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Interswitch Kicks Off InterswitchSPAK Nigeria 6.0: Calls for Registration, Doubles Value of Winnings

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Interswitch, Africa’s leading digital payment and commerce company, has announced the commencement of the sixth edition of its annual National Science Competition, InterswitchSPAK, in Nigeria with a significant boost in prize monies and added incentives for more participants, as the company doubles-down on its long-term support for STEM advancement across Africa. The competition, a Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) initiative of the Interswitch Group, now in its 6th edition in Nigeria (and 5th edition in Kenya, where it also runs) aims to foster interest in Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) subjects among senior secondary school students across the country. Schools in Nigeria can now register up to twenty (20) SS2 Science Students each, marking an unprecedented scale of participation. Registration for students will be open until May 10th, 2024, and it is free of charge to all applicants. The qualifying examination is conducted entirely online, allowing candidates to take it from the comfort of their school, home, or any convenient location. The Computer Based Test (CBT) exams are scheduled to hold from Tuesday, May 14th, to Saturday, May 18th, 2024, from 8 am to 6 pm daily. Participants have the flexibility to choose the most suitable day, time, and venue for their exam, with two trials available. Following the online qualifying examination, the top 81 students will proceed to the semi-finals and finals to compete for the coveted title of Nigeria’s Best STEM Student. This year’s edition, with a prize pool of over 30 million Naira, marks a 140% increase from the erstwhile 12.5 million Naira in prize winnings, demonstrating Interswitch’s unflinching commitment to educational development by doubling cash prizes for winners. The first prize winner will receive N15 million tertiary scholarship spread over 5 years, a laptop, and monthly stipends. The second-place winner gets N10 million spread over 3 years and a laptop, while the third-place winner will get N5 million for 1 year. In addition to the top three prizes, cash rewards are also available for the participants who secure the 4th to 9th positions. Furthermore, the top 18 semi-finalists will also receive cash prizes. The competition also recognizes the contributions of teachers and offers cash rewards for the top 27 contributing teachers. Interswitch will also purchase JAMB e-PINS for the top 200 preliminary qualifiers to enable them register for the Joint Admissions and Matriculation Board (JAMB) examinations free of charge. Speaking on this year’s edition of the competition, Cherry Eromosele, Executive Vice President & Group Chief Marketing and Communications Officer at Interswitch Group said “We are excited to kick off another edition of InterswitchSPAK, the 6th in the series in Nigeria, and this year promises to be bigger and better than ever before. By doubling the prize pool and expanding opportunities, we are not only investing in the winners but also in the entire ecosystem of STEM education. We are thrilled to see the impact this initiative has had over the last 5 editions and look forward to witnessing the brilliance and innovation of Nigeria’s young minds in this year’s competition”. The last edition saw Abraham Daramola, a student of Hallmark Secondary School, Ondo State, emerge as the winner, while the duo of Emmanuel Omoegbeleghan from The Crescent International School, Ogun State, and Emmanuel Angelo-Hyuwa from The Ambassadors College, Ogun State, came second and third, respectively. Secondary schools are hereby advised to visit the InterswitchSPAK portal to register their best science students in Senior Secondary 2 (SS2) for the competition. All eligible students and schools are encouraged to visit the website, www.interswitchspak.com, for more details on how to participate in the competition.

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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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FINANCIAL INCLUSION, KEY FACILITATOR TO POVERTY REDUCTION AND ECONOMIC PROSPERITY – 9PSB CEO  

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Lagos, Nigeria, May 2024. 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB), Nigeria’s digital payment service bank, focused on financial inclusion, has re-emphasized that financial inclusion is the key enabler to poverty reduction and economic prosperity in Africa at the Regtech Africa Conference held recently in Lagos.

The event themed: Harnessing Partnerships for Africa’s Prosperity – Bridging the Data Trust Gap, is a convergence of financial experts and thought leaders in the digital financial service industry across Africa, aimed at sharing knowledge and proffering strategies to increase data trust in the last mile digital financial service delivery.

Delivering a keynote presentation, the Managing Director, and Chief Executive Officer, 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB), Branka Mracajac stated that financial inclusion remains a key focus in Nigeria and in Africa. It plays significant role in reducing poverty and fostering prosperity of the people. Achieving the desired results requires conscious effort by players in the industry to make financial products and services available, accessible, and affordable for all unbanked and underserved individuals and businesses, regardless of their age, gender, geographical region, and social economic status. It also aims at empowering people with knowledge through financial literacy programmes and providing them with tools such as savings account and other payment options to participate in formal financial systems.

L-R: Group Head Business Development & Strategy, 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB) Akeem Salam; Team Lead, Marketing & Communications, 9PSB, Inemesit Ekong; Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, 9PSB, Branka, Mracajac and Head, Sales Distribution and Strategic Partnership, 9PSB Kunle Isiaka at the 2024 Regtech Africa Conference and Awards held recently at Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

“A survey conducted in Nigeria in 2008 by EFinA revealed that about 53 per cent of adult were excluded from financial services, furthermore, financial inclusion as a vehicle for economic development have notable positive impact in Nigeria, it decreased the exclusion rate from the initial 53 per cent of about 40 million of adults to 36 per cent which today means about 29 million of adult Nigerians. 59 per cent of households in Nigeria are income providers, while most of the income providers are women, unfortunately, they are the ones that are mostly excluded from formal financial services, since Nigeria has about 26 per cent of adult Nigerians that are financially excluded, the target for this year as mandated by the Central Bank of Nigeria is to attain 25 per cent inclusion figure,” Mracajac added.

L-R: Managing Director, Regtech Africa, Cyril Okoroigwe; National President, Association of Mobile Money and Bank Agents in Nigeria (AMMBAN), Fasasi Sarafadeen Atanda; Managing Director and Chief Executive Officer, 9 Payment Service Bank (9PSB), Branka Mracajac; Head of Strategy and Business Integration, Rand Mutual (RMA), Johannesburg, South Africa,  Chuma Qwalela; Managing Director, Palmpay, Chika Reginald Nwosu and Director, Partnership Regtech Africa, Graham – Olusanmi Lawal at the 2024 Regtech Africa Conference and Awards held recently at Oriental Hotel, Victoria Island, Lagos.

‘As we strive to grow financial inclusion, lack of access to financial services, low financial literacy among the populace, prohibitive cost of financial services and lack of trust in financial institutions are standing as roadblocks. Therefore, stakeholders and various industry players should begin to adopt localization of financial literacy and education, reduce minimal cost of accessibility for the people, simplified products, and processes. She remarked.

The 2024 RegTech Africa Conference had a line-up of stellar speakers, case studies, panel discussions, engaging discussions, unique presentations providing access to a wealth of industry-leading knowledge, sharing best practices and experiences, spotlighting trends, information exchange, cutting-edge insights, and outlooks with actionable takeaways.

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