Afreximbank to offer Supply Chain Finance in  partnership with Sterling Bank

By Favour Nnabugwu


African Export-Import Bank (Afreximbank) has partnered with Sterling Bank to introduce the innovative supply chain finance product ‘Payables Finance’, in Nigeria.

This product, branded as ‘Afreximbank Tradelink,’ is one of Afreximbank’s digital offerings under the umbrella of the Africa Trade Gateway (ATG). ATG provides African corporates and commercial banks with relevant digital tools to access market information, connect with buyers and sellers across the continent for efficient marketing and procurement, facilitate Know Your Customer (KYC) processes, and promote trade payments between African countries in local currencies.

Payables Finance enables suppliers to access financing from the banking system by obtaining early payment for invoices which have been approved for payment by their corporate buyers. The buyers continue to receive trade credit from the suppliers, and the suppliers finance their working capital through the early payment received, enabling them to grow their business.

The financing cost is linked to the credit rating of the corporate buyers, thereby making this product particularly valuable for SME suppliers who may face challenges in accessing bank finance at competitive pricing.

Payables Finance is the fastest growing trade finance product globally and there is an enormous opportunity for African businesses to benefit from it. The partnership with Sterling Bank is a unique and innovative arrangement which leverages the complementary strengths of both institutions to provide a comprehensive market-led solution to Nigerian corporates and their suppliers. Under this arrangement, Afreximbank will provide financing to corporates and banks in both US Dollars and Euros while Sterling Bank will manage financing in Naira. Suppliers of Nigerian corporates can thus benefit from financing in both local and foreign currency as per their requirements.

Haytham ElMaayergi, Executive Vice President of Afreximbank Global Trade Bank, welcomed the launch as another milestone in realising the Bank’s vision of transforming Africa’s trade. He said: “Afreximbank identified supply chain finance as a solution for improving access to trade finance in Africa and embarked on a journey to increase penetration through financial intervention and capacity building.

The Bank’s Factoring Working Group has done extremely well to provide lines of credit to support factoring and has actively promoted factoring across the continent in collaboration with other institutions.” He added that the introduction of Payables Finance is the next step on the Bank’s roadmap for supply chain finance across Africa.

“African businesses now have the opportunity to harness the potential of this product, which has been widely adopted globally, at an accelerated pace by learning from the experiences of other regions and using the latest technologies which have been developed,” he explained.

Commenting on this partnership, Gwen Mwaba, Director & Global Head Trade Finance, Afreximbank said: “The launch in Nigeria is a first step in Afreximbank’s plans to introduce Payables Finance across Africa in partnership with leading African financial institutions. The product, which will deploy world class technology and a collaborative delivery model and will contribute towards achievement of the Bank’s strategic objective of reducing the trade finance gap in Africa, particularly for the Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) segment.”

Chukwuka Onuaguluchi, Ecosystem Banking Head at Sterling Bank, said: “Sterling Bank is committed to meeting the trade finance needs of Nigerian corporates and their suppliers and we are proud to introduce this much-needed product in partnership with Afreximbank for the benefit of Nigerian businesses.”

Afreximbank provides both US Dollar and Euro financing to businesses in its member countries across Africa and in Caribbean Community (CARICOM) member countries. The launch in Nigeria will be followed by similar partnerships in other African countries to expand local currency financing capability across the continent in a phased manner. Adoption of the product will be supported by capacity building events to increase awareness of supply chain finance and its benefits. The product rollout in Nigeria is complemented by a workshop targeting corporate institutions and banks, in collaboration with Woodhall Capital, a leading finance company in Nigeria.

Underpinning the delivery of these new financial products is a market-leading supply chain finance platform, developed by UK-based fintech Demica, a leader in working capital solutions. Demica works with the world’s leading banks to power their supply chain finance solutions. In 2021, the company established a partnership with Afreximbank to extend this technology to banks across Africa.

Access Holdings name Bolaji Agbede as new CEO

By Favour Nnabugwu



Access Holdings Plc has announced the appointment of Bolaji Agbede as the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer.
This development is coming after the tragic death of the former Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Herbert Wigwe.

A statement made by the company’s Board of Directors and dated February 12, 2024, stated that the appointment was subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria.
Further to its announcement dated February 11, 2024, the Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc (‘the Company’) has today announced the appointment of Ms Bolaji Agbede as the Acting Group Chief Executive Officer of the Company following the unfortunate demise of its former Group Chief Executive Officer, Dr Herbert Wigwe, on February 9, 2024.

