Global leaders at the second edition of United Bank for Africa (UBA) African Day Conversations, have emphasised the need for meaningful collaborations between governments and the private sector as a panacea for the quick recovery of the economy of the African continent post-Covid-19.
The leaders which included the President of Liberia, H.E George Weah; United States Senator Chris Coons; the President & Chairman of the Board of Directors of the African Export–Import Bank (AFREXIMBANK), Professor Benedict Okey Oramah; President, International Committee of the Red Cross (ICRC), Peter Maurer; President spoke on Monday at the virtual Leadership Panel which was moderated by the Chairman, UBA Plc, Tony Elumelu.
Other leading voices who made up the panel were the Founder, Africa CEO Forum, Amir Ben Yahmed; the Secretary-General of the African Caribbean and Pacific Group of States (ACP), H.E George Chikoti; Administrator, United Nations Development Program (UNDP), Achim Steiner and Donald Kaberuka.
While moderating, Elumelu, who is also the Founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, spoke on the need to mobilise everyone and explained the necessity to discover a more fundamental solution to Africa’s challenges through collaborative efforts.
“This is the time for us to deal with the situation we have and also forge a better situation for everyone, acting again collectively,” he said. “This is not the time for finger pointing but for collaborative effort by governments and organizations to fight the pandemic globally.”
Continuing, Elumelu pointed out that all hands must be on deck if the African continent is to have a quick recovery from the pandemic, adding “There is need to flatten the curve, we need global co-operation to stem global depression. Africa requires a large stimulus package, and we need long-term solutions to prevent a cycle of debt.”
In his submission, the Liberian President, George Weah, established how collaborations worked in his government in an attempt to stem the sufferings brought about the coronavirus pandemic.
“In Liberia we have taken measures to ease the financial burden on vulnerable business in the informal sector by providing small loan assistance to SMEs and traders. In addition, we are working with commercial banks to manage the repayment of loans as well as to create stimulus packages for citizens.”
On his part, US, Senator Chris Coons, said, “It is important to take a moment to look at how African leaders have reacted to the pandemic. In order for us to recover from this pandemic, we must develop a vaccine that is free and affordable and freely distributed so that full economic activities can return. There are ways we can invest in debt relief, invest in infrastructure, and human development. This is no time to be looking backwards. We recognise the power of collective collaboration on the continent.”
While pointing out that the pandemic poses an opportunity for Africa to be independent and promote its growth and development as a people without external help; Prof. Benedict Okey Oramah, on his part, said COVID 19 has taught Africa that there comes a time when every group of people will fend for themselves.
He called for the swift implementation of the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) agreement, adding, “The priority of government should be to make sure that the AfCFTA gets implemented without delay. If there was any doubt about the importance of that agreement, this pandemic has told us that this is the way to go.”
Continuing, Oramah said, “The pandemic has shown so many weaknesses we have across our continent. We know that hunger is looming if we do not do anything. If we allow hunger to take over from the COVID 19 pandemic, we will begin to see political problems filling in. For Africa the problems go beyond health challenges to other areas such as food supply. Hunger is looming and if action is not taken, Africa will see political problem. Africa has become the epicenter of the economic devastation that this pandemic has unleashed upon us.”
While disclosing that Afrexim has made available $200million to supply fertilizers and grains amongst others across Africa, the Afrexim boss added that “If Africa allows hunger takeover the people, it will see an increase in insecurity, which will take a long time to overcome.”
George Chikoti of ACP, said that the huge task of economic recovery on the continent, rests on both the government and the private sector. “The responsibility of COVID-19 does not rest on the government alone, the private sector needs to play a big role in lifting the burden of the pandemic. African governments need to accept the support of the Private Sector in alleviating the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic in Africa,” he said.
“We have been able to release $25m to all member states. One of the major challenges is to make sure that in all countries, we have agricultural activity and high productivity. What we should learn from the impact of this pandemic is that the international community can look at how well they can fund all these initiatives that come from our countries,” Chikoti added.
