Financial services companies are increasingly finding new ways to leverage the power of technology to educate customers on financial matters and help drive greater socio-economic inclusion.
Much of this is as simple as downloading an app on your smartphone where you can now do everything from transferring money, checking the exchange rate or the stock market, or even shopping around for the best insurance. Financial advice is also just a mouse-click away, especially with the advent of robo-advisors, algorithm-driven financial planning services available online with little to no human intervention.
Technology provides a way for financial services firms to leverage their deep institutional knowledge to boost financial inclusion by utilising the massive reach enabled by FinTech solutions to learn more about customers and provide new solutions to traditional problems at lower cost.
Financial services organisation are also using tablets and mobile devices to sign up new customers, a solution that is particularly helpful in remote, underdeveloped areas. Money transfer is another thing that has benefitted from technology. Just look at Kenya’s M-Pesa, which started off as a way for people to send remittances to family members in distant locations, but has since expanded into payments and microfinancing.
One of the more innovative examples of how banks are using technology to boost access to education comes from Feenix, a crowd funding initiative that provides a platform for students to list themselves and request finance from either individuals or enterprises. The Standard Bank-funded initiative allocates 75% of its funding to black applicants, with at least 50% channelled to females.
As part of its drive to boost its appeal to the youth market, which places a high degree of value on financial services being accessible at all times, Standard Bank has also partnered with technology companies to develop digital wallets, apps and mobile payment systems.
While FinTech has exploded with a host of new entrants into the digital payments and money transfer space, it is clear that traditional financial institutions are not being complacent in seeking innovative new ways to boost financial inclusion.
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Following a carefully planned management succession process Standard Bank Group announces changes to its current joint-group chief executive structure. The board is satisfied that the structure, which was necessary in 2013, has met and in many respects exceeded expectations. Accordingly, Ben Kruger steps down from the role of joint-group chief executive with immediate effect. He remains an executive director of the company, reporting to the group chief executive.
Sim Tshabalala continues in the role of group chief executive of Standard Bank Group and chief executive of The Standard Bank of South Africa Limited.
“The board expresses appreciation to both Ben and Sim, who have successfully led the process of refreshing the group’s strategy and managed complex challenges which faced the group in several jurisdictions, while delivering respectable returns to our shareholders. The resounding success of the joint-group chief executive structure is testament to the group’s culture and values which include working in teams, respecting each other and upholding the highest levels of integrity. Good momentum has been achieved in the implementation of the group’s refreshed strategy,” said Group Chairman Thulani Gcabashe.
The board appreciates Ben’s selfless leadership and is pleased that he remains part of the leadership team going forward.
Ben’s new role will include: Contributing to the governance of the group as a member of the group board; contributing to the leadership, management and governance of Africa Regions; guiding the continued digitisation of the group; deepening and broadening the group’s relationship with its strategic partner ICBC; helping with the management of the Group’s risks; and maintaining and building key client relationships.
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Having acknowledged the vital role that teachers play in our society, Standard Bank Namibia is hosting a couple of Teacher’s Awareness Days by taking banking to the teachers and surrounding communities through workplace banking. “We have a good standing relationship with the Namibia National Teachers' Union (NANTU), having previously collaborated with them through various sponsorships. We wanted to continue this tradition and thought that having these Teacher Awareness Days where we bring Workplace Banking to the teachers was the best way to do it,” the Katutura’s Branch Manager, in Namibia, Lazarus Shikongo, said this week.
The initiative to take Workplace Banking to the teachers of Jan Mohr Secondary School and Immanuel Shifidi Secondary School in Katutura is the brainchild of Shikongo and his branch. “Workplace Banking consultants will visit the two secondary schools on the 14th and 15th of June so the teachers and community members get the opportunity to meet with them. We have some customers who are not aware of the new or upgraded products that the bank has to offer so these Workplace Banking sessions will allow for them to make sure that they have the right products,” Shikongo explained. “The Workplace Banking program has been encouraging people to spend within their means and earnings especially in this trying economic climate. Because teachers play a vital part in our society, the financial wellness is at the forefront of our minds which is why we thought it best to have these Teacher Awareness days.,” our Workplace Banking Manager and Custodian, Cecilia Hagen-Cloete explained.
Most of the times Namibians spend more than what they earn resulting in unnecessary debt and worry, so that is why it’s important for them to also save for the future, because of this Hagen-Cloete stressed that they decided to open the Workplace Banking days at the schools open to the surrounding communities because many of them need the financial assistance that the Workplace Banking Consultants can offer. Armed with the help of Workplace Banking consultants, it is easy for anyone to live a debt free, financial empowered life. For more information on Workplace Banking send an email to [email protected]ardbank.com.na.
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Children have a right to education, no matter their circumstances, they deserve love, guidance and security.
This was stated by the Chief Executive of Standard Lesotho Bank, Mr. Mpho Vumbukani when handing over a cheque to St. Cecilia Orphanage on Tuesday. Mr. Vumbukani added that they have learned that the environment at St. Cecilia is homely and filled with parental love and compassion that every child deserves.
He highlighted that in collaboration with their customers and other people of goodwill, they have managed to raise M200,000 of which 50 percent is from the bank. He indicated that the other 50 percent was raised on April 21 by its customers at the Standard Bank Corporate Golf Day.
He noted that this shows that their relationship goes beyond just business because they are able to collaborate in initiatives that benefit the society they operate in. He pointed out that this gesture addresses their desire to nurture future leaders even in difficult circumstances as their goal is to inspire hope to all children as they believe that tomorrow starts today.
Mr. Vumbukani commended the founder of the orphanage Reverend Father Pule Augustinus Mahlaku for truly changing lives, encouraging him to continue being a source of hope for vulnerable children.
Speaking at the same event, the beneficiary Reverend Father Mahlaku expressed his gratitude, commending Standard Lesotho Bank for continuing making positive difference in others lives despite the current economic hardships. He noted that this gesture will go a long way to develop the lives of those children as it shows that they live within the community of loving and caring nation.
He added that this will contribute to their future well-being as they will also aspire to become individuals who touch others' lives positively. Reverend Father Mahlaku said the funds will be used to make borehole at the orphanage, while some will contribute towards buying a tractor which will generate income to sustain those children's lives.
At least 60 children will benefit from this initiative. Standard Lesotho Bank has set aside about M3 million towards sponsorships and Corporate Social Responsibility initiatives.
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In the West African country of Mali, skin conditions such as leprosy, psoriasis and eczema are widespread – some studies put estimates at 30%. And yet, specialist skin doctors are scarce, meaning that sufferers must wait months to access adequate medical care, if they are able to access it at all. Some patients become so desperate, they turn to alternative treatments, in many cases making their symptoms worse.
Image source: http://www.enca.com/africa/new-app-helps-mali-skin-doctors-reach-out-to-distant-patients
But now, thanks to "Bogou", an app designed by a Mali developer, and the Pierre Fabre foundation, which promotes the use of new technologies to improve diagnosis and treatment of skin diseases in Africa, patients experiencing skin conditions like the ones listed above can be treated by Mali’s few and in-demand dermatologists (according to studies, the landlocked country only has one dermatologist per million people), often just a day after being referred by their GPs.
Professor Ousmane Faye, head of the dermatology department of the National Centre for Disease Control in Mali’s capital of Bamako, says this new technology is well-suited to remote diagnosis in his field, as dermatology is based on observation by the human eye. Using a secure platform protected with a password, general practitioners in remote, rural areas (where the app pilot programme is taking place) send the professor images of their patients’ skin complaints. On his computer or mobile phone, Professor Faye can then confirm the doctor’s diagnosis or offer advice.
