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Partnerships Beyond The Partners… Another Lesson From Interswitch

One of the most outstanding, privately-driven initiatives in the fight against COVID-19 is Interswitch Group’s concerted intervention efforts to support the fight against the pandemic.

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Partnerships have become an important business strategy for businesses to adopt in order to survive. As the trends in the marketplace change, increasingly, businesses have been driven to consolidate, collaborate, and build together. To this end, we have seen collaborations within industries, even between “competitors”, as they begin to see themselves more as collaborators than competitors –  each partner focused on growing the overall pie, rather than just a small piece of it.

Partnerships have also flourished across verticals, where complementary service providers come together to identify common needs and behaviours of their shared customers, to enable them adequately address these needs, leveraging on partnerships. These forms of collaborations have brought about disruptions, new opportunities, increased revenue for the businesses, and enhanced customer experiences.

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READ ALSO: Revenues of top African firms to drop by 10% amid COVID- PwC

The aforementioned partnerships have all been focused on increased financial returns for the businesses, leveraging their core capacities. However, in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic, we have seen an emerging trend in partnerships. Partnerships between businesses with little or no common grounds coming together to fight a common enemy – COVID-19.

In Nigeria, like in other parts of the world, businesses are partnering governments, health institutions, research institutes, and so on, to fight the pandemic. On Thursday, February 27, 2020, as the first case of the novel coronavirus was confirmed in Nigeria by the Federal Ministry of Health, a new wave of partnerships took hold in Nigeria. First, we had the CA-COVID platform initiated by the Central bank of Nigeria (CBN). Then came the Presidential Task Force constituted by the President. Afterwards, individuals and corporate organisations embarked on private initiatives to partner the government and relevant health institutions to fight the pandemic.

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One of the outstanding, privately-driven initiatives, is the Interswitch Group’s concerted intervention efforts to support the fight against COVID-19. The company, in an effort to lend its support, raised N305 million through combined donations from its employees, board and management.

Leveraging its partnership with some state governments across the country (about 23 of them), the company is utilizing the raised fund to support the local initiatives of its partner state governments. Part of the funds have been used to set up isolation centres, procure and donate rapid diagnostic testing kits, deploy  its COVID-19 pathway platform, pay the allowances of health workers, donate raw foodstuffs to indigent communities, provide security personnel and procure  other medical equipment and consumables.

In another strategic alliance, Interswitch, through its card payment subsidiary – Verve International – partnered with PAX technology, a leading international provider of Point-of-Sale (PoS) payment terminals, to donate facial masks and infra-red thermometers to Nigerians as part of the efforts to contain the COVID-19 pandemic. In furtherance of the partnership, Interswitch has also underscored commitment by the partners to promote the adoption of contactless point-of-sale payment solutions across Nigeria and the larger West Africa market. The partners unanimously agree that the widespread adoption of contactless payment solutions has a greater propensity to better mitigate the spread of COVID-19.

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READ ALSO: IGR: States make N1.33 trillion in 2019, grows by 14.1%

Other efforts through which Verve International is leveraging its strategic alliances include: its collaboration with the Lagos State Feeding Program (Eti-Osa Local Government Area) and the Young President Organisation (YPO) to set up four Verve Food Banks. The Verve Food Banks is Verve’s response to alleviating the hardship being experienced by the indigenes and security personnel within its immediate community – Eti-Osa Local Government Area of Lagos.

Interestingly, while some of these partnerships were forged purposely to fight the pandemic, others were already existing business alliances that are only now being leveraged for a common goal. A goal that is obviously beyond their core business objectives, and partnerships that offer no direct financial gains.

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While these efforts by Interswitch Group, Verve International, the organized private sector and good spirited individuals, might seem to be more ethical than financial, we know that they strengthen the sustainability potentials of these businesses. These intervention efforts drive up trust and brand equity indices for these businesses. So, while these initiatives were not born with the objective of driving sales or return on investment, we know that, in the long run, it could positively impact the bottom line.

So, as we all begin to rise from the ashes strewn around by the COVID-19 pandemic, as businesses begin to re-evaluate their business models, perhaps we should also begin to rethink how we leverage anything at our disposal, be it our core competencies or our partnerships.

We should deliberately evaluate how we can leverage these beyond us because in the long run, it is still about us.


EDITOR’S NOTE: This is a sponsored content.

