While the age-old saying and philosophy of virtue being its own reward (or seeing doing good as its own reward) remains a strong motivating factor in doing good persistently, it helps when virtue gets recognition from time to time. Even though anyone or organisation committed to doing good will keep doing so with or without recognition, recognitions for virtue tend to act like a shot in the arm for such people or organisations, spurring them to commit even more to doing good.
That is what the recent award of “Retail Banking CEO of the Year Nigeria” to Dr Adesola Adeduntan, CEO of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, is to both him and the bank he leads. It is a shot in the arm of this foremost CEO of Nigeria’s most enduring financial institution that is also the pioneer in retail banking development in Nigeria, the premier bank in West Africa and the leading financial inclusion services provider in Nigeria for over 127 years, to keep steering the bank in the right direction, energising and expanding retail opportunities for all Nigerians in the process. It is a well-deserved recognition for a man and the institution he leads that would rather keep off the spotlight and focus exclusively on attending to Nigerians’ banking needs as best as they can – which is what has kept them going for 127 years and counting.
This critical role is one FirstBank is better suited to lead than any other lender given the robust retail banking framework that the bank has in place, that is riding on its innovative technology-driven operations, over 750 branches across the continents and 100,000 Firstmonie Agent banking network spread across 772 local government areas in Nigeria. It is little wonder that FirstBank, which is intricately woven into the fabric of the Nigerian society, has been an essential player in the retail space, empowering Nigerians of all walks of life by providing them bespoke and innovative financial products and services that address their multidimensional needs. The bank has been at the forefront of bridging the financial exclusion gap and enabling customers and the general public to carry out both individual and corporate financial activities which contribute to the growth and development of the national economy.
The award by Global Banking and Finance Magazine, according to Dr Adeduntan, “speak[s] to the investments we [as FirstBank] have made over the past years in…enhancing financial inclusion….” It is a loud testament to the incredible strides FirstBank has made and continues to make in the retail space under the able and dynamic leadership of the management team led by Dr Adeduntan.
The strides are in turn underpinned by the bank’s resolute commitment to putting the customer and other stakeholders at the heart of its business. Dr Adeduntan reiterates this view when he wasted no time in dedicating the award to all the bank’s “customers, as the trust they reposed in us being their bank of first choice in meeting their business and financial needs has been instrumental to the success we have achieved in our existence of over 127 years.” “We remain committed,” he continued, “to putting you, our customers, first as we contribute to the growth and development of our host communities.”
Organised to identify the banks across the world that have excelled across a number of areas, including corporate governance, sustainability and innovation, and have played a key role in the industry’s growth, the Global Banking and Finance Awards reflect the innovation, achievement, strategy, progressive and inspirational changes taking place within the global financial community. The awards were created to accord recognition to companies of all sizes which are prominent in their areas of expertise and excellence within the financial world. For Dr Adeduntan and FirstBank, the award is further proof of FirstBank’s enduring commitment to providing excellent retail banking services to all its customers as reflected in the bank’s strategic vision, diverse and inclusive workforce and performance-oriented organisational structure.
Innovation and Resilience Common Themes Amongst Winners of African Banker Awards 2021
Winners of the 2021 edition of the African Banker Awards were announced today at a virtual awards ceremony. The Awards, since 2013, are held during the Annual meetings of the African Development Bank, the event’s High patron, which are taking place also virtually between 23rd and 25th June.
The Awards have become the most respected and recognised industry event celebrating African banking achievements. The organisers this year put an emphasis to recognise and reward institutions that contributed to the real economy which has suffered from the impact of Covid-19 as well as contributed to women empowerment on the continent.
Herbert Wigwe won for the second consecutive year African Banker of the Year. Access Bank is now present in South Africa following its acquisition of Grobank. As a result of its rapid growth the last decade, Access Bank has become one of the largest retail banks in Africa with over 40 million customers.
Morocco’s Minister of Economy and Finance, Mohammed Benchaâboun, won Finance Minister of the Year. He was recognised for the exceptional work of his ministry which coordinated an exemplary response to the economic impact from the crisis, helping to protect both lives and livelihoods. The fiscal stimulus provided has cushioned the impact of the pandemic. The ministry managed to crowd in both public and private sector resources that were used to support the most needy.
Lesetja Kganyago, Governor of the Reserve Bank of South Africa, was awarded the Central Bank Governor of the year. Under his leadership, the Reserve Bank has managed to act decisively but also, the Committee noted, in a measured way, managing both upside and downside risk.
