Collaboration, Agriculture and Technological Innovation as tools to Reposition the Financial Services Industry in Nigeria for an Evolving Glocal Context
BY ALIMOTU SHADIA
Mr. Farouk Gumel, Chairman, Board of Directors, Union Bank of Nigeria delivered the keynote address that formed part of the theme for the 15th Annual Banking and Finance Conference year’s conference tagged Repositioning the Financial Services Industry for an Evolving Global Context.
The two-day event, hosted by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), began on September 13, 2022, and is being attended by dignitaries including the President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, Muhammadu Buhari, represented by the Minister of Finance Mrs Zainab Ahmed, the Governor of Lagos State, represented by the Commissioner of Finance, Doctor Rabiu Olowo and other dignitaries.
In his remarks, Gumel praised the strength, ingenuity and resilience of the financial services sector which according to him has ‘’transformed Nigeria’s inefficient and analog financial services sector into a world-class system that has made it exceptionally easy for our local elites to bank globally and for global elites to bank in Nigeria.”
Mr. Gumel, however pointed out that as we strive to retain our position as industry leaders on a world stage, we must ensure to not lose sight of the local element. Mr. Gumel said, “When we remember where we come from locally, we will be better equipped for where we want to be globally.”
He noted that this can be achieved by adapting products and services to meet the needs of customers – wherever they may be.
He also emphasized how the rapidly expanding agricultural sector in Nigeria has the potential to grow exponentially and contribute not just to the advancement of the Nigerian economy, but also the wellfare of the local farmers who form a large percentage of the unbanked.
He highlighted how Union Bank in their 105-year history continues to support the Nigerian farmer and pointed out that the recent integration with the parent TGI group has further opened up more opportunities for the bank to leverage international partnerships to service the rural economy.
“At Union Bank, we are pursuing a range of strategic partnerships to build on the best of what we do here in Nigeria with the skills and resources abroad that can help us and our partners to grow. We do not seek to re-invent the wheel, we are looking to build on the best of what we have and provide support for a constituency that has the capacity to do so much more. We will do what we do best locally and then work with trusted international partners to deliver in the ECOWAS region, across Africa and around the world.”
In his closing remarks Gumel praised the CIBN President Dr. Kenneth Opara FCIB and the entire organizing committee for the conference’s auspicious opening and wished the participants constructive and beneficial deliberations.