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African Development Bank Group President, Akinwumi Adesina, Calls on Oxford MBA Graduating Class to be Change-makers

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African Development Bank - Investors King

Graduating executive MBA students of Oxford University’s Saïd Business School received wise counsel from African Development Bank President Dr Akinwumi Adesina on Friday.

Delivering the business school’s 2023 commencement address, Adesina called on the graduates to use the skills and knowledge they had acquired to address some of today’s most pressing global challenges, including climate change and the quest for a hunger-free world. “It is unacceptable for more than 2.3 billion people in the world to go hungry each day,” he said.

The bank president said: “Class of 2023, I see in you, builders, and shapers of hope. You have been well prepared to go into this world to be change-makers. You have received a world-class education. You are ready, and the world awaits you.”

Adesina urged to draw lessons from the Covid-19 pandemic to ensure future global pandemic preparedness and that no one is left behind in terms of access to affordable healthcare.

Commending the graduates to use innovative ideas and solutions, he highlighted the need to help meet the needs of the 940 million people worldwide living without electricity, three billion people without clean cooking energy, two billion living without access to clean water, and 4.5 billion without sanitation.

He also emphasised the 1.7 billion people that lacked access to basic finance, credit, savings, payments, or insurance, while also stressing the need to build a better world for the 244 million children who are out of school, including 129 million girls.

“Their dream,” the African Development Bank president said, “is to be like all of you today as you graduate with a world class education. But they cannot achieve their dreams, and neither can our world achieve our collective dream of a more just and equitable world unless we prioritise financing for developing countries to accelerate development.”

Soumitra Dutta, Peter Moores Dean and Professor of Management at Saïd Business School, encouraged the Class of 2023 to dream big and assume the mantles of leadership waiting for them. He said: “We want you to become great leaders who will shape tomorrow and have a positive impact on our world. To become a great leader, it is very important that you are inspired and that you dream big. With your dreams, you will raise the aspiration levels of others around you.”

Professor Alex Connock, specialist in Media Business and Artificial Intelligence (AI), called on the Class of 2023 to set the terms and conditions of what they do in life, and devise the strategy.

He said: “You must be confident about making choices that work to your vision of your own future.” He added: “So please—throw your own javelin confidently into the infinite space of the future, starting from today. Go out there, make a difference. Bring this splintering world back together. Don’t settle for a new Cold War. Don’t settle for global warming. Make good things happen.”

Adesina told the new MBA graduates to be selfless and dedicated to justice, equity, and fairness. While encouraging them to promote transparency, inclusion, honesty, and integrity, he emphasised the determination they would need not to be sucked into what he called the “slimy allure of insatiable corporate greed that has wreaked havoc on the lives of millions through creative accounting, misrepresentation of the valuation of companies,” and other unethical behaviour.

“As you go out into the business world, stay within the rules and regulations,” Adesina said. “You all look great in your suits today. Keep it that way. Do not trade your striped business suits for orange jump suits. Do honest business. Stay out of trouble. Set your goals and stick to them.”

The African Development Bank president encouraged the graduates to build alliances and collective partnerships rather than individual success. He evoked the image of the African Baobab tree with its massive girth. He said the only way individuals could encircle it was by linking arms together around its enormous circumference. He encouraged them to employ the Baobab approach and work together.

“Nothing works better than collective success,” Adesina said. “Never work alone… Ahead of you is a stretch of life. Live it fully. Live it supporting others. Live it doing the best you can to improve the lives and livelihoods of people around the world. Use the Baobab approach.”

Amy Major, Associate Director of the Saïd Businees School’s MBA programme, told the new MBA holders: “Display kindness to yourself and others. You all hold yourselves to high standards, but as you move out into the real world, whether you are now gainfully employed or searching, facing financial pressure or not, moving back to your family or away, you will all experience a different set of challenges and opportunities. No matter where life takes you, you possess something that can never be taken away: your Oxford MBA and your rightful place as Oxonians.”

Adesina spoke about the need for a reformed global financial architecture. “The global financial architecture is failing development in the world as it faces multiple global challenges,” he explained, adding: “The global financial architecture must be modified to tackle global challenges more effectively and to accelerate the achievement of the UN Sustainable Development Goals.”

He told the graduates: “The global pension funds and institutional investors, which many of you will go on to work for, have over $145 trillion of assets under management. As you do, take leadership in ensuing that these vast resources are directed towards the collective good. Use the skills and tools you have acquired at Oxford, to help make our world a better place for all.”

