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Polaris Bank Partners EAS, Funds Training of over 1000 Nigerian SMEs on Export to US, Europe

…Provides local funding for stock purchase

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Lagos, Nigeria – September 14, 2023: Polaris Bank, in its show of commitment towards empowerment of Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs), is pleased to announce a strategic partnership with Export and Sell (EAS), a renowned expert in export solutions, to train and subsequently fund over 1,000 successful SMEs on export opportunities to the USA via Amazon and other international platforms.

Polaris Bank is leveraging the expertise of EAS as an intermediary between Online and African Stores in the US, UK and Nigerian businesses, for supply of Raw foodstuffs and other items from Nigeria. With a focus on e-commerce sales through Amazon, the training provides in-depth exposure to Nigerian SMEs on export opportunities and sales expansion into the American market. The training will provide an opportunity to educate SMEs on how to find buyers and how to meet specifications for export, especially into the US market.

The training programme is slated to commence in October 3, 2023 as a hybrid model, with in-person sessions slated to hold in Port Harcourt, Abuja and Lagos. Subsequently intensive sessions will hold for four days with over 1000 successful SMEs; many of whom could access facilities of up to ₦20m for SMEs and ₦1billion for large corporate.

This collaboration aims to equip SMEs with the knowledge and tools required to successfully export their products.

In today’s global marketplace, SMEs face unique challenges, including, access to financing, shipping, product registration and finding buyers for their business. Polaris Bank recognizes the importance of fostering economic growth by supporting SMEs, as the backbone of the Nigerian economy. Through the partnership with EAS, Polaris Bank is taking a significant step towards fulfilling its commitment to SME growth and development in Nigeria.

The partnership and training programme, will provide SMEs with a comprehensive understanding of onboarding on Amazon and exporting successfully to the USA, with insights on export credit insurance and risk mitigation strategies. Participants will gain insights into available funding windows provided by Polaris Bank as well as be equipped on how to leverage them effectively.

The training sessions will be led by industry experts from both Polaris Bank and EAS, ensuring that participants receive the highest quality education and guidance.

Commenting on the Export and Sell Business Model, Polaris Bank’s Group Head, Products & Market Development, Adebimpe Ihekuna expressed enthusiasm for the partnership, stating, “At Polaris Bank, we understand the pivotal role SMEs play in driving economic growth. Through our collaboration with EAS, we aim to empower SMEs with the knowledge and tools necessary to access export financing opportunities and compete effectively on the global stage. This partnership underscores Polaris Bank’s commitment to SME development and Nigeria’s economic prosperity.”

A BusinessDay news article published on March 23, 2023, quoting Nigerian Bureau of Statistics (NBS) indicated that a total of N598.2billion worth of agricultural produce were exported in 2022, accounting for 18.5 percent increase when compared to the figure recorded in 2021.

Polaris Bank was adjudged Digital Bank of the Year in 2021 and 2022 by Business Day’s Banks and Other Financial Institutions (BAFI) Awards. It also emerged as the best MSME Bank because of its ability to use technology to enable bottom-up support to the MSME sector.

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All On, RMI, and GEAPP Partner to Address Energy Access Gap in Nigeria with Focus on Mini-Grid Solutions

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Lagos, Nigeria– 14-06-2024– – All On, a leading Nigerian impact investment company in partnership with Rocky Mountain Institute, (RMI) and The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) co-hosted an Alliance Partners Roundtable recently to discuss the existing and emerging challenges faced by Mini-grid developers and financiers, while proffering solutions that will drive growth and unlock scale within the Mini-grid Sector.

The event hosted Dr. Rajiv H. Shah, the President of Rockefeller Foundation, RF, a global institution with a mission to promote the well-being of humanity around the world. It highlighted the root cause(s) of the limited scale in the Mini-grid sector (Isolated & Interconnected Mini-grids), shared key learnings and opportunities from the Demand Aggregation for Renewable Technologies (DART) program, Energizing Agriculture Program (EAP), Utility Enabled DERs and DER Roadmap. These seek to address challenges related to financing, underutilization within the Mini grid sector, prohibitive financing cost, Import Dependency and Unavailability of FX, and lack of scale.

