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Bank of Zambia approves merger between Access Bank Zambia and African Banking Corporation Zambia



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Key Highlights

  • Access Holdings has received final regulatory approval from the Central Bank Zambia for the acquisition and merger of African Banking Corporation Zambia limited into its existing operations
  • The Central Bank of Nigeria and Common Market for East and Southern Africa competition Commission had earlier granted their ‘no objection’ to the transaction in 2022.
  • The combination of the two banks will create significant synergies between the banks

Access Holdings Plc said one of its subsidiaries, Access Bank Zambia Limited, has received final regulatory approval from the Bank of Zambia tp acquire and merge African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited into its existing operations.

The company disclosed this in a notice to the Nigerian Exchange Group, a copy of which was obtained by Nairametrics.

CBN’s earlier endorsement

The statement signed by Company Secretary Sunday Ekwochi noted that the Central Bank of Nigeria and Common Market for East and Southern Africa competition Commission had earlier granted their approvals to the transaction in 2022.

Integrating African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited into Access Bank

Access Bank said it will now move towards integrating and merging Atlas Mara Zambia into its operations, which is expected to create one of the top five banks in Zambia. Commenting on the transaction, Access Holdings’ Group CEO Dr, Herbert Wigwe, said:

  • “The transaction builds on our earlier acquisition and merger of Cvmont Bank Plc into Access Bank Zambia and underscore our resolve to strengthen our presence in Zambia, a key African market that fits into our strategic focus on geographic earnings growth and diversification.”

Significant synergies

He noted that the combination of the two banks will create significant synergies between Access Zambia’s world class wholesale and transaction banking capabilities and Atlas Mara Zambia’s market leading retail and public sector capabilities to form a market leading Universal platform that will greatly impact the Zambian market.

What you should know

Access Bank Plc had said it has signed an agreement with Atlas Mara Limited on a proposed merger between African Banking Corporation Zambia Limited (Atlas Mara Zambia) and Access Bank Zambia Limited.

This development comes shortly after the bank acquired a majority stake in BancABC Botswana — its fourth acquisition in 2021.

Upon completion of the transaction, Ekwochi said the bank is expected to retain or increase its current shareholding in Access Bank Zambia.

With the arrangement, the bank said it would have more than 70 branches and agencies with an approximate $1 billion total assets and over 300,000 customers in the country.

  • “The transaction will not require significant additional capital investment requirements from the bank given the capital and other synergies created from the merger between Access Bank Zambia with Cavmont Bank in 2020,” the statement said.
  • “The proposed transaction is expected to be concluded in 2022, subject to the fulfilment of conditions including regulatory approvals in Nigeria and Zambia.”
  • Commenting on the proposed merger, Herbert Wigwe, group managing director/chief executive officer, Access Bank, said: “This transaction represents another milestone that brings us closer to the achievement of our broader strategic objectives.
  • “The merger of Atlas Mara Zambia with Access Bank Zambia is expected to augment our presence in Zambia and the broader COMESA region, Africa’s largest free trade area.
  • “We are particularly excited by the prospects of increased earnings contribution to the bank from the enlarged Access Bank Zambia, which has also announced the appointment of a new Managing Director, Mr. Lishala Situmbeko, who brings over 25 years of cognate experience and deep local relationships into our Zambian operation.
  • “Today’s announcement is a testament to the strong confidence of the Zambian market in the Bank’s country and regional strategy as well as our strong confidence in the long-term prospects for the Zambian economy.”


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Petrol subsidy removal: Sanwo-Olu asks NLC not to politicize the planned strike, calls for restraint



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Key Highlights

  • While calling for patience, Governor Sanwo-Olu appealed to NLC not to embark on its planned nationwide strike over the petrol subsidy removal as President Tinubu means well for the country’s economy.
  • He asked what has changed as every presidential candidate said that the first thing they are going to do is to remove the subsidy.
  • The governor called for restraint from the leadership of the labour union as they should know that they are leading a pack of people.

The Lagos State Governor, Babajide Sanwo-Olu, on Sunday, pleaded with the Nigeria Labour Congress (NLC) that it should not turn its planned nationwide strike over the removal of petrol supply into a political thing as they have begun to see that.

The governor appealed to the Labour union not to embark on its proposed nationwide strike on the petrol subsidy removal slated for Wednesday as President Bola Tinubu means well for the country’s economy.

This was made known by Governor Sanwo-Olu while speaking to journalists after the Post-inauguration Church Thanksgiving Service held at the Cathedral Church of Christ, Marina in Lagos on Sunday, June 4, 2023.

