By Modupe Gbadeyanka
One of the financial institutions in Nigeria, Heritage Bank, has intensified its youth empowerment campaign by working closely with the Living Faith Church (LFC) Worldwide, otherwise known as Winners Chapel.
The bank recently partnered with the church by throwing its weight behind its 17th Annual International Youth Alive Convention to help prepare and empower millions of young Nigerians with the aim of boosting their employment prospects.
The collaboration was triggered by the growing unemployment rate in Nigeria, which is giving the Nigerian government, corporate organisations, including Heritage Bank, something to worry about.
Incidentally, no less than 40 million unemployed people in the country are youths, comprising 66 per cent of Nigeria’s working population, according to the National Bureau Statistics (NBS).
As an institution at the forefront of empowering youths, the MD/CEO of Heritage Bank, Mr Ifie Sekibo, said there was the need to help prepare the millions of young Nigerians for the transition to work and engaged citizenship, by connecting both post-secondary and University graduates into understanding career opportunities and getting prepared for employment and entrepreneurship.
He also emphasized and canvassed for effective and increased investment in young people as a key pathway to jobs in today’s changing world of work.
Mr Sekibo, who was represented by Adesoji Ogunsanya, Head, Talent Resourcing, Human Capital Management, whilst giving career talks on Getting a Job Immediately after School, hinted on apt CV writing tips, how to prepare for interviews, personal effectiveness and, career and personal fulfilment.
Admonishing the Winners’ Youth Ministry, the banker also advised them to take care of themselves spiritually, emotionally and physically, whilst noting that self-management was also required for optimal productivity.
According to him, it is quite appropriate to also carry out a SWOT Analysis on yourself, leverage on the areas of strength and opportunities, build competency in the area of weakness and threat.
Mr Sekibo explained that the level of joblessness amongst young Nigerians was of interest to Heritage Bank to ensure that they were equipped to find decent jobs, adding that “young people are almost three times as likely as adults to be unemployed”.
However, he disclosed that one of the channels churned out in partnering the youths to leverage their talents and contribute their quota to the growth of the economy, was the use of financial inclusion strategy which would be adopted to prepare them and boost entrepreneurship development, as this is critical to Heritage Bank’s mission to create, preserve and transfer wealth across generations.
The Assistant National Youth Pastor of Living Faith Church, North Central, Mr George Eko, who expressed appreciation for the impartation of knowledge upon the youths by Heritage Bank; affirmed that the self-esteem of the youths had been elevated by being given the opportunity to interact with the Bank which they thought could never be a reality.
He expressed his joy and announced that the people were overwhelmed as the church was not only concerned about their spiritual development but with their physical development which had to do with employment, welfare, and other areas of their lives.
“Regardless of the no job scandal, the youths have been empowered differently and Heritage Bank partnered with the church in the Job Fair to ensure that the lives of the youths are improved,” Mr George added.
Africa Finance Corporation Unveils $2bn Credit Facility for Banks
By Adedapo Adesanya
In the wake of global crises including the COVID-19 pandemic and more recently the Russia-Ukraine conflict, Africa Finance Corporation (AFC) has announced the launch of a $2 billion facility to support bank-driven economic recovery in Africa, and the resilience of African economies.
AFC has committed to funding up to 50 per cent of the credit facility and mobilizing the rest through its network of international partners and investors.
The facility, dubbed African Economic Resilience will be disbursed via loans from AFC to select commercial banks, regional development banks and central banks in various African countries, providing them with much needed hard currency liquidity to finance trade and other economic activities in their various jurisdictions.
These institutions will be able to leverage AFC’s proven access to global funding to access financing at competitive rates.
Speaking on the rationale behind the launch, Head of Treasury and Financial Institutions, Mr Banji Fehintola said, “The COVID-19 pandemic set back Africa’s economic growth trajectory and further widened the trade financing gap. Before the continent could get over that, the Russia-Ukraine conflict has brought with it a new set of challenges, which have the same effect of negatively impacting growth prospects across the continent.
“As such, we are determined to play a leading role in shaping the continent’s recovery and resilience, not only through the work we do in bridging Africa’s infrastructure gap but also through targeted interventions such as this $2billion COVID-19 economic resilience facility.”
Applications for the African Economic Resilience facility will open at a yet to be announced date and will be accessible through AFC’s website. Through this funding intervention, the firm will accelerate its developmental impact in Africa, driving the continent to a new phase of growth that is focused on maximum resource value capture and domestic job creation.
Over the last 15 years, AFC has built experience mobilizing global capital for critical infrastructure projects in Africa with several bond issuances in the last two years, including a 10-year $500 million Eurobond in 2019, a 5-year $700 million Eurobond in 2020 and a 7-year $750million Eurobond at its lowest yield in 2021.