Achim Steiner of the UNDP noted that Digital connectivity is very essential as it is a crucial opportunity to connect all schools across the continent, adding that emphasis on Healthcare is also very important. “Digital connectivity is very crucial to connect schools to the internet. We need to address inequality; also, the virus has put a spotlight on Africa’s healthcare system. Africa needs to look at intermediate strategies like micro-insurance to ramp up this sector. Healthcare has the ability to make a large percentage of the occupation fall into extreme poverty.
“What we need to look at is to find a way for government as a regulator and also as an investor, to leverage private sector investment into these areas” Steiner said.
Peter Maurer, President, ICRC, said there is the need to look at pandemics as part of a broader health system which needs stabilisation; A lot of vulnerable populations in Africa have been heavily infected by the pandemic. “We must do more than life-saving. This pandemic has illustrated the weakness of health, water, sanitation, and social systems, and we have to heavily invest into the stabilization of these systems.
Throwing more light on this, Maurer said, “Two things need to follow after live saving during the pandemic. First, the pandemic has illustrated the weak situation of health, water and food systems and we need to heavily invest both by the public and private sectors to stabilize the health sector. Secondly, investment has always gone into the more developed parts of Africa and not the fragile parts. We need Private Public Partnerships and investments by multi-corporate institutions to develop these areas” he noted.
Amir Yahmed said the crisis is going to be a super accelerator of already existing trends. “We have to get away from the commodity driven model which has failed in creating prosperity. Secondly, self-reliance should be one of the major objectives. The pandemic is wake up call for Africa – Creating new streams of revenue and self-reliance by the African continent.
“We need to use this crisis to take Africa to the next level. This crisis is going to be a super accelerator of already existing trends. I think it has to be a wake-up call for us to attain goals we haven’t reached. Create new revenues for the economy. We also need to attain self-reliance. Self reliance is an important goal. Africa manufactures [only] 2% of what it produces. We need to use this crisis to take Africa to the next level. Invest in digital infrastructure, digital education, agriculture is another opportunity we need to grab. We need to get the AFCTA working,” Yamed said.
Donald Kaberuka on his part opined that “What we need (for this crisis) is something unusual, it is not business as usual. It is not marginal action, it is radical action.”
With just N60million: 3 fundamental reasons why you should buy into the LeonardoBySujimoto
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Aside from the fact that lands are limited in Banana Island, leading to an increase in the value of the space, Banana Island has been described by Forbes Africa as the 2nd safest place in Nigeria, second only to Aso Rock. This luxury location is perfect for those who value security and those who are thinking of ROI as the value of properties in Banana Island keep rising.
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Cititrust Holdings Plc Wins Global Finance Award
Cititrust Holdings Plc is designated winner of the ‘Decade of Excellence Investment Holding Company Africa 2020’ category.
Cititrust Holdings Plc, a leading African financial services group, has won the 2020 Global Banking and Finance magazine’s award for a decade of offering excellent financial and investment services across Africa.
This was announced by Global Banking and Finance magazine in the 18th edition of its annual awards for deserving financial institutions in seven regions and more than 80 countries.
In the letter of award, Cititrust Holdings Plc is designated winner of the ‘Decade of Excellence Investment Holding Company Africa 2020’ category.
While expressing his joy at the development, the Group Chief Executive Officer of Cititrust Holdings Plc, Mr. Yemi Adefisan, said the award is an acknowledgment of the group’s consistent focus on “strategic and value-driven investments” in financial sector of the economies of the 11 countries, where it currently operates across Africa.
Adefisan said in a statement by the company that the award was particularly gratifying, coming on the heels of winning the prestigious ‘Investment Holding Company of the Year Award’ at the 2019 edition of BusinessDay’s Banks and Other Financial Institutions Awards.
