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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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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

Central Bank of Nigeria Postpones 293rd Monetary Policy Committee Meeting



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The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) has announced the postponement of its 293rd Monetary Policy Committee (MPC) meeting, originally scheduled for September 25th and 26th, 2023.

Dr. Isa AbdulMumin, the bank’s Director of Corporate Communications, released a statement on Thursday confirming the decision.

In the statement, Dr. AbdulMumin stated, “The Monetary Policy Committee of the Central Bank of Nigeria has deferred its 293rd meeting, which was initially planned for Monday and Tuesday, September 25th and 26th, 2023, respectively. A new date will be communicated in due course. We regret any inconvenience this change may cause our stakeholders and the general public.”

While the CBN did not provide an official reason for the postponement, some industry experts suggest it may be related to the pending approvals for the newly appointed governor and deputy governors of the bank.

President Bola Tinubu recently nominated Yemi Cardoso as the potential head of the CBN. Additionally, Tinubu has endorsed the nominations of four new deputy governors for the apex bank, who are expected to serve for an initial term of five years, pending confirmation by the Senate.

The nominated deputy governors are Emem Usoro, Muhammad Abdullahi-Dattijo, Philip Ikeazor, and Bala Bello. However, the appointment of the CBN governor is contingent upon Senate confirmation, which is currently on a yearly recess.

The CBN assures stakeholders and the public that the rescheduled MPC meeting date will be communicated promptly as soon as it is confirmed.

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Banking Sector

Currency in Circulation Surges by N1.7 Trillion Amidst Rising Cash Transactions



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The currency in circulation in Nigeria has surged by N1.7 trillion, driven by a surge in cash transactions.

According to data obtained from the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), as of the end of August, the currency in circulation rose to N2.7 trillion.

This substantial increase in currency in circulation comes after a 235.03 percent dip to N982.1 billion as of the end of February 2023 from N3.29 trillion at the close of October 2022, primarily due to the naira redesign policy spearheaded by the CBN.

However, the currency in circulation began its steady ascent once the policy concluded. Cash that had been previously withdrawn from circulation to promote electronic payments was reintroduced into the economy, contributing to this significant boost.

The data obtained from the CBN reveals that a whopping N2.3 trillion was removed from circulation during this period.

The CBN defines currency in circulation as all legal tender currency in the hands of the general public and within the vaults of Deposit Money Banks, excluding the central bank’s vaults.

The CBN further elucidated its methodology, stating that it employed an “accounting/statistical/withdrawals & deposits approach” to calculate the currency in circulation in Nigeria. This approach meticulously tracks the movement of currency in circulation on a transaction-by-transaction basis.

Under this methodology, each withdrawal made by a Deposit Money Bank at one of CBN’s branches results in an increase in currency in circulation (CIC), while each deposit made by a DMB at one of CBN’s branches leads to a decrease in CIC.

This surge in currency in circulation reflects the evolving landscape of financial transactions in Nigeria and underscores the importance of flexible monetary policies in facilitating economic growth and stability.

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Banking Sector

Strong Growth in Earnings for Leading Nigerian Banks in H1 2023



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Financial reports released by eight Deposit Money Banks (DMBs) for the first half of 2023 have showcased robust financial performances, collectively amassing N3.9 trillion in gross earnings.

These figures were recently disclosed through the financial statements published on the Nigerian Exchange Limited’s website.

Zenith Bank: Zenith Bank, in its audited results for the half-year ending on June 30, 2023, stood out with remarkable growth, posting a 139 percent surge in gross earnings. This figure soared from N404.8 billion in H1 2022 to N967.3 billion in H1 2023.

The bank also reported a 161.84 percent increase in profit after tax, reaching N291.7 billion by June 2023.

Guaranty Trust Bank (GTCO): GTCO recorded a substantial 85 percent rise in gross earnings during H1 2023, soaring to N672.603 billion from the N364.306 billion recorded in the previous year.

In its audited consolidated and separate financial statements filed with both the Nigerian Exchange Group and London Stock Exchange, the bank reported a profit after tax of N280.482 billion for H1 2023, compared to N77.557 billion in the corresponding period of 2022.

United Bank for Africa (UBA): UBA demonstrated its financial prowess with a remarkable 164 percent increase in gross earnings, reaching N981.78 billion in June 2023, compared to N372.36 billion in June 2022.

According to the bank’s audited financial report, its profit after tax surged to N378.24 billion, reflecting a staggering 437.8 percent increase over H1 2022.

First Bank: Nigeria’s oldest bank, First Bank, experienced substantial growth in gross earnings, witnessing an 82.8 percent increase to N656.6 billion in H1 2023, compared to N359.2 billion in the same period of 2022.

The bank’s profit after tax also saw significant growth, increasing to N174.9 billion in H1 2023 from N53.3 billion in the previous year.

Also, other prominent banks that recorded substantial growth in gross earnings in the first half of 2023 included Wema Bank (N89.09 billion), Fidelity Bank (N247.1 billion), Sterling Holding (N99.06 billion), and FCMB (N238.2 billion). Cumulatively, these eight banks collectively amassed N3.9 trillion in the first six months of the year.

A deeper analysis of these banks’ financial statements indicated that the impressive performance in the first half of the year was primarily attributable to the devaluation of the naira following the Central Bank of Nigeria’s decision to float the local currency.

For instance, Zenith Bank’s interest income surged by 72 percent, reaching N415.4 billion in H1 2023 from N241.7 billion in H1 2022. Additionally, trading gains rose by 21 percent to N103 billion during this period.

The growth in interest income was attributed to the impact of both the expansion and repricing of risk assets.

“The liberalization of the foreign exchange market during the period spurred the growth in non-interest income as revaluation gains improved significantly,” noted the bank.

These impressive financial performances underscore the resilience and adaptability of Nigerian banks in the face of economic challenges and changing market conditions, positioning them as key players in the nation’s financial landscape.

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