Felix Bikpo earned the Life Achievement Award for his long and distinguished career. When asked for his outlook on the future of the continent, he remained upbeat saying technological developments and also the human capabilities that we have developed in Africa are cause for optimism.
Charlie Robertson, chief economist at international investment bank Renaissance Capital won the African Banker icon category. In his remarks he noted that it was important to drive up savings rates to help spur greater investments on the continent, if Africa is to replicate the Asian miracle.
Omar Ben Yedder, Group Publisher of African Banker said: “I was really impressed by the entries this year. It showed that the banking sector is healthy and resilient which will be critical if it is to support the economic recovery post-COVID. What will be fundamental to our recovery is the support of the real economy, especially SMEs, and also a focus on more equity investments and investments in general. For that, as our African Banker Icon suggested, we will also need to increase our savings rate across the continent. If I had one comment on the winners, it was dominated by men this year. However I should add that the institutions that were recognised in our ceremony all had strong gender programmes, both in terms of supporting women-led businesses but also strong programmes to promote women and have women leaders within their organisations.”
This year the Awards were sponsored by the African Guarantee Fund, Bank of Industry (Nigeria), Banque du Développement du Mali and technology partner TagPay.
THE 2021 AFRICAN BANKER AWARD WINNERS
Sustainable bank of the year
Commercial International Bank (CIB) Egypt
Infrastructure deal of the year
Tanzania Standard Gauge Railway $1.46bn loan facility
Nedbank | Standard Chartered | TDB
Deal of the year – Equity
Privatisation of Afam Power Plc and Afam Three Fast Power Ltd
Deal of the year – Debt
African Export-Import Bank, COVID-19 Support Facility
MUFG Bank, Mitsubishi UFJ Financial Group
Award for financial inclusion
Trust Merchant Bank, DRC
African Banker Icon
Charlie Robertson, Chief Economist, Renaissance Capital
Finance Minister of the year
H.E Mohammed Benchaâboun, Minister for Economy and Finance, Morocco
Award for Innovation for Financial Services
Bank of Industry, Government Enterprise Empowerment Programme
Energy deal of the year
Nkhotakota Solar Power Plant in Malawi / 7.5 MW Solar PV Power Plant in Burundi
African Trade Insurance Agency (ATI)
Agriculture deal of the year
USD 400m Revolving Trade Finance Facility in favour of ETC Group
African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank)
African SME Bank of the Year
Best Regional Bank in Africa
North: Attijariwafa Bank, Morocco
West: Banque de Développement du Mali
East: Equity Bank, Kenya
Central: BGFI, Gabon
Southern: Mozabanco, Mozambique
Investment Bank of the Year
Central Bank Governor of the Year
H.E. Lesetja Kganyago, Governor Reserve Bank of South Africa
African Bank of the Year
Standard Bank Group
African Banker of the Year
Herbert Wigwe, Group CEO, Access Bank
For more on the African Banker Awards, please visit: www.africanbankerawards.com
Standard Bank Group to Bring Together Over 600 delegates in Search For Africa’s Next Phase of Growth
Standard Bank Group is bringing together international investors, policymakers and top African corporates to look ahead to the opportunities in a growing Africa. The 11th Africa Investors’ Conference (AIC), held in collaboration with ICBC Standard Bank, is being held over 5 days from 21-25 June.
Standard Bank Group has partnered with Microsoft to power the conference’s virtual format, using the Teams platform to host over 3,000 meetings between African corporates and institutional investors over the five-day period. Attendees will hear a keynote address from Samer Abu-Ltaif, Corporate Vice President and President, Microsoft MEA, on why Africa’s speedy adoption of tech will help to drive growth on the continent.
Continuing on from the successful approach pioneered at last year’s conference, the virtual format enables record numbers of individuals to participate. In 2020, a total of over 2,800 meetings which attracted over 40 corporates were facilitated. This year is set to be the biggest yet, with at least 25 percent more African corporates confirmed to attend.
Further enhanced by the attendance of some of Africa’s leading policymakers and speakers from prominent organisations in Africa and globally, the agenda-setting conference provides a virtual platform for equity investors such as AIG, Jefferies and JP Morgan to meet in select groups and identify investment opportunities with some of the continent’s most successful corporates, including Nampak, MTN, Anglo American Platform, Liberty Holdings and many more.
