. In a way, Viral Click Network’s mission is to create a new standard in digital advertising for Blockchain projects.
Key Platform Features
The Virial click network is a beautifully designed interface for our publishers, advertisers and partners to seamlessly interact with advertising campaigns.
Secure publisher dashboard – Enables publishers to easily display ads on their websites as well as have access to press releases for publications.
Advertiser Dashboard – Ad creation studio Enables advertisers to create campaigns, set budget, and duration; also features interface to drop press releases so our publishers can publish.
Social media posting dashboard – Allows our social media posters access to available campaigns, enables them to earn VCN tokens.
Ecosystem key features
The Viral Click network is here to revolutionise Blockchain marketing campaigns, below are key features to expect in our unique offering:
Simplified marketing tool for Blockchain projects – we know how difficult and time consuming it takes to market blockchain products and we have made it a few clicks away from success.
Gateway for publication of press releases – Blockchain developers don’t need to contact every publisher for press releases, we make all the contact according to your budget.
Transparent campaign reporting – user-friendly campaign reporting to track campaign impressions, click through rate, opt-ins, etc
Residual income for publishers and social media users – publishers and social media posters make steady income for participating in advertising campaigns.
WHY CHOSE US FOR ADVERTISING CAMPAIGNS?
There are so many reason Blockchain developers will want to use our advertising campaign services for their projects which we have summarized below:
- The VCN platform is your one stop shop for getting your blockchain projects to the right audience.
- Our media partners allow discounts on campaigns from our system which will prove cost-effective for advertisers
- Transparency in reporting campaign statistics builds trust with publishers and advertisers.
- It is now much easier to publish your press releases on our partner websites with just a few clicks on our system.
Follow us on social media for the latest update on our project:
Telegram channel: @viralclicknetwork
CFDs on stocks: Make money even in crisis
Broker NordFX offers its clients a large number of instruments on a specialized Stocks account to trade the securities of the world’s largest brands.
Do you want to improve your financial situation? Has the crisis hit your savings? Have you been looking for an opportunity to earn money and have not found a decent option?
Then you should try trading the world’s leading stocks using CFDs. Broker NordFX offers its clients a large number of instruments on a specialized Stocks account. Here, with a minimal investment, you can trade the securities of the world’s largest brands such as Apple, MasterCard, Microsoft, McDonalds, Google, Netflix, VISA, Alibaba and many others.
By the way, stock indices of the world’s leading suppliers are also available on other accounts of the broker NordFX. You can also buy or sell them to profit from any price changes.
Become a Trader Today
You probably think that it is very difficult to become a trader and buy stocks. In fact, this is not the case. All you need to do is open an account with NordFX broker, which will take just a few minutes, and then fund this account.
Speaking of start-up capital. Do not think that you need a lot of money to trade stocks. $100 is enough to start. Once you have opened an account and funded it, you need to download the trading terminal. Now you are just one step away from buying stock. Now you need to select the desired stock and purchase it. That’s it. You just have to wait until its price rises (or falls, but more on that below) and close the deal, making a profit.
As you can see, everything is really very simple and straightforward. You do not have to study at leading universities for a long time in order to start trading on the financial markets and acquire shares of the world’s leading companies. All you need to do is create a trading account with the NordFX broker, install the platform and buy or sell shares.
In fact, in order to become a trader and start trading, you don’t need any special knowledge and skills. But, in order to start making stable money on such transactions and not lose your money, you need certain knowledge. You will see Some secrets of how to do this in the section “How to Predict Price Changes?”.
Make Money Even in Crises
It doesn’t matter what the market situation is, whether the share price is rising or falling. You can always buy and sell shares quickly using CFD contracts (English. Contract for Difference, CFD). When buying securities in this way, you get the opportunity to earn on the difference of quotes. If the share price rises, you buy it, and if it falls, you sell it.