Sub-Saharan Africa, (SSA) faces an energy crisis, with 43% (590 million) people lacking electricity, according to International Energy Agency (IEA, 2021). Nigeria, the region’s most populous nation, is particularly affected, with 45% (99 million) people lacking access. This lack of access to electricity requires a significant funding increase of an estimated $27 billion annually needed by 2030 in SSA.  With this, the event focused on exploring ways to unlock commercial, local currency financing and refinancing for mini grids, and of unlocking scale through productive uses of power for mini grids.

Speaking at the event, CEO, All On, Caroline Eboumbou, said, “This roundtable discussion with our esteemed partners emphasises the urgent need to address the energy crisis in Sub-Saharan Africa, particularly in Nigeria. With millions lacking access to electricity, innovative solutions like mini grids are crucial. This event focused on identifying the challenges that hinder mini-grid growth, such as financing limitations and underutilized capacity. By unlocking commercial, local currency financing and promoting productive uses of power, we can create sustainable mini-grids and empower communities across the region.”

“The World Bank, African Development Bank, and GEAPP are committed to partnering with project developers and governments to electrify 300 million Africans, with a focus on providing 100 million Nigerians with clean energy. We will learn from your challenges and work together to overcome them, fostering a more sustainable and equitable future for all,” said Dr. Rajiv H. Shah, President, Rockefeller Foundation.

Also speaking at the event, Nigeria Country Director, Rocky Mountain Institute, (RMI), Suleiman Babamanu, said, “We are thrilled to bring together renewable energy developers in the presence of the RF president for this alliance roundtable.  This collaborative effort represents a significant step forward in our mission to create sustainable and resilient energy solutions. By combining our expertise and resources, we can address the pressing challenges of climate change and energy access, driving innovation and economic growth for communities worldwide.”

Other speakers at the event were, Finance Manager & DART Program Lead, All On, Tomilola Olakiigbe; Senior Associate, RMI, Folawiyo Aminu; CEO, Prado Power, Washima Mede and Nigeria Country Director, PowerGen, Seun Edun.

The Alliance Partners Roundtable represents a significant step in tackling the energy access crisis in Nigeria. By harnessing the collective knowledge and expertise of key stakeholders, the critical solutions to unlock the potential of mini grids identified can pave way for a future where millions in Nigeria and by extension Sub-Saharan Africa, can gain access to clean and reliable electricity, fostering economic growth and improved livelihoods.

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About All On

All On, an independent impact investing company, was seeded with funding from Shell, and works with partners to increase access to commercial energy products and services for unserved and underserved off-grid energy markets in Nigeria, with a special focus on the Niger Delta. All On invests in off-grid energy solutions spanning solar, wind, hydro, biomass and gas technologies deployed by both foreign and local access-to-energy companies that complement available grid power across Nigeria and help bridge its significant energy gap.

To learn more, please visit www.all-on.com 

Contact: email all-on-communications@all-on.com 

About GEAPP

The Global Energy Alliance for People and Planet (GEAPP) is an alliance of philanthropy, governments in emerging and developed economies, and technology, policy, and financing partners. Our common mission is to enable LMIC’s shift to a clean energy, pro-growth model that accelerates universal energy access and inclusive economic growth, while supporting the global community to meet critical climate goals during the next decade. As an alliance we aim to reduce 4 gigatons of future carbon emissions, expand clean energy access to one billion people, and enable 150 million new jobs. With philanthropic partners, IKEA Foundation, The Rockefeller Foundation, and Bezos Earth Fund, GEAPP works to build the enabling environment, capacity, and market conditions for private sector solutions, catalyze new business models through innovation and entrepreneurship, and deploy high-risk capital to encourage private sector solutions, and assist just transition solutions. For more information, please visit www.energyalliance.org  and follow us on X at @EnergyAlliance.

