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ALAT By Wema wins Overall Best Mobile App in Nigerian Fintech Awards



ALAT By Wema, the first fully digitalized bank in Nigeria, has been named the Overall Best Mobile App in the Nigerian FinTech Awards 2022, beating the other FinTech apps nominated alongside it in the category in the platform’s shortlist. The announcement was made at the award ceremony in Lagos, on Friday 4 November 2022.

In its 10th year, the Nigerian Fintech Awards was founded by Fintech Africa, one of Africa’s oldest and most influential publications on financial technology to honour excellence in product designs and service delivery in financial technologies. The Overall Best Mobile App, won by ALAT By Wema, according to the organizers, is in recognition of the digital bank’s contribution to the Fintech world.

ALAT By Wema, the first fully digital bank in Nigeria, was launched in May 2017 by Wema Bank Plc, the country’s oldest indigenous commercial bank, to drive transformation and redefine experiential banking in the Nigeria’s banking sector. In its first year, ALAT by Wema gained over 250,000 customers who were responsible for the well over NGN 1.6 billion ($4.48m) deposits. In 2018, the bank closed in the N1 billion ($2.78m) mark in terms of deposits into savings accounts.

Olusegun Adeniyi Chief Digital Officer, Wema Bank expressed his joy at the award, saying that the honour is only the icing on the cake of transformation that ALAT By Wema has brought to the banking industry in Nigeria.


“We are delighted at being named as the Overall Best Mobile App by the august platform, which is dedicated to honoring excellence in financial technologies and services companies and products. The award is complimentary to the excitement that the multi-award-winning app has brought to its numerous individual and corporate subscribers.”

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He informed that ALAT By Wema, which matches customers’ lifestyles, is helping its subscribers save more with access to exclusive group and personal savings, free debit cards, and up to four percent annual interest in savings.

Adeniyi said that since its launch in May 2017, ALAT By Wema, the branchless and paperless bank has reduced the stress of having to walk into a branch to open an account by providing a seamless sign-up process using a mobile phone, PC or tablet. The ALAT By Wema app, unlike other banking apps, provides all the banking services the customer could ask for.

“All banking apps only offer some banking services, typically airtime purchases, bill payments and transfers. For example, even with a banking app, customers usually still need to go to a physical bank to get a debit card and activate it, submit documents and often, get some kinds of customer support. This is not the case with ALAT, which was built from scratch to be entirely digital, making all banking services available to the customers anywhere they can access the internet.”

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UBA launches year-end festivities with Christmas carol



United Bank for Africa Plc has commenced the Yuletide season with a Christmas carol service held at UBA Foundation Garden at Marina, on Lagos Island.

The ceremony, attended by staff, customers and members of the general public, is part of the group’s corporate social responsibility activities.

The Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, UBA, Oliver Alawuba, was joined by other management staff to officially light up the Head office and the UBA Foundation Garden, which according to him, signifies how the bank has been bringing light to the lives of the people and communities around it.

Alawuba said, “We are here to officially light up the season and as you know, UBA has been the light in the financial sector on the continent and beyond. Going by our performance, we will continue to ensure that we spread light and joy wherever we go. This is very symbolic for us all, and we want to take time to appreciate the staff and customers who have made us achieve great things this year. At UBA, we are all about spreading love and giving hope.”

The Light-Up ceremony featured Christmas carols renditions by UBA’s Customer Fulfilment Centre Choir, a guided tour around the beautiful UBA Foundation Garden and more.

UBA’s Group Head Marketing and Corporate Communications, Alero Ladipo, while talking on the essence of the annual event, said, “UBA is a bank that values its environment and as an organisation that is corporately responsible, we have taken it upon ourselves to beautify our environment and add colour, especially as the year comes to an end.

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“I hope that as always, we will be able to make many smile and give a glimmer of hope during a special season like this.”

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Afrochella rebrands as AfroFuture Fest for Detty December 2023



Affectionately known as Detty December, this is the month that the Western region of Africa hosts a season-long lineup of festival-hopping partygoers at carnivals and concerts, inspiring thousands of people from across the diaspora to flock to their ancestral land for the holidays.

Though many aren’t quite sure how Detty December originated, what was once a tradition reserved for people on the continent has become a time when overseas visitors, including Black Americans, are choosing “home” away from home and making it their own.

Some say this particular holiday custom emerged during the inaugural Calabar Carnival in 2004, in the south-eastern Nigeria region; others claim it became popularised during Ghana’s 2019 “Year of Return.” The campaign, launched by the Ghana Tourism Authority, encouraged brothers and sisters of African descent to make the voyage to Ghana and unite as family of the diaspora. Since then, the actual number of visitors has far exceeded expectations, with about a million people making the trek in 2019—a rise of 45% from the previous year, which reflected a significant increase in travellers from the United States and the United Kingdom, according to the BBC.