Pleads for patience

The Governor, who implored labour leaders to exercise patience on its proposed planned strike, urged the Labour leaders not to be political over the issue of the removal of fuel subsidy.

He said the subsidy removal is in the interest of all Nigerians, urging them to support President Bola Tinubu to run the country’s affairs creditably.

The Governor urged the labour leaders to join hands with the present administration at the federal level and be patient with the President in his commitment to turn the economy around and make Nigeria a better place for all.

  • He said: “We are thankful that Mr. President is a product of Lagos. We will pray for him and everything that he stands for. We believe he will replicate all the good things he has done in Lagos in our country, Nigeria.
  • “I want to wish and plead with our citizens even as NLC has said to us that they want to go on strike. It is not the time for a strike. During the campaign trail, every one of our presidential candidates did say that the first thing they are going to do is to remove the subsidy. So, what has changed? What has the current president said or what has he done that is different from what any of the other aspirants said they would do?
  • “We need to be very patient. He (President Tinubu) has not even done a week. So let us talk to ourselves and say that we shouldn’t turn it political. Let us wait and support this man. He had not done a week on the job. Let him go and reflect and at the sub-national level, we are willing to support him.
  • “The point is no industrial strike will solve anything at this point, it will certainly not bring an end to the issue. The point will be how are we going to ensure that there is a turnaround in our economy. He has mentioned something about a better wage. We have started that in Lagos. We started it in January; so other parts of the country can also do the same. We don’t need to wait for the national government. We just need to reflect on what the challenges are in our country and let us solve the problem.”

NLC should restrain themselves

Governor Sanwo-Olu also appealed to Nigerians, and the leadership of the NLC in particular, to support President Tinubu in his quest to deliver purposeful governance to the citizens.

  • He added, “I want to plead with the Nigeria Labour Congress. It shouldn’t turn into a political thing because we have begun to see that. The leadership should know that they are leading a pack of people and they need to restrain themselves.
  • “Let us be patient. Let us work around it. NNPC has said that there is more than enough petrol. So there is no need for us to begin to heat up the polity. There is no need for us to begin to get political; it is governance now and people just want to see purposeful governance.
  • “So let the President settle to do the job and he has said to us he is going to put in place a team that will take the country out of poverty and that is what we are praying for.”

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Nigerian startup, Helium Health, raises $30 million in Series B round 



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Article summary 

  • Health tech startup, Helium Health raised $30 million in a Series B round, bringing its total fundraising to $42.12. 
  • AXA IM Alts led the funding with participation from other new and old investors in the company. 
  • Helium Health said the funding will go into expanding its fintech product, HeliumCredit, and increasing its lending portfolio. 

A Nigerian health tech startup, Helium Health, has raised $30 million in a Series B funding round to fund the expansion of its fintech product. 

This is coming three years after it secured a $10 million Series A. The latest funding round brings Helium Health’s total raise to $42.12 million. 

The Series B funding round was led by AXA IM Alts with participation from Capria Ventures, Angaza Capital, Anne Wojcicki (Founder of 23&Me), and Flatworld Partners. Existing investors Global Ventures, Tencent, Ohara Pharmaceuticals, LCY Group, WTI, and AAIC also participated in the round. 

According to the company, the funding will go into expanding its fintech product, HeliumCredit, and increasing its lending portfolio to 1,000 healthcare facilities by 2024 in partnership with the U.S. International Development Finance Corporation (DFC). Helium Health said it would also continue to scale its SaaS suite for healthcare providers through HeliumOS, its Electronic Medical Records and Hospital Management Information System (EMR/HMIS) solution. 

Support for healthcare providers 

Commenting on the new funding, Helium Health CEO/co-founder, Adegoke Olubusi, said: 

  • “We believe in a future where good healthcare is a reality for all Africans, not just the few. We are deeply committed to supporting both private healthcare providers and public health stakeholders with finance, technology, and data to achieve that vision. We are delighted to have such seasoned healthcare investors accompany us on our journey.” 

The Managing Partner of Global Ventures, Noor Sweid, one of the participating investors in this round expresses confidence in Helium Health and its suite of products.  

  • “We have seen first-hand the evolution of Helium Health over the years. The leadership team has a deep understanding of Africa’s healthcare sector and knows how to build products that meet its nuanced needs,” he said.  

Founded in 2014 by Adegoke Olubusi, Tito Ovia, and Dimeji Sofowora, Helium Health has emerged as one of the companies highlighting the role technology can play in adequate healthcare records management in Africa.  The YC-backed healthtech startup claims to be the widest-reaching EMR platform in West Africa, used by over 10,000 health workers across 1,000 facilities to care for over 1 million African patients.

