African Press International (API)

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United Bank for Africa extends operations to Cameroon, to invest $100 million dollars

Posted by African Press International on May 17, 2008

Publisher: Korir, africanpress@getmail.no

Story written by Tansa Musa

DOUALA, May16 West Africas largest bank, the UnitedBank for Africa (UBA), will invest 100 million dollars to develop small and medium scale enterprises in Cameroon as a means to boosting the countrys economy, UBA Cameroon managing director and CEO, Emeke I. Iweriebor has said.

We are starting with 10 million dollars, but we intend to invest 100 million dollars Iweriebor told the press this weekin Cameroon’s main commercial centre, Douala. Our strategy in Cameroon is to be embedded in the economy and society. We have supported and will continue to support small and medium size enterprises and the commodities sector (cocoa and coffee), because we know that most economies are built by small and medium size entities. We will provide credits to small and medium scale enterprises because we are a bank focused on reaching the largest number of people within the shortest possible time.

The UBA took over the assets and liabilities of the British and French Bank Limited, a former subsidiary of Banque Nationale de Paris (BNP), which carried on business in Nigeria since 1949 and commenced business officially as UBA in 1961. Today, according to Iweriebor, it is a bank with a balance sheet plus contingents in excess of 13 billion dollars and more than 6 million customer accounts, operating in Africa, notably in Nigeria where it has 700 branches, Ghana , Ivory Coast , Uganda and Cameroon , and intends to expand to Liberia and Sierra Leone later this year.

Todays United Bank for Africa Plc (UBA) is the product of the merger of Nigerias thirdand fifthlargest banks, namely the old UBA and the former Standard Trust Bank Plc, and a subsequent acquisition of the erstwhile Continental Trust Bank Limited (CTB). The union emerged as the first successful corporate combination in the history of Nigerian banking.

In Cameroon , the bank was licensed as an investment services provider in August 2007 in line with its intention to expand its activities in Africa and participate in the development of the CEMAC (Economic and Monetary Community of Central African) region economies, he said.

It commenced operations in this country straddling West and Central Africa in last December and as at now has five branches in four provinces, two of them in the main commercial centre and port town of Douala , and one each in Yaounde , Bamenda and Bafoussam.

We intend to reach all the provinces in Cameroon in this season because our strategy is to be where the people are and the people and not only in the major cities. The people are every where in Cameroon . We want to democratize banking services, make our services accessible and affordable to all.

Iweriebor said the bank is driven primarily by a desire to provide its customers with world-class services based on access to its extensive network branches as well as c comprehensive and well-priced products suite.

The UBA Cameroon CEO regretted the countrys poor rating on the international scene as far as doing business is concerned, but said this should serve as a challenge to the bank and other financial services providers who want to see Africa progress economically, provide jobs to its youths and end or significantly reduce brain drain.

We are an African bank, we cannot run away from our home. We have the responsibility and challenge to develop Africa, that is why we are in Cameroon , he said. As the largest bank in Africa south of the Sahara, except South Africa , we have seen that banking has the capacity to exponentially improve any economy when people and individuals have access to financial services. Our intention is to be the undisputed leading and dominant financial services institution in Africa .

He said the UBA is offering a wide range of products to its customers in Cameroon , including, beyond traditional banking operations, electronic banking solutions as UBA debit cards which will be used to withdraw cash from automatic teller machines or make purchases on the internet and round the clock access to banking services. Another main product beingoffered byUBA to its customers isCashfast, which will enable customers to transfer money from one town to another within three seconds, he stated.(END)

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The Publisher Korir, is the Chief Editor African Press International API

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