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Buhari Expresses Confidence in Banking Institutions to Tackle Economic Challenges

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President Muhammadu Buhari

President Muhammadu Buhari has expressed his confidence in the West African Banking Association (WABA) to tackle economic challenges in the West African region.

The president expressed his trust while receiving a team from WABA, led by its President, Thierno Seydou Nourou Sy, at the State House in Abuja.

The president stated that the sub-region needs to come to an agreement on low access to financial services and recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to him, the association, founded in 1981, brings together over 250 commercial banks and 15 institutions from across West Africa, and for many centuries, African countries have traded with one another without a formalized and structured system. He, however, noted that over time, global trade had become more complex and organized.

The president expressed optimism that the launch of the African Continental Free Trade Area will mark a watershed moment in the way African countries do business.

“More importantly, we will turn the page in ensuring that we deepen and expand our industrial capabilities by making sure we export less of what we have been endowed with in the primary or raw form, and convert larger portions of these resources into finished materials.

“That will allow us to benefit from the revenue earned from the added value of exporting a finished product,” he said.

“Our ability to overcome the current phase of our development lies in our resolve to work jointly via our regional and sub-regional organizations where we can all reach a common understanding to fight against a common enemy.

“This is one of the reasons I am delighted with the strides ECOWAS has been making towards unanimity and forging alliances with a goal to resolve issues that confront the sub-region.

“I believe that this is also the approach that is being followed in the West African Bankers’ Association and the West African Monetary Union,’’ he added.

While commenting on WABA’s ongoing attempts to synchronize monetary and fiscal policy, the president pushed the organization to find common ground despite the particular macroeconomic challenges that each member-state faces.

He pledged that Nigeria would always be ready to support efforts that are geared towards improving the lives of all its citizens “as long as they do not place us at a disadvantage.”

The WABA President praised Nigeria’s leadership role in the African economy, while also praising President Buhari’s leadership.

“That’s why we are here for counsel and guidance for the financial sector in West Africa,” he said. He further urged the president to be an advocate for the greater inclusion of WABA in the ECOWAS structure.

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Banking Sector

Insider Dealing: Hafiz Mohammed Bashir Acquires 37 Million Shares in Unity Bank

Alhaji Bashir carried out the acquisition in 32 different transactions at an average price of N0.51 a unit between November 8th and 11th 2022

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Unity bank - Investors King

The management of Unity Bank Plc has announced that a non-Executive Director, Hafiz Mohammed Bashir scooped 37,681,947 shares of the bank.

The transaction was disclosed in a statement signed by the bank’s secretary, Alaba Williams.

Alhaji Bashir carried out the acquisition in 32 different transactions at an average price of N0.51 a unit between November 8th and 11th 2022, according to the disclosure available on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX).

Insider dealing is the buying or selling of a company’s shares by someone with a piece of insider information not available to the public. Insider dealing is illegal in the U.S. but not in Nigeria as long as it’s disclosed.

The Nigerian Security and Exchange Commission (SEC) mandated all listed companies to disclose insider trading to enforce transparency across the nation’s Exchange market.

Also, insider dealings can help stakeholders and retail investors assess the confidence of top company executives in a listed company. While Alhaji Bashir’s acquisition could demonstrate his trust in the future of the company, it could also mean positioning ahead of a major company’s event given his position.

Hafiz Mohammed Bashir Profile

In 2017, Hafiz Mohammed Bashir was appointed as a Non-executive Director following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s approval.

Hafiz Mohammed Bashir is an accomplished professional with vast experience in the public and private sectors. He retired at the apex of Local Government Administration in Katsina State in 1992 and has chaired the Board of many companies – including Fiztom International Ltd, HafadGlobal Resources limited and Fiziks Nigeria limited.

Alh. Hafiz who is currently in private business holds a Post Graduate Diploma in Management from Abubakar Tafawa BalewaUniversity, Bauchi, and an Advance Diploma in Public Administration from the University of Jos, a higher Diploma in Local Government Administration- AhmaduBello University. Zaria and Diploma in Insurance from ABU, Zaria He is also currently undergoing a Master’s programme in Business   Administration at the Business School of the Netherlands.

See the details of the transactions below.

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Banking Sector

McKinsey Global Banking Annual Review: Banking on a Sustainable Path

African banks have experienced a strong recovery in profitability, with average ROEs up from 12% in 2020 to 15% forecast for 2022

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Global Banking - Investors King

McKinsey has released its yearly state of the industry report providing an in-depth look at banking in today’s volatile environment and its future prospects.

This year marked the biggest shift in global banking for over a decade, providing banks with both the opportunity (from higher margins and the fintech correction) and the need (as a result of macroeconomic volatility and growing sector divergence) to master a dual challenge: maintain resilience in the short term while accelerating the transformation into a future-proof, sustainable value creation model.

The divergence in performance between leading banks and the rest continues to grow. Despite higher margins from rising interest rates and a stronger capital position, more than half of the world’s banks continue to struggle with profitability and have a return on equity that is below their cost of capital. But all banks can focus now on improving their short-term resilience and preparing for longer-term opportunities. The report examines strategies that have allowed some players to rise above the fray and outperform.

Among the opportunities is sustainable finance, which is on the cusp of a “next era” as banks finance not just clean energy but a broad array of transformational low-carbon projects across industry sectors. Debt-focused investment supporting the transition to net zero alone could represent revenue potential for banks of at least $100 billion annually by 2030.