Contact: email mpumi@africacommunicationsgroup.com 

About RMI

Founded in 1982 as Rocky Mountain Institute, RMI is an independent, nonpartisan, nonprofit that transforms global energy systems through market-driven solutions to align with a 1.5°C future and secure a clean, prosperous, zero-carbon future for all. We work in the world’s most critical geographies and engage businesses, policymakers, communities, and nongovernmental organizations to identify and scale energy system interventions that will cut greenhouse gas emissions at least 50 percent by 2030. For more information, please visit www.rmi.org/

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FBNQuest Trustees Champions Estate Planning in Ibadan.

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Lagos, Nigeria – May 2024 – FBNQuest Trustees, a subsidiary of FBNHoldings, and a leading provider of trust solutions to individuals, corporate entities, and government institutions, recently held its first Estate Planning Clinic in Ibadan, Oyo State. The event aimed to provide participants with a thorough understanding of the essential steps and actions required to preserve and manage their properties and legacies for future generations.

L-R: Head, Treasury & Investment at FBNQuest Trustees Limited, Yosola Odunaiya;  Regional Head at FBNQuest Trustees Limited, Abimbola Ajinibi; Private Trust Specialist at FBNQuest Trustees Limited, Mutiat Olatunji; Head, Marketing & Business Development at FBNQuest Trustees Limited, Babajide Fetuga; Private Trust Specialist at FBNQuest Trustees Limited, Thelma Jiakponna; and Head, Private Trust at FBNQuest Trustees Limited, Rotimi Obende, at the Estate Planning Conference recently held in Ibadan.

The event, themed “Preserving Legacies Across Generations,” offered valuable insights on the importance of Estate Planning and intergenerational wealth transfer to the residents of Ibadan and its surrounding areas. Industry experts from FBNQuest Trustees shared insights and provided attendees with in-depth knowledge on the benefits of having a well-planned estate. Participants learned how to prevent costly court battles, plan for unforeseen incapacitation, and ensure that their loved ones are well taken care of. This event equipped attendees with the knowledge and tools necessary to make informed decisions about their legacy and ensure that their wishes are respected for generations to come.

In his message, the Managing Director/CEO of FBNQuest Trustees, Adekunle Awojobi, represented by the Head of Business Development at FBNQuest Trustees, Babajide Fetuga, underscored the importance of a well-drafted estate plan. He highlighted how FBNQuest Trustees, with their expertise and experience, can guide potential clients in this crucial process. This ensures that assets are properly allocated to the right individuals at the right time, thereby preventing future disputes or legal issues among family members. He shared examples of unfortunate situations that have occurred in families of prominent Nigerians who lacked estate plans. He also emphasised the importance of seeking guidance from professionals at FBNQuest Trustees to establish a comprehensive blueprint for estate planning that benefits future generations. Understanding the actual value of your legacy is crucial to preserving it. Your legacy extends far beyond material possessions, encompassing our positive impact on those around us and the values we uphold.’ He added.

At FBNQuest Trustees, we are committed to educating individuals on the importance of effective estate planning. We have successfully hosted various estate planning clinics in Nigeria. Through our Legacy Series Campaign and Legacy Room podcast, we continually emphasise the importance of having a well-thought-out strategy that preserves your legacy across generations.

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Rising Stars Shine at Ecobank’s National Schools Team Chess Championship

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  • Unilag, Daysprings School, Marvelvine Montessori School Top List; Cart Away Millions in Prize Monies

Lagos, May 28, 2024 –   University of Lagos (UNILAG), DaySpring School, Lagos and Marvelvine Montessori School, also in Lagos, have emerged winners in the tertiary, secondary and primary schools’ categories of the 2024 Ecobank National Schools’ Teams Chess Competition at the Pan African Centre in Lagos over the weekend.

The Chess Competition which has been described as the largest gathering of chess players in Africa attracted over 1200 players from over 250 schools across 18 states in Nigeria and the Federal Capital Territory (FCT).

