Wednesday 7, October 2015

Dubai – MENA Herald: With an objective to support the growth of trade relations between the UAE and Africa, the largest trade finance Nigerian Bank in the United Kingdom, has announced the opening of its office in Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).

The announcement was made at a press event organized in DIFC that was attended by key executives from The Access Bank UK including Herbert Wigwe, Chairman and Non-Executive Director; Jamie Simmonds, Chief Executive Officer; Alyson Jeans, Commercial Banking and Asset Management Director and Rola Seifeddine, Head of the office in the UAE.  

“The economic links between UAE and Africa are already growing and we see this accelerating over the next decade. At The Access Bank UK, we are excited to establish our presence in the UAE in order to foster economic and trade ties between UAE and key African countries including Nigeria,” stated Herbert Wigwe, The Access Bank UK Chairman.

The Access Bank UK’s office in DIFC will continue to serve the bank’s existing clients in the UAE as well as introducing the bank’s portfolio of services to companies keen on investing in Nigeria and other parts of Africa directly or through trade finance.  

“Nigeria is the world’s 24th largest economy, making it a dominant market and a preferred investment destination”, said Jamie Simmonds. “Over the past few years, businesses in the UAE have shown a natural affinity for expanding presence into Africa, and as a fully licensed independent subsidiary in the UK with a parent bank in Nigeria and with the opening of our Dubai office, we offer a unique and powerful combination to unlock opportunities for businesses who want to invest in Africa.”

Olabode Augusto – independent economist highlighted that “whilst in the short term the outlook will be tough given the reduction in oil prices there is significant opportunity to invest more in manufacturing, oil and gas and infrastructure,  However you must know and understand the terrain and take a medium to long term view.”

“With USD 30 billion of national reserves, Nigeria has been enjoying one of the fastest GDP growth over the last decade and by 2050, its population is expected to be bigger than that of United States,” added Simmonds. “There is a lot of focus on enhancing indigenous production and attracting private investments to aid infrastructure development in Nigeria. Our decision to open an office in the UAE is driven by the increasing keenness of businesses in the UAE to leverage this opportunity and invest in Nigeria and other African countries where The Access Bank UK has strong presence.”

His Excellency Essa Kazim, Governor of DIFC commented: “The Access Bank’s decision to open a representative office at Dubai International Financial Centre reflects our growing status as a platform to access emerging markets’ opportunities, and the potential of Dubai and the UAE as a whole to stimulate trade and investment along the South-South economic corridor.

As part of our recently announced 2024 Strategy, which is aligned with Dubai’s 2021 vision, DIFC has identified key goals towards drawing new financial services firms, expanding the presence of a skilled workforce, enhancing infrastructure to optimise occupancy, increasing assets under management, and strengthening our balance-sheet position to eventually cement our position as one of the leading financial centres globally. We believe the implementation of these recommendations is crucial to boosting the growth of not only the financial centre, but also that of the UAE and the wider region,” His Excellency continued.

The Access Bank UK was established in 2008 to provide customers in both the UK and Africa with a broad range of business and personal banking services. These include trade finance, treasury services, business and personal banking and wealth management. The bank is a member of The Access Bank PLC, but operates independently under the UK regulations.