The African Development Bank president concluded his visit with a group and one-on-one chat with some of the new graduates from Africa to talk about leadership, and Africa’s future and development, and the role of the youth.

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Banking Sector

CBN Rate Hikes Raise Borrowing Costs for Banks Seeking FX

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Retail banking

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has implemented a significant adjustment to its borrowing rates.

The move, which follows the CBN’s recent decision to adjust the asymmetric corridor around the Monetary Policy Rate (MPR), has led to an increase in the cost of borrowing for banks seeking foreign exchange (FX).

This decision comes amid heightened concerns over the Naira’s performance and inflation rates.

According to Bismarck Rewane, Managing Director/CEO of Financial Derivatives Company Limited, the adjustment means that banks now face borrowing costs of nearly 32% from the CBN, a sharp increase from the previous rate of approximately 26%.

This change in borrowing costs is intended to deter banks from relying on the CBN for FX purchases, thereby reducing pressure on the Naira.

Data reveals that in the first five days of July 2024, banks borrowed an unprecedented N5.38 trillion from the CBN, marking a record high.

The increased borrowing costs are expected to reduce this practice, thereby alleviating some of the strain on the Naira.

Despite these efforts, the Naira has continued to struggle. On Tuesday, the Naira depreciated by 3.13% against the US dollar, with the exchange rate falling to N1,548.76.

This decline is attributed to reduced dollar supply and ongoing uncertainty surrounding Nigeria’s foreign reserves.

The black market saw an even sharper drop, with the Naira falling to 1,687 per dollar, reflecting broader concerns about currency stability.

Rewane highlighted that the recent rate hikes are part of a broader strategy by the CBN to manage inflation and stabilize the Naira.

“The increase in borrowing costs is a necessary step to address the carry trade practices where banks use cheap funds from the CBN to buy FX and sell it at higher rates,” he explained.

The CBN’s decision to raise borrowing costs comes amid a backdrop of persistent inflation and rising interest rates.

Over the past three years, the CBN has raised interest rates 12 times, with recent adjustments aimed at managing liquidity and curbing inflation.

As of June 2024, Nigeria’s headline Consumer Price Index (CPI) reached 34.19%, up from 33.95% in May.

The central bank’s policy changes are expected to have mixed effects.

Analysts at FBNQuest anticipate that banks will continue to benefit from the high-interest rate environment, potentially leading to a shift of assets from equities to fixed-income securities as investors seek higher yields.

The CBN remains committed to navigating Nigeria through these challenging economic conditions.

By adjusting borrowing costs and implementing tighter monetary policies, the central bank aims to strike a balance between managing inflation, stabilizing the Naira, and supporting overall economic growth.

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Banking Sector

Zenith Bank Retains Position As Nigeria’s Number One Bank By Tier-1 Capital For Fifteen Consecutive Years In The 2024 Top 1000 World Banks’ Ranking

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For the fifteenth consecutive year, Zenith Bank Plc has retained its position as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital in the 2024 Top 1000 World Banks’ Rankings, published by The Banker Magazine.

This ranking places Zenith Bank Plc as the 565th Bank globally with a Tier-1 Capital of $2.01 billion. The rankings, published in the July 2024 edition of The Banker Magazine of the Financial Times Group, United Kingdom, recognise Zenith Bank’s continued financial strength and stability.

They are based on the 2023 year-end Tier-1 capital of banks globally and remain the primary source for global bank financials used by most international organisations in their assessments of banks.

Tier-1 Capital describes capital adequacy, the core measure of a bank’s financial strength from a regulator’s perspective.

According to the ranking, Tier-1 Capital, as defined by the latest Bank for International Settlements (BIS) guidelines, includes loss-absorbing capital, i.e., common stock, disclosed reserves, retained earnings, and minority interests in the equity of subsidiaries that are less than wholly owned.

A strong Tier-1 capital ratio boosts investor and depositor confidence, indicating the Bank is well-capitalised and financially stable.

Commenting on this achievement, the Group Managing Director/CEO of Zenith Bank Plc, Dame (Dr.) Adaora Umeoji, OON, said, “We are deeply honoured to be recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital for the fifteenth consecutive year. This recognition is a testament to our strategic focus on sustainable growth, innovation, and customer satisfaction. It also emphasises our resilience and strength in navigating the ever-evolving financial landscape. Our dedicated team of professionals has remained steadfast in ensuring that we maintain our position at the forefront of the banking industry.”

She extended her profound and sincere appreciation to the Founder and Chairman, Dr. Jim Ovia, CFR, whose visionary and transformative leadership has played a pivotal role in cultivating a resilient and thriving establishment.

