Financial inclusion has not yet been fully achieved, especially in developing countries, leading to lost prosperity not only for individuals and SMEs but economies. In Nigeria, FirstBank has tackled the problem through innovative measures, including its agent banking network Firstmonie, which succeeds in including the previously excluded.
Mr. Simon Hughes of International Banker interviews Mr. Ade Adebiyi, CEO and Managing Director of Guaranty Trust Bank Sierra Leone on the bank’s CSR strategy, its corporate and commercial offerings, and the bank’s exceptional performance figures.
Today, International Banker is joined by Mr. Olukayode Pitan, managing director and CEO of Bank of Industry, to discuss the financial inclusion in Nigeria, the country’s SME sector and the role that the bank plays in improving the economy of Nigeria. Very good to have you here.
Nigeria’s government-owned Bank of Industry is on a mission to “transform Nigeria’s industrial sector by providing financial and business support services to enterprises”, firmly cementing its vital role in advancing the country’s economic development. In our interview with him, Managing Director and CEO Olukayode Pitan explains how BOI is fulfilling its ambitious mandate to create more jobs and reduce poverty by providing financial support to pivotal enterprises.
In any economy, banks play the critical role of re-allocating capital, from surplus areas into deficit areas. It is a role that sees them take deposits from the public and use the same to issue loans to businesses, both large and small. But that process hasn’t been happening much in Sub-Saharan Africa. Instead, banks, motivated by risk-aversion, have been funneling liquidity into the coffers of governments through government-issued debt securities. SSA banks must get back to the business of lending to the private sector if they are to escalate shareholder returns.
Simon Hughes of International Banker interviews Mr. Obeahon Ohiwerei, Managing Director and CEO of Keystone Bank, to discuss the bank’s digital strategy, new product offerings and his own role at the bank.
Nigeria is known as the “Giant of Africa” due to its substantial population and economy to match. Its banks are constantly challenged to meet evolving needs, and one bank in particular, Keystone Bank Limited, stands out for its determination to do just that. Having recently undergone a management transition, Keystone has a fresh vision and willingness to do all it can to make its customer service dependable and convenient.
By the end of August 2016, official data had confirmed that the second quarter of the year had seen a 2-percent contraction in Nigeria’s economy, from the same three-month period in 2015. Given that this was the second consecutive quarter of negative GDP (gross domestic product) growth, it meant that Africa’s biggest economy had slipped into a recession—a situation from which it is yet to escape.
Africa is known as a resource-rich continent. It is now also becoming rich in growing consumer markets. Multinationals, hotels and even luxury-goods retailers are setting up shop across the continent, seeing it as the last great emerging opportunity.
For investors with an appetite for high returns even if they are seasoned with high risk, investment in frontier markets, the smallest economies in the developing world, may be worth considering. The best approach is to allocate only a small portion of a portfolio to these potentially profitable but likely volatile markets.