Ecobank: Continuing along the path to growth

AR: You entered into a US$500mn trade and investment promotion agreement with Afreximbank earlier this year. What have been the results of that agreement to date?

AA: We are making good progress and we will send commentaries as part of our audited, half-year financial statement, which reflects the progress we are making there. You will see that when we do that. For now I don’t want to comment on financials as we have not announced these as yet. 

AR: In Kigali at Afreximbank’s 2017 AGM you held the Ecobank Africa-Africa Forum alongside Afreximbank’s President Dr. Benedict Oramah and Rwanda’s Minister of Finance Claver Gatete. What were the results of this forum and what did it achieve? 

AA: It allowed us to have conversations with people in the continent to say, ok, what are the banding constraints to creating an economy that works that we all can solve? So we are not just having discussions every year. 

We agreed on two things. That we are going to work on payments, to ensure that payments across Africa are instant. For that we have a responsibility to work with Dr Oramah, and we believe that we will get