The professor recalls the recent case of a patient from the Koulikoro Region in western Mali who suffered from hypochromia lesions Distressed by the appearance of the disorder, the patient turned to herbal remedies, which made the condition worse. However, once Professor Faye received pictures through Bogou from the patient’s GP, he was able to offer the correct diagnosis and treatment.
According to the Pierre Fabre foundation, which is financing the programme, the results have been "solid" with 175 complex cases diagnosed remotely. Up until now, 20 doctors and nurses have been trained with the goal of extending the service throughout Mali over the next two years, and, eventually, other African countries. The foundation will initially focus on reaching the most disadvantaged and remote areas that have access to internet.
"There is a triple benefit: time, money and training" for the doctors out in the field, believes Professor Faye.
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In this age of rapidly accelerating climate change and its subsequent devastating effects on ecosystems and communities, it’s more critical than ever to protect, preserve and nurture our biosphere – not just for its sake, but for ours.
From cultural shifts in the latter part of the last century which flowed into the 21 st , corporations are expected to be “responsible corporate citizens”, having a positive impact on the communities in which they operate. Standard Bank achieves this through key sustainability areas: reducing our carbon footprint; understanding our water and waste impact; supporting economic transformation; encouraging inclusive growth in our Africa regions; and promoting enterprise development.
Now, through the establishment and upkeep of the Mogale’s Gate Biodiversity Centre (MGBC) – a non-commercial nature reserve near South Africa’s Magaliesburg – we are doing that much more for our communities by understanding the economic value of “natural capital”.
Though relatively new, the concept of natural capital coincides with and envelopes the concerns of the global shift towards “greener business” practices. Defined as “indispensable resources and services that are essential to human survival,” it is provided by the world’s ecosystems. For example, society derives real economic value from gold mining, and from the plant life that “cleans” carbon dioxide from the atmosphere.
Yet, despite the international push for eco-friendly practices, current business methods are eating away at our natural capital stocks. This has environmental implications, but also economic and humanitarian ones; if societies continue to grow unchecked, ecosystem services will be damaged and unable to function effectively, resource market prices will increase due to depletion and, consequently, the quality of human life will drop. Investment in biodiversity centres aim to mitigate, if not resolve, these issues.
From a strictly “bottom line” point of view, our interest in the MGBC doesn’t make sense, but profit is not the point. The true value of Mogale’s Gate extends beyond the centre itself and to the range of ecosystem goods and services it provides to the nation: waste water dilution, stream flow regulation and carbon sequestration. In 2015, a study was conducted to determine the true “natural capital value” of the MGBC. The value of wildlife and stored carbon was found to be USD3 million, while the value provided by water flows, climate regulation and grazing is USD1.65 million. Taking into account all the natural capital flows and management costs, the centre’s worth to society is estimated between USD15.5 million and USD41 million.
In more tangible, real-time examples, the MGBC provides educational outings for schoolchildren, team-building exercises for our staff, and wildlife research opportunities for South African universities. The centre has also discovered, and is preserving, 286 plant species with known medicinal or spiritual value.
In a world fast realising the consequences of unchecked resource exploitation, true long-term economic, environmental and humanitarian value will be found in respecting and repairing our ecosystems. For large corporations who often hold the health of these ecosystems in their hands, their interests will go beyond financial profit to environmental preservation to keep us all moving forward.
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As a group, we are firmly rooted in Africa as one of the financial institutions with the continent’s growth at heart and as such Standard Bank Namibia recently sponsored an astonishing N$150 000 towards the Africa Day commemoration gala dinner in Windhoek.
Initially pegged for 25 May 2017 (Africa Day), the dinner was held on Monday, 29 May at the Safari Court, marking the 55th anniversary of the African Union. The event was attended by the First Lady Monica Geingos, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of International Relations and Cooperation Netumbo Nandi-Ndaitwah, Minister of Land Reform Uutoni Nujoma, as well as various Foreign Heads of Mission to Namibia and their families. First Lady Monica Geingos pictured with the various Heads of Missions during the Africa Day gala dinner
Formally known as African Liberation Day, Africa Day commemorates the establishment of the Organisation of Africa Unity (OAU) which subsequently birthed the African Union (AU). The AU’s aspirations for Africa have shifted to achieving a future of peace and unity through democracy, inclusive growth and sustainable development.
With more than 154 years’ experience in Africa and 102 years in Namibia, Standard Bank, also trading as Stanbic Bank respects and celebrates the continent’s character; it is evident that shared progress and success can propel entire communities forward.
As part of an African and international bank, we are a leading African banking group focused on global and regional emerging markets. Standard Bank Namibia is a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Standard Bank Group and locally it opened its first commercial branch in Lüderitz on the 19th of August 1915. Standard Bank Group currently operates in 20 African countries.
“Our strategies are built on ensuring progress for the collective. For example, we sponsor Lionesses of Africa, a social enterprise that encourages female entrepreneurship; we support a number of social, environmental and developmental programmes throughout our 20 markets; and our digital innovations connect Africans to each other and the financial world beyond our borders…Africa Day expresses our hopes for African unity and marks our continent’s freedom from colonialism. Thanks to the struggle and sacrifice of the generations that achieved independence, we get to choose our own future,” Sim Tshabalala, Standard Bank South Africa’s Chief Executive said.
These are sentiments that were shared by Standard Bank Namibia’s Acting Chief Executive, Amit Mohan, who further pointed out local initiatives such as the Buy-a-Brick campaign that has illustrated that the financial institution goes beyond banking by donating N$1.4 million to the Shack Dwellers Federation of Namibia who built 40 new houses in Rehoboth last year in a bid to alleviate the housing shortage in the country.
The future will be bright as we have seen since the turn of the millennium, countries that control inflation and public debt, regulate business sensibly, construct and respect an independent legal system, build roads and ports and power stations, and find ways to draw people into the modern economy can be sure that they will continue to flourish over the years and decades to come,” he stressed.
During her keynote address, First Lady Monica Geingos echoed their sentiments, pointing out the importance of forming fruitful partnerships, investing in the youth and having honest conversations.
She explained that in order to grow people must understand the issues that affect them all. While it feels as though there is generational conflict, it is not more than there has ever been. She stressed that generational conflict is to be expected, but it becomes a problem when people do not respect each other and listen to one another.
Geingos therefore urged both the youth and their elders to listen to one another, have honest conversations, even with issues that are sometimes considered taboo such as sex and HIV/AIDS, thereby creating unlikely partnerships which will aid in the socio-economic development of Africa as a whole.
Africa Day is aimed at continuously reminding the African states to unite in order to collectively address the challenges facing the continent.
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While philanthropy is still an immature market in Africa, growing wealth on the continent is changing this paradigm significantly, with ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) seeking positive societal outcomes through their investments.
Global Head: Wealth Advisory at Standard Bank Group, Philip Faure, says wealth management is a far broader concept today than ever, with philanthropy set to grow in popularity in Africa as the number of ultra-wealthy increases and the gap between the haves and have-nots widens, simply due to the free-market system. He contends that the African wealthy want to make a difference to their communities - usually out of a sense of duty - through investment and after they are gone, as general resources often fall short.
Knight Frank has found that over the next decade, Africa’s number of UHNWIs will grow by 33%, with the growth in ultra-wealthy populations outpacing that of Europe and North America during this time. The Knight Frank Wealth Report 2017 Attitudes survey points out that private aviation, education and, notably, philanthropy are all high on the agenda for these individuals. According to Mr Faure, there are a number of reasons for this, such as leaving a family legacy or seeing it as an obligation, because the system is so imperfect.
