UBA Group Partners With Saudi EXIM Bank To Enhance  Business  Relationships And  Exports

By Stephen Ubanna

When President Bola Ahmed Tinubu, accompanied by Olayemi Wale Edun, minister of Finance   and Coordinating minister of the Economy, and seven other ministers including  some private investors travelled to Riyadh, Capital of the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to attend the Saudi -Africa summit and the Arab -Africa summit, they knew that they a big challenge at hand ‘’to take  the present Administration’s  aggressive push  for attracting  more foreign direct investments, FDI,  and expanding  business partnerships with  the oil rich  Arab country.

The Nigerian President who has never  missed any  opportunity provided by such economic summits in the past  to woo investors  did not hesitate  in taken advantage of  the Arab-Africa Economic summit organised  at  Riyadh,Saudi Arabia,  to woo investors   with the implementation of  African Continental  Free Trade Area, AfCTA,  agreement  that will  be having  a single  trade market  of over one billion African.

Indeed, the expectation of the AfCTA, single market, according to United Nations Economic Commission for Africa is that by the end of 2050, the African Continental market would have surpassed the $29 billion mark. This may have emboldened Elumelu, the UBA Chairman to reach out to the Arab country’s investor.

Recall that at the September G20 summit in New Delhi, India, Tony Elumelu, a business mogul, and Chairman UBA Group, who had accompanied the Lagos state born Nigerian President to the summit at a round table talks with the Indian investors had received investment pledges amounting to $14 billion from them.   He was said to have succeeded  in getting four Indian conglomerates, including Indorama Petrochemical Limited, Jindal Steel and Power Limited were said to agree to invest $14 billion in the Nigerian economy.

The India’s  Jindal Steel  and Power Limited , JNSP.NS,  was said to have committed  to pump $3  billion  to the Nigeria’s steel sector  while Idorama  Corporation,  on its part,had planned  to invest  an additional $ 8 billion  to expand its  petrochemical facility  in Nigeria,  the most populous country in the African  Continent. Two other Indian companies, Skipperseil Limited and Bharti Enterprises, were said have  agreed to invest  $1.6 billion and $700 million  respectively  to the Nigerian economy.

Oliver Alawuba, GMD, UBA Group & Engr. Sa’a Akhaib: CEO, Saudi EXIM Bank

The UBA Group, may have repeated the same this time around at Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, on Wednesday, November 9, 2023. Oliver Alawuba, Group Managing Director, GMD, United Bank for Africa, UBA plc a Pan African Bank, may have taken advantage of being participants in the Riyadh summit, to enter into a partnership agreement with the  Saudi  Export -Import  Bank,  EXIM, a premier  export  credit agency  in the Arab country aimed at’ ’strengthening  business growth  and enhancing  economic cooperation  between the two countries’ economies’’.

The two financial institutions were said to have signed a Memorandum of Understanding, MoU, ‘’to foster economic cooperation and trade relations between the two entities’’.  Informed sources told The Value News that the MoU, was signed on the side-lines of the Saudi and Africa n summits in Riyadh.

The partnership between the UBA Group and Saudi EXIM Bank, according to an insider had ‘’outlined the guiding principles  for developing  cooperation  and relationships between  the two Banks’’, with the ‘’primary focus  on promoting trade  through the export of  goods and services between the Middle East country and the African countries.

The two Banks were said to have also agreed ‘’to ensure sustained participation in the development of the African economy through continental business relationships that would be facilitated by the new partnership that had been entered into by the two parties.

Going by the terms of the MoU  signed by the UBA Group and the Saudi EXIM Bank officials, it  was expected also ‘’to work towards supporting joint projects and collaboration   involving the export of goods and services from the Kingdom of Saudi Arabia to the African countries and exploring other opportunities to co-finance, co-insure, co-guarantee and the reinsurance of projects jointly undertaken by companies from the two regions’’.

There are indications that the MoU, would also facilitate the exchange of information and technical know-how in the field of export credit policies and practices, the sharing of experiences  and best practices through   regular meetings, conferences, seminars, and workshops , as well as providing training for Organisation’s staff members and staff exchanges when beneficial to both parties.

Notwithstanding the MoU, that was said to have been by the UBA Group and Saudi EXIM Bank, the value news online Magazine gathered that ‘’the framework for cooperation on specific joint projects will be established  under separate  agreements, with each party  determining the terms  and conditions of its support   in line with its policies, procedures and national legislation’’.

It was gathered that the exchange of information between the two parties, going by the MoU, will be facilitated by both institutions, while technical know-how in the field of export credit facilities and practices will be shared.

Alawuba, GMD, UBA Group, who could not hide  his feelings about the deal with Saudi EXIM Bank  had said that  through the partnership  , both financial institutions  would be able to identify  and support joint projects and further collaborate  in the area of  exportation of goods and services between the  Kingdom of Saudi Arabia  and the African countries.

Hear him: We are happy to join hands with Saudi EXIM Bank in a partneship arrangement that holds great promises   for businesses and economies in the Arab country and African countries.  He noted that the MoU, that had been entered between the Middle East country and the West African country of Nigeria would not only ‘’ facilitate the export of goods and services but go a step further to solidify their commitment to intercontinental business relationships’ and contribute  to the development of  the African economy’’.

An elated Alawuba, the GMD, of UBA Group  was said to have told  those hat cares to listen that  ‘’the deal  between the two  Banks, is particularly promising  as the Arab country  is currently deepening  economic cooperation  with  theAfrican countries  where the Nigeria based Commercial Bank has   had established presence in 20 of the African countries ,thus providing  the necessary vehicle  for deepening this engagement.

The Pan African Bank which offers   banking services to more than 37 million Customers’  across 1,000 business offices  and customer touch points in the  20 African countries  was said to have also established presence  in the North American country of the United States , US, city of New York, London  in the United Kingdom, UK,   and Paris, Capital of France  and  has extended its operations to the United Arab Emirate, UAE.

The UBA Group, Chief Executive Officer, CEO, was said to have further stated that the partnership between the two distinct  Banks would expand  the Pan African Bank  access  to the Asian and other Middle East countries. This is evident as  the Nigerian based  Money Deposit Bank, MDB, has  opened  a subsidiary  in Dubai, United Arab Emirate, UAE.

Sa’ad Al-Khalb, an Engr  and CEO, Saudi EXIM,  established  in 2020 , with  the aim  of promoting  Saudi non-oil  exports  and enhancing the  country’s competitiveness across various sectors in the global markets had said that ‘’by uniting  their strengths  the two Banks  have  set  in motion a dynamic platform  that will enhance the export  of innovative  Saudi  manufactured goods and services, analyse industrial growth  and further magnify  their global footprint   across  the African continent’’.

The Saudi EXIM Bank, helmsman had said that ‘’the deal with the UBA Group will not only augment the country’s export diversification but also contribute significantly to the socio – economic fabric of the African nations ‘’.

 He asserted the deal was executed basically to provide financing services, guarantees and credit insurance   to customers with competitive advantages to enhance confidence in Saudi’s products and further increase the contribution of the country’s non-oil industries revenue   to the government coffers to  50%   by 2030 from the present low level of 16%.

 He may have thrown a challenge to the Management of the  UBA Group when  he disclosed that  the Kingdom’s vision  is to  improve the country’s non-oil exports by 20230, through  the country’s EXIM Bank  which is one  of the development  Banks that are presently being  supervised  by the Saudi  National  Development Fund. This  may have informed why the EXIM Authorities  are  leaving no stone upturned to ensure that the Kingdoms’ target  of  getting the country’s  non-oil export hit 50%   by 2030   was met.   

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