Pan-African financial institution, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, carted two highly coveted laurels at the BusinessDay’s Bank and other Financial Institutions Awards (BAFI) winning the Bank of the Year and the International Bank of the Year at the glamorous event held over the weekend.
The bank beat other strong contenders – Zenith Bank, Guaranty Trust Bank, Access Bank and First Bank – to clinch the two top categories in a well-attended ceremony comprising of Bank CEO’s, Captains of Industries and Senior financial executives.
UBA won the ‘Bank of the Year’ in recognition of UBA’s consistent effort in outperforming its peers using a composite of financial metrics, strategic foresight, execution discipline, world-class governance and global vision.
The Bank also won the award for ‘International Bank of the Year’, a keenly contested category, that pitches Nigerian financial institutions that have expanded on the continent against their international peers operating across Africa.
UBA’s Deputy Managing Director, Mr. Liadi Ayoku, who received the awards on behalf of the bank, expressed his delight on the recognition from BusinessDay.
He said, “These awards mark another milestone for UBA Group and is a testament of the diligent execution of the bank’s strategic initiatives on customer service. Being recognized as Nigeria’s best bank complements positive feedback from customers and is a recognition of our improving efficiencies, service quality and innovation. I therefore dedicate it to our growing loyal corporate and retail customers, who are our essence. Given our heritage commitment to Africa’s development, we continue to impact lives through our service as well as funding to individuals, businesses and government.”
Ayoku pointed out that the bank remains focused on its goal of democratizing banking in Africa, leveraging on new technologies and emphasised its determination to change the narrative of financial services in Africa.
Publisher of BusinessDay Newspapers, organisers of the event, Frank Aigbogun, noted that UBA has excelled in the key areas of prioritising customers, which according earned the bank the double honours.
While explaining the rationale behind UBA winning the two prestigious categories in its December issue, Aigbogun noted that the bank stood out in prioritising customers as has been evident in the significant rise in Customer Deposits which leaped by 35.7 % to N5.2trillion up from N3.8 trillion at the end of the last financial year.
He noted that even though Africa’s economic landscape has been unpredictable in recent times which resulted in recession in Nigeria and some of Africa’s best performing economies, the bank still found its rhythm and excelled.
He said, “In these conditions only the most diversified and innovative of regional banks can prosper. And this is precisely why UBA has scooped the BAFI 2020, Best Bank of the year and International Bank of the year, a testament to hard work, resilience. For one, the lender registered impressive top- and bottom-line growth over the review period.”
United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than twenty-one million customers, across over 1,000 business offices and customer touch points, in 20 African countries. With presence in the United States of America, the United Kingdom and France, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail; commercial and corporate banking; innovative cross-border payments and remittances; trade finance and ancillary banking services.
Meristem presents Outlook for 2021 titled ‘Bracing for a different future’
Meristem for the past 16 years has been consistent in value creation and innovation within the capital market space.
Meristem Securities Limited, a leading capital market conglomerate has recently launched its economic outlook report for the year 2021. The outlook report titled ‘Bracing for a Different Future’ highlighted in depth a wide range of issues relevant to an evolving future. With a global economy that has been scarred by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, the domestic economy was not left out, as the Nigeria economy slipped back into a recession, amplifying the structural weakness of the domestic economy in the form of weakening exchange rates, rising inflation, among others.
In Meristem’s H2:2020 Outlook: “Unmasking Value in a Scourge”, Meristem had warned that the threat of a second wave of new infections was very much a possibility. As a result, the recovery of economic activities would remain fragile until a vaccine is developed. Hence, much would depend on strict compliance with social distancing and healthcare measures as economies gradually re-opened. The Deputy Managing Director of Meristem, Sulaiman Adedokun, stated that while the rising number of daily infections pose a threat to economic activities, we expect a rebound of the domestic economy”.
