The President of the African Development Bank Group, Dr. Akinwumi Adesina, received a high-level Nigerian delegation led by the country’s Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development, Dr. Mohammad Mahmood Abubakar on Monday.
The meeting follows on the heels of an address by Dr. Adesina last week at a mid-term ministerial retreat presided over by President Muhammadu Buhari.
Dr. Adesina and the Nigerian minister discussed means of tackling growing concerns about the country’s food security.
Adesina said the Bank’s strategic support for Nigeria’s food production would be hinged on five factors: support, scale, systemic, speed, and sustainability.
He added, “I want to assure President Buhari that the African Development Bank will provide his government with very strong support to tackle the country’s food security challenges.”
“Inflation in Nigeria is high, at 16% or more. Of course, the biggest share of the consumer price index is the price of food, at almost 65%. So, if we can drive down the price of food, of course, we can drive down inflation.“
Adesina urged the Nigerian minister to concentrate on building the correct team and tactics to optimize the country’s farming seasons. He said that dramatically increased food output will result in lower food prices, which will in turn lower inflation rates.
Abubakar said his consultative mission to Abidjan was at the instruction of President Buhari.
“Our mission is to examine ways Nigeria could enhance food production, lower food prices, and create wealth,” the minister said.
Abubakar welcomed the Bank’s proposed strategy and described it as a landmark one that would spur Nigeria’s food supply production. “It will reverse the ugly trend of a sharp increase in prices of food in the country. I am pleased with the Bank’s strategy to facilitate the production of 9 million metric tons of food in Nigeria and to support us in raising self-sufficiency. The Bank’s Special Agro-Processing Zones initiative is a laudable one and Nigeria is grateful.”
Citing successes in Sudan, Adesina explained how the African Development Bank had supported the country with 65,000 metric tonnes of heat-tolerant wheat varieties, cultivated on 317,000 hectares.
“It took two seasons to do this,” he said. “Change will not happen in years. You will see changes in seasons. Sudan now produces 1.1 million metric tons of wheat. The same thing happened in Ethiopia in just two seasons with the production of 184, 000 hectares of wheat,“ he added.
In response to Bank successes in Sudan and Ethiopia, Abubakar said: “This gives me an additional measure of confidence. If you can do it in Sudan, you can equally do it in Nigeria. Not just in wheat, but also rice, maize, and soybeans.”
The African Development Bank will provide Nigeria with support through input delivery, including highly improved seeds and fertilizers to farmers, and an integrated input delivery platform.
Extensively discussed at the meeting was the Bank’s Special Agro-Industrial Processing Zone initiative as an effective medium-term plan for revolutionizing Nigeria’s agriculture value chain.
Adesina said: “The task, responsibility, and challenge of feeding Nigeria rests on your shoulders. You will receive maximum support from me, and the African Development Bank for the responsibility that President Buhari has given you. You will not be alone.”
He added: “The Bank stands ready to fully support and help Nigeria in the next farming seasons. So, we must make sure things turn around. The president must succeed, and Nigeria must succeed. Agriculture must succeed.”
Abubakar thanked the African Development Bank for its support and said the meeting gave him reassurances of what Nigeria can achieve with the Bank’s support in the farming seasons ahead.
The minister also called for the Bank’s support to recapitalize the country’s Bank of Agriculture. Both parties set up a task force team to develop a plan for accelerated implementation within the next 60 days.
Also at the meeting were a member of Nigeria’s National Assembly, Hon. Munir Baba Dan Agundi, Chair of the House Committee on Agricultural Colleges and Institutions; the African Development Bank’s executive director for Nigeria, Sao Tome and Principe, Dr. Oyebode Oyetunde; Vice President of Agriculture, Human and Social Development, Beth Dunford; Senior Special Advisor to the President of the Bank on Industrialization, Professor Oyebanji Oyelaran; Director General of the Bank’s Nigeria Country Office in Abuja, Lamin Barrow; the Bank’s Director of Agriculture and Agro-Industries, Martin Fregene; the Director for Agricultural Finance and Rural Development, Atsuko Toda; and senior officials from Nigeria’s Federal Ministry of Agriculture.
