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Unity Bank, Kitian Partner to Empower 300 Youths with Digital Skills

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In a bid to promote SDG 8 for decent work and economic growth, Nigerian lender, Unity Bank Plc is collaborating with Kitian Training Hub, an Ibadan-based career advice and skills acquisition training centre to empower no fewer than 300 youths from Oyo State with different knowledge and skills designed to better equip beneficiaries to make career advancement.

With the intervention, the Bank is providing support for sponsoring the youth training programme at the Kitian Training Hub set up to facilitate technical and vocational courses and thus drive digital skills acquisition among Nigerian youths and prepare them for job opportunities in the bourgeoning technology sector.

The fully-funded, “Skill Up” training programme focused on both digital and non-digital skills training, including graphics design, web design, UI/UX design, fashion design, domestic electrical installations, MS Word suite and data analytics.

This partnership further underscores the Bank’s ongoing commitment to boosting capacity for the digital economy through strategic digital skills training programmes and empowering the youths to acquire critical skills required to play an active part in the thriving digital economy.

Recall that the Bank earlier this year collaborated with Alternate School Africa, a software training school in Lagos, as part of activities to celebrate International Women’s Day and empower young female engineers looking to acquire core software development skills and pursue a career in the information technology sector.

To enrich the content of the Kitian Training Hub “Skill Up” programme, the Bank anchored training on financial intelligence and business development for the beneficiaries, thereby preparing them for a life of entrepreneurship through the training.

Unity Bank’s Head of Retail & SME Banking, Dr. Opeyemi Ojesina who anchored the session exposed the students to the rudiments of managing and growing Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).

In his further assessment of the collaborative initiative, Dr. Ojesina was satisfied with the content of the programme which according to him is not only scenario-based learning but also a well-packaged delivery style effective to close the gap between theory and practical; adding: “it will change the mindset of participants to easily take on the next big thing in their lives”.

“The Bank recognises that technology and innovation form the bedrock of the workforce that can take on the future, which is why we keep collaborating with relevant institutions that are moving in this direction” Mr Opeyemi quips.

“If you look at Unity Bank’s strategic initiatives and collaborations over the past few years, from corpreneurship, which is for fresh graduates; to a partnership on building capacity in the blue economy, and then to the most recent partnership with Alternate School Africa for female software engineers, you would realise the pattern of the Bank’s intervention and commitment to the society, especially to the youths: that buttresses what the Bank stands for.”

The Chief Executive Officer of Kitian Training Hub, Mrs Taiwo Oshunniyi, commended the Bank for the partnership, stating that the partnership has helped the Hub to meet its objective of closing the widening skill gap within the economy.

Oshunniyi said, “We appreciate all our partners, especially Unity Bank Plc. The training should fill some unemployment gaps. Some of our students picked courses in which they already have an interest, and with the knowledge, they will gain here, they will enhance their skills and even provide employment for other people.”

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Glo Widens Customer Base with Its MoneyMaster PSB

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Glo-powered MoneyMaster Payment Service Bank (MMPSB), a major payment service bank in Nigeria, has recorded massive growth in its customer base as it added a new bouquet of services to its operations.

The positive growth is as a result of innovations and services introduced in the past few months by the PSB to delight its customers in the country.

Licensed by the Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) in August 2020, MoneyMaster PSB facilitates payments and remittance services within Nigeria, accepts deposits from individuals and small businesses, issues debit and prepaid cards, operates electronic wallets, inbound remittances, and carries out other services in line with CBN regulations.

Its focus is the unbanked and under-banked segment in Nigeria in order to deepen financial inclusion. It launched commercial operations in May 2022, and has continued to experience expansion in its client base with hundreds of potential customers leveraging its digital channels such as USSD, mobile app and internet banking to open accounts, buy airtime and data, pay utility bills and more.

Sources indicate that more Nigerians are joining the bank to enjoy the wide array of services on offer and conduct their financial transactions with ease and with assurance of security of their transactions.

There are currently over 4,000 billers on the MMPSB platform and the number is growing on a daily basis. Through the platform, customers are able to pay for many essential services such as airtime, data, electricity, cable subscription, etc.

The immediate future holds bigger promise for customers of the payment service bank as it gears up to retool and reengineer for better customer experience. Several new initiatives are set to be unveiled to delight customers soon.

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Forex Crisis: FG Blocks Binance, OctaFX, Coinbase, Others

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The Nigerian government has blocked the online platforms of Binance and other crypto firms to avert what it considers continuous manipulation of the forex market and illicit movement of funds.

Sources within the major telecommunication companies in the country told PREMIUM TIMES Wednesday that the Nigerian Communications Commission (NCC) communicated the directive to telcos and they had started acting on it.

Apart from Binance, other platforms such as Forextime, OctaFX, Crypto, FXTM, Coinbase, Kraken, among others, were equally blocked.

Presidency and regulatory sources said the government decided to move against Binance and other crypto firms following reports that currency speculators and money launderers were using them to execute criminal activities. Authorities believe the ‘criminal activities’ going on on platforms are contributing significantly to the weakening of the naira.

Binance, a digital assets platform, serves as a window for peer to peer transactions allowing users to advertise interest to sell or buy currencies of their choice.

In September 2023, Nigeria’s Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) placed a disclaimer on Binance Nigeria Limited, saying the platform was “neither registered nor regulated by the Commission and its operations in Nigeria are therefore illegal”.

Despite the warning by the regulatory agency, the firm continued its operation, attracting huge patronage especially among urban youths and suspected speculators and money launderers. Aside from suspicions of economic sabotage, officials also speak of national security concerns as the platforms are often patronised by other criminal groups including for payment of ransom.

In its reaction earlier on Wednesday, Binance said “users behaving in a manipulative way” will be removed from its platform.

“As industry leaders, we are working hand in hand with local authorities, lawmakers, and regulators to ensure we act on non-compliance,” the platform added, noting that it is “setting an upper limit for ads, filtering and removing bad ads, requiring and raising deposits for merchants posting ads as well as processes for actioning against any market manipulators.”

On Tuesday, the Nigerian government announced that it was planning to raise $10bn to improve liquidity in the foreign exchange market.

President Bola Tinubu, who was represented by Vice President Kashim Shettima, disclosed this at the inaugural Public Wealth Management Conference in Abuja on Tuesday.

“At the core of this is ensuring optimal management of the assets and investments of the Federal Government towards unlocking their revenue potential. This includes our bold and achievable plan to double the GDP growth rate and significantly increase the GDP base over the next 8 years,” Mr Shettima said.

Meanwhile, the naira tumbled to an all-time low of N1,900 per dollar at the parallel market on Tuesday, amidst speculations and uncertainties about supply constraints in the markets. But at the Nigerian Autonomous Foreign Exchange Market (NAFEM), the local unit appreciated slightly to N1,551.24.

Earlier on Tuesday, the office of the National Security Adviser directed law enforcement agencies to take firm measures against anyone engaged in foreign exchange market speculation.

“In a concerted effort to safeguard Nigeria’s foreign exchange market and combat speculative activities, the Office of the National Security Adviser and the Central Bank of Nigeria are joining forces to address challenges impacting the nation’s economic stability,” the office said in a statement.

“The CBN’s proactive measures to stabilise the foreign exchange market and stimulate economic activities have been commendable. However, the effectiveness of these initiatives is being undermined by the activities of speculators, both domestic and international, operating through various channels, thereby exacerbating the depreciation of the Nigerian naira.”

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UBA Takes Centre Stage at 2024 ECOWAS Mining Forum in Cotonou As Elumelu Gives Keynote Address

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Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has been announced as the official sponsor of the 4th edition of the ECOWAS Mining and Petroleum Forum (ECOMOF 2024) scheduled to take place at the Palais des Congrès in Cotonou, Benin from February 22 to February 24, 2024.

The regional event is expected to see a large gathering of key players and stakeholders in the mining and petroleum sectors of the Economic Community of West African States (ECOWAS) and as the financial institution of choice, with presence in 20 African countries and active involvement in major continental development projects, UBA is the preferred partner for the event, underlining the bank’s commitment to the growth of mining and Petroleum industry in the sub-region but to the whole not African economic development.

UBA Group Chairman, Tony Elumelu, would give the keynote address during the opening ceremony of this all-important event.

Elumelu who doubles as Chairman of Transcorp Group, with extensive interests in energy and power, will be speaking on the theme: “Geo-extractive Resources and Technologies: what pooling strategies for Value Creation in West Africa”

His speech is expected to highlight UBA’s increasing effort to support and develop the African continent through strategic investments in the key sectors of mining and petroleum.

Under the esteemed leadership of the President of the Republic of Benin, His Excellency, Patrice Talon, and the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria and current President of ECOWAS, His Excellency Mr. Bola Tinubu, UBA Group will at the forum aim to restate its commitment towards supporting economic and social development across the continent.

The focus of ECOMOF 2024 underscores the significance of transforming the mining and oil sectors into economic pillars by formulating attractive policies for investors, essential for the sectors’ substantial contribution to the Gross Domestic Products (GDP) of ECOWAS member states.

The Transnational Corporation Group (Transcorp Plc) – a diversified conglomerate with strategic investments in various sectors, including power and energy – will also actively participate in the forum.

Key officials from UBA Group and Transcorp Plc, including the Chief Executive Officer UBA Africa, Abiola Bawuah; UBA’s Group Head, Corporate and Energy Bank, Ebele Ogbue, and President/ Chief Executive Officer, Transcorp Group, Owen Omogiafo will be actively involved in discussions and panels on the sidelines of the event.

Anticipated to attract over 2,000 participants from diverse sectors, including representatives from mining and oil industries, government officials, international and national investors, industry experts, ECOWAS delegates, and international organizations, ECOMOF 2024 promises to be a significant platform for collaborative dialogue and partnership building.

United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with 25,000 employees’ group wide and serving over 35 million customers globally. Operating in 20 African countries and in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and the United Arab Emirates, UBA provides retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

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