Diamond Bank Flagship Branch Debuts

Diamond Bank Plc has, again, raised the bar in customer service delivery in the financial services sub-sector, with the opening to customers of its multi-purpose banking center at Ajose Adeogun Street, Victoria Island, Lagos.

The ultra-modern branch, a four-storey complex, is structured to deliver twenty-four-seven full banking services to customers, and is fitted with world-class facilities like e-centre for electronic financial transactions, lounge for exclusive banking, Internet access for Internet banking among others. All the bank’s different categories of financial services; private banking, corporate banking, retail banking etc are available in the newly-launched branch.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Dr. Alex Otti, Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer said, the bank has projected further into the future of banking in Nigeria by developing the edifice that can conveniently serve all the categories of customers of the bank.

“Diamond Bank has gone into the future to develop a holistic banking hall that can serve all the needs of customers. The branch has the following facilities; an e-center for electronic financial transactions, a lounge for exclusive banking amongst others. It is a new generation branch where customers’ interests are best served. Diamond Bank has brought tomorrow’s bank to her customers today.”

Some of the bank’s highprofile customers that graced the occasion expressed their excitement at the innovation by the bank, adding that the futuristic nature and customer centric approach adopted by the bank would make it the toast of customers.

“This for me is a dream come true. I have been looking forward to banking being done in the most modern manner and what I am seeing here gives me joy. It shows that banking in Nigeria is really transforming and improving in their quality offering. I want to thank Diamond Bank for leading this revolution.”

Reiterating Sunmonu, Chief Ephraim Faloughi, Chairman, Sovereign Trust Insurance Plc, a long-standing customer of the bank, stated that the flagship branch has become a prototype of banking hall, which should be considered as a minimum standard in the country’s banking industry.

“The bank has shown that the banking hall needs to be comfortable for the customers. The bank can be described as the next generation bank. The branch can be described as a model corporate one-stop shop for all financial services.”

Other personalities that graced the occasion included Chief Mrs. Stella Okoli, Chairperson, Emzor Pharmaceuticals Nigeria Limited; Mrs. UjuIfejika, Managing Director, Brittanica-U Nigeria Limited among others.

Central bank rewarded for promoting financial inclusion

The National Bank of Rwanda (BNR) has been awarded the Alliance for Financial Inclusion (AFI) Policy Award for 2014 in recognition of its “innovative and impactful financial inclusion policies”.

John Rwangombwa, the central bank governor tweeted after receiving the award that the accolade was in “recognition of Rwanda’s visionary leadership”, to which he attributed the success of the Umurenge Savings and Credit Cooperatives (Saccos) programme”.

The governor received the award on behalf of the central bank during the 2014 AFI Global Policy Forum in Port of Spain, in the island nation of Trinidad and Tobago. Umurenge Saccos have been a financial inclusion successstory, which have in just three years attracted over 1.6 million customers.

Saccos and other microfinance institutions in the country currently serve almost the same number of customers as those of commercial banks, according to AFI.

Today, more than 90 per cent of Rwandans live within a five kilometre radius of the nearest Umurenge Sacco.

Commenting on the award, Gilbert Habyarimana, head of Umurenge Saccos at the Rwanda Co-operative Agency, said microfinance institutions serve a segment of the population that had been ignored by commercial banks.

“Microfinance institutions and Saccos have enabled rural people have access to financial services, save and lend to each other. This has led to the creation of jobs in the country as more people venture into different businesses with financing from Saccos,” explained Habyarimana.

The AFI forum, which ended yesterday, was held under the theme, “Global partnerships, national goals, empowering people”.

AFI members had the opportunity to exchange knowledge and experiences, and work together to move the financial inclusion agenda forward, according to Rwangombwa.

The forum was a follow up to the one held in Kigali in July on “Financial inclusion for inclusive growth and sustainable Development international”, which was organised by the central bank in partnership with the World Bank, the African Development Bank (AfDB) and AFI.

Mozambique Participates in the 4th Economic Global Summit

A delegation from Mozambique participated in the 4th Economic Global Summit held at World Trade Centre in Mumbai, on September 11, 12 and 13. The three member Mozambican delegation comprising – Mr. Claire Mateus Zimba, General Manager of the Institute for Promotion of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises- IPEME, Ms Cecilia Candrinho, Executive Director at the Export Promotion Institute-IPEX both under the Ministry of Industry and Commerce, Government of Mozambique and, Mr. Oliveira Amimo, Economic Counsellor at the High Commission of the Republic of Mozambique in New Delhi, attended the three days summit organized by the World Trade Center in Mumbai.