2021 NCOY: FirstBank Partners Junior Achievement Nigeria, Reiterates Commitment to Innovation and Education
For 11 years, Nigeria’s premier and leading financial inclusion services provider, First Bank of Nigeria Limited has partnered with Junior Achievement Nigeria (JAN) to host its annual flagship event; the National Company of the Year competition (NCOY), which convenes winners of the JA Company Regional Competitions across Nigeria to compete for the National Company of the Year Award.
This year, the event will bring together outstanding ‘student business teams’ across Nigeria to compete for prizes and an opportunity to represent the country at the national competition – JA African Company of the Year Competition (ACOY). The 2021 edition of the NCOY competition will be held virtually via Zoom meetings at 10am on Saturday, 27th November 2021. Interested participants are to register via the link https://us06web.zoom.us/meeting/register/tZEtd-qvqz4pE90NXOHcy-tve6aEXpY_yYAE
The competition themed ‘Innovation with Grit’ will have 12 teams from 12 schools pitch their innovations to a team of 5 guests judges. The represented schools at the competition include: The Seer company from Alvana High School; Sonic Informatics company from Heritage Global Academy; Nexus Queens company from Queens School; JA Stars from Theological College of Northern Nigeria (TCNN); Amazing Amazon Students from Government Girls’ Secondary School, Abaji; KereTerra Company from Secondary School Etoi, Uyo and The Exploit thinkers from Taidob College.
Other teams competing include: Mystic Global Company from Rosa Mystica High School, Agulu; PetraMech Tech from Petra Schools; The Amazing Inventors from Government Secondary School Tudun Wada; Blue crystal company from Methodist Girls school and the Artisans from Igbobi College.
Judges at the event include: Oludolapo Adigun, Group Head, Retail Banking Lagos & West First Bank of Nigeria Limited; Chidimma Juliana Okparah, Project Management Consultant (PMIEF); Sheila Ojei, Head of Communications Jobberman; Gbenga Sesan, Executive Director of Paradigm Initiative and Simbo Olatoregun, Policy Programs Manager for Facebook in Africa. In attendance also is the Honourable Commissioner for Education Lagos State, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo as a Special Guest.
The 2021 National Company of the Year Program will also feature SPARK Competition. SPARK as an initiative of First Bank of Nigeria Limited, is an acronym for Start Performing Acts of Random Kindness. SPARK reiterates the Bank’s commitment to institutionalise kindness in Nigeria by encouraging and amplifying a culture of kindness.
The SPARK competition will feature 15 finalist schools across Nigeria, whose CSR projects align with the Bank’s Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability pillars of Education, Welfare and Health, Financial inclusion and Responsible Lending and Procurement.
Speaking on the event, the Group Head, Marketing & Corporate Communications, Folake Ani-Mumuney said “FirstBank’s partnership under its Future First initiative with JA Nigeria Company programme has positively impacted over 100,000 people in different locations across the country in preparing and teaching them how to generate wealth, effectively manage it and how to apply entrepreneurial thinking to the workplace. Our commitment to fostering entrepreneurial development amongst youths is mainly the driving force behind our support of the National Company of the Year (NCOY) and Africa Company of the Year (ACOY) competitions in past 11 years”.
According to the Executive Director, JAN, ‘’the National Company of the Year Company competition provides our students with a platform to show how innovative they are while displaying their dexterity and grit especially as it relates to creating sustainable business solutions to problems in their immediate community. The students have learned critical skills during the implementation of the Company Programme and we are proud to celebrate them as they compete in the National competition. I would like to specially appreciate FirstBank Nigeria for their continued support and belief in the boundless potential of young Nigerians’’.
Unity Bank Targets Women; Launches Yanga Account
In its bid to demonstrate increased commitment towards promoting financial inclusion and women empowerment, Nigeria’s retail lender, Unity Bank Plc has launched Yanga Account, a new retail product designed to deepen beneficial impact on Micro Small and Medium Enterprises, MSMEs operated by women in the mass market retail space.
As a product targeted to boost the Nigerian women entrepreneurs, the initiative was intended to create Yanga Experience, from promoting the business, capacity building to health insurance scheme for Yanga Account holders.