Launching the outlook “Bracing the future” during a webinar attended by institutional investors, corporate clients, retail investors amongst other industry professionals, Sulaiman also commented on the equities market highlighting that “The equities market recovered from deep selloffs to finish as the best performing equities market last year, citing unattractive yields in the fixed income market, excess liquidity and a resilient corporate performance in the middle of a pandemic as major factors which drove the market.” “We expect these factors to persist thereby sustaining the positive momentum of the market through the better part of the year; in the first half of the year, we expect the financial market to be dominated by attractive dividend yields and the low yield in the fixed income market,” Sulaiman added.
The face of work has changed and many corporate organizations and their employees are rapidly adopting cutting-edge technology to meet the future of work in a COVID-19 era. While fielding questions from journalists about how the organization has deployed its business continuity plan, Sulaiman expressed that “The pandemic has influenced changes amongst people globally and we have enabled this change in our organization by utilizing the power of technology, we have also adopted a work from home culture that enables team collaboration through technology, we intend to maintain this even beyond the pandemic.”
Meristem offers a wide a range of services that cater to all classes of investors regardless of the stage in their financial journey, services like stockbroking, wealth management and financial advisory help clients to access various opportunities within the capital market. Via Meritrade, an online stockbroking platform, investors can trade stocks from anywhere around the world as well as better manage their shares and enjoy access to the most exclusive market research.
Meristem for the past 16 years has been consistent in value creation and innovation within the capital market space. In 2018, the Nigerian Stock Exchange awarded Meristem as the Best Digital Broker of the Year. In the same year, Meristem also became the first Nigerian asset management firm to attain compliance with the Global Investment Performance Standards (GIPS) by the CFA Institute. Still, in 2018, Meristem received two nominations from Business Day, for the best Money market Fund and Equity Fund.
The firm has remained a leading player in Nigeria’s competitive investment market with a solid reputation as a highly professional and client-centric firm, helping to take their clients farther.
Tizeti rolls out high-speed 4G LTE in Edo with N4000/month broadband service
Tizeti is rolling out its 4G LTE network in Edo State, with monthly fixed broadband costs pegged at four thousand Naira ($8).
As part of its commitment to ensuring access to affordable broadband connectivity in Africa’s underserved populations, Tizeti, West Africa’s pioneer solar-based internet service provider is rolling out its 4G LTE network in Edo State, with monthly fixed broadband costs pegged at four thousand Naira ($8). With this move, millions of people in Edo State previously outside the broadband envelope can now take advantage of high-speed broadband internet from Tizeti.
Announcing the rollout of its new low-cost unlimited 4G services in Edo, the Chief Executive Officer of Tizeti, Kendall Ananyi, said that this 4G broadband internet will empower more Nigerians in Edo State, stimulate economic activities and provide unlimited access to affordable and reliable broadband services as well as complement the Edo State Government’s efforts in driving investment promotion and building a robust technology ecosystem in the state.
“Rolling out 4G LTE broadband internet in Edo at the cheapest fixed broadband prices in Nigeria, and possibly Africa, is a strategic decision for us. We have been building brand-new, solar-powered, 4G-capable towers in Edo, starting with Benin City, which leverages Edo State’s expansive fiber-network built by some of our partners, MainOne and Facebook. Edo State has a large population of vibrant, young people and a high number of higher institutions, which provides a foundation for a robust and thriving ecosystem to enable digital leadership. And the Edo State Governor, Mr. Godwin Obaseki, is implementing reforms in investment promotion and determination to build a robust technology ecosystem in the state, with an agenda that prioritizes Information Communication Technology (ICT)-compliant pedagogy in primary schools, improves digital skills for students and graduates and revamps technical education to increase productivity. This has created a perfect environment for us to roll out our low-cost broadband service, starting in Edo State, but with plans to expand across the country over the next few months,” Ananyi said.
