Dubai – MENA Herald: Zenith Bank (UK) Limited, one of Nigeria’s leading commercial banks, has established its presence in Dubai with the opening of its first branch at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC).
The opening ceremony was attended by Jim Ovia, Founder and Chairman of the Zenith Group, John Weguelin, CEO of Zenith Bank (UK) Limited, and Arif Amiri, Chief Executive Officer of DIFC Authority.
Offering trade finance and commercial banking solutions to a rapidly growing customer base in the region, the new branch articulates Zenith Bank’s strategy to expand the delivery of its services to international markets and support the growth of the Zenith franchise globally.
With offices in Gambia, Sierra Leone, South Africa and China, Zenith Bank offers an extensive portfolio of services, including cross border trade finance, lending and treasury products and services, as well as family office and wealth management consultancy to corporations across the continent.
Speaking at the opening of the DIFC branch, Jim Ovia, Founder and Chairman of the Zenith Group, said: “Dubai is an important strategic market for Zenith Bank and our international customers based at DIFC. The increasing trade flows from Asia into Africa through Dubai makes the emirate an ideal destination for our regional office. This advantage, combined with DIFC’s advanced regulatory environment, influenced our decision to set up a presence in Dubai. The move enables us to continue implementing our strategy of delivering the bank’s cutting-edge services to our customers globally and supporting their dynamic needs anytime and anywhere.”
John Weguelin, CEO of Zenith Bank (UK) Limited, said: “We commend and deeply appreciate DFSA and DIFC for their support and efficiency in expediting the process of establishing our new branch in this international hub. We are delighted to be the first Nigerian bank to be granted a Category 4 license by the DFSA, allowing us to offer a range of financial services to our client from the DIFC. This is an important milestone for Zenith Bank and we look forward to becoming a valued stakeholder within the financial community in Dubai. We are confident our presence here will further drive the continued growth of Dubai as a financial and trade hub into and out of Africa.”
Commenting on the launch, Arif Amiri, CEO of DIFC Authority, said: “The addition of one of Nigeria’s leading banks to DIFC’s client portfolio is testament to the growing number of African financial institutions seeking a robust and dynamic platform from which to expand their global footprint. Supported by our world-class regulatory and legal framework, Zenith Bank will be able to leverage Dubai’s unrivalled connectivity to access trade and investment networks in the wider Middle East, Africa and South Asia region.”
Sharing historical relations, Africa and the UAE have established a solid foundation for financial cooperation, trade and investment relations. An ideal gateway for African operations, Dubai connects the continent to the Middle East and South Asian region. For its part, DIFC continues to play an integral role in directing new investment towards the emerging markets of Africa.
Zenith Bank (UK) Limited, the UK subsidiary of Zenith Bank Plc, was licenced in March 2007 and is the first new Nigerian Bank to be approved by the UK based Financial Services Authority (FSA) in 25 years. Zenith Bank Plc was established in May 1990 and has a shareholder base of about one million and is Nigeria’s biggest banks by tier-1 capital.