“The appointment is subject to the approval of the Central Bank of Nigeria,” the statement read in part.

Agbede, who joined Access Bank in 2003 as an Assistant General, has nearly three decades of professional experience cutting across banking and business consultancy services.

She served in different roles at the bank including, Head, Group Human Resources between 2010 and 2022 before she was appointed the company’s founding Executive Director, Business Support in 2022, a role she held until her new appointment

She holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Mathematics and Statistics from the University of Lagos and a Masters of Business Administration Degree from Cranfield University UK in 2002.

She is also a member of the Chartered Institute of Management UK and the Chartered Institute of Personnel Management of Nigeria.

Access Holdings confirms passing away of MD, Herbert Wigwe, wife, & son

By Favour Nnabugwu


The Board of Directors, Access Holdings Plc  has confirmed the passing of Dr. Herbert Wigwe, CFR, the Company’s founding Group Chief Executive Officer and former Group Managing Director of its flagship subsidiary, Access Bank Plc.

Dr. Wigwe died alongside his wife and son on Friday, February 9, 2024, in a helicopter accident in the United States of America.

The entire Access Family mourns the loss of Herbert, Doreen and Chizi. We extend our deep and sincere sympathies to his family and loved ones. Dr. Wigwe was a key driving force and a larger-than-life personality who brought his remarkable passion, energy, and experience to the transformation of the Access franchise since joining the Bank in 2002.

Commenting on the passage of Dr. Wigwe, Mr. Abubakar Jimoh, Chairman of Access Holdings said:

“The Access Family has suffered a major loss with the passing of Dr. Wigwe who was a great friend and fine gentleman. He had a prodigious intellect, admirable personal qualities, and vast business experience which he brought to bear on the Access Family and for which we owe him a debt of gratitude.

We remain confident that the Access Group will build further on Dr. Wigwe’s legacy of growth and operational excellence.”

Dr. Wigwe was instrumental in the growth of Access Bank, which he co-founded with his friend and business partner Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede. He took over as Access Bank Group CEO in 2014, focusing on the Bank’s expansion in Nigeria and Africa before taking the helm at Access Holdings in 2022. Under his leadership, Access Bank drove its African strategy to become Sub Saharan Africa’s largest retail bank by customer base.

Dr. Wigwe was a member of the Access Bank UK board as well as the board of the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA). He has long been an advocate for the eradication of malaria in Africa, working with the Corporate Alliance on Malaria to support this objective.

He also sat on the board of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company and Friends Africa and was an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and Institute of Credit Administration.

A two-time winner of the African Banker of the Year award from the African Banker Awards, Dr. Wigwe was a passionate advocate of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which form the bedrock of Access Holdings’ growth strategy.

His academic credentials include a degree in Accounting from the University of Nigeria, an MA in Banking and Finance from the University College of North Wales (now Bangor University), and an MSc in Financial Economics from the University of London. He also completed the Harvard Business School Executive Management Program.

Dr. Wigwe recently founded Wigwe University, Africa’s first ivy league institution dedicated to providing a world-class education and raising the next generation of fearless leaders.

Femi Otedola now Chairman, FBN Holdings

By Favour Nnabugwu


Nigerian businessman, Femi Otedola has emerged as the Chairman, Board of Directors of First Bank of Nigeria (FBN) Holdings.

The financial institution disclosed this in a corporate filing on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), notifying investors of the new development.

The appointment was confirmed after a recent meeting of the board where Otedola succeeded Alhaji Ahmad Abdullahi.

The institution said Otedola’s appointment is effective January 31, 2024.

FBN Holdings added that Otedola came on its board on August 15, 2023, as a non-executive director and described him as a visionary entrepreneur.

“He is a visionary entrepreneur with a track record of pioneering businesses, growing and transforming corporations. His first foray into the downstream sector of the oil and gas industry began with Zenon Petroleum and Gas Limited thus disrupting and redefining standards in the industry. He thereafter initiated the purchase of majority shareholding in the then African Petroleum Plc in May 2007 and became the Chairman of the Board on 25 May 2007.

“His vision transformed African Petroleum Plc into Forte Oil Pic (FO PIc). The company grew in leaps and bounds to become a model of the possibilities inherent in Nigeria, winning numerous accolades in recognition of the successful business turnaround, diversified portfollo, prompt financial reporting, strong corporate governance, and Investment of choice within the oil and gas industry.

