The growing rate of internet users in Africa has mandate its proper implementation towards the betterment of African people, while countries like Egypt, South Africa, Morocco, Kenya, etc. are taking advantage of internet opportunities, Nigeria with over 70 million (internetwordstats.com) internet users is yet to fully utilize its population and growing market to its advantage.
There are two main reasons why Nigeria is a key factor in actualizing African entrepreneurial dream: one, Nigeria is the second fastest growing key emerging market in the world (Euromonitor.com) and on track for 7 percent growth rate in 2015 after a successful second quarter report.
Real GDP Growth in Top 5 Fastest Growing Key Emerging Economies in 2014
Two, in a research conducted by British Council, Nigeria tertiary age (18-22 years old) population will lead the world through 2024 and grow from 16.1 million in 2013 to 22.5 million by 2024 which is equivalent to an average growth rate of 3.1 percent, far ahead of projected annual growth rate for Indonesia (1.3 percent), a country forecasted to be the next fastest growing country. Equally, overall tertiary enrolment is projected to double from 2.3 million students in 2013 to 4.8 million by 2024.
However, Nigeria unemployment rate is expected to increase proportionally from 7.5 percent to 24.33 percent by 2020 (http://ieconomics.com). This implies that there would be more unemployed graduates by 2020 if nothing is done now.
According to a research quoted by Facebook CEO, Mark Zuckerberg, for every 10 people who gain access to internet 1 is raised out of poverty. Another research shows that on the average small and medium enterprises (SMEs) employ between 2 to 100 employees. This is an important figure necessary to fill the void in the labour market and subsequently reduce unemployment, increase export revenue and empower the youths.
Sadly Nigerian internet sphere is limited by negative public perception due to series of scams emanating from the region, which has hindered foreign investors from helping the youth with viable startup to access funds. Institutions like Paypal, Amazon, etc offer limited services to Nigerians as a measure to curb possible fraud. So is some financial institutions in U.S and other countries won’t allow Nigerians to trade (forex) or transact on their platforms.
From all indications the internet has created more opportunities now than there was in the past, but the inability of the youth to access pool of resources have forced many to conform to the seemingly blogging business like Linda Ikeji and the likes. Now, the issue is blogging is currently reduced to entertainment or propaganda as a means to generate traffic, statistically it is less likely that the nation can create more jobs and reduce unemployment like Google Inc., Amazon, Bloomberg, etc. that way.
As the most populous black nation that accounted for 23.6 percent of African internet users. Not only that entrepreneurs can create jobs by thinking creatively but also because participation of more talented individuals can help solve vital societal issues and subdue negative perception, and as more start-ups strive to attain global standard using the power of technology, global accessibility becomes better, hence, global attention on the region would increase positively.
In June, Facebook Inc., announced the appointment of Nunu Ntshingila to manage over 120 million Facebook users in Africa, over 6.6 million of this population are Nigerians. This move further affirmed Africa as the next global target for future businesses and failure to emerge with the next phase of African/global entrepreneurs by creating sustainable businesses, would leave vacuum for more foreign businesses to fill at the expense of the people’s interest.
Union Bank Announces the Appointment of Aisha Abubakar as Independent Non-Executive Director
Union Bank of Nigeria Plc (“Union Bank”) has announced a change to the membership of its Board of Directors with the appointment of Ms. Aisha Abubakar as an Independent Non-Executive Director effective 9th September 2021, following the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN).
Ms. Abubakar joins the Board of Union Bank following her tenure as Nigeria’s Honourable Minister for Women Affairs and Social Development from 2018 to 2019. Prior to this, she also served as the Honourable Minister of State for Industry, Trade and Investment between 2015 and 2018. At the start of her career, Ms. Abubakar worked at Continental Merchant Bank Ltd., African Development Bank and African International Bank.
She is an accomplished public sector administrator with over three decades of professional experience in Public Service and Pension Administration, Investment Banking, SME Finance/Rural Enterprise Development and Micro-Credit Administration.
Ms. Abubakar is a Fellow of the International Professional Managers Association (IPMA-UK), and the President of the International Experts Consultants (IEC-UK).