However, while there is enough money out there that can make a difference on continent-wide inequality, wealthy people want to ensure they achieve an impact. This is why education and advice is so important; families need to understand the full range of these activities, from establishing and managing foundations, to managing capital and grant making, among others. They need to work with trusted partners and advisers to meet their objectives within an over-arching wealth management strategy. Furthermore, the art of giving must form part of an overall, long-term wealth management plan that includes building wealth, preserving wealth, and maintaining lifestyle and legacy wealth.
Standard Bank – Africa’s largest bank by assets with a footprint in 20 countries in sub-Saharan African, as well as in Jersey, the Isle of Man and London – continues to provide such services to families on the continent seeking to broaden their philanthropic activities while maintaining their overall wealth objectives.
“Despite philanthropy being an immature market in Africa at the moment, we will see this trend growing in the future. Education on the benefits and how it works will become more important as there are enormous complexities involved. Trusted experts with a deep understanding of Africa need to assist by setting up the most appropriate structures to maximise outcomes and optimally formalise the giving process,” concludes Faure.
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In her latest mission to reveal the investment opportunities and challenges on the continent, 702’s Nikiwe Bikitsha confirmed what most business people, investors and entrepreneurs already know about East Africa in general, and Uganda in particular: the region is booming thanks to its rich resources and wise policies.
While exploring the country’s attractions, Nikiwe noticed that Uganda’s economy is comparatively diverse, if dominated by agriculture. Sectors of interest include financial services, telecommunications and manufacturing, for example. However, the award-winning journalist stresses that these industries are currently struggling with a “great deal” of under-investment. Fortunately, this should be remedied by the discovery of oil.
In 2006, commercial-grade petroleum was discovered off Uganda’s Lake Albert. In anticipation of the coming oil boom, the government has facilitated a huge infrastructure drive to support the transport of this precious resource, which is now having a positive impact on some industries. For instance, Nikiwe interviewed Maria Namusoke of Markh Investments (a transport and logistics company whose main client is Lefarge), who says the recent public investment in infrastructure has boosted growth commercial development, subsequently increasing opportunities for her company.
Staying on the topic of infrastructure, Stanbic Bank Uganda CEO Patrick Mweheire revealed that, so far, the Ugandan government has spent USD2.5 billion on the construction of two hydropower stations. But these were built by Chinese companies, and less than 10% of public spending went to local players. In readying for the coming spending boom (which could reach USD1.5 billion), Mr Mweheire cautions that the government must ensure that local businesses benefit.
It seems, however, that the Ugandan government is keeping the economic participation of its people in mind. According to Gerald Mukyenga, Advisor to the Uganda Chamber of Mines and Petroleum Board, many sectors have been “ring-fenced” through local policies, protectionist laws and education drives. Mr Mukyenga believes that every Ugandan, directly or indirectly, will benefit from the oil discovery.
Tourism is another sector in which Uganda could experience a boom - if investment is prioritised. Situated in the Great Lakes region, the East African country offers many magnificent geological sites over and above its wildlife parks. Eric Ntalo, Public Relations Officer at the Ugandan National Museum, shares that tourism contributes up to 9% to the GDP. Yet, Uganda is surrounded by countries that offer similar attractions (Rwanda and Kenya, for example) and that have the budget to tell their tourism story. Furthermore, Uganda doesn’t have its own national carrier, making it harder and more expensive to travel to the country.
One more area that could benefit from increased investment is agriculture. Though it is the economy’s biggest sector, former Agriculture Minister Victoria Sekitoleko insists that it needs more attention in terms of budget. Possessing 60% of East Africa’s arable land, Uganda has the potential to be a “bread basket” for sub-Saharan Africa.
“The agricultural sector is not only important to Uganda, but to Africa,” says Ms Sekitoleko. “Our sovereignty depends on our ability to feed ourselves.”
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On her seventh fact-finding mission to share Africa’s true opportunities and challenges, acclaimed 702 journalist Nikiwe Bikitsha travels to Uganda. Once described by Winston Churchill as the “Pearl of Africa” for its “magnificence, for variety of form and colour…for vast scale”, this East African country is now drawing increasing international interest for all this and so much more.
As the rest of East Africa blossoms, Uganda is growing into a prime investment destination. According to the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development World Investment report, it received the most foreign direct investment (FDI) in the region over the last three years. The reasons are obvious: Uganda boasts large, under-exploited mineral deposits of gold, tin and tungsten among others, and occupies a strategic base in the heart of sub-Saharan Africa, making it a regional hub for trade.
However, the greatest draw for investors presently is arguably the country’s abundant energy potential. Uganda recently discovered an estimated 3.5 billion barrels of oil off Lake Albert, a landmark it shares with the DRC. This discovery is pushing FDI in its energy sectors, but what can’t be overlooked is that other significant, though underdeveloped, sectors will soon grow to support “Big Oil”. Smart investors and entrepreneurs may want to consider the following areas for investment:
Construction: As oil executives arrive in Uganda, the demand for hotels will rise, but the predicted construction boom won’t end there. Past strong growth in real estate is expected to continue as population growth settles on about 3.5% and the country struggles with a housing deficit.
To support the coming oil boom, infrastructure, particularly roads, needs to be upgraded. Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni believes transport will be as important as refineries in transforming the economy.
Services: Demand for services will follow the oil boom, particularly for restaurants, office space, logistics and medical care. Oil investors currently in Uganda foresee difficulties in accessing the above, and also supplying them to employees stationed at settlements that emerge near oil deposits.
Agriculture: As a major producer of coffee, bananas, tea, cotton and tobacco, Uganda has the potential to be the food basket of East Africa if more investment is funnelled into processing agricultural products. Opportunities abound in the manufacture of fertilisers and pesticides; the supply of agricultural machinery; the establishment of cold storage facilities; and the production of packing materials.
Coupled with these opportunities is Uganda’s liberal, well-regulated economy in which all sectors are game for investment, and the free movement of capital is a given. Ugandan law also allows for the full repatriation of profits and 100% foreign ownership of private investment.
Looking at the evidence, “the Pearl of Africa” is an investor’s paradise. This is what Nikiwe will confirm. She’ll speak to a number of experts in the mining, agriculture and financial services sectors to get a fair, factual view, from Stanbic’s Chief Executive Patrick Mweheire to small-scale farmer Dr Diana Nambutya Nsubuya. Follow her on Twitter for the true story.
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On 25 May we celebrate Africa Day. Today we are a continent that is now the second-fastest growing region in the world, not only in control of its wealth, but its destiny. The African Union's aspirations for Africa have shifted to achieving a future of peace and unity through democracy, inclusive growth and sustainable development hence the focus of Africa Day has shifted. We now look towards building a better future together. Despite being blessed with abundant natural resources, our continent faces pressing challenges, most notably in infrastructure, education and gender equality. The good news is that these challenges can be, and are being, overcome through our realisation that triumph comes through unity.
With more than 154 years’ experience in Africa, we respect and celebrate the continent’s character; we see that shared progress and success can propel entire communities forward. Consequently, our strategies are built on ensuring progress for the collective. We support a number of social, environmental and developmental programmes throughout our 20 markets. For example, we partner with Seedstars World, a programme to mobilise and support start-up communities globally; we also partner with the Global Fund on their AIDs, TB and Malaria programmes; and we sponsor Lionesses of Africa, a social enterprise that encourages female entrepreneurship. Furthermore, the implementation of our digital innovations across our countries help connect Africans to other Africans and the financial world beyond our borders.