He further noted that Cititrust Holdings was proud to share the same platform with Stanbic IBTC Bank, which also won the ‘Best Custodian Bank’ category of the Global Banking and Finance magazine’s award.
According to Adefisan, over the years, all the subsidiaries of Cititrust Holdings, which include: LivingTrust Mortgage Bank Plc (formerly Omoluabi Mortgage Bank), Core Capital Ltd, First Options MFB Ltd, FGH Healthcare Ltd, CDP Insurance Brokers Ltd and Bermuda BDC Ltd and others across Africa, have established a reputation for long-term value creation across the financial sector of the economy.
He said the company has also continued to make significant investment in cutting edge technology in order to maintain and improve its excellent customer service delivery.
Adefisan reaffirmed Cititrust Holdings’ commitment to protecting and promoting the interests of its stakeholders across the African continent and making significant contribution to the development of the Nigerian and regional economy.
Cititrust Holdings Plc was founded in 2006 and holds significant investments that cut across commercial and mortgage banking, asset management, stockbroking, and investment banking, currency trading, pension fund administration and insurance services.
Coronation Merchant Bank partners Union Systems to commence full automation of its Trade Finance Operations
Coronation Merchant Bank has continued to make giant strides in Trade financing.
Leading financial institution in Nigeria, Coronation Merchant Bank, has partnered with Union Systems Limited to fully automate its Trade Finance Operations. The trade finance software, Trade-XTM comes with a front-end portal, OptimusTM that empowers corporate clients to initiate and manage their trade transactions from both web and mobile platforms from anywhere in the world.
Earlier this year, the Bank announced its partnership with IFC (a member of the World Bank Group) to provide a $40 million Trade Finance Guarantee facility. In addition to this, the Bank has continued to make other strides in Trade financing such as its recent appointment as a designated bank for the collection and remittance of all Revenue Payments (i.e. Import, Excise and other duties) by the Nigeria Customs Service.
Commenting on the partnership with Union Systems, Banjo Adegbohungbe, Managing Director/CEO of Coronation Merchant Bank stated that, “We are delighted to partner with Union Systems in providing an automated platform to help our trade clients achieve their business objectives. Leveraging this platform, we hope to further improve our clients’ end-to-end experience in their trade-related transactions”. He further stated that, “the launch of the automated trade platform is in line with the Bank’s strategy of becoming a foremost financial institution in trade financing in Nigeria and across Africa”.
Also commenting on the partnership, Chuks Onyebuchi, CEO Union Systems said, “We are very pleased to be the preferred partner to automate the bank’s trade operations using our products, Trade-XTM and OptimusTM. We will be bringing to bear our over 20 years’ experience of successful implementation of trade finance solutions across Africa. Our software will provide a seamless experience to the bank’s clients on all their trade finance activities from the comfort of their home and office.”
About Coronation Merchant Bank
Coronation Merchant Bank was established in 2015 to provide wholesale banking to a long under-served market. The Bank offers Investment and Corporate Banking, Private Banking/Wealth Management and, Global Markets/Treasury Services to its clientele.
This year, the Bank has received numerous awards from international organizations for product innovation, sound corporate governance structures and commendable financial performance. Some of the international awards received by the Bank include Best Investment Bank in Nigeria by Global Finance Magazine, Best Investment Bank in Nigeria by World Finance, Best Investment Bank in Nigeria by Global Banking & Finance Review and Best Investment Bank by Global Business Outlook,
About Union Systems Limited
Union Systems Limited (USL) is an Information Technology Company that provides financial software solutions and professional services to major banks in Africa. The company provides software solutions to financial institutions to enhance their software capabilities, effectively scale processes, improve compliance and drive operational efficiencies.
With headquarters in Lagos, Nigeria, the company has a deep understanding of the African market and has a team of highly qualified consultants that have real-world experience in the delivery of complex software solutions. Top banks in Africa rely on Union Systems to deliver growth, profitability and regulatory compliance in financial software applications.