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World Bank Provides $700m to Strengthen Nigeria’s Climate Resilience

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The World Bank has approved a $700 million credit from its International Development Association (IDA) for the Nigeria Agro-Climatic Resilience in Semi-Arid Landscapes (ACReSAL) Project.

In a statement issued in Washington on Thursday, the project will increase the implementation of sustainable landscape management practices in northern Nigeria and strengthen the country’s long-term enabling environment for integrated climate-resilient landscape management.

It said that the productivity of major crops in Nigeria had been steadily declining over the past two decades, due partly to climate change, forcing an expansion of the area under agriculture and increased imports to meet the food needs of Nigeria’s growing population.

It added that persistent water shortages, especially in the extreme north, continue to exacerbate land degradation, desertification and habitat loss.

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“Resource shortages, violent conflict, outdated agricultural systems not adapted to changing dryland conditions, lack of access to finance, weak value chain linkages, an uncompetitive environment for agribusiness, and poor market access are other key barriers to increased agricultural productivity in Nigeria.

“Better environmental and water resources management and resilience against disaster and climate risks (largely water-related) are needed to sustain economic growth and protect the most vulnerable,” the global lending institution said.

The bank, however, said that in recent years, the federal government had established several initiatives in the agriculture sector to combat desertification including afforestation and reforestation programmes.

Others are the dissemination of proven agricultural technologies and sustainable agricultural practices and the promotion of efficient energy sources.

It added that efforts to stop and reverse desertification were complicated by the need to feed a rapidly increasing population in a region where natural resources were dwindling and over 90 per cent of national food production depends on smallholder farmers who lack the capacity to increase food production without degrading land.

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Speaking on this, the World Bank Country Director for Nigeria, Mr Shubham Chaudhuri, said Nigeria was faced with water scarcity and droughts which occur every five years, on average, with the potential to increase in frequency due to climate change.

“This scenario not only threatens food security, livelihoods and productivity but also exacerbates fragility and increases the risk of violence.

“With communities and households that are most dependent on natural resources for their survival and vulnerable to desertification, this intervention will improve multi-sectoral watershed planning and investments to help about 3.4 million direct beneficiaries adapt to evolving dryland conditions.”

ACReSAL Task Team Leader, Mrs Joy Agene, said that the project would specifically target the inclusion of vulnerable and marginalised groups, including women, youth and the elderly.

Others are persons with disabilities, internally displaced people and ethnic and religious minorities using an integrated watershed approach across sectors and levels of governance.

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“This will help reduce the vulnerability of millions of the extreme poor in northern Nigeria, strengthening their own role in the management of their natural resources.

“It will also address land degradation, strengthen climate resilience, and lessen livelihood vulnerability in dry, semi-arid and dry sub-humid regions in the northern states.”

The ACReSAL Project is a six-year strategic project prioritising actions within four components.

They are Dryland Management, Community Climate Resilience, Institutional Strengthening and Project Management and Contingent Emergency Response.

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Experts Make Case For Convergence At Maiden SiBAN P2P Conference

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Financial and blockchain technology experts have called for a melting point of synergy and convergence for Centralised Finance-CeFi, Decentralised Finance-DeFi and Traditional Finance-TradFi in the country to foster progress and bring about mutually beneficial economic development in the country.

They made this call over the weekend at the inaugural peer-to-peer conference of the Stakeholders in Blockchain technology Association of Nigeria (SiBAN) held at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos.

These experts from across the world cutting across different segments in the alternative finance ecosystem spoke to the theme of the conference “CeFi, DeFi & TradFi: is there a need for Convergence in the Current Divergence?” Chief Olutoyin Oloniteru, Founder and Chairman, Crypto Economy Institute of Africa (CEIAfrica) commenced as the first keynote, speaking to the topic, “Emergence of CeFi, DeFi & TradFi: Securing the Future in the Current Divergence.”

Giving a global perspective to the theme of the discourse, Lars Seier Christensen, Chairman of Concordium who is a global pioneer in FX and derivative trading and a co-Founder & former Co-CEO of Saxo Bank addressed participants, speaking on the topic, “The Emergence of CeFi, DeFi and TradFi: a Concordium Perspective.”
Exploring the theme of the conference more broadly, more speakers also spoke at the panel sessions of the conference. In the first titled “Navigating the Opportunities and Risks in CeFi and DeFi, and Exploring Possible Opportunities in TradFi. In the highly engaging session, AbikureTega, Team Lead, Kumon Wallet; Chuta Chimezie, Founder, BNUG & Vice-President, BiCCoN; Eric Anan, Founder/CEO, Global DCA and Rume Ophi, Founder, Cryptopreacher Blockchain Academy were in their elements sharing knowledge on the subject matter. The session was moderated by Chioma Onyekelu, CCI, A&D Forensics.

