The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and Executive Director of FCMB Bank (UK) Limited, James Benoit, has urged African economies to look more inward by creating wealth that will ensure sustainable development of the continent and reduce over reliance on foreign remittances.
Admitting Nigeria’s dependence on diaspora remittances may not disappear any time soon, he advised that its proportion in the total budget has to reduce as soon as possible to achieve the country’s growth agenda in the near future.
The International Banker and Investor, while fielding questions from reporters, stressed the need for African countries and their leaders to eschew excessive regulation which is responsible for unnecessary bureaucracy hindering growth. Speaking about what is needed to be done to fast-track growth in Africa, Benoit said:
“There is no fast-track because it is part of the problem. We need to stop thinking of fast track, one-off game changers. Africa has a major demographic challenge which will be its growth engine or else drown it. Red tape bureaucracy must be cut, youth must get education or trade, and other skills and the empowerment of women must all be addressed. The continent must also be joined up to trade among itself rather than just export which is low value-added,”he said.
The FCMB Bank (UK) CEO, whose 27 years of international banking experience spanning North America, Asia Pacific, Africa, Middle East and Europe, has impacted on the inroad the financial institution is making in the UK and across the African continent, emphasised that the critical role of technology in Nigeria’s economic growth and advancement must be accorded priority consideration.
He explained that the extent of adoption of technology would depend a lot on its accessibility, with requisite infrastructure deliberately built for that purpose. The nanker added that technology will not serve any major purpose if it is not used by Nigeria’s growing middle class or deployed to produce services for export, among others.
Benoit reiterated the importance of training the youth and ensuring that medical care is accessible to them, so that they could healthily contribute.
FCMB Bank (UK), an award-winning trade finance bank is said to have financed over hundreds of millions of dollars trade across nearly two dozen countries in the past 24 months. The institution’s vast knowledge of those markets helps it to manage transactions that many other banks, including big global banks will not do. The Bank has the compliance and credit appetite to do so since it is an African bank by shareholding and with experience of the African market.
FCMB Bank (UK) had obtained the Variation of Permission (VoP) from the UK Regulators: The Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) last year; allowing the Bank to include retail (deposit and investments) servicing in its product offering. The approval extends the bank’s services from its corporate, commercial and institutional customers to include High Net Worth Individuals (HNWI) and Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs).
The bank’s CEO said the approval and extension of services was a major achievement which has equipped the Bank to deliver its promise of being the Corporate and Private Bank for African-oriented and Africa-based entrepreneurs, investors and professionals across all their banking needs.