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UBA, Japan Trade Join Forces to Promote MSMEs in Africa

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The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has indicated its preparedness to support the Japanese government in its drive to promote small and medium scale enterprises (MSMEs) across Africa.

Chairman of UBA Group, Mr. Tony Elumelu, said this yesterday when members of the Japan External Trade Organisation (JETRO), led by its CEO, Mr. Hiroyuki Ishige, visited the bank’s head office in Lagos.

Elumelu, who welcomed the guests, noted that the deliberations had earlier begun in Davos, Switzerland, adding that like UBA, JETRO shared the passion for transforming lives and helping to build businesses and trade across the world.

According to Elumelu, “When global leaders visit a country, they bring global attention. These investors who came from Davos have seen Nigeria as a business destination and have come to the country for the first time to visit us and see how things work here. The fact is that we all share the same passion to help transform lives and businesses around the world.

“We are aware of the various investments you have made recently to develop Africa and African businesses and this is what we also stand for at UBA – developing enterprises across the African continent. We believe that this visit will mark significant milestones and progress as we work towards empowering the youths and small and medium scale businesses.”

Elumelu stated that such collaboration and partnership would support employment creation, poverty alleviation and building sustainable businesses that contribute towards economic growth.

Also, Ishige, who was full of praises for the bank’s management, noted that he found Nigeria very interesting with many wonderful opportunities for investment. He said the JETRO aims to contribute to further development of Japan’s economy and society through promoting trade and investment as well as research in developing countries.

“We like what we have seen here and we want to seize this opportunity to invite UBA to our oncoming Afro Japanese Summit which will be taking place in Yokohoma, Japan this August.

“I am convinced it will be a great opportunity for both countries to showcase themselves and come together towards the common aim of building and supporting small and medium scale businesses,” the Japan Trade boss said.

He explained that JETRO through its domestic and oversea networks supports small and medium enterprises, adding that the organisation cooperates with relevant organisations, local governments, etc. to provide services that match the needs of the company.

“We will actively and efficiently work on exporting food products and on supporting overseas expansion of small and medium-sized enterprises and contribute to Japanese corporate activities as well as trade policies through surveys and research,” Ishige said.

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BUSINESS

Investment One Unveils Investment App

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Investment One Financial Services Limited has launched an investment solution for investors.

The Ziing App, according to Group Chief Executive Officer of the Company, Nicholas Nyamali, is a solution for investors who desire to be total control of their investments.

“Ziing is an App on your phone that essentially enables you to take control of your finances. It is your money buddy. It is an App that provides the user an array of financial services ranging from timely investment information to identifying available investment opportunities”, Nyamali disclosed at the launch of the application in recently in Lagos.

“With Ziing, l don’t need to walk into a bank to ask my banker questions on how to manage my idle fund and l can easily control my expenses in case they are getting out of hands,” he added.

A major difference between Ziing and other Apps so far introduced into the Nigerian financial space is that it addresses other financial needs beyond payments.

“It is a one- stop -shop investment management App. You can save with it, track what trading looks like on the stock exchange without going through a broker just with a touch on your phone. Ziing can be used for international money transfer (both sending and receiving). For your latest stock prices, treasury bills prices, investment information, simply Ziing it. For cash, loans etc., Ziing it,”Nyamali enthused.

Ziing also offers its users access to their investment account outside the working days as it enables them to be able to meet their immediate financial needs at any time they needed it. “For instance you can put your money in a fixed deposit say at 13 percent and on a Saturday, with your phone, you can liquidate such an investment to create immediate access to your money. There is no need to have an investment fund (fixed deposit) separated from your current account with the Ziing App”, Investment One disclosed.

Speaking on the rationale behind the introduction of the app by his company, Nyamali said it was the need to provide access and control to players in the financial space both locally and internationally.

“If we are honest to ourselves we will realise the bulk of solutions we have seen in the banking space are that of payment, payments for subscriptions, bills etc. But the solution for access or control is largely lacking. For instance, l want to have access to my investments; l want control over my savings; monitor my expenditure; get investment information; investment education; take control of my finances etc.; those questions had no answers before the introduction of Ziing. That is why at Investment One, we identify that we need a tool called Ziing”, he explained.

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John Abayomi denies ownership of Instablog9ja, threatens to sue Linda Ikeji

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John Abayomi, Online Editor for Punch newspapers, has threatened a lawsuit against the publisher of Linda Ikeji blog, Linda Ikeji, for publishing false and malicious story about him.Abayomi through his lawyer, Falana and Falana’s Chambers claimed that the publication with the headline, ‘LIB Exclusive: Meet the owner of Instablog9ja-John Abayomi’ has put his life and that of his family in danger.

In the letter delivered to the blogger on Friday, Ikeji was asked to tender an unreserved apology within forty-eight hours or risk legal action.

Linda in the said publication had claimed that ‘the owner of instablog9ja is John Abayomi, a former online editor of Vanguard news and current online editor of Punch’.

However, Falana said the statement is untrue and unfounded, but only calculated to lower Abayomi’s esteem and damage his reputation and professional career.

“Your publication has put him in the harm’s way, thereby endangering his life and the lives of his family members. It has also attracted a lot of negative reactions from members of the public including celebrities who has been eager to know the face behind the blunt and sarcastic blog because of the method of reportage”.