Right: Vice President, Nigeria Chess Federation, Prince Adeyinka Adewole; Managing Director/Regional Executive, Ecobank Nigeria, Bolaji Lawal with one of the winning schools

Speaking at the closing ceremony, Vice President, Nigeria Chess Federation (NCF), Prince Adeyinka Adewole, expressed excitement that the Championship which was introduced last year when the International Chess Federation (ICF) started the World Schools Team Chess Championship has grown in leap and bounds. He noted that the 2024 edition attracted over 1200 participants, describing NCF’s partnership with Ecobank as a shining example of the public-private partnership needed for the advancement of sports in Nigeria.

“118 primary schools, 86 secondary schools, and 42 tertiary institutions participated and jostled for prizes of over N15 million at the three-day tournament which took place between Friday 24th and Sunday 26th at the Ecobank Pan African Centre (EPAC) in Victoria Lagos. At the end of the highly competitive tournament, University of Lagos came tops in the tertiary school category and was followed by University of Benin and Chess in Slums Africa (CISA) while DaySpring School, Platforms School, Ireti Senior Grammar School came first, second and third respectively in the secondary school category. For the Primary school category, Marvelvine Montessori School came first while Scholars Academy, Ibadan was second best and followed by Okikioluwa Junior in the third position”. He stated. Further, he said, “When we introduced this Championship last year, only 15 schools participated but today we have over 250 schools. This is a remarkable accomplishment for us in the Nigeria Chess Federation, and we wouldn’t have been able to achieve this without the unwavering support of Ecobank. We’re deeply grateful for Ecobank’s generous support and unwavering commitment to empowering young minds and fostering intellectual growth. Your sponsorship has made this event possible, and your dedication to the development of chess among Nigerian youth is truly commendable.” He reiterated the Federation’s delight in providing a platform for young participants to horn their skill and become world champion, stating that the championship is a celebration of strategic thinking, the relentless pursuit of excellence, and the future of Nigerian chess.

Managing Director/Regional Executive, Ecobank Nigeria, Bolaji Lawal, said the decision of the bank to sponsor the Chess competition was to further showcase Ecobank’s commitment to supporting intellectual and sports development in Nigeria, being part of Ecobank’s strategic human capital development drive. “The winners here today are ‘rising stars. And I must say this is in line with our objective of supporting children and youths as the next-generation of changemakers. This sponsorship aligns with our overall long-term vision of building a world class Pan African bank that contributes to the economic and financial integration of the continent. We are also using the opportunity of this competition to introduce and empower them with convenient, affordable, and accessible digital financial services they can access anytime and anywhere they are. Arrangements are in place to make our partnership an annual event, as it is exciting and fulfilling for both the children and undergraduate students”. He stated. In his comment the Minister of Sports Senator John Owan Enoh, represented by the Director, Federal Ministry of Sports Liaison Office in Lagos, Ms Ikana Mbora, said the ministry is proud of the NCF. He commended the students for their resilience and determination to win as “this represents the Nigerian can do spirit”.

It would be recalled that Platform Schools, Ikeja, Lagos emerged as the national champion at the first National Schools Team Chess Championship held last year earning the honor to represent Nigeria at the World Schools Team Chess Championship in Kazakhstan. The Nigeria Chess Federation (NCF) is the national governing body for chess in Nigeria. It was established in 1975 and is responsible for promoting, regulating and developing chess in Nigeria. The NCF is a federation under the Federal Ministry of Sport Development, and it is affiliated with the International Chess Federation (FIDE) and follows its rules and regulations. The objectives of the NCF include organizing national and international chess tournaments, training and selecting chess players to represent Nigeria in international competitions, and promoting the game of chess at all levels, from grassroots to elite. The NCF organizes various chess events throughout the year, and has also been successful in producing strong chess players who have represented Nigeria in international tournaments. These players have achieved notable successes, including winning medals in African Chess Championships and participating in Chess Olympiads.

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