Key insights will be delivered during the conference’s flagship plenary sessions which will feature His Excellency, the Vice President of Ghana, Mahamudu Bawumia, Dr. Vera Songwe, UN Under-Secretary-General and Executive Secretary of the Economic Commission for Africa, Lesetja Kganyago, Governor, South African Reserve Bank and Standard Bank Group CEO Sim Tshabalala.
With the impact of the COVID-19 crisis in mind, this year’s conference is distinctly forward looking, and will track the opportunities on offer to investors and corporates under the themes of Africa’s People, Progress and Potential. Topics to be covered will range from digital infrastructure, sustainable technology advances, the African Continental Free-Trade Area (AfCFTA), specific opportunities within Mozambique, Ghana and South Africa, as well as economic overviews for many African countries.
The policymaker country sessions will cover the latest monetary and fiscal policy reforms while the thought-leadership sessions will cover countries, sectors, current issues and trends to showcase the opportunity for investment and growth across Africa.
“Despite the trying and unique circumstances last year, we were able to bring together a wealth of policymakers, corporates and investors committed to the long-term prosperity of Africa. We are confident of similarly strong engagement this year and looking forward to facilitating productive conversations regarding the investment opportunities across the continent,” says Kenny Fihla, CEO of Wholesale Clients, Standard Bank Group.
The conference will highlight the rapid acceleration of Africa’s fintech capabilities. Managing Director of Zeepay, Andrew Takyi-Appiah, and Tony van den Berge, Managing Director EMEA Emerging Markets, Amazon Web Services, will deliver insights on the technological growth of Ghana and South Africa.
This year’s event is the first since the ratification of the AfCFTA. Representatives from Standard Bank Group, the United Nations and leading African corporates will join a session analysing the transformative effect the AfCFTA will have on intra-Africa trade and the long-term prosperity of the continent.
Stanbic IBTC Enlightens Preteens, Teenagers on Financial Literacy
Stanbic IBTC Holdings, a member of Standard Bank Group, recently concluded its annual NewSchoolMoney event. The interactive financial literacy programme was targeted at preteens and teenagers and hinges on Stanbic IBTC’s Corporate Social Investment pillar of Education.
Through NewSchoolMoney, Stanbic IBTC aims to provide improved and deepened financial knowledge among the youth in Nigeria.
This year’s edition themed “Making Money Moves” held virtually and was facilitated by experts in the financial services industry who educated the young ones on various financial strategies and tools to achieve financial freedom. The programme was broken down into sessions to accommodate different age groups which enhanced the learning experience. The classes held once a week between 24 April and 05 June 2021.
Demola Sogunle, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Holdings, noted that the acquisition of money management skills by young people was a precursor to their financial independence. He added that the organisation recognised the importance of grooming young ones to make responsible decisions related to wealth building.
On the relevance of the initiative, Demola said, “We put together this initiative to provide young Nigerians with the tools to manage money judiciously, develop good financial foresight and be socially responsible. The goal of the programme is to adequately equip preteens and teenagers with the knowledge to enable them set financial goals, earn money, save, invest, and protect their assets”.
Olumide Oyetan, Chief Executive, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, also commented that the initiative’s goal was to provide a solid financial literacy foundation for preteens and teenagers, which they can build to foster better decision making later in life.
Davida Echetabu, Regional Manager, Stanbic IBTC Pension Managers, and one of the event facilitators, urged the young attendees to cultivate a savings and investment culture. She emphasised that this was a prerequisite to long-term value creation which would help preserve one’s desired lifestyle even at old age.
Oyeyinka Oyekan, Wealth Manager, Stanbic IBTC Asset Management, encouraged participants to create a wealth flow by leveraging their skillsets and talents to increase their value in the marketplace.
Uzoaru Onuoha, product manager, Stanbic IBTC Bank, also shared practical and insightful experiences on managing one’s emotions in financial planning. She stressed the importance of developing emotional intelligence to aid sound decision-making.
Through the Stanbic IBTC NewSchoolMoney initiative, the organisation encouraged young people to grow wealth by spending judiciously and investing in financial instruments such as mutual funds, stocks, treasury bills, bonds, and other financial assets that would yield long term returns for them.
Stanbic IBTC further reiterated its commitment to continue engaging the younger generation in meaningful ventures to help them acquire relevant skills that will benefit them and society in the long run.
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