Recently, an independent asset management arm, AFC Capital Partners was established with plans to raise $2 billion to fund climate adaptation infrastructure projects in Africa.
It is this same fund mobilization experience that AFC will leverage to support COVID-19 economic recovery in Africa through the Rebuilding Economic Resilience facility.
Heritage Bank’s Osepiribo Ben-Willie Wins EveAfrique Award
By Modupe Gbadeyanka
An executive at Heritage Bank Plc, Ms Osepiribo Ben-Willie, has been given a Heart of Gold award at the annual Red Ball for Charity organised by EveAfrique.
The banker, who is the Directorate Head of South-South, South-East & Private Wealth Management at Heritage Bank, was part of the 10 awardees recognised for her immense contribution to the sustainable development and socio-economic growth in the Niger Delta region.
Ms Ben-Willie stated that Heritage Bank has been at the forefront of investing in human capital development for critical economic recovery. This, according to her, informed the keen interest in extending support to the Niger Delta region.
Specifically, she commended the organisers of the event for the award and on the need to raise awareness in addressing a peculiar health matter about Lupus signs and symptoms which happens not to be known by many individuals.
“In Heritage Bank, health is a priority, that is why we will continue to partner and support the organizers of EveAfrique on knowledge increase about the importance of early detection and treatment, enhancing the self-management skills of people with lupus, and improving the capacity of health care providers in their ability to make quick and accurate diagnoses,” she said.
Ms Ben-Willie disclosed the bank’s commitment to supporting one of the survivors of Lupus, Boma Alaiyiboba Graham-Douglas’s foundation, whilst stating that the lender has been at the forefront of addressing health matters through several partnerships with state governments and NGOs.
In her keynote address, the Convener of EveAfrique of Red Ball for Charity initiative, Ms Ivy Davis Etokakpan, said that her organisation in partnership with Heritage Bank has synergized to create significant awareness and support for individuals affected by the disease.
She further stated that the Heart of Gold award was presented in appreciation of well-deserved distinguished persons who have made notable strides in the areas of protection and respect for human rights, peaceful settlement of disputes, sustainable development to socio-economic growth in the Niger Delta region.
The 2022 EveAfrique’s Red Ball for Charity was themed A Night of Hope with focus on Lupus Awareness and Management and had several persons in attendance.
Nigeria’s Financial Inclusion Rate Almost at 70%—CBN
By Aduragbemi Omiyale
The financial inclusion rate in Nigeria is almost at 70 per cent, the Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN), Mr Godwin Emefiele, has disclosed, expressing optimism that the 85 per cent target would be achieved within a very short period.
Speaking in Abuja on Monday, Mr Emefiele said the introduction of the eNaira last year will speed up the rate of financial inclusion by enhancing the relationship between mobile banking and e-business.
Yesterday, the apex bank chief received a delegation of Executive Directors from the Bank of Uganda (BoU), who were on an experience sharing tour of the Central Bank Digital Currency (CBDC) project of the CBN.
The team comprised Executive Director and Economic Adviser to the Governor, BoU, Dr Jacob Opolot; the Executive Director, Information Technology, BoU, Mr Richard Mayebo; Executive Director, Finance, BoU, Mr Richard Byarugaba; and the Acting Director, National Payments Systems Department, Mr Andrew Kawere.
While addressing his guests at the bank’s head office in Abuja, Mr Emefiele noted that the CBN was committed to accelerating the rate at which those who were financially excluded could come into the formal banking sector.
He said the eNaira has recorded some level of success judging by the rate of integration and security features, adding that the digital Naira was attracting from other countries and multinational bodies such as the International Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bank.
According to him, this underscored the level and quality of work the CBN had put into the project, though he noted that Nigeria, being the first country in Africa to launch its CBDC, was a case study to other climes, the country was treading cautiously to ensure it sustains the successes recorded thus far.
While equally stressing that the country had deepened its payment system infrastructure, which he noted was ranked among the best in the world, Mr Emefiele paid tribute to his predecessor in office, Mr Sanusi Lamido Sanusi, for laying the foundation upon which the country’s current payments system was built.
He recalled that Mr Sanusi, as then CBN Governor, appointed him chairman of the sub-committee of the Bankers’ Committee to lead the payments system drive in 2012, adding that the move paved the way for innovative ideas that eventually led to the creation of the eNaira.
He, therefore, charged the Executive Directors (the equivalent to CBN Deputy Governors) of the Bank of Uganda to strive to strengthen their country’s payment system, noting that a strong payment system remained the bedrock for the successful take-off of a CBDC.
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