She also expressed her deep appreciation for the board’s insightful governance, the staff’s relentless dedication, and the unwavering loyalty of the bank’s esteemed customers to the Zenith brand.

Zenith Bank’s financial performance for the year was driven by a remarkable triple-digit growth of 125% in gross earnings, from N945.6 billion reported in 2022 to N2.132 trillion in 2023. This growth led to an improved market share in both the retail and corporate segments despite a persistently challenging macroeconomic environment.

The increase in gross earnings was primarily due to growth in interest and non-interest income. Interest income growth was attributed to the increase in the size of risk assets and their effective repricing, while non-interest income was driven by significant trading gains and gains from the revaluation of foreign currencies.

Zenith Bank recently commenced recapitalisation efforts with the conclusion of its Capital Markets Day held on 11th July 2024. It aims to raise the least amount of capital amongst its peers at N230 billion, considering it already maintains a robust capital base of N270.7 billion.

The Bank remains dedicated to supporting the growth of the Nigerian economy and providing its numerous customers with innovative and efficient banking solutions.

Zenith Bank’s track record of excellent performance has continued to earn the brand numerous awards, with these latest accolades coming on the heels of several recognitions. These include being recognised as the Number One Bank in Nigeria by Tier-1 Capital for the fourteenth consecutive year in the 2023 Top 1000 World Banks Ranking, published by The Banker Magazine.

The Bank was also awarded the Bank of the Year (Nigeria) in The Banker’s Bank of the Year Awards for 2020 and 2022; and Most Sustainable Bank, Nigeria in the International Banker 2024 Banking Awards.
Further recognitions include Best Bank in Nigeria for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022 in the Global Finance World’s Best Banks Awards and Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria for three consecutive years from 2021 to 2023 in the World Finance Banking Awards.

Additionally, Zenith Bank has been acknowledged as the Best Corporate Governance Bank, Nigeria, in the World Finance Corporate Governance Awards for 2022 and 2023, and ‘Best in Corporate Governance’ Financial Services’ Africa for four consecutive years from 2020 to 2023 by the Ethical Boardroom.

The Bank’s commitment to excellence saw it being named the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria in the Banker Magazine Top 500 Banking Brands for 2020 and 2021, and Retail Bank of the Year for three consecutive years from 2020 to 2022 at the BusinessDay Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards.

The Bank also received the accolades of Most Sustainable Bank, Nigeria, in the International Banker 2023 Banking Awards, Best Commercial Bank, Nigeria and Best Innovation in Retail Banking, Nigeria, in the International Banker 2022 Banking Awards. Zenith Bank was named Bank of the Decade (People’s Choice) at the ThisDay Awards 2020, Bank of the Year 2021 by Champion Newspaper, Bank of the Year 2022 by New Telegraph Newspaper, and Most Responsible Organisation in Africa 2021 by SERAS Awards.

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Banking Sector

Jaiz Bank Boosts Chairman’s Income to N24m Amidst Strategic Expansion

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Jaiz Bank

Jaiz Bank has announced a 20% increase in its chairman’s annual income to N24 million.

This decision was unveiled in a recent statement filed with the Nigeria Exchange Limited, highlighting the bank’s commitment to rewarding leadership amidst its expansion plans.

The bank, renowned for its pioneering role in non-interest banking in Nigeria since 2012, also approved a remuneration package of N20 million for each non-executive director.

The announcement was made by the bank’s secretary, Mohammed Shehu, highlighting the importance of competitive compensation for board members who provide crucial oversight and strategic guidance.

Shareholders at the Annual General Meeting (AGM) expressed confidence in the board’s leadership by approving the resolution on directors’ fees.

This move aligns with Jaiz Bank’s ongoing efforts to enhance its capital base to N70 billion by the end of 2024.

The bank also announced a dividend of 4 kobo per share, which will be distributed to shareholders on July 16, 2024.

This dividend declaration was welcomed as a testament to the bank’s operational success in a challenging economic climate.

Also, the AGM saw the re-election of Muhammadu Indimi and Muhammad Abdulmutallab as non-executive directors, reaffirming shareholder trust in their leadership capabilities.

Jaiz Bank’s financial performance has been impressive, with a 67% increase in profit before tax, reaching N11.1 billion in 2023.

Gross earnings also rose by 42% to N47.2 billion from the previous year, showcasing the bank’s successful growth strategy.

As Jaiz Bank continues to expand its services, the enhanced remuneration package signals a commitment to maintaining strong governance and leadership, paving the way for future achievements in ethical banking.

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