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Patricia

NM Partners represent articles published in paid partnerships with corporate organisations. They include press releases, targeted content, and other forms of corporate communications on behalf of our Paid Partners.

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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.

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Cititrust Holdings Plc

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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”.

READ ALSO: Coronation Merchant Bank appoints Banjo Adegbohungbe as Acting Managing Director

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.”

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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,

 

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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.

READ ALSO: Coronation Merchant Bank records 14% growth in earnings for 2019 FY

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.

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Multichoice Nigeria: How investing $2.1 billion in Nigeria’s media and entertainment value chain impacts national economy

Multichoice’s commitment to enriching lives, as their mantra says, has never been in doubt.

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Through MultiChoice Nigeria’s socio-economic investment, for 27 years, the company has made significant contributions to the growth of the Nigerian economy. At the heart of this investment is entrepreneurship and employment opportunities through multiple channel distribution platforms and a commitment to the continuous growth of the sports, technology, film and video sectors through infrastructural development.

In 2015, when a set of big goals called the Millennium Development Goals that were set two decades ago reached their ‘expiry date’, with some of the key objectives still unmet, a new 15-year timeline was set for yet another group of goals, this time called the Sustainable Development Goals. From eight goals to seventeen new goals, five years in, the world can say that a major shift seems to be happening.

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One clear indication of this is in the way business operations for many organizations around the world have evolved. With many companies becoming more conscious of how their affairs affect the environment, how consumers interact with their products, and how much value they really add to society, corporate social responsibility or value, has moved from being an item on the checklist to become a business core.

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Now, while many businesses seem to be playing catch-up, there are others even in Africa, who unknowingly, but with great startup vision, had laid the foundation and built a template for what a socially responsible company should look like.

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Established in 1993, Multichoice Nigeria had a 7-year lead time, before the MDGs became a guide and used those years to build a solid business that combines profit and purpose. Today, that business represents what shared prosperity is, having created the right mix of opportunities for its people to grow, while helping to build an industry that ranks as the second-largest in the world and the most loved in Africa.

As people say, if content is king, distribution is definitely queen, and this thinking remains why Nollywood owes a lot of the accolades it gets today to Multichoice Nigeria. Between 2015 and 2019, Accenture in its new report for Multichoice, estimates that about $428million has gone into the local content production business of Multichoice, mostly in developing local creativity and building the production infrastructure to support it. To put this investment in more perspective, it directly translates to 117,459 hours of local content. That’s huge, on both an African and global scale, even huger given that it’s only from 5 years of enriching lives; definitely more if the organization’s 27 years is brought into view.

READ MORE: MultiChoice plans reduction in DSTV subscription fees across some African countries

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These sorts of investments rarely occur without a ripple effect on human capital development, but leaving things to chance isn’t the Multichoice way. The Multichoice Talent Factory further drives the local content goal for Multichoice, as they welcome a cohort of 20 students who after one year graduate, are better equipped to keep the African film industry innovative and constantly growing. It is an intentional play at giving equal opportunities to anyone with film and broadcast dreams to pick the skills they require to make a mark in the industry.

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On one hand, as Multichoice continues to build more credibility for the entertainment and media industry in Africa, through its investment in local content, future talents, even award shows, it is also ensuring the market for the content they produce grows on the other hand. This process has required a strong supply chain and Multichoice Nigeria has proven equal to the task investing over $1 billion in their distributor, supplier, even installer network in just the last 5 years. With further investment in their 961 employees, in the areas of training and other benefits, it is safe to say they have gone beyond building a business, to building an ecosystem.

READ ALSO: Andela to expand presence to all African countries

Whether this ecosystem model works is a question their recently released socio-economic value report put together by Accenture and covering the last five years of operations answers perfectly. The contribution of an estimated US$2.1bn to the Nigerian economy between that 5-year period, shows that they understand the role they play in achieving a prosperous Africa based on inclusive growth and sustainable development.

In Multichoice’s 27 years of operating in Nigeria, their commitment to actually enriching lives as their mantra says, has never been in doubt. Beyond the strides their video content business has made in employing people directly, creating jobs for even more people in adjacent industries, training talents and building infrastructure; the company has always still found a way to give back to the different communities where they operate.

With a portfolio of grassroots sporting programs, various awards that recognize great work from inspiring Africans, essential care for people with sickle cell disorder and investments in education and educational content, Multichoice Nigeria shows it is more than just business.

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