“Africa Day expresses our hopes for African unity and marks our continent’s freedom from colonialism. Thanks to the struggle and sacrifice of the generations that achieved independence, we get to choose our own future,” says Sim Tshabalala, our Chief Executive. “That future will be bright: As we have seen since the turn of the millennium, countries that control inflation and public debt, regulate business sensibly, construct and respect an independent legal system, build roads and ports and power stations, and find ways to draw people into the modern economy can be sure that they will continue to flourish over the years and decades to come.”
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The board of directors of Stanbic IBTC Holdings PLC announced the election of Mr. Basil Omiyi as the Chairman of the Board following the receipt of all required regulatory approvals.
Mr. Omiyi succeeds Mr. Atedo Peterside CON as the Chairman of the Board following Mr. Peterside’s resignation as a Non-Executive Director and Chairman of the Board on 31 March 2017.
Mr. Omiyi graduated with a B.Sc. in Chemistry in 1969 and obtained a post-graduate diploma in Petroleum Technology in 1970 from the University of Ibadan.
He brings over four decades of experience mostly from the Royal Dutch Shell where he spent 40 years in various roles both in Nigeria and Europe, including Head of Production Technology, Chief Petroleum Engineer, Managing Director of Shell Petroleum Development Company of Nigeria Limited, and ultimately country Chairman of Shell Nigeria.
Mr. Omiyi is currently an Independent Non-Executive Director on the Board of Seplat Petroleum Development Company Limited. He is also the Chairman of the Risk Management Committee and a Member of both the Remuneration Committee and the Nomination and Establishment Committees of Seplat.
Well versed in leadership and governance; Mr. Omiyi has also held a number of Board memberships and senior advisory positions including; Chairman of Greenacres Energy Limited, Chairman of the Nigerian Upstream Industry Group, board member of the Nigerian Business Group of New Partnership for Africa’s Development (NEPAD), Board member of the Nigerian Extractive Industry Transparency Initiative (NEITI), Chairman of the Oil and Gas Commission of the Nigerian Economic Summit Group (NESG), and member of the Presidential Advisory Council, amongst others.
The Board is confident that Mr. Omiyi’s leadership would be instrumental in supporting Stanbic IBTC's sustainable growth.
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For 2017, the World Economic Forum on Africa (Durban, South Africa, 3- 5 May 2017) agenda will be guided by the theme “Achieving Inclusive Growth”. Regional and global leaders from business, government and civil society will consider the opportunities and challenges facing the continent, against a backdrop of lower growth, mixed outlooks and developmental challenges.
Economic growth is vital to sustained progress and inclusive growth. Standard Bank’s strategic focus on Africa, our home, makes us a key partner in driving real progress across the continent. With a presence in 20 African countries, leading banking capabilities and balance sheet strength, we deliver financial services that meet the needs of diverse clients, from individuals, small and medium enterprises, to corporations, governments and regional organisations. We link our clients to global trade corridors and key financial centres, supporting sustainable, job-creating growth and wealth creation, and driving deeper integration of African economies into the global economy.
In saying ‘Africa is our home, we drive her growth’, we understand our responsibility to go beyond banking; we add value by providing exposure, information and expertise to our clients to foster an environment that facilitates their growth and success.
As we offer informed perspectives on key economies and regions across Africa, and provide universal banking solutions that help move individuals, companies and countries forward, Standard Bank drives the conversations that unlock Africa’s potential.
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Nigeria recently paid a heavy price for not diversifying its economy, rather focusing almost exclusively on “black gold” to ensure wealth: in 2016, the oil price dropped and the country fell into a recession, its inadequate infrastructure failing to soften the blow of its main export losing value.
But come 2017 and things are looking up. For one, global oil demand is predicted to increase, and the Nigerian government is bent on policy reform (though unpopular in some camps) to secure an IMF loan that will bolster the ailing economy.
Oshodi market in Lagos
Touching down in chaotic, vibrant Lagos, Nigeria’s capital city, 702 journalist Nikiwe Bikitsha found that the West African country still faces major challenges that could deter investors, despite its current upswing – which will be a slow process. She reports that infrastructure is dire with only 50% of businesses accessing the internet with broadband (the rest rely on mobile phones); electricity generation cannot meet demand; and though Nigeria is one of the top oil-producing nations in the world, it has limited refining capabilities.
However, within these challenges are investment opportunities. According to Nikiwe, for Nigeria to become fully optimal in terms of power generation, it must produce at least 50 000MW a year. It currently produces only 4 000MW. Thus, she says, the electricity sector offers the biggest opportunity in the country.
Refining oil represents another. Nigeria’s government owns a few oil refineries, but they’re badly maintained. However, when interviewing Tonye Cole, part of the trio that founded one of Nigeria’s largest oil, coal and gas conglomerates, Sahara Group, he shared that Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has plans to build a refinery just outside Lagos. This should generate huge opportunities.
Besides oil and electricity, Nikiwe reports that potential investors can set their sights on Nigeria’s growing middle class, who are demanding more and more consumer goods, and the agricultural sector, which is being expanded in a move towards greater economic diversification. There is also potential in agro-processing.
Third Mainland Bridge Though struggling out of a recession, Nigeria boasts numerous assets – the very same that saw the country become Africa’s biggest economy. No doubt the most valuable is the country’s vast, youthful population. Endowed with an industrious and entrepreneurial spirit, Nigerians yearn to succeed. Take Dr Ola Brown, for example, Founder and MD of Flying Doctors Nigeria, the first air-ambulance service in the country.
After her younger sister passed away partly as a result of the unavailability of emergency medical services, Dr Brown dedicated her life to building a better medical system in Nigeria. Today, Flying Doctors Nigeria transports victims of medical emergencies from all over West Africa, and sometimes Central Africa.
Foluso Phillips, Chairman of Phillips Consulting, believes that Nigeria’s people are “the gem in Nigeria’s economic crown”. Oil will always be important, but it’s the Nigerians themselves who have the will to move Africa’s Giant forward.
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Stanbic Bank Botswana opened its doors 25 years ago, following Standard Bank’s acquisition of the Africa operations of ANZ Grindlays in eight separate African economies. Stanbic Bank Botswana team At the time, Botswana was considered an “overbanked” economy, so the question arises why Standard Bank Group sought to establish operations in Botswana?
The answer is unpretentious – the bank was following its large corporate clients, many of whom were headquartered in South Africa, but whose other Africa operations needed the same level of support and expertise. At the time, most of the big deals were being made in the extractive industry sector, and natural resources remains one of Stanbic Bank Botswana’s strategic focus areas.
In just 25 years, Stanbic Bank has become a leading name in Botswana, as its recent financing of the $825 million expansion of the country’s Morupule B power station has shown. It now offers the full spectrum of financial services, from Personal and Business Banking to Corporate and Investment Banking, as well as custody and trustee business. Like the wider Standard Bank Group, Stanbic Bank Botswana draws its strength from the fact that is a distinctly African institution, dedicated to serving the continent and helping its people reach their personal and business ambitions, and growing industries and enterprises.
And, as in any prosperous and thriving community, there is consensus - from board members to the staff on the ground floor - that Stanbic Botswana will be known for identifying, nurturing and producing the best banking talent in the country in order to serve its clients with excellence.
“We have an immense hunger for success and a courageous spirit”, says Sheperd Aisam, the Head of Corporate and Investment Banking. Louis Van Ravesteyn, the Head of Personal and Business Banking, believes the bank differentiates itself through service excellence. Leina Gabaraane, Stanbic Bank Botswana Chief Executive
Furthermore, its strategy is aligned with the nation. It supports initiatives aimed at economic diversification, beneficiation of the mining sector, and a thriving service sector.