The three-day event which included a conference, exhibition, industry visit and networking opportunities witnessed participants from various sectors like manufacturing, SMEs, corporate houses, public sector units, clusters, government organizations, trade promotion organizations, technocrats, educational and research institutions, academics, business service providers, exporters and importers among others.

The Mozambican team found the summit very interesting and helpful for the stage of rapid economic development in which their country is currently undergoing. Mozambique is enjoying very rapid and stable economic development at the 7.6% yearly rate during last two decades. The Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises have a major contribution on the countries growth besides the political stability and the preference on investments by Foreign Direct Investment in the country –FDI, India being placed at the 7th position among the foreign investors where countries like U.S., China, UK, South Africa, Italy, and among others are on the list of investors.

At the inauguration of the 4th Global Economic Summit, The Minister of State for External Affairs, Gen. V.K. Singh (Retd) has said that strength of the economy depends on manufacturing and hence the government is taking proactive measures to revive the sector.

Gen. Singh said India offers many opportunities and has potential to emerge as a major manufacturing hub in the world. “Globalisation should not just look at integration of markets but should also look at how natural resource pools can be best utilised”, he observed. The Minister further said, “Technology rests in another part of the world while potential for growth and large markets rest in Asia including India”. The theme of the 4th Global Economic Summit is Äsia Powering Global Markets”. The 3-day Summit brings together Asian and global partners to discuss and deliberate on emerging prospects and challenges. Business leaders and policy makers from USA, Canada, Switzerland, Ireland, China, South Korea, Thailand and Iran are among those representing the 35 countries participating in the conference.

South Africa launches support package for troubled power supplier

The South African government announced a wide-ranging support package for troubled state-owned power supplier Eskom, that will see it receive an equity injection and raise additional debt.

Eskom, which supplies 95 percent of South Africa’s electricity, has been struggling to meet growing demand, hobbled by years of underinvestment and ageing infrastructure.

“Eskom is facing significant challenges that threaten its sustainability,” the finance ministry said in a statement.

“Cabinet approved a package to support a strong and sustainable Eskom to ensure that the energy security of the country is maintained, as well as supporting GDP growth.”

The treasury said it would allocate funding to Eskom “to help relieve the impact on electricity consumers, as well as add additional support to Eskom’s balance sheet”. The size of the equity injection will be made public during budget announcements in October.

The energy supplier will also raise additional debt in the region of 50 billion rand ($4.5 billion, 3.5 billion euros), “over and above its original plan of R200 billion”, the statement added.

“While it is difficult to see any alternative for the South African government other than to support Eskom, the latest announcement – although still vague on the amounts involved – may crystallise some of the rating outlook fears for the sovereign,” said Razia Khan, an analyst at Standard Chartered Bank.

Eskom is currently building two mega coal power stations in a bid to boost capacity and avoid the type of widespread blackouts the country experienced in 2008.

One of the plants, Medupi, was supposed to have come on stream by the end of last year but is running behind schedule due to labour disputes.

Telecoms urged to support govt’s ICT initiatives

Telecom firms have been urged to scale up online services in government agencies to support efforts aimed at improving service delivery and efficiency.

Solange Mukasonga, the Nyarugenge District mayor, said this while receiving MTN Rwanda chief executive officer Ebenezer Asante at the district headquarters yesterday.

She applauded the firm’s cloud computing package, saying it is handy when backing up important documents like construction permits and sharing them with different government departments.

The telecom is currently conducting a two-month data festival that seeks to enhance Internet penetration across the country, which currently is at 20 per cent.

Mukasonga noted that cloud computing would work well in the education sector, allowing schools to share information faster.

She called on the firm to work with the banks to ease payment of local taxes. “You need to partner with banks and other financial institutions so residents can use the mobile money service to pay taxes instead of having to go to banks,” Mukasonga said.

Norman Munyampundu, the MTN business general manager, said the telecom’s cloud computing services give more value-for-money compared to external computer hard disks, servers or anti-viruses.

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