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The last session was on “Crypto Exchanges and VASPs as Partners to Regulators and the Government: Where Innovation Meets Regulation.” Chiagozie Iwu, CEO, NaijaCrypto; Franklin Peters, CEO, BoundlessPay; Beverley Onyejianya-Agbakoba, Partner, Olisa wer e Agbakoba Legal; Oyewole Joledo, Snr. Manager, Paxful; Prince Nwafuru, Partner, The Law Suite; Ruth Iselama, CEO, Bitmama and Seun Dania, CEO, TradeFada were all panellists on this session.

Earlier in his address, President of SiBAN, Mr. Senator Ihenyen while welcoming participants to the event said that the conference was the association’s way of developing the industry. “What we represent is a self-regulatory body in Nigeria’s blockchain industry. With this conference, we want to have a platform where innovators, as well as policymakers and other stakeholders within and outside the industry can have conversations around blockchain adoption, policy and regulation.

“We are looking at P2P not inform of peer-to-peer transactions only but in terms of open one-on-one conversations where we have a marketplace of ideas about how Nigeria should go about maximising the opportunity provided by blockchain technology while also helping to minimise the risk. As a self-regulatory body in this space, we recognise that there are opportunities and that there are risks as well. How we respond to this is what matters,” he said.

Chairman of the P2P Conference Planning Committee, Jude Ozinegbe revealed that the overwhelming turnout by stakeholders in the financial sector especially those who play in the alternative finance segment is a huge indication of the sheer influence SiBAN commands. He also thanked organisations that have played onerous parts in the success of the conference through their partnership support and sponsorship.

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These organisations he noted include Alpha ltd, ABCC, BEI, thinkcrypto, Blockchain Vibes, Everest, Crypto Hills, Cryptopreacher Blockchain Academy, Sinso Technologies, Market Advance, Near Finance Protocol, Bitget, Empowered CryptoHub, Smart Investors Hub, Super Woman, GIDA, LUPPON, Finsmart, CryptoMart, MoEX Consult, among others.

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L-R: Mr. Senator Ihenyen, President, SiBAN; Chioma Onyekelu, Auditor, A&D Forensics; Chuta Chimezie, Founder BNUG; Paul Ezeafulukwe, Senior Business Developer Manager, Bitget; Rume ‘Cryptopreacher’ Ophi, Founder, Cryptopreacher Academy; Stanley Golomo, Founder, Farmchain Finance and Jude Ozinegbe, Chairman Organising Committee for Stakeholders in Blockchain Association of Nigeria’s maiden P2P Conference held over the weekend

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Panelists doing justice to the theme of the conference held over the weekend.

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Cross section of participants at the conference held over the weekend.

About SiBAN

Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SiBAN) is a Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO), an association of blockchain & crypto industry players founded in 2018. Registered members work together to promote a free market for blockchain & crypto players by driving blockchain & crypto education, encouraging the adoption of model self-regulatory policies in accordance with global best practices, and collaborating with relevant bodies to ensure that innovation is not stifled by regulation, consumer protection and investor safety are safeguarded.

At the Nigeria Fintech Week 2021, SiBAN was recognized as “The Best Blockchain Association in Africa”.

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SiBAN Set To Hold Maiden P2P Conference, August 6

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Stakeholders in Blockchain Association of Nigeria (SiBAN) has announced that all arrangements to hold its inaugural Peer-to-Peer (P2P) Conference billed for the 6th of August, 2022 at the Civic Centre, Victoria Island, Lagos, has been concluded.

Speaking recently to the media on the upcoming event, the President of SiBAN, Mr. Senator Ihenyen disclosed that the conference which will be a hybrid event is part of the association’s commitment to educating users and members of the public about blockchain technology, promoting its adoption by both private and public bodies, ensuring consumer protection and helping them safeguard against scams, while also working with regulators to help maximize the untapped potentials of blockchain technology.

“Blockchain is one of the biggest opportunities for Africa in the 4th Industrial Age. Nigeria is Africa’s biggest country and one of the biggest players on the globe. We understand the challenges in this ecosystem as well as opportunities for Nigerians. That is why we have lineup a rich crop of experienced and successful leaders in this space to speak on the theme, ‘CeFi, DeFi & TradFi: is there a need for Convergence in the Current Divergence,’” Ihenyen said.

Mr. Senator Ihenyen, President, SiBAN

“With this P2P Conference 2022 theme, we wish to have an open conversation about the emergence of blockchain technology, its application across the spectrum of CeFi, DeFi, and TradFi, and consider whether a convergence of these three is the better way to go for both innovators and regulators,” he explained.

Chairman of the Organising Committee for the conference, Jude Ozinegbe further revealed that the P2P Conference 2022 will be targeting up to 5000 participants, bringing players, policymakers, and the public together.

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Chukwuemeka Ezike, VP, Media & Publicity, SiBAN

Ozinegbe who is also the Convener of Cyberchain added: “the conference will provide participants with networking opportunities while serving as a vehicle to drive awareness of the economic value of what we do. Participants will also enjoy access to conference talks, workshops, and other learning opportunities and get to network with speakers, guests, and other conference participants,” he revealed.

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Vice President, Media and Publicity for the association, Chukwuemeka Ezike added that the P2P Conference 2022 will be free and opened to all to attend, however registration is compulsory and can be done at www.siban.org.ng/p2p-register.