The bank’s corporate culture is about going beyond brilliance. It is self-driven by a carefully chosen group of likeminded individuals. Standard Bank’s Global Leadership College ensures that this team is thoroughly grounded in best-of-breed banking practices.
Service excellence is backed by a state-of-the-art IT system. Stanbic’s Finacle Core Banking Solution runs a real-time account processing platform. This system has proved its worth and upped the bank’s game. Its enterprise-class capabilities have heightened the agility and efficiency of Stanbic’s operations, and significantly improved the user experience by customizing offerings, as well as providing enhanced accessibility and convenience.
Initiatives in the corporate social responsibility space include the patronage of football team Township Rollers, the Diacore Marathon, the Morupule Cycle Challenge, the Stanbic Bank Piazza, and the Stanbic Bank Super 5s Football Centre.
Stanbic Bank Botswana’s senior management wants to send the market a clear message: “Africa is our home, we drive her growth”. In other words, they will continue to make strides in the world of financial services; their clients - whether corporate, business or personal - come first; and as an African bank, they sky’s the limit.
The year 2017 may be its Silver Jubilee, but Stanbic Botswana’s executive team is clear that the bank is not just a leading financial institution, it is also a learning institution, reactive and responsive to the needs of the market. While its silver anniversary is a significant event, Team Stanbic Bank Botswana is reaching above and beyond the gold standard - going for a whole new benchmark relevant to Botswana – the diamond touchstone.
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The week of 10 March sees acclaimed journalist Nikiwe Bikitsha travel to Lagos, Nigeria as part of the Africa Connected quest to uncover the truth about our continent’s emerging economies. Nigeria's GDP composition
Known formally as the Federal Republic of Nigeria, the West African country is also colloquially termed “Africa’s Giant” – and not just for its vast population, which is the largest in Africa. The country is also Africa’s largest economy and a member of a collection of countries that are widely seen as the globe’s next BRICS-like economies, MINT.
Along with Mexico, Indonesia and Turkey, Nigeria makes the MINT line-up, because it is an emerging middle-income mixed economy with developing financial service, communications and technology sectors. It also boasts a re-emergent manufacturing sector that is currently the third largest on the continent.
Altogether, Nigeria is on track to become one of the world’s 20 largest economies by 2020 – at least, it was: in 2016, Nigeria battled recession as a global slump in oil prices (its main export) coincided with rebel attacks in the country’s oil-rich Niger Delta region, hobbling production. Consequently, Africa’s Giant ended that year on course for another of negative growth. But the International Monetary Fund predicts that Nigeria should find its way out of recession in 2017, with Focus Economics saying, “the first green shoots of recovery are starting to emerge.”
In March this year, Nigeria’s government published a reform policy aimed at jump-starting the economy through the selling of state assets and the liberalising of the naira, among other measures. The slow-down in the oil sector also eased due to government negotiations with rebels who have since stopped attacks.
In light of the above, Nigeria’s economy should grow if oil output holds steady or increases. Unfortunately, growth in non-oil sectors will continue to suffer from double-digit inflation, foreign-exchange shortages and unreliable power production. These are just some of the challenges one faces when doing business in Nigeria. Others include the poor state of infrastructure; limited internet access; endemic corruption in the public and private sectors; and an expatriate quota that limits foreign employment.
It’s not all negative, however. Nigeria presents a number of potentially lucrative investment choices for business people who are willing to consider the long term: middle-class consumption should more than triple, providing opportunities for the FMCG industry; the value of agriculture is expected to rise to USD263 billion a year by 2030; and, as most Nigerians rely on mobile phones for internet access, opportunities exist for new phone-compatible internet solutions.
To hear more about Nigeria’s potential, follow Nikiwe on Twitter or tune in to 702. The intrepid journalist will showcase her exploration of the country’s various sectors, as well as expert opinions from the likes of Omasan Ogisi, MTN’s manager of Corporate Affairs; Zik Zulu Okafor, renowned Nigerian film producer; and Tonye Cole, founder of the Sahara Group.
Follow the journey online using #AfricaConnected
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In an effort to meet a need in the community and also make a real difference in the lives of those living in the community, our Bloemfontein office in South Africa set out on a mission that would forever change the lives of two elderly ladies.
Our excited Bloemfontein CSI team on site to build houses Our staff set off to Heidedal and Bochabela to complete the homes of two ladies who desperately needed someone to notice and improve their living conditions.
The first team set out to plaster and paint the walls of the home Standard Bank had built for the grateful 92-year-old Elizabeth Tiaas. Elizabeth, who will be turning 93 on the 12th of March, said she could hardly contain her excitement at the prospect of moving into a home without leaks in the ceiling and cracks in the walls. With tears in her eyes and a genuine smile, the matriarch said that she never thought she’d live to the day when she would have another home. Staying true to our tagline, “Moving Forward”, our team arranged with various stakeholders, including small to medium enterprises, to lend a helping hand to make sure that the work of the day is completed that same day.
92 year-old Elizabeth's new home structure, which still needs a few finishing touches before she can move in The second group visited Bochabela where a sadder, however, equally meaningful tale, unfolded. An elderly lady living at her home in Bochebela only managed to see part of her home being built. She was struck with a short illness and unfortunately died before she could see the complete structure. While the team was visibly saddened by the news, they, in honour of this lady’s memory completed the house so that when the woman’s funeral was to be held at the home, the bulk of the work would have been done.
One of the members from the group said they are looking forward to such events in the future where they can make a difference in someone’s life. She added that working for a company that actively seeks to make a difference, is “such a blessing, because you’re always looking forward to your next event and how you can contribute”.
The team aims to build three more houses for three underprivileged families. Our Bloemfontein CSI team’s prime focus is on providing meaningful solutions to those in need, with a special focus on the elderly, children from underprivileged homes and schools as well as providing support to smaller non-profit organisations.
Visit our sustainability website to find out more about our efforts to make a real difference.
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The Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE) hosted Stanbic IBTC to a closing gong ceremony on the trading floor to commemorate out-going Chief Executive for Stanbic IBTC Group who recently assumed office as Chief Executive, Africa Regions -Sola David-Borha and to formally introduce the new Chief Executive for Stanbic IBTC Group, Yinka Sanni to stockbrokers.
The closing ceremony was themed after Standard Bank’s payoff line - Moving Forward and aptly resonates with the elevation of both Sola and Yinka. The event was televised live on CNBC Africa alongside an interview by Sola. The Nigeria Stock Exchange team was led by their Chief Executive Officer, Mr Oscar Onyema.
Yinka once worked as a dealer at the NSE and was greeted with cheers from all the dealers. One of the dealers commented that it was good to see one of their own achieve such great success and that they were glad to see him back in his capacity as CE of Stanbic IBTC Group.
The ceremony was attended by key top executives of both The NSE and Stanbic IBTC.
Watch the full video by CNBC Africa here.
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We were awarded six accolades, including Best Emerging Markets Bank in the World and Best Investment Bank in Africa, in the Global Finance World’s Best Investment Bank Awards 2017.
We also received the following awards:
- Best M&A Bank in Africa
- Best Investment Bank in Angola
- Best Investment Bank in Ghana
- Best Investment Bank in Kenya
The awards reflect client confidence in our ability to address their challenges and identify opportunities despite a tumultuous year globally and in sub-Saharan Africa, which was characterised by volatile economic and market conditions, geopolitical risk and social challenges.
The winners of the awards are a model of how an exemplary financial institution can best serve its corporate clients in a national, regional or global market. They are selected through a survey by Global Finance editors, with input from industry analysts, corporate executives and banking consultants based on growth in assets, profitability, strategic relationships, customer service, competitive pricing and innovative products.