Yet even as tourists converged on the continent in ever-rising numbers, few could have predicted that Detty December would become an annual pilgrimage for so many global travellers, who come to the city hot spots of Lagos and Accra for a month of music, arts, culture and entertainment.

One event in particular, Afrochella—which has now been rebranded as AfroFuture—is sandwiched between Christmas and New Year’s Eve. Held at the peak of Detty December in the city of Accra, the music and cultural festival is staged annually at Accra’s El Wak Stadium. It was first launched in 2017 as the brainchild of Abdul Karim Abdullah, AfroFuture’s New York–born CEO and cofounder.

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What started as an idea for a food festival became a 4,000-attendee event in its first year. It has since exploded into one of the most-lauded events during the holiday season in Africa, with attendance numbers hitting 31,000 in 2022.

While this year marks the first time that the festival will not be under its original Afrochella imprint, the occasion is sure to be just as magical, if not more so. The renaming of the festival comes on the heels of Coachella organisers suing Afrochella for trademark infringement, citing a confusion between the competing brands. But make no mistake, whether “chella” is in the title or not, this event remains deeply relevant for Black attendees, especially those travelling to the continent from abroad.

AfroFuture Fest occupies its own unique lane, and by design, it shares the beauty of Ghana’s cultural identity with the world. But what makes this festival so distinctive is its organisers’ ability and determination to support the Ghanaian economy.

Abdullah, whose business partners are based in Ghana, strives to ensure that everyone—from production staff and event designers to maintenance workers and vendors—is from the country, and that every extra dollar poured into the festival goes directly into local hands.

As a result, the economic impact has been staggering, with approximately 16% of Ghanaian tourism income for the year of 2019 coming from AfroFuture Fest, and an average of $2,650 spent by each festival attendee.

“Our numbers have grown since we launched, so we know that our impact is very visible on the continent,” says Bronx native Abdullah.

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“We are excited by the transition of Afrochella to AfroFuture Fest,” says Akwasi Agyeman, CEO of the Ghana Tourism Authority. “The event has become a flagship of our December in Ghana programme. It brings in a lot of visitors and, with them, attendant economic benefits for our industry and our country. Hotels peak in occupancy; airlines are fully booked; and the entire value chain of tourism thrives during the period.”

With attendees representing people of African descent from regions as far flung as the U.S., UK, France, Germany, Spain and Switzerland, the brand has expanded to speak to these patrons, with spin-offs being held this year in New York, South Africa and London.

“Our goal is to be able to touch all parts of the continent,” explains Abdullah. “So we’re also doing a lot more events involving Francophone Africa and Southern Africa. A lot of our global markets don’t have experiences that are similar to what we’re doing in Ghana, so this is our opportunity to market to the festival more broadly and tell them about what’s happening and what we’re doing.”

Carrying the torch of Black nationalists and civil rights leaders such as Marcus Garvey—who consistently preached that Black Americans should “go back to Africa”—AfroFuture Fest has given this message of returning to the ancestral homeland a new meaning.

“We want to grow and do a lot more storytelling,” says Abdullah. “It’s one thing for the diaspora to come together to enjoy music, fashion, food and art, and have a great time in Ghana, but it’s another thing for us to be able to uniquely tell the nuanced story of the continent.

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“We don’t know enough about each other—and that fosters competition rather than collaboration. By telling more stories, and sharing our culture and uplifting what each culture means, it gives us an opportunity to build alliances and increase the appreciation for all those cultures that show up at our festival.”

There is something incredibly special about celebrating on African soil in December—but there’s something even more special about a “for us, by us” festival accompanied by warm sun, sweet food and welcoming people.

AfroFuture Fest has not only changed the tourism outlook on the continent, but it has also expanded the world’s view of what it means to vacation at the beach while celebrating Black culture. This is for Ghana—and by extension, for the entire diaspora.

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Gospel artists to commemorate Sammy Okposo in Houston



Gospel artists are set to commemorate late legendary musician, Sammy Okposo in Houston with a praise concert titled Sammy Okposo Memorial Legacy Praise Party.

The Sammie Okposo Memorial Legacy Praise Party which will take place on Saturday, November 25, 2023, is set to see feature performances by top Gospel Artists including Tim Godfrey, Gabriel Eziashi, Nikki Laoye, Henrisoul, Funke Akinokun, Mike Stuckey, Dare David, Dee Jones, Lihle Adeyemi and many more.

The praise party will hold at the Dominion Chapel Houston. 1203 Cravens Road, Stanford, TX 77477 by 4 pm EST.

The concert is set to recreate the explosive praise atmosphere Sammie Okposo was known for championing during his incredible career that touched many lives.

The legendary gospel musician Sammie Okposo passed away on Friday, November 25, 2022, at the age of 51.

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