Among the speakers SiBAN has lined up for the conference is Channels Television’s crypto market analyst and Founder of the prestigious CryptoPreacher Blockchain Academy CPBA, Rume Ophi (CryptoPreacher). He says that the leadership of the conference committee couldn’t have chosen a better theme in the face of the current economic realities of the country. Noting that Nigerians are at the forefront of the adoption and utilization of blockchain and cryptocurrency in Africa, Rume is optimistic that the quality of speakers at the conference will make invaluable contributions to the alternative finance space in Africa.

Jude Ozinegbe

Stakeholders in Blockchain Technology Association of Nigeria (SiBAN) is a Self-Regulatory Organisation (SRO), an association of blockchain & crypto industry players founded in 2018. Registered members work together to promote a free market for blockchain & crypto players by driving blockchain & crypto education, encouraging the adoption of model self-regulatory policies in accordance with global best practices, and collaborating with relevant bodies to ensure that while innovation is not stifled by regulation, consumer protection and investor safety are safeguarded.

At the Nigeria Fintech Week 2021, SiBAN was recognized as “The Best Blockchain Association in Africa”.

To register for free, follow this link: www.siban.org.ng/p2p-register

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UBA announces Oliver Alawuba as new GMD (Photos)

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United Bank for Africa Plc, Africa’s global bank, has announced the appointment of Oliver Alawuba as Group Managing Director, overseeing all the group’s banking operations across its twenty African country network and globally in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France, and the United Arab Emirates.

Oliver Alawuba joined UBA in 1997 and has held a series of senior positions, including as the CEO of UBA Ghana, the CEO of UBA, Africa and most recently, as Group Deputy Managing Director.

“I am very pleased to announce Oliver Alawuba as the new Group Managing Director of the UBA Group. Oliver has extensive experience in Nigeria and our African network and is well equipped to advance our pan-African and global strategy. I have no doubt that Oliver will build on the legacy of Kennedy Uzoka, who has exemplified transformational leadership by championing a customer-first philosophy; launching our twentieth operation in Africa, UBA Mali; acquiring a wholesale banking licence for UBA UK in the United Kingdom; and opening our fourth global operation, UBA Dubai, in the United Arab Emirates,” UBA Group Chairman, Tony Elumelu, stated.

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Kennedy Uzoka, Tony Elumelu and Oliver Alawuba

Oliver Alawuba expressed his commitment to his new role as Group Managing Director saying, “I am grateful for the opportunity to lead this great institution and would like to thank the UBA Group Chairman and the members of the Board of Directors for the confidence they have put in me to deliver the mandate.”

Alawuba takes on his new position from August 1, 2022, subject to approval by the Central Bank of Nigeria.

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Muyiwa Akinyemi was also appointed as Deputy Managing Director.  Muyiwa joined UBA in 1998, as a Senior Banking Officer in UBA’s Energy Bank, and has served the Group in Nigeria and our broader Africa network for twenty-four years.

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L-R: New Executive Director, North Bank, Ms Emem Usoro; Group Chairman, Mr. Tony Elumelu; New Group Managing Director/CEO, Mr. Oliver Alawuba; and New Deputy Managing Director, Muyiwa Akinyemi, during the corporate event to announce the appointments of new GMD and Executive Directors for UBA Group, held at the Tony Elumelu Amphitheatre, UBA House, Lagos on Monday

Other executive appointments included Sola Yomi-Ajayi as Executive Director, Treasury and International Banking, Ugochukwu Nwagodoh as Executive Director, Finance and Risk Management, Alex Alozie, Executive Director and Group Chief Operating Officer and Emem Usoro, Executive Director, North Bank.

Yomi-Ajayi has been with the group since 2004 and has considerable international experience, culminating in her appointment as CEO of UBA America, while Nwagodoh joined the group from PwC in October 2004. He has since held a series of significant roles in the areas of performance management, compliance, financial control and reporting.

It was in 2019 that Alozie joined the group and has been responsible for the group’s digital transformation and operational efficiencies, while Usoro joined in 2011 and has served in a series of senior regional appointments across Nigeria, covering the retail, corporate and public sectors.

The board also announced the retirements of the following executive directors, who have completed their tenures. They included Kennedy Uzoka, Uche Ike, Chukwuma Nweke, Ibrahim Puri and Chiugo Ndubisi. Freelanews was informed that most of them will continue to serve the broader group upon regulatory approval of a holding company structure.

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A further announcement was made on the retirement of a non-executive director, Ambassador Joe C. Keshi, OON, who served as vice chairman of the board.  This takes effect from August 1, 2022 after a completion of his tenure of twelve years.

The group chairman congratulated the retiring directors on the completion of their tenors and their exemplary records.

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United Bank for Africa is one of the largest employers in the financial sector on the African continent, with 25,000 employees group wide and serving over 35 million customers globally.  Operating in twenty African countries and in the United Kingdom, the United States of America, France and the United Arab Emirates, UBA provides retail, commercial and institutional banking services, leading financial inclusion and implementing cutting edge technology.

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