UBA’s GMD Calls For Closer Collaboration Among African Central Banks | Independent Newspapers Limited
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UBA’s GMD Calls For Closer Collaboration Among African Central Banks

Posted: Jul 25, 2016 at 2:07 pm   /   by   /   comments (0)

Bamidele Ogunwusi,



Outgoing Group Managing Director of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, Phillip Oduoza , has called for increased collaboration among African central banks in order to drive intra-African trade on the continent.

He said this at the weekend when he delivered the 4th Valedictory Lecture of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN) on the topic “The Emergence of a Nigerian Pan-African Bank” to a parked hall of bankers and financial industry players.

Oduoza used the lecture to share his experience and challenges in helping build one of Africa’s largest banking groups, UBA Plc.

He spoke extensively on UBA’s expansion into Africa, the rational for the expansion and the strategies adopted to derive maximum value and reduce the risks of UBA’s foray into different African countries.

He also shared with the audience, the lessons learnt from the bank’s expansion into Africa.

Speaking specifically on the need to improve intra-Africa trade in order to drive the growth of Pan-African banks like UBA, Oduoza decried the low levels of intra-African trade.

“The volume of formal intra-African trade is relatively low and estimated between 10 percent and 12 percent of Africa’s total trade. Comparable figures are 40 percent in North America and about 60 percent in Western Europe”, he said

He listed lack of the required infrastructure and policies as the major challenges to intra-Africa trade, while noting that the adoption of policies like tax holidays, waivers, and market interventions to promote investments in sectors outside commodities will help diversify African economies and drive intra-African trade.

“I strongly feel African Central Banks have a greater role to play by collaborating to promote the development of cross border trade platforms in order to encourage the informal sector to join the formal banking system. When this is done, the opportunity will be readily captured by Pan-African banks”, he said

He also noted that “Intra-African trade growth will be further supported by the introduction of a visa-free travel policy across the continent by the African Union as well as the development of intra-regional transport infrastructure.

Oduoza also harped on the need for improved financial inclusion on the continent, noting that research has shown that only 34 percent of African adults have a bank account as at 2014.

He suggested the adoption of mobile money services could help drive financial inclusion on the continent.

“A Data show about 12 per cent of population in Sub-saharan Africa has a mobile money account as against 2 per cent of adults worldwide. I believe mobile technology has the potential to vastly expand financial inclusion across Africa.  Pan-African banks with a good understanding of the continent can leverage their technology platform to capture this opportunity. Invariably this will mean a growth in retail banking as most of those financially excluded fall within this bracket”, he stressed

He also noted that “UBA has effectively been promoting financial inclusion on continent by leveraging on our advanced digital banking platform. Working with our payment partners, we are improving the payment systems on the continent with prepaid and debit payment cards as well as our mobile and internet banking platforms, which have been deployed and adapted for our subsidiaries across Africa.”

Speaking before the commencement of the lecture by Oduoza, the President and Chairman of Council of the CIBN, Professor Segun Ajibola, explained that the valedictory lecture is organized to honour retiring bankers who have distinguished themselves to share their thoughts and experience with industry players and regulators. He also emphasized that only bankers who have shown professionalism and integrity are honoured with a valedictory lecture by the Institute.

The 4th CIBN Valedictory lecture is part of the series of activities lined up for Phillips Oduoza as he formally retires as the Group Managing Director and CEO of UBA Plc on July 31, 2016.

Incoming Group Managing Director and CEO of UBA Plc, Kennedy Uzoka, as well as Founding Chairman of MTN and Founder Diamond Bank Plc were among the top dignitaries that graced the well attended lecture.