In December 2018, he divested from the company by selling his shareholdings to the Ignite Consortium led by Prudent Energy Services Limited and handed over in June 2019 after completing the transaction,” FBN Holdings said

AfDB to invest $10.50m in African businesses

By Favour Nnabugwu 




he Board of Directors of the African Development Bank (AfDB) agreed to take a stake of USD 10.50 million in the capital of Seedstars Africa Ventures S.L.P. venture capital fund to enable it to invest in innovative African businesses with strong growth potential.

The Bank agreed to invest USD 7 million from its ordinary resources and USD 3.5 million from the European Union Boost Africa programme. The investment will allow Seedstars Africa Ventures (SAV) to raise funds, expand its presence in Africa and attract other investors.

Seedstars Africa Ventures is an early-stage venture capital fund investing in high-growth companies active across Sub-Saharan Africa.

The fund focuses on businesses that have strong potential, are generating income and tackling key challenges in the market. It mainly targets sub-Saharan Africa, especially markets less well covered by traditional investors, and enjoys a particular focus on French-speaking countries such as Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Benin and Cameroon. However, it also has investments in Ghana, Uganda and Tanzania.

As a venture capital fund of USD 75 million, Seedstars Africa Ventures targets the start-up and launch phases of businesses tackling key constraints in the market. Initial investments are around the EUR 250,000 mark, followed by additional capital injections of €5 million to support their growth.

SAV focuses on financial inclusion and the technologies that equip businesses (fintech and insurtech); retail sales and logistics platforms that target the online and mobile consumers market; health-related technologies; pre-paid, off-grid energy; and more generally, the adoption of technology in businesses, particularly in the food-processing industry and value chains.

It is estimated that the fund will help create 9,000 full-time jobs, 50% of them for women, and have a significant economic impact.

The fund’s objectives are in line with those of Boost Africa, which aims to invest in innovative start-ups that are growing strongly and having a positive social impact. Its investment strategy will strengthen that of the African Development Bank, which links entrepreneurship, investment and economic growth to poverty reduction and sustainable development.

It will also contribute to the Bank’s operational priorities – the High 5 – by supporting start-ups operating in key sectors, such as agriculture, health, industrialization and off-grid energy. Finally, the investments will contribute to strengthening regional integration and improving the lives of people in Africa.

African Development Bank to launch East Africa Economic Outlook 2023 tomorrow

The African Development Bank Group will launch the East Africa Economic Outlook 2023 on Thursday, 27 July 2023.

This follows the launch of the main African Economic Outlook report in May during the Bank’s Annual Meetings in Sharm El Sheikh, Egypt.

The African Development Bank’s East Africa Economic Outlook 2023 reviews the economic performance of 13 Eastern African countries over the past year. The countries are Burundi, Comoros, Djibouti, Eritrea, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Seychelles, Somalia, South Sudan, Sudan, Tanzania, and Uganda.

It provides key economic trends in the East Africa region for 2022. The report titled: Mobilising Private Sector Financing for Climate and Green Growth in East Africa, also forecasts the medium-term (2023-2024) economic performance for the region. Furthermore, it examines options for accelerating the mobilisation of private sector financing for climate and green growth in East Africa.

The report discusses a mix of policy interventions to accelerate East Africa’s growth amid existing and emerging shocks, including climate change.

Tunde Hassan-Odukale, Femi Otedola to increase shares at First Bank AGM

By Favour Nnabugwu
First Bank Holding Plc has indicated its intention to sell some of its shares as it bids to raise additional capital.
It is expected Tunde Hassan-Odukale and Femi Otedola, will increase their shares once the bank goes the way of right issue
Tunde Hassan-Odukale has 14 percent while Femi Otedola has 9 percent of First Bank’s shareholdings
This may just be one of the key subjects of discussion at the bank’s Annual General Meeting (AGM) which is scheduled for August 15, 2023.
Rights issues are an offer by a company to its shareholders to buy more of their stocks at a specific price by a stipulated deadline
Report has it that the capital transaction is expected to be a way of Rights Issue but will be ultimately determined by the Directors, subject to obtaining the approvals of the relevant regulatory authorities such as Cenetral Bank of Nigeria and Securities Exchange Commission.
Underwrite the Rights Issue on terms determined by the Directors, subject to approvals from relevant regulatory authorities.
Waive preemptive rights of shareholders to any unsubscribed shares under the Rights Issue in case of under-subscription.
Authorize the Directors to appoint professional parties and advisers and perform necessary actions to give effect to the above resolutions, including compliance with regulatory authorities’ directives.
Amend Clause 6 of the Memorandum of Association of the Company to reflect the newly issued share capital of 22.435 billion by creating 8.974 billion Ordinary shares of 50 Kobo each
World Bank steps up financial capacity