Corroborating Ananyi, Tizeti’s Chief Operating Officer, Ifeanyi Okonkwo, states, “The launch in Edo State is personal to us as founders of Tizeti because we are alumni of the University of Benin. At 4,000 Naira monthly costs with a one-off installation cost of 4,000 Naira, we believe the plan is affordable, especially to undergraduate students. This provides a huge opportunity for people in Edo to benefit from unlimited broadband internet for use in online learning, eCommerce and entertainment, especially interactive games, video consumption, and music”.
Interested users in Edo State can pre-sign up at https://wifi.com.ng/edostate/; installations are expected to commence in Benin City on April 1st, 2021.
For many countries in Africa, there is still a huge digital divide. This boundary between connected and unconnected translates into clear consequences for employment, education, family and social life, and access to information. According to the World Wide Web Foundation, ensuring fast internet in Africa will enable billions more to come online, and to take advantage of the life-changing socio-economic opportunities that access to the Internet provides. Companies like Tizeti are playing a significant role in addressing the digital infrastructure deficits in Africa with innovative technology and capabilities, to improve development outcomes for millions of people.
Tizeti currently has 1.7 million unique users, with broadband services which include a new Skype-like personal and business enterprise communications service — WiFiCall.ng, and access to video streaming sites and services.
Tizeti is a fast-growing Wireless Internet service provider in Lagos, Nigeria, delivering high-speed unlimited Wi-Fi Internet access to residential and business customers using wide-area Wi-Fi. Its services are available in Lagos, Ogun, and Rivers State. It is also expanding rapidly to other African countries as it has been successfully launched in Accra and Tema, Ghana.
Kinyungu Ventures Research calls for changes to cut-and-paste VC strategy in Africa
The Paper recommends investment structures and approaches tailored to African operating conditions.
East African venture advisory firm, Kinyungu Ventures has published a white paper Chasing Outliers: Why Context Matters for Early Stage Investing in Africa that has found that there continues to be a wide misalignment between traditional venture capital models and the African market. The team behind the report is now calling for a broadening of approaches to institutional investment on the continent. Speaking with 100 Pan-African founders, investors, and LPs across 15 African countries, the research suggests investors should prioritize investing structures and practices that reflect the realities of operating in Africa. This includes adopting more flexible investing structures with longer time horizons.
According to the paper, there are multiple mismatches between key characteristics of Silicon Valley VC and African markets, which influence how startups and funds maneuver as well as what results they expect and produce. Findings show that African markets are large, but also fragmented, and its consumers have limited purchasing power. Furthermore, consumers on the continent are difficult to acquire and retain, yet the sheer size of the African market also presents a real opportunity for profit once the environment is clearly understood. The paper’s key recommendations for funds include:
- Adopting more focused investment strategies, such as investing in b2b companies or cross-subsidizing a portfolio with less risky, steady return assets.
- Considering non-unicorn investing models geared at more resilient companies, with returns distributed more widely across the portfolio
- Using flexible structures such as debt or PCVs to accommodate market-level changes, where feasible
- Allowing a longer time horizon for returns, understanding that growth could be slow and difficult to achieve for many companies
Kinyungu Ventures catalyzes resilient businesses for local intergenerational prosperity. The East African-centric investor focuses on entrepreneurship in East Africa, startups, seed funding, debt financing, impact investing and angel investing.
Speaking on the launch of the white paper, Tony Chen, Managing Director of Kinyungu Ventures and co-publisher of the report says, “Capital in Africa is scarce and pursuing a “growth at all costs” strategy where capital pools are shallow presents huge risks for companies. We’ve also found that many great businesses don’t fit the typical VC profile, but have tremendous unfulfilled potential”.
Tayo Akinyemi, lead researcher and writer of the report added: “In our conversations with numerous investors and founders, it is clear that nuances in variables such as consumer behavior, cultural norms, and business practices impact startups significantly and being on the ground is crucial for success. While African markets aren’t always able to provide the outsized returns that Silicon Valley typically looks for in high-growth companies, a more focused strategy here could unlock real gems, as has been proven by some of the startup successes the continent has seen over the years.”