A statement by the Bank said that the benefits for signing up to Yanga Account are summed up as ‘The Yanga Experience’. This means that as we target every woman in the mass-market retail space, the Yanga account holders will enjoy many benefits including stress-free savings and investment, access to the services of dedicated Sales Agents, Agency Banking services close to the location of their businesses, special business seminar and training on how to grow business, access to microloans, customized debit cards and other bundled e-banking products.
Speaking at the launch of the product in Abuja on Tuesday, the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Unity Bank Plc, Mrs. Tomi Somefun stated the “Yanga Account is being launched as a bold attempt to directly cater to women and their respective businesses.”
The Unity Bank Boss, therefore, asserted that the Account “is open to all market women in farming, fashion design, tailoring, frozen food, pastry and baking, cosmetics, jewellery designs and making, skincare, eateries and restaurants, etc. whether living in the communities or cities.”
“Yanga Account is conceived and designed for the financial literacy and empowerment of Nigerian women. It is about making sure that our women who make up 55% of the financially excluded Nigerians have access to basic and life-changing financial services.”
Recent research by Enhancing Financial Innovation & Access (EFInA) has shown that “Women need economic opportunities if countries are to realize the full potential of their human capital. Financial inclusion can benefit individuals, families, and businesses, supporting key outcomes such as GDP growth”.
Speaking further, Somefun said: “The Yanga account will also be incorporating an affordable Health insurance scheme not only as a part of the product bouquet underpinning the Bank’s belief in health and wellness which translate to wealth creation but also to drive insurance penetration which is presently at 2% in Nigeria. We, therefore, believe that this will provide essential ingredients to growing a business as well as adding greater value for Yanga account holders.
“At Unity Bank, through products like Yanga Account, we continue to align with the vision of the Central Bank of Nigerian and the financial services ecosystem to provide needed support for Nigerian women by enhancing access to wealth-creating opportunities in the financial services sector”.
Also, speaking, Group Head, Retail, SME Banking and E-Business, Unity Bank Plc, Mr. Funwa Akinmade said: “the official launch of the Yanga Account is an extremely important step for us as a Bank because it is one step that brings our services closer to Nigerian women as Unity Bank makes the efforts to further expand its retail footprints in the market.
“At Unity Bank Plc, we have devoted the past few years to constantly innovating with banking solutions to enable us to drive more financial inclusiveness in different market segments, but the Yanga Account is introduced as a bold attempt to directly cater to women and their respective businesses.
“Unity Yanga is a well-packaged banking product that combines several services that most small businesses owned by women will need to become profitable. We are optimistic that Nigerian women will embrace the Yanga Account and leverage its full benefits to grow their businesses.”
FirstBank Wins Private Bank Of The Year Award for 2021
Popular financial institution, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, has been awarded the Private Bank of the year 2021 by Global Finance. Global Finance is the voice of the global market renowned for its comprehensive coverage and analysis of the financial industry, international business and global economy.
The leading financial institution with over 126 years in the banking sector was bestowed the Private Bank of the Year award for its excellent service delivery to customers, its dedication and commitment towards meeting the expectations of its customers whilst providing state of the art financial services to them, irrespective of where they are in the country. The awarding body also praised the bank for Its customer service which has been integral in fostering its relationship with customers.
“We are delighted to dedicate this award to our customers as we appreciate their unrelenting patronage and loyalty over the years. We remain committed to utilising the best technology infrastructure in delivering the best wealth and financial management services to the doorstep of our customers, irrespective of where they are across the world. We appreciate Global Finance for the award,” Mr Gbenga Shobo, the Deputy Managing Director of the bank said while receiving the award on behalf of First Bank.
Global Finance seeks to help corporate leaders, bankers and investors chart the course of global business and finance. The Award was organised to identify the banks around the world that have excelled across several areas, including corporate governance, sustainability and innovation, and have played a key role in the industry’s growth.
Each year Global Finance selects the best financial institutions around the world in line with the recognised and trusted standards of excellence.
This year’s Global Finance award is one of the numerous awards that First Bank of Nigeria Limited has been awarded in 2021. This year, the bank has won, ‘’Retail Banking CEO of the Year Nigeria’’, ‘’Most innovative Retail Banking App Nigeria’’ and ‘’Best CSR Bank Nigeria’’ awards by Global Banking and Finance magazine
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