We remain firm in our commitment to drive long term and inclusive growth in Africa.
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Financial experts predict that growth in ultra-wealthy populations in Africa will outpace that of Europe and North America over the next decade. Such findings can be found in the 2017 edition of The Wealth Report, launched by Knight Frank and Standard Bank Wealth and Investment.
The Report states that the continent’s number of ultra-high-net-worth individuals will increase by 33%, and key hotspots for growth will include Ghana, Mauritius, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Uganda, Kenya, and Rwanda.
Deon de Klerk, Head of Wealth: Africa Regions for Standard Bank, reveals that preservation of capital and generational wealth transfer remain as important as they have ever been to an effective overall wealth strategy, but now investors are also concerned about their short-term prospects as they seek to navigate an increasingly uncertain environment.
According to the report, the total number of global ultra-wealthy - those with USD30 million or more in net assets – rose by 6 340 in 2016, taking the total to 193 490. What’s more, countries offering fiscal and political stability, as well as excellent quality of life, are expected to see strong growth over the next 10 years.
It’s imperative that African countries position themselves to attract new business and investment, boosting economic growth and improving financial inclusion. So, while the ultra-wealthy in Africa only grew by 13% between 2006 and 2016, growth could be more than double that rate over the next decade as policy and regulatory frameworks make countries more conducive for doing business.
The current level of market complexity has heightened risks, highlighting the need for specialised investment and wealth management expertise. At the same time, absolute discretion and confidentiality are crucial. Africa’s ultra-wealthy also want to leave a legacy through philanthropic activities.
The award-winning Standard Bank Wealth and Investment fits this bill perfectly. An extensive presence throughout the continent combined with the Standard Bank Group’s heritage of over 154 years, empowers the Bank with the necessary diversification to provide seamless, bespoke on- and offshore offerings. By partnering with Frank Knight, Africa’s leading wealth manager delivers valuable views on key trends underpinning the continent’s wealth market.
“Our approach ensures clients receive best-of-breed solutions. With increasing volatility experienced in the markets, there is an increasing demand for bespoke investment solutions that achieve superior risk-adjusted investment returns alongside those which give a higher degree of confidence to achieve each family’s unique goals and aspirations,” says Mr de Klerk.
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Though stable and blessed with considerable mineral wealth, Zambia is steeped in contradictions: the national GDP has doubled since independence in 1964, but per capita income is currently only at two thirds of independence-year levels. Policies focused on reducing inflation and developing infrastructure have enabled the economy to maintain steady growth for more than six years. Yet, lingering institutional shortcomings mean that overall progress in long-term development is lagging. To journalist Nikiwe, it was clear that, on her latest Africa Connected journey, she needed to consult economic and business experts to figure out where Zambia really stands in terms of growth:
The copper-mining sector is central to Zambia’s prospects, covering more than 80% of its exports. Concern exists that the economy is not diversified enough to cope with a drop in international copper prices following a dramatic demand drop in 2015 that saw the Zambian kwacha become one of that year’s worst performing currencies.
Less than two years later, however, things are looking up. According to government reports, copper output may reach a record 800 000 tonnes as prices rebound. Minister of Mines and Mineral Development Christopher Yaluma concurs, saying that Zambia is the “most wanted” mining country for foreign investors.
Though she agrees that there is interest from overseas, Stanbic Zambia’s Head of Business Banking Mwensa Mutati says that most business expansion is from southern Africa, particularly South Africa. Apparently, Stanbic has seen “very significant growth” (predominantly in trade and sales), which has been powered by southern-African investors. This may be due to the fact that starting a business is comparatively easy in Zambia, as the necessary advice is readily available.
CEO of Pangaea Securities Limited Ceasr Siwale believes that Zambia’s growing middle-income group prefers to be associated with international brands, rather than “home-grown” ones. As the CEO of the company that introduced Mugg & Bean and Pizza Hut to the country, he is well-placed to offer such assessments.
While travelling through the capital of Lusaka, Nikiwe noted that many shopping malls are mostly occupied by South African retail chains, such as Pick ‘n Pay. Though the Zambian government requires a certain level of national ownership, this observation confirms Mr Siwale’s claim that Zambian’s prefer international brands.
One of the major challenges faced by foreign businesses is Zambia’s poor infrastructure. While interviewing Trudie van Rooyen, Co-founder of Go Vino, Nikiwe learned that the wine import company’s trucks can take up to 15 days to reach Lusaka from SA due to the country’s crumbling roads.
The infrastructure challenge also means that Zambia’s full tourism potential (and possible new tourist spots) cannot be reached; besides Victoria Falls, the country offers a number of stunning attractions, but they remain unexplored and unknown.
As one of the fastest growing countries in Africa bursting with resources, Zambia should be attracting foreign investors in droves. One way this fledgling economy can realise its true potential is to invest heavily in its unrefined infrastructure.
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A compelling line up of policy makers and business leaders from Europe, Africa and Malawi are scheduled to address delegates attending Standard Bank Malawi’s first Socio-Economic Forum focussing on the youth next week, Tuesday March 28 th in Malawi’s administrative capital, Lilongwe.
Under the theme; “Youth Entrepreneurship: Creating Opportunities to Build Mother Malawi,” the forum has been organised in partnership with UNICEF and the Government of Malawi, and will put the spotlight on potential of the Malawi youth market and bring customers closer to the market’s opportunities.
Keynote speakers include Mia Seppo, UN Resident Representative, Dr. Joseph Yossie Shevel, President of Galileo International Management and Resident Representatives from key UN bodies in Malawi namely, Dr Dan Odallo and Johannes Wedenig. Others notable speakers expected are Honourable Henry Mussa, MP and Minister of Labour, Youth, Sports & Manpower Development, Mike Kafe Standard Bank Group Research Andrew Mashanda Chief Executive Officer of Standard Bank Limited and Kondwani Mlilima, Chief Risk Officer of Standard Bank Limited. Another exciting speaker to look forward to is Rachel Sibande, founder of mHub, Malawi’s first technology incubation hub which has trained over 4,000 young people with digital and entrepreneurial skills.
Dr. Joseph Yossie Shevel will discuss the potential of youth employment in the agriculture sector in Malawi based on lessons drawn from Israel where young graduates and agriculture entrepreneurs are using high technology. Malawi’s economy is agriculturally-driven.
“The presentation will centre on the methods and techniques to be implemented in Malawi in order to develop incubators for young Malawians and how to develop the agricultural sector to be more competitive in SADC and to lower youth unemployment,” said Shevel.
Johannes Wedenig, Representative, UNICEF Malawi noted, “Malawi has one of the youngest populations in Africa. Investing in children is investing in Malawi’s future. Partnerships with the Government of Malawi and Standard Bank are key to ensuring that the rights of all Malawi’s children are realized. Children’s issues are everyone’s issues and should unite all sections of society.”
Mike Kafe will share economic insights in Africa, SADC and Malawi.
Dr Dan Odallo is the UNFPA Country Representative and will discuss economic opportunities for the youth as the emerging demographic divided. The forum will be privileged to have Vice President of the Republic of Malawi Dr Saulos Chilima as Guest of Honour.
Invited guests will have the opportunity to network with like-minded people, policy makers, UN and government officials as well as be in a position to assess for themselves the underlying potential in youth and how to navigate the challenges they face in their entrepreneurship strides.
Follow Standard Bank Malawi on Twitter for live updates from the forum.
