Business | Associations & Practice

15TH CIBN Conference; How Nigerian Financial Services Industry Can be GLOCAL- Farouk Gumel

Sep 14, 2022   •   by Bukola Akinyele-Yisau   •   Source: WebTV   •   eye-icon 263 views

The Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria hosted its 15th Annual Banking and Finance Conference in Abuja, discussing the theme "Repositioning the Financial Services Industry for An Evolving Glocal Context."


The event explored how best the financial services industry can respond in unpredictable times of uncertainty and the reality that repositioning is not an option but a necessity. 


Speaking on the theme of the forum, the keynote speaker, Mr. Farouk Gumel, Chairman, Union Bank of Nigeria Plc and Group Executive Director of TGI, said Glocal was about thinking globally and acting locally. The area of what happens locally impacts the international environment and vice-versa. 

As the Group Executive Director of Tropical General Investment (TGI), he said the success of TGI has been built on Agriculture, food, and household consumable and industrial chemicals. 


He said that the principle behind TGI was to build a partnership with the international market, providing the platform for Nigerians to showcase their talents. 


"The success TGI has recorded over the years bringing together global with local services gives us the confidence and resources and vision to go into Banking as the next step."


He explained further that TGI was working with thousands of out-grower farmers who are sellers and distributors, providing them with input and products on credit. 


Gumel described CIBN as an institute with an excellent example of Glocal progress. According to him, one of the areas Nigeria is doing well is the banking industry, and part of the success should be attributed to CIBN.  

He said, "Nigeria has often taken the lead in the mobile banking model and expertise initiatives such as the e-Naira. This track record on innovation and delivery generates its momentum of success."


He further noted that the financial services and the tech sector are attracting unprecedented interest from Silicon Valley more than any other African country. 


Speaking on the challenges, he said as Nigeria embraces a global system, it must develop its local markets and integrate them with the financial services industry.  


He believed Nigeria needs to adopt innovation, digital technology, and unique products and services to deepen financial inclusion and improve socio-economic activities.  


Citing the World Bank report, Gumel said the report shows that there are 64m unbanked adults in Nigeria, which is 55% of the adult population in the country. A primary concern was the disproportional progress recorded which showed that rural communities and women were the least impacted by financial inclusion programs. 


He noted that the TGI group was leveraging partnerships with Union Bank, NIMC, traditional rulers, and religious leaders on the opportunities around weak inclusiveness. The partnerships are to develop a program to work with the farmers who live in rural communities without a bank account and get them documented to have affidavits to become recognizable.


In the rural context, he observed that "making it in banking is not always about the thread count on your shirt but the dirt on your shoe." 


Gumel noted that to be genuinely Glocal, "we must commit resources and investments to rural local customers as we have done to our urban global clients. Compared to before, Nigeria Agriculture now has 70 rice mills, unlike when it newly started in 2015, and about 50 fertilizer plants." 


 He noted that in understanding the importance of farms and small businesses, the African Continental Free Trade Area (AfCFTA) if implemented well, will present another exciting chapter for Banks. Local financial institutions could capitalize on these opportunities through partnerships with skills and resources abroad to help domestic businesses grow. 


Gumel believed Union Bank, for example, would partner with trusted organizations continentally and globally. He said a more coordinated policy environment was needed considering the Glocal approach. "We need to see greater coordination between monetary, trade and fiscal policy. Nigeria's food inflation has topped 20%; we need a holistic approach, business and government must play their part, and the most critical capacity we need to build is a human capacity. 


He further explained that the Nigerian industry needs intelligent, agile, and creative thinkers to keep up with the changing Glocal context. He emphasized Glocal and appreciated CIBN for initiating training techniques and programs. 


Gumel also believes technology can take Nigeria far, but humans must still tackle the challenges and envision the future. The Chairman, Union Bank of Nigeria, said Nigeria was exceptional, but its challenges were not unique. He noted that Nigeria is Africa's biggest single market, and with stable leadership and policy environment, it can shape a Glocal world of prosperity and opportunity.  

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