By Favour Nnabugwu



The World Bank has step up its lending capacity, a major boost in firepower that will give millions of people a chance to escape poverty

At this critical moment in history, and echoing the calls from the international community, the Bank is doubling down to tackle intertwined challenges – jobs, climate, fragility, and pandemics. These efforts entail decisive action to build a better Bank to achieve a world free of poverty on a livable planet.

That work includes a new playbook to drive impactful development and take more risk—helping create a world that is inclusive of everyone, including women and young people, resilient to shocks, and sustainable.

The Bank has taken a hard look at all available options as part of a work plan to stretch every dollar—while preserving its AAA credit rating. Together, the steps announced today will greatly expand the Bank’s financial capability to spur growth and jobs—the surest path out of poverty.

Without progress on this front, development will stall at best and slide backward at worst. Over the next few months, the Bank will develop and share additional ideas to maximize its impact, exploring new opportunities while carefully managing potential risks.

The potential for these instruments to extend the impact of a single dollar is game changing. For example, every new $1 could drive an additional $6 of new lending over a 10-year period.

Increasing the power of guarantees World Bank shareholders can provide to boost lending. The proposed portfolio guarantee program is a shared approach to risk that will make World Bank financing more widely available, with shareholders stepping in if countries can’t repay their loans. That means $5 billion in guarantees could generate $30 billion in lending over 10 years

—funds to send more girls to school, support farmers struggling to cope with climate change, or provide vital health care
.Raising hybrid capital from shareholders and other development partners. Hybrid capital offers a new way to move the needle in development—by giving shareholders and partners an opportunity to invest in bonds with special leveraging potential. With $1 billion of hybrid capital, the Bank can increase its lending by up to $6 billion over 10 years and deepen its impact on the people most in need.

Extracting more value from callable capital. Callable capital is a commitment from our shareholders to step in with new funds to help the Bank only under extreme circumstances. Widening the conditions, and clarifying the procedures and mechanism, under which the Bank can call on shareholders, could help the Bank absorb more risk and expand lending. More work will need to be done together with rating agencies and shareholders to make callable capital more useful.

Moving forward with the IDA Crisis Facility. The poorest countries desperately need more concessional funds to respond to the climate emergency, food insecurity, and other crises. The Bank is now fundraising for the new IDA Crisis Facility, which will strengthen its ability to help countries in challenging times. The target is $6 billion—with a huge development impact from every dollar.

In addition to the actions announced today, the Bank recently unveiled other initiatives to put impact at the heart of its work. Last month, the Bank established a new Private Sector Investment Lab, which will generate, test, and scale impactful ideas that remove barriers to investment in emerging markets. The Bank also introduced an enhanced toolkit to help countries respond quickly and effectively to natural disasters and jumpstarted an effort to develop a new approach to tracking climate outcomes more effectively, one that better measures impact, rather than dollars out the door

AfDB appoints Ousmane Fall as Director, Non-Sovereign Operations, Private Sector,

By Favour Nnabugwu


The African Development Bank Group has appointed Ousmane Fall, a Senegalese national, as Director of Non-Sovereign Operations and Private Sector, effective from the 1st of August 2023.

Fall takes on this new role with 17 years of experience. He spent the last four years at the International Finance Corporation (IFC), where he provided strategic leadership on country planning and ministerial dialogue in the African infrastructure space.

At the IFC, Fall covered various sectors, namely water, waste and sanitation; transport and energy; logistics; and telecommunications. He also oversaw the establishment of the Municipal Financing Platform for Sub-Saharan Africa.

Fall developed and executed the first asset-backed securities investment for access to energy in Africa, as well as the first private sector investments in hydro and solar in Gabon and Benin. Other firsts were a gas-to-power strategy for the Senegalese government, and the first municipal financing strategy for the cities of Dakar, Cotonou, Abidjan, and Douala.