The point is that when dealing with CFDs, securities are not transferred to you. Accordingly, you do not have to wait for registration in various authorities, including the depository. You can dispose of the purchased financial instrument immediately. If, the price of a stock suddenly decreases right after you bought it, you just need to close the trade in order to minimize risks.
Moreover, if there is a crisis in the markets and stocks fall in price, you can sell even those securities that you have not bought before! This is one of the most important benefits of CFDs. You simply open a trade on the platform and watch as the downward trend develops, and your profit grows. The opportunity is truly unique. You will not find it in any other market.
It’s Really Easy to Buy Shares of the World’s Leading Companies
Now let us look at how to buy securities. To do this, you need to select shares of one or several companies and purchase them. To be more precise, open positions to buy them. For example, you are interested in the securities of the Facebook company. Let’s say their current value is $ 300 each and you expect it to rise after the reporting is published.
In this case, you buy CFDs on Facebook and wait. Suppose after the publication of the statements, the price did indeed rise to $320. You can lock in a profit and make $20. It looks simple, doesn’t it?
Now let’s look at a sales example. Let’s say Facebook shares are worth $300 and you decide to sell them because you expect the price to decline further. That is, you open a sell trade. Let us say a few days later, Facebook’s stock actually drops to $280. In this case, you will make $20.
But what would happen if you actually owned shares of Facebook at the moment when they were falling in price? In this case, you would have lost $20 per share. But with the help of CFDs, you can open sell trades and not only not lose, but also earn on any market movements.
How to Predict Price Changes?
And how do you know if stock prices will fall or rise? There is fundamental and technical analysis for this. Many well-known investors have worked for more than 100 years to create useful forecasting tools. And you have access to many analytical methods and algorithms with which you can predict future market fluctuations now.
For example, you can use technical analysis indicators that show market trends or indicate the possibility of a price reversal. In addition, you can use economic data or company reporting. The broker NordFX has an economic calendar on its website, where you can see the latest publications of economic statistics from the largest economies.
And most importantly, if you are a beginner and want to improve your trading performance, NordFX offers an extensive library of tutorials and videos that will help you gain a deeper insight into the financial markets and understand how they work. Moreover, here you can learn how to use analytical tools and create your own trading strategies.
Such training, depending on the intensity and your free time and abilities, will take no more than a few months and is absolutely free. Agree, it’s much easier and faster than cramming economic theory at the university.
No Funds for Major Investments? Leverage will Help!
Broker NordFX offers 1: 5 leverage for the Stocks account. What is that? This means that if you have invested $100 in trading, you can increase your trading capital by 5 times thanks to the loan that NordFX will provide you automatically and without any collateral. Naturally, this will allow you to buy more shares and, accordingly, significantly increase the likely profit on transactions.
If we go back to the Facebook stock example, where our profit from $100 was $ 20, in case of leverage, this amount would increase 5 times. So, by investing $100, you’ll earn $100 from the trade. That is, your profit will be 100%.
If you choose to trade such stock indices as Dow Jones, Standard & Poor’s 500, DAX 30, Nikkei 225, etc., your leverage can reach 1:10. That is, when you invest $100 of your own funds, you will be able to make transactions in the amount of $1000. And the potential profit, accordingly, can also grow 10 times.
Finally, if you choose other assets, such as currencies (which is possible, provided you are a NordFX customer), the leverage provided to you can reach 1:1000. That is, with only $100 in the account, you will be able to operate with 100 thousand dollars! Can you imagine what opportunities are opening up for you to increase capital? And, in addition to currencies, you can also make transactions with many cryptocurrencies, including bitcoin, as well as oil, gold and silver.
Start Trading Stocks Now
When is the best time to trade in stocks? If you ponder this question for too long, this time will never come at all. Maybe you should start trading right now, after going through a simple registration procedure and investing a comfortable and easy amount for you.
Having read this article, you have already seen that becoming a trader is really easy. And keep in mind that while you are reading these lines, tens of thousands of other traders around the world open and close numerous trades, increasing their profits and making real money! Which could be yours, at least in part.
The decision is yours, though.