Commenting on the addition to the Board, Mrs. Beatrice Hamza Bassey, Union Bank’s Board Chair said: “On behalf of the Board of Directors, I welcome Ms. Aisha Abubakar to the Board. She brings many years of robust experience which will be invaluable in supporting our efforts to steer the Bank forward and deliver on our strategic objectives.”
Also commenting, Chief Executive Officer, Mr. Emeka Okonkwo said: “I am pleased to welcome our new Independent Non-Executive Director, Ms. Aisha Abubakar to the Board. We look forward to drawing from her wealth of experience and fresh perspectives as we continue to execute our vision to be Nigeria’s most reliable and trusted partner.”
AfDB Approves $50M Trade Finance Deal with Standard Chartered Bank
The African Development Bank Group has approved a $50m Trade Finance Unfunded Risk Participation Agreement (RPA) for StandardChartered Bank.
This was contained in a statement titled ‘African Development Bank approves a $50m Multinational Trade Finance Risk Participation Agreement facility for Standard Chartered Bank’ published on the bank’s website on Wednesday.
The statement said, “The board of directors of the African Development Bank Group has approved a $50m Trade Finance Unfunded Risk Participation Agreement facility between the African Development Bank and Standard Chartered Bank.”
The essence of this agreement is to promote intra-Africa trade, ensure regional integration and lessen the trade finance gap in Africa.
“The agreement is expected to boost intra-Africa trade, promote regional integration, and contribute to the reduction of the trade finance gap in Africa, in line with implementation aspirations of the African Continental Free Trade Area,”
The bank’s Director for Financial Sector Development, Stefan Nalletamby, stated that “We are excited about finalising this facility with Standard Chartered Bank as it offers us the flexibility to use our strong AAA-rated risk-bearing capacity to increase access to trade finance and boost intra/extra-African trade on the continent, in support of the AfCFTA.
“This partnership is expected to catalyze more than $600m in value of trade finance transactions across multi-sectors such as agriculture, manufacturing and energy over the next three years.”
Director-General of the bank’s Southern Africa region, Leila Mokadem, was quoted to have said, “The advent of COVID-19, coupled with stringent regulatory/capital requirements and Know Your Customer compliance enforcement, has seen many global banks reduce their correspondent banking relationships in Africa, while some are exiting the market altogether.
“There is, therefore, an urgent need for financing to reenergise Africa’s trade, which requires more participation of institutions like the African Development Bank.”
The parties in the agreement are expected to share the default risk on a portfolio of eligible trade transactions originated by African Issuing Banks and indemnified by Standard Chartered Bank.
Beneficiaries of this facility are issuing banks in Africa with the ability to grow their trade finance business has been constrained by inadequate trade confirmation lines from international banks.
Other beneficiaries are small and medium enterprises (SMEs) and domestic firms which rely on these issuing banks to fulfill their trade finance commitments.
The RPA facility is aligned with the AfDB’s High 5 priority goals which are: light up and power Africa, feed Africa, industrialize Africa, integrate Africa, and improve the quality of life for the people of Africa.
Standard Chartered Launches Flexible ‘Smart Business Loan’ Product To Support SMEs
Standard Chartered on Wednesday launched its Smart Business Loan (SBL) product to support Small and Medium Scale Enterprise (SMEs) in Nigeria.
David Idoru, Head of Consumer, Private and Business Banking, of the bank in Nigeria, said in a statement in Lagos that SBL was an unsecured installment/term loan available to SME clients within key target sectors.
“Qualified SMEs would be able to access up to N20million loan, without providing tangible security/collateral to purchase asset, finance business expansion and other capital expenditure needs.
“This loan was designed to help SMEs meet their short to medium-term needs.
“As a Bank, our purpose is to drive commerce and prosperity in the locations we operate in. This is done through offering cash, lending, trade and wealth management solutions that specifically drive economic growth,” he said.
Idoru said that the bank was constantly looking for ways to ensure SMEs get access to the needed support to enable their businesses to thrive, adding that prior to the product launch, clients were required to provide full collateral cover to access loans from the bank, but SBL had been designed to provide the necessary flexibility to the clients.
“It is accessible to new and existing clients of the Bank with no waiting period, including small and medium scale organisations, who can access up to N20million in loans without collateral for a maximum tenure of two years,” he said.
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