Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc has said that its diversified business model in key international markets on the continent and around the world, continues to act as a hedge and to position the Group to better mitigate business risks arising from the financial, economic and political environment.
UBA Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Oliver Alawuba, who stated this, pointed out that due to its wide reach and network, the banking group is strengthened and largely insulated from internal and external challenges that have become commonplace amongst financial institutions on the continent.
Alawuba was speaking in an exclusive chat with pressmen on the side-lines of a four-day UBA Group International Banking Conference which took place in New York, organised and hosted by UBA America between October 17th and 21st, 2022.
As he highlighted the various challenges plaguing banks and financial institutions in Africa and beyond, including credit risks, market risks and even operational risks, Alawuba explained that with UBA’s vast foray into key markets, the bank has put in place solutions that will help hedge against losses arising such risks.
He said, “There are several challenges for Nigerian and African banks such as issues of payments, currency depreciation amongst others, but over the years, at UBA, we have developed the capacity to effectively manage these risks whilst we continue to pursue our growth strategy.
Continuing, he said, “UBA is a diversified institution in terms of the businesses and sectors we support. Some of the countries where we are present, like Zambia, Guinea and Mozambique have not witnessed currency depreciation, and so, the diversified nature of our business is a key positive. It gives us the leverage and provides business resilience. Furthermore, our presence in global financial centres such as New York, Paris, and London provide further diversification of revenues and hedges against devaluation on the African continent. UBA America has been providing banking services to African institutions for over three decades, we know Africa very well and understand how to mitigate the risks of doing business in Africa.”
The Group CEO added that the International Banking Conference was aimed at proffering solutions, noting that African banks were afforded the opportunity to come together, share experiences and acquire tactical strategies to address the continents’ big financial challenges. The well-attended event saw the convergence of senior representatives from leading African Banks, Sovereigns, Central bankers, and key players in the global financial landscape.
Speakers at the conference included the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy Directorate, Central Bank of Nigeria, Dr. Kingsley Obiora, who represented the Governor, Mr. Godwin Emefiele, the Director & Global Head Trade Finance, Afrexim Bank, Gwen Mwaba, Director, Regulatory and Finance Crimes Compliance, Exiger, Derik Riesche, amongst other notable financial, non-financial and compliance experts.
The Convener of the event and Executive Director UBA Group/CEO UBA America, Sola Yomi-Ajayi, said that the objective of the conference was to build and strengthen the financial ecosystem, adding that the Group has been working with African commercial banks and sovereign entities.
She said, “UBA has been leveraging its extensive network to improve access to financial markets in addition to providing capacity building initiatives for the development of the African financial eco-system. A key take-away from this conference is that the risks pertaining to Africa can be de-risked, and we can make it more attractive to do business with African financial institutions.
“There are risks and concerns about money laundering and financing of terrorism, and these can be de-risked through building strong AML frameworks, strengthening internal controls as well as leveraging technology to improve transaction monitoring on the continent. We can also do this through structured trade finance and innovative solutions to bridge the foreign currency receivables on the continent,” she added.
United Bank for Africa Plc is a leading Pan-African financial institution, offering banking services to more than thirty million customers across 1,000 business offices and customer touch points in 20 African countries. Operating in New York, London, Paris, and Dubai, UBA is connecting people and businesses across Africa through retail, commercial and corporate banking, innovative cross-border payments and remittances, trade finance and ancillary banking services.