What this means for African Banks

In line with banks globally, African banks have experienced a strong recovery in profitability, with average ROEs up from 12% in 2020 to 15% forecast for 2022. This could mean relatively stable ROEs for African banks over the next 5 years despite global macroeconomic shocks. But there is also significant variance across the continent, with banks in Nigeria and Kenya, in particular, trading at price-to-book ratios well below 1, Morocco trading over 1, and South Africa well over 2 on average (amongst the highest in the world).

“This boost in profitability gives African institutions the breathing room to improve their short-term resilience as we face the global challenges of continued geopolitical shocks. It also gives them the opportunity to continue investing in technology to enable growth,” says Francois Jurd de Girancourt, a partner in McKinsey’s Casablanca office, and leader of the firm’s Financial Institutions Group in Africa.

Africa could be one of the fastest growing regions for banking revenue globally (6-7% in local currency terms) in 2022—led by North Africa (9%) and West Africa (7%) with a revenue pool of ~$100bn. The picture is lower but remains positive if currency depreciation is taken into account. This growth is underpinned by deepening penetration of banking services and rising interest rates adding to opportunities in payments and transactional banking and is aided by the ongoing explosion of fintech activity across the continent.

“In Nigeria, agile and innovative startups are taking advantage of increased technology penetration and high levels of unmet needs in the traditional banking sector to seize market share. A youthful population, increasing smartphone penetration, and a focused regulatory drive to increase financial inclusion and cashless payments are all contributing to this shift,” says Edem Seshie, an associate partner, in McKinsey’s Lagos office.

Much like the rest of Africa and the world, sustainable finance in Nigeria is also entering the ‘next era’—shifting from a focus on renewables to a broader set of deployment across the energy transition. 

Africa’s efforts to navigate the energy transition and adapt to climate change are likely to be supported by investor demand for sustainability-linked bonds, which have grown from 2% of bonds in 2017 to ~8% in 2022 (>$1.7bn of sustainability-linked bonds issued).

To fully take off, climate finance will require clearer definitions and better metrics. There are a number of opportunities across CIB, commercial and small-business banking, retail banking, and wealth and asset management. Examples of business building are emerging across geographies as banks recognize the capital need required to support the transition and the role the industry plays.

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Banking Sector

Winner of the 61st FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship Makes The World Amateur Golf Rankings (WAGR)

Ojeabulu started his game with an opening 75, a second day score of 78 and a closing 74 to replace Ilorin based Aminu Kadir, the tournament defending champion on the winners list.

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Emmanuel Ojeabulu, winner of the 61 st FirstBank Lagos Open Golf Championship has been listed in the WAGR.

The premier golf championship which was held from 18 – 20 November at the golf section of Ikoyi Club 1938 was keenly contested by over 190 low handicap players from several golf clubs in the country. Benin based Emmanuel Ojeabulu won the 3-day championship.

Playing three-shots off the pace going into the last 18-holes, Ojeabulu played one of the best golf of his life, maintaining steady pars for a closing 74, 3-over the course par to win the World Amateur Golf Ranking recognized event by two shots.

Ojeabulu started his game with an opening 75, a second day score of 78 and a closing 74 to replace Ilorin based Aminu Kadir, the tournament defending champion on the winners list.

Overnight leader, 20-year-old product of David Mark Golf Academy, George Paul who was tipped to win the tournament collapsed under pressure closing with an unimpressive 79 to lose by two-shots.

In the third position is Muyideen Olaitan, three-time winner of the coveted FirstBank Lagos Open trophy while Iyare Osaze was further down on the winners chart by one-shot, leaving perennial contender, Olajide Owolabi, who shot tournaments best score of 72 on day two of the competition in the fifth position.

First Bank of Nigeria Limited, sponsors of the annual Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship has pledged its commitment to the continuous sponsorship of the tournament which is one of the longest running golf tournaments in Nigeria.

Speaking at the closing ceremony of the 61 st edition of the tournament in Lagos on Sunday, the Chief Executive Officer of FirstBank, Dr. Adesola Adeduntan who was represented by Executive Director, Chief Risk Officer of First Bank of Nigeria Limited Mr. Olusegun Alebiosu said “This year made it 61 years of our undiluted commitment to this cause, and we are absolutely delighted with the amazing support and partnership we have enjoyed from Ikoyi Club 1938 thus contributing to building a legacy not only for golf and golfers, but sports in its entirety.

To all the amateur golfers produced at this year’s championship, these champions are an inspiration and testament that you can do the impossible and I look forward to celebrating you as winners in future championships. Remember that in the words of Ben Hogan, “The most important shot in Golf is the next one”, he added.

Satisfied with the turnout of the participants, Golf Captain, Tony Oboh thanked the sponsors for keeping the tournament going, saying FirstBank commitment should be emulated.

“It is not easy to keep a tournament like this going, I therefore congratulate FirstBank for their commitment”, Oboh said.

Since its debut, FirstBank Lagos Amateur Open Golf Championship has been the most consistent and premier amateur golf event in West Africa and has produced great champions most of who are competing in the elite professional golf cadre. Last year, the Championship threw up Ilorin based Aminu Kadir who won the landmark edition. It is expected that this year’s edition will produce another great winner.

Other FirstBank-sponsored sporting events include the Georgian Cup of Kaduna Polo Tournament, sponsored for 102 years; the Dala Tennis Hard Court in Kano Club for over 30 years; the Obasanjo Pro-Amateur Golf tournament of Abeokuta Club now in its 6th year. The Bank’s influence in the development of sport in Nigeria is under its First@Sport initiative.

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