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Water evaporation is one of the leading challenges facing the manufacturing sector, and the greater South African business eco-system. The need for water conservation was significantly highlighted following the severe drought conditions that impacted South Africa last year, resulting in eight provinces being declared disaster areas. WaterSavr SA is a new venture, and despite the recent rains in Gauteng and KZN, it’s aiming to plug a gap in the market when it comes to sustainable water conservation. The company supplies a powdered substance that can be added to open dams or on-site storage tanks to reduce the amount of water businesses lose to the sun.
WaterSavr SA’s powder can be applied to any large body of water from a small boat or through an automated spreader. Once applied, a thin film forms on the surface of the water, which then automatically spreads, thereby limiting the amount of water lost due to evaporation. This technology can help water reliant businesses, that still use open dams and tanks, to save money and reduce environmental impact. Follow #WorldWaterDay on Twitter to join the conversation.
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News of breaches at major retailers has littered the headlines for the last couple of years. Giants such as Target, TJX, eBay and Home Depot have all fallen foul to cyber criminals, making other retailers all too aware of the financial and reputational repercussions, in the aftermath. Theft has always been a problem for retailers. However, before the days of the Internet, thieves, be they hijackers, burglars or shoplifters, were after physical goods. Today, retailers have more valuable assets, their customers and their customers’ credit card information, to protect.
For hackers, credit card details are even more lucrative than money, because the data can be transmitted anonymously and electronically. Bear in mind that cyber-crime organisations are run in a similar way to legitimate businesses. Within the group, there will be people who write the malware, parties who run the show, and associates who act as money mules, who can act very quickly to steal cash from any compromised accounts even before the retailer has discovered the breach.
When you bear in mind that there could be millions and millions of accounts compromised, the amounts start to add up.
So, with cyber crooks always hot on their heels, retailers have been increasing spend on IT security in the last few years. There are a wide array of tools and solutions that they can adopt to help mitigate the threats, including firewalls, DLP, intrusion prevention and of course having a good response plan in place, should a breach occur. However, although planning is an essential part of any security posture, security has been, and remains a ‘catch-up’ game, with cyber criminals becoming increasingly complex, clever and sophisticated. The retail industry is desperately trying to keep up.
Over and above this, data privacy regulations, both new and evolving, are putting retailers under pressure to have solid security systems in place, as well as strong procedures in place to limit any potential fallout. Cyber regulations are only going to get tougher unfortunately and even the most sophisticated and expensive tools are not a silver bullet. Retailers also need to seriously consider having specific, cyber insurance in place that is over and above their regular cover.
Retailers have to deal with a specific set of challenges in terms of cyber threats. They generally don’t need to deal with massive distributed denial-of-service (DDoS) attacks, because cyber crooks need to keep transactions happening in order to cash in. Shutting them down means there is no data to steal, and no cash to be skimmed. However, instead, retailers have to deal with highly complex malware that steals login credentials, as well as malware that stealthily infiltrates their networks, and lingers around to pinpoint and record very specific transactions.
A couple of years ago, a point-of-sale (PoS) malware called AbaddonPOS was implicated in several large-scale breaches that affected retailers all over the USA. AbaddonPOS is delivered via an email campaign specifically tailored to retailers and which is highly specific, and targeted. The message entices the recipient into enabling content by clicking on an image, which then delivers a malicious macro called TinyLoader. Following this, command-and-control servers are contacted while TinyLoader takes a new version of the malware that is able to test white-list and black-list implementations and alter the way it skims credit card information to avoid detection.
What this highlights is that although the retail space was once considered too onerous a target to be practical for hackers, targeted malware and the slew of breaches over the last few years have altered the circumstances. Attacks on retailers are not only feasible now, they are extremely lucrative for cyber crooks, and PoS malware is evolving and increasing in frequency and complexity. The only way for retailers to help themselves is to have good security measures in place to deter criminals, and loss of funds insurance in place to help them deal with any fallout should a breach occur.
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According to the World Health Organisation, the early childhood period is considered to be the most important developmental phase in our lives. What happens to a child in the early years is critical for their developmental trajectory and life course. Numerous initiatives have been carried out across many of Standard Bank’s markets. Giving back to people and the communities that support us is important to our people and we can find no better way to give back than investing in children.
Our partnership with General Electric (GE) and the opening up of children’s hospitals in South Africa and Kenya is evident that our investment starts early in a child’s life. Understanding that healthcare is crucial to this continent is important to us and numerous smaller initiatives have taken place where staff choose to raise money, such as Stanbic Bank Ghana coming to the aid of a baby with a hole in its heart. Our female employees using the power of mentorship to encourage young girls to stay in school and to be powerful agents of change. In Malawi, we partnered with UNICEF to establish a girl mentorship program which encourages girls to continue with their education. Targeted at girls between the ages of 8 – 15, female employees of the Stanbic Bank Malawi act as role models in a country where 57% of girls enrolled in school drop out before they reach secondary school.
A 2- day hackathon held in Ghana was supported by the bank at the Kwame University of Science just recently. Empowering and promoting young, talented app developers and encouraging idea generation is key to problem solving. Stanbic Bank Zambia’s Personal and Business Banking team share their day with the Bauleni Special Needs Project and make a donation of K60,000 of much-needed items for its school. When it comes to giving back to the community, our staff in Zambia reached out to Bauleni Special Needs School with donations of much needed school items. Included in that donation was a shower wheelchair for children who have mobility issues. This will go a long way in ensuring the comfort and safety of the user in the shower. The Bauleni Special Needs Project seeks to create an enabling environment for the most marginalised and vulnerable young people in the country and this touched the hearts of the staff in the country who wanted to be a part of that.
Donations are one thing. But in South Africa, investing in the professional development of ECD practitioners is recognised as the single most effective measure that can be introduced to improve educational outcomes. However, changing the teaching style of most educators can be difficult, it needs intense classroom support and takes time. In 2015 in SA, we invested R15 million in the training of ECD practitioners to ensure children are given the best start to their education.
Childhood education will continue to be one of Standard Bank’s key focus areas. We believe that realising Africa’s growth potential begins with an understanding of the needs of its people and we remain committed to the progress and prosperity of this continent we call home.
Read more stories here about the work we are doing in communities across Africa.
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While funding remains a major barrier to venturing into business, an increasing number of entrepreneurs complain about lack of access to markets as another big hindrance, which limits their prospects to grow their businesses even when funding is available. This was confirmed in a recent survey of female entrepreneurs by Standard Bank, where respondents cited scarcity of funding as the second biggest challenge after lack of access to new markets. Standard Bank Incubator Jayshree Naidoo, Head of the Standard Bank Incubator, says difficulties with accessing markets may be a symptom of an absent or ineffective networking strategy.
“A lot of small businesses don’t have big budgets – if any – to rollout marketing and advertising campaigns, and often have to use innovative ways to sell their products. What many seem to overlook is the power of networking, a cost-effective tool to market and grow your business,” says Naidoo.
“Attending networking events creates many possibilities. Whether you’re looking for people who could help grow your firm or advice from experts in the industry or a business partner, nothing beats networking. It’s a cost-effective chance to meet potential new buyers, suppliers or even a mentor,” she says.
Writing in his book What To Do When You Want To Give Up: Help For Entrepreneurs In Tough Times, entrepreneur Allon Raiz equally extols the virtues of networking. And while the common form of networking involves attending events related to your industry with the view of meeting potential new clients, he says networking can be both formal and casual.
“As an entrepreneur, once you know that your primary responsibility is to sell, sell and sell, there are definite ways to ensure that you expose yourself to the right people and that you find opportunities to pitch your business, either using your elevator pitch or your story,” Raiz writes. “An obvious exposure is at networking events – both business and social. And you need to attend as many as of these as possible. I firmly believe that early-stage entrepreneurs who do not network will not succeed. That has been my experience.”