“Your mendacious publication was clearly actuated by malice in that it was deliberately done to portray our client as an imposter, a fraudster and a blackmailer”

“In the light of the foregoing, we have our client’s firm instructions to demand an unqualified apology together with a retraction of the libelous publication in the edition of your blog (Linda Ikeji blog) in addition to having the retraction published on Instagram.

“However, if you fail or refuse to accede to our client’s demands within 48 hours of the receipt of this letter, we shall have no option than to initiate civil proceedings against you at the Lagos State High Court without further recourse to you,” reads the letter which was signed by Chukwuma Onwuemene (ESQ.).

A reliable source has also rubbished reports that Abayomi was summoned to a meeting by his employers, Punch Newspapers, over Linda Ikeji’s publication.

“It is totally untrue. There was no such meeting. John is a top-notch professional and everybody close to him, including his employers, are aware that Linda Ikeji’s publication was completely untrue,” the source said.

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Diamond Bank wins Women’s Market Champions Awards

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Nigeria’s leading retail bank, Diamond Bank Plc has been awarded the prestigious Women’s Market Champion honours by the Global Banking Alliance for Women. This year’s Women’s Market Champions reflect the global nature of the Global Banking Alliance for Women’s work hailing from diverse markets and regions.

According to Vanessa Van Landingha, Manager, Branding and Communications Strategy, Global Banking Alliance for Women (GBA), Diamond Bank was selected as one of the 2018 awardees for its outstanding impact on Women development and providing them with holistic solutions that meet their needs.

“The awarded institutions are true champions of women, working to unleash the economic potential of the female economy,” GBA Chief Executive Inez Murray said. “Their engagement with the GBA network is essential to the work we are doing to economically empower women worldwide and contributes to the Women’s Market success of the entire membership.” Landingha said.

Commenting on the award, Karimot Tukur, Head Consumer Banking said; “This award lends credence to the work that Diamond Bank has been doing over the years to advance the cause of women especially in the SME and Financial Inclusion space. Our Diamond Woman proposition is designed specifically for women, by women and dedicated to the economic empowerment of women.”

Diamond Bank Plc is one of Nigeria’s leading commercial bank providing enhanced customer experience through innovation and technology. Regarded as a supporter of Small and Medium-Scale Enterprises through SME lending, capacity building, business seminars and workshops.

Recently, the Bank recorded a landmark funds disbursement of over N1 billion to small business owners under the cash flow-based SME lending scheme in partnership with the Women’s World Banking (WWB), and this has earned the leading financial institution ranked among the top five SME-focused banks in Nigeria in the 2018 KPMG Customer Service Survey.

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FCMB partners WSBI to boost financial inclusion, savings in Nigeria

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First City Monument Bank (FCMB) is set to substantially increase its support to agribusiness, its value chain and growth of the Nigerian economy after signing a Memorandum of Understanding with the World Savings and Retail Banking Institute (WSBI). The memorandum outlines a framework to deepen agency banking, financial inclusion and savings culture in the informal and agribusiness sectors. As part of the terms of the partnership, in addition to the stated areas of support, WSBI will provide technical oversight supervision on a regular basis to ensure the achievement of mutually agreed goals set by both institutions.

According to the memorandum, the project involves FCMB rolling out an integrated savings account – named ‘Kampe Account’ – to offer financial services under phase one of its plan to 150,000 unbanked and under-banked farmers across five states through agricultural agents operating under the bank’s agency banking proposition. The first set of states to benefit in this first phase are Kaduna, Kano, Nasarawa, Ogun and Oyo. The plan is to reach 2 million farmers across the entire nation by year 2023.

In addition to the financial support to farmers, FCMB plans to deploy its state-of-the art technology and mobile banking solutions to drive the project mainly in the rural and sub-urban farm settlements where most farmers are based. The bank will also organize capacity-building programmes for farmers aimed at facilitating their understanding of the sector and promote innovative ideas that would make the sector attractive, ultimately facilitating job creation that would in turn, impact on productivity and income.

Commenting on the grant from WSBI and the initiative, FCMB’s Managing Director and Chief Executive, Mr. Adam Nuru noted the development will revolutionize agribusiness – one of the various empowerment strategies adopted by the bank that is appreciated by stakeholders within and outside Nigeria.

Adam Nuru said: “Partnering with WSBI and harnessing the business model we have developed to drive it, under our Kampe Account, is built on a sustainable approach which ensures farmers can gain better access to finance and other resources needed to help them build successful businesses.”

Nigerian smallholder farmers have been at a disadvantage due to several factors including land fragmentation, inadequate farming equipment, broken value chains, poor access to finance and inadequate cash flow. Over the years, they have suffered from lack of essential services such as access to good markets to create low economies of scale, challenges in the promotion of agricultural productivity, hurdles in their bid to achieve increase in food security to improve rural livelihoods for engendering systematic growth out of poverty. FCMB and WSBI are optimistic that these challenges will be addressed.

Mr. Nuru added: “Farmers who benefit from this effort can and should make the best use of the opportunity. FCMB will continue to partner with WSBI to create opportunities that would ensure the realization of the personal and business needs of customers.”

WSBI Managing Director Chris De Noose concluded: “The Kampe Savings Project is yet another example of the innovative ways rural communities can flourish through mobile savings and beyond. Expanding banking access and agricultural services through the provision of mobile services to the farming community, which increasingly includes more women, can help knock out any doubt about the payoff that farming can bring.”

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