The 150-man team spread across ten countries and operating in eight, including six African countries (Nigeria, Ghana, Senegal, Liberia, Kenya, and Uganda) and two GCC markets (Qatar and the UAE), is also looking to deepen its collaborations within the public health and global health communities, another core focus of its work. 

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How under-performing subsectors in Nigeria can achieve a turnaround- Chinwe Egwim 



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Article Summary

  • Chinwe Egwim elaborates on how Nigeria can position itself like its Asian counterparts to achieve dividends of democracy.
  • She also speaks on how underperforming sub-sectors in the country achieve a turnaround for the economy’s growth.
  • For instance, she spoke about Agriculture and Oil & Gas, which posted contractions in the first quarter of this year but are seen as under-performing but they remain critical to boosting overall economic growth

At the recently held Nairametrics Q2 Economic Outlook webinar, Chinwe Egwim, who is the Chief Economist and Head of Economic Research/Intelligence for Coronation merchant bank, shared insight on how Nigeria can position itself like its Asian counterparts to achieve dividends of democracy.

She also spoke on how underperforming sub-sectors in the country achieve a turnaround for the growth of the economy.

Dividends of democracy within the Nigerian context about how the IMF and World Bank advocate the “Tailwinds for Democratic Dividends”

Chinwe Egwim noted that Nigeria has a large working-age population relative to the dependents (children and the elderly). She stated further that it can lead to increased productivity, labour supply, and savings which all positively impact economic growth and development.

She cited the labour force data which indicates that about 116 million Nigerians were within the labour force age bracket two to three years ago. But over half of the working population is unemployed, about 33%.

According to her, therefore,

  • “To enjoy the benefits of demographic dividends, a multi-faceted approach that addresses specific challenges and assists with untapping the hidden opportunities within the country is essential. The government should prioritize investment in human capital development through education and skills acquisition programs”
  • This will support the country’s medium to long-term development plan by investing in and strengthening the education system at all levels. The blue-collar industry is also very important but has been heavily neglected in Nigeria”

They highlighted the following which needs to be put in place:

  • Vocational training should be placed on the front burner.
  • Aligning curriculum in the schools with the current economic realities is as important as well as youth empowerment initiatives.
  • Job creation to focus on sectors with high labour capacity or sectors that have demonstrated high employment multiplier effects, such as manufacturing, construction, trade, and agriculture.  

Effects created by the ‘Japa’ trend in the corporate sector and economy

She started that the current economic conditions have heightened the ‘Japa’ trend which is opening up growth opportunities.

She highlighted the following points:

  • Corporate roles are vacant caused of those relocating.
  • Relocation of key professionals in the healthcare industry, technology, and education, financial services.
  • Agriculture underperforming due to a reduction in the number of professionals with technical know-how.
  • Increased cost for businesses to hire new staff or train staff
  • Employees are expected to quickly take up roles created by those who exited
  • Increased risk of operational errors from employees who recently filled in for employees who exited

How underperforming sub-sectors can grow to achieve a turnaround for the economy

She highlighted some underperforming sub-sectors in the economy which has growth potential and looks forward to policies that will unlock the potential within these sectors. Oil & Gas and Agriculture we’re highlighted as priority sectors.

Here are the sub-sectors mentioned and the interventions which need to take place:

  • Crop production which is a sub-sector of Agriculture and has accounted for over 90% of that sector for a while. It, therefore, has the potential for a turnaround
  • Manufacturing has sub-sector such as food & beverages, cement, and even fashion, which are very important sub-sectors
  • For the Oil & Gas sector, interventions see needed to improve security to tackle oil theft and vandalism while promoting local content development and capabilities within the sector
  • For Agriculture, tackling insecurity in the food-producing areas is of utmost importance

Speaking of agriculture further, she spoke on interventions which the new administration can introduce to create an enabling environment that supports agricultural development.

  • Rural infrastructure needs to be enhanced, which includes transport networks, irrigation systems, storage facilities, and market access
  • Critical infrastructure investment in transportation networks, pipelines, refineries, and storage facilities that would ensure efficient production, transportation, and distribution
  • Improving access to finance and facilitating access to information and extension services that would enable farmers to make informed decisions and improve productivity
  • Introducing land tenure systems or reforms, well-targeted and properly monitored interventions
  • Encouraging incentives for increased private sector investment.
  • Promoting gender equality and empowering female farmers through targeted interventions

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