As part of its business development programme, the Standard Bank Incubator hosts a number of networking events to create opportunities for small business owners to meet. Mentors and successful entrepreneurs are invited to share their experiences and how they overcame challenges in their early days.
Naidoo, however, cautions that attending a networking session is not going yield instant results. Rather, it must be seen as a relationship-building exercise, which requires a second date and follow-up meetings.
Equally important, entrepreneurs must remember that networking is a two-way street. That means whenever you meet someone, you need to ask them as many questions as possible regarding their business, as well as informing them about yours.
It is also important to filter through your contact list to see who is worth pursuing a relationship with, as it is not possible nor desirable to make friends with everyone in your industry. Here are some tips on effective networking:
Be an early bird: Intuitively, most guest prefer to arrive just when the official programme is about to start to avoid being lonely. On the contrary, being an early bird creates endless networking opportunities. Firstly, you get a chance to meet the host, and introduce yourself and your business before a circle forms around him or her. Secondly, being one of the first to arrive makes it easy to approach other “lonely” guests and begin a conversation before everyone settles into a group.
Remember, it’s a two-way street: It may be tempting to dominate the whole conversation with your great plans to build a business empire or about how you’re struggling to penetrate the market, but keep in mind that your acquaintance is equally eager to tell you about his or her business. Show interest in their story by asking questions and listening. If there’s a meeting of minds between the two of you, a lasting relationship will begin.
Don’t oversell yourself: Just like in a formal pitch, don’t exaggerate your abilities and capabilities. This may be tempting when you’re struggling to get your business off the ground and see a potential customer, but it’s not worth the risk. The last thing you need is to receive an order you can’t deliver, or ruin a relationship that could potentially grow big.
Bring lots of business cards: Carrying business cards to external meetings has become standard practice for professionals and business people. Writing contact details on a diary or storing them on your phone is an unnecessary distraction during a conversation, and there’s a chance you may not remember who’s who from your contact list a few days later. Because business cards contain the key particulars of a person, they tend to serve as a good reminder of who you met.
Follow up, follow up: Just like any courtship, a second date is essential. If you see a potential relationship with an acquaintance, inquire about the best way to stay in touch. Busy people prefer to be contacted via email, while those who are still hustling may not mind a call on their cellphones. It is important to make contact within a week after the event, while your contact still remembers you.
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The importance of African women's participation in business on the continent is one of the central themes of the fifth edition of the Africa CEO Forum held in Geneva on 20 and 21 March, the leading international gathering devoted to the development of Africa and its companies.
The forum hosts more than 1000 African and international personalities, as well as key African industrial, financial and political decision-makers, including about 200 business leaders from 43 African countries. Such influential business leaders include Sola David-Borha, our newly appointed Chief Executive Standard Bank: Africa Regions.
Africa’s ability to unleash the power of female entrepreneurs and start-up companies has become increasingly important in light of the fact that overall growth on the continent has slowed markedly from the economic boom enjoyed in the 2000s. Although certain countries, such as Senegal, Côte d’Ivoire, Ethiopia and Tanzania, are still performing well and achieving world-class results, overall growth for 2016 is expected at 3%, a far cry from the 6% achieved ten years ago, which calls for a more detailed analysis of the economic boom of the 2000s.
By holding the 2017 meeting under the theme Re-thinking Africa’s Business Model, the Africa CEO Forum has chosen to focus on the changes that must be made in order to succeed in this new economic cycle.
The major themes are:
Unleashing entrepreneurial energies, including those of start-ups, young and women entrepreneurs;
Increasing Africa’s attractiveness to international investors;
Improving the competitiveness of African stock exchanges; and
Encouraging the creation of more export-orientated activities
The forum will also feature more than 20 sessions that examine a number of practical issues that African companies face, including: digital transformation, fintechs, agribusiness, private equity, and the development of African champions or off-grid electricity.
African Women in Business initiative
The African Women in Business initiative will be made up of a high-level panel which will bring together the most influential women in the African private sector and the Chief Executives most active in promoting gender diversity.
Its goal is twofold: to identify the best strategies for increased female representation in business; and to highlight the career paths of the women who have shaped the African private sector.
“A greater representation of women in companies is crucial to the prosperity of the African private sector”, said Amir Ben Yahmed, the President of the Africa CEO Forum. “By creating the African Women in Business initiative, we have decided to put female leadership at the heart of our discussion.”
The African Women in Business initiative will also present the findings of the event’s knowledge partner, McKinsey & Company’s, report titled “Women Matter Africa”. This report sets out the progress made by the African private and public sectors in terms of women’s representation. While Africa equals – and even exceeds – international standards, there is still a long way to go to achieve true gender equality.
By launching the African Women in Business initiative, the Africa CEO Forum is contributing to the implementation of concrete solutions for the improvement of gender diversity. It aims, to shake things up and push boundaries.
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Like other commodity-producing economies, Côte d'Ivoire had a tough 2016, but this will do little to diminish its expected GDP growth of about 8%. This is what acclaimed journalist Nikiwe Bikitsha learned on her latest Africa Connected journey to the West African country.
Long associated with chocolate and coffee, Côte d'Ivoire has so much more going for it – though cocoa and coffee beans are two of its main exports. Today, the Ivory Coast is the largest economy in the West African and Monetary Union, contributing to about 40% of the union’s GDP. Compared to other countries in the region, it also has a relatively high income per capital of USD3 600.
So, what’s the secret to Côte d'Ivoire’s economic success? Nikiwe interviewed a number of banking, law and economic experts to find out. Business and Corporate Lawyer Michel Brizoua believes the country’s legislative framework is welcoming to foreign investors. Besides in highly regulated sectors, such in the mining industry, foreigners can establish themselves with 100% business ownership, and set up a business in roughly 24 hours.
This view is also held by James Osterloh, Chief Operating Officer, Stanbic Côte d'Ivoire. He revealed that the Ivory Coast’s business environment is very positive, saying that people generally come across as pro-business and progressive. “Brand South Africa” is especially welcome in the country, as Ivoirians look to South Africa for innovation.
In terms of investment opportunities, the general consensus among Nikiwe’s chosen experts is that investors are spoilt for choice: Hervé Boyer, Director General, Stanbic Côte d'Ivoire, says the Ivory Coast is a “land of opportunities” in which “all the elements” exist, including low costs of doing business. In terms of energy, Côte d'Ivoire is a net exporter, and will soon double production to meet the requirements of its economic growth and the needs of the countries around it. Infrastructure is booming; though already excellent, 31% of all government expenses are related to infrastructure projects. Mining is also on Mr Boyer’s list, as 11% of Côte d'Ivoire’s GDP come’s directly from this sector.
It seems like solid investment prospects are everywhere, and Mr Osterloh agrees, saying that when an economy is booming like Côte d'Ivoire’s, opportunities are widespread, and thus Stanbic Bank is seeing invest from “really diverse” sectors.
Of course, any country will present challenges. In the case of the Ivory Coast, the biggest challenge, as believed by Mr Osterloh, is language. Côte d'Ivoire is a French-speaking nation – in fact, one of the reasons Stanbic Bank opened a subsidiary there was to expand operations into Francophone Africa. However, the language barrier is not insurmountable. Mr Osterloh suggests it can be overcome by working with local partners.
It seems Côte d'Ivoire offers more in favour of investing than not. According to Mr Brizoua, “Côte d'Ivoire can be seen as the best business destination in Francophone Africa.”
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