He also led business development efforts across Africa, building strong relationships with private sector clients, central and local governments, cities, and selected sovereign-owned entities on the ground.

Fall earlier worked at the African Development Bank Group for 10 years. He held several positions, including those of acting manager for the Strategy and Transactions Support Division, and officer in charge for the Non-Sovereign Infrastructure Division, providing key advisory services and transaction support to Non-Sovereign Operations origination departments. He oversaw project officers in such areas as debt and guarantee transactions design, project bankability assessment, capital structuring, project credit enhancement, financial leveraging, and financial modelling.

He also spearheaded knowledge management and training on non-sovereign operations. He established non-sovereign operations modules on project finance, corporate loans, financial modelling, technical assistance, client relationship management, and equity investments. Fall was a successful investment officer, delivering landmark private sector transactions at the Bank.

He has extensive knowledge of African debt and equity markets, guarantee products, derivatives, and credit enhancement instruments. Fall led the execution of the first African Development Bank Group non-sovereign operations transactions in agriculture, health and education, and the first port dredging and gas-to-power projects. He also served in the Bank’s Public Sector Department, where he worked on solar projects in Morocco, hydro projects in the Democratic Republic of the Congo, Sierra Leone, Cameroon, Guinea, and other transmission projects in Nigeria and Zambia. He also worked in the Risk Department, where he contributed to the definition and implementation of the Bank’s Capital Adequacy Framework and Exposure Management Policy.

Before joining the African Development Bank, Fall was an investment banker in the Structured Finance Division of Société Générale in Paris.

Fall holds a Master of Science in Finance from INSEEC Business and Management School in France (2005).

Commenting on his appointment, Fall said: “I am honoured and grateful that President Adesina appointed me to this position. I look forward to working under his leadership to serve the premier financial institution of the continent in its ambitious vision to transform the African continent through the private sector.”

African Development Bank president, Dr Akinwumi A. Adesina, said: “Ousmane has a proven track record of delivering results in private sector transactions. He will ensure the overall effectiveness of the Bank’s Private Sector operations through non-sovereign operations project and corporate portfolio management as well as transaction support to non-sovereign operations origination departments.”

Ajay Banga is 14th President of the World Bank

By Favour Nnabugwu


The Executive Directors of the World Bank today selected Ajay Banga as President of the World Bank for a five-year term beginning June 2, 2023.

Ajay Banga most recently served as Vice Chairman at General Atlantic. Previously, he was President and CEO of Mastercard, a global organization with nearly 24,000 employees.  Under his leadership, MasterCard launched the Center for Inclusive Growth, which advances equitable and sustainable economic growth and financial inclusion around the world. He was Honorary Chairman of the International Chamber of Commerce, serving as Chairman from 2020-2022.

He became an advisor to General Atlantic’s climate-focused fund, BeyondNetZero, at its inception in 2021. Banga served as Co-Chair of the Partnership for Central America, a coalition of private organizations that works to advance economic opportunity across underserved populations in El Salvador, Guatemala, and Honduras. He was previously on the Boards of the American Red Cross, Kraft Foods, and Dow Inc.

Ajay Banga is a co-founder of The Cyber Readiness Institute and was Vice Chair of the Economic Club of New York. He was awarded the Foreign Policy Association Medal in 2012, the Padma Shri Award by the President of India in 2016, the Ellis Island Medal of Honor and the Business Council for International Understanding’s Global Leadership Award in 2019, and the Distinguished Friends of Singapore Public Service Star in 2021.

The Executive Directors followed the selection process agreed by shareholders in 2011. The process included an open, merit-based, and transparent nomination where any national of the Bank’s membership could be proposed by any Executive Director or Governor through an Executive Director. This was then followed by thorough due diligence and a comprehensive interview of Mr. Banga by the Executive Directors.

The Board looks forward to working with Mr. Banga on the World Bank Group Evolution process, as discussed at the April 2023 Spring Meetings, and on all the World Bank Group’s ambitions and efforts aimed at tackling the toughest development challenges facing developing countries.

The President of the World Bank Group is also the Chair of the Board of the Executive Directors of the International Bank for Reconstruction and Development (IBRD). The President is also ex officio chair of the Board of Directors of the International Development Association (IDA), International Finance Corporation (IFC), the Multilateral Investment Guarantee Agency (MIGA), and of the Administrative Council of the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID).