By Stephen Ubanna
The Kennedy Uzoka, led United Bank For Africa, UBA plc, popular, Pan African Bank, appears to have targeted the two billion people African Continental Free Market, AfCTA, with a Gross Domestic Product , GDP, of $3.4 trillion to expand its operations in the 19 African countries where it currently operates.
This may have informed why the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, LCCI, under the close watch of Mrs. Toki Mabogunje, had said that the Bank will remain ‘’ its preferred partner for the Lagos Trade Fair, LITF’’. The CCI President who may have taken advantage of the 35th edition of the LITF, to speak out in Lagos, the nation’s Commercial nerve centre, where the 35th edition of the Fair was held had Commended the Pan African Bank for ‘’its contribution to the development and growth of trade in the African Continent’’, particular, in the 19 countries, where it has established braches’’.
She had said that partnering with the Leading Commercial Bank in Nigeria, is significant to LCCI because it has established branches in 19 countries within the African Continent. Note that the Organisation is currently Championing the sensitisation and awareness Campaigns for the Small and Medium Scale Industries, SMEs, scattered all over the country and other parts of Africa countries, as the Bank has been urging them ‘’to take advantage of the $3.4 trillion African Continental Free Trade Agreement, AfCTA, market, to produce quality goods that will compete favourably with the items manufactured from the North American country of the United States, US, Asian countries, of China, India, Japan and South Korea, including the European countries of German, Fance, United Kingdom, UK, and other parts of the world.
. Mrs. Mabogunje, who could not hide her feelings may have taken time out to appreciate UBA plc, for the support rendered to the SMEs through making available windows of opportunities for their business to thrive’’, as engine of economic development, , olaying a noteworthy role in job creation, poverty alleviation and economic but face funding challenges. The support extended to the SMEs by UBA plc and Tony Elumelu Foundations, founded by Tony Tony Elumelu, a notable, African Philanthropist, and Chanirman, pf te Pan African Bank, may have made it possible for hundreds of the Companies to participate at this year’s LITF.
In this year’s LCCI, organised Trade Fair, at the popular Tafawa Balewa Square, popular, TBS, over 1,500 exhibitors from 16 African countries were said to have participated in the Fair to show case their goods , services, arts, Crafts, regulatory services to promote intra-African trade. The 10 days event is projected by the organisers to attract 200,000 visitors, from different parts of the African Continent, including Nigeria.
Describing it as a ‘’big feat’’, the LCCI, President noted that ‘’it is not easy for the Pan African Bank to achieve all that and sustain the branches in the se African countries with the adverse effect of the Asian country of China emerged coronavirus, popular, COVID 19, on the global economy, that had forced many Organisations close down including Banks to work in bits and fits.
She may have gladdened the heart of Uzoka, the Group Managing Director of UBA and his Staff, when she revealed that UBA plc, alone,had made it possible for LCCI to successfully deliver LITF, to Nigerians and the international Community. It is not surprising why she had said that ‘’based on this fact, that LCCI, which has a made a mark in organising Trade Fairs of International Standards in Africa is ‘’profoundly appreciative and satisfied that they have a ‘’partner like UBA plc’’.
Muyiwa Akinyemi, the Bank’s Head , Commercial and Corporate Banking, may have spoken the mind of the mind of Uzoka, the GMD, when he said the Bank supported the SMEs, with Funds, to thrive when it realized that it was the fulcrum in any economy to grow’’. An elated Akinyemi noted that ‘’boosting inter-African trade is pertinent if Africa must truly attain self-reliance and economic development.
He stated that the Theme of the year’s Fair resonates with the mission ‘’to create value for stakeholders by supporting businesses across the 51 African countries’’, stressing that this has led to the Bank rapid expansion from Ghana to other countries in the African Continent between 2015 and now.
According to him, AfCTA, is a’’ transformational journey that have been embraced and encouraged by the Bank’’ because it presents it with opportunities that will ‘’ be creating a market of over two billion people with a combined Gross Domestic Product, GDP, of over $3.4 trillion. This may have informed why he had said that ‘’the opportunities of growth and prosperity in the Continent are Limitless’’.
Gabriel Idahosa, the Chairman, Trade Promotion Board, LCCI, may have agreed with others of the possibilities that AfCTA, will create a market of over two million people and thus worth committing to in order to benefit from it. He had commended Mrs. Mabogunje, the LC, President and all the members of the Executive Committee and Council including UBA plc, for ‘’the tremendous support which has been instrumental to the success of the Fair’’.
One major innovations in this year’s LCCI event was the Africa Special Day, where some investment and trade Promotion agencies of some African countries were said to have participated to cash in on the AfCTA, to sell their regulatory services in order to attract investors.
They have a reason for doing so. This is because of their believe that Africans must grow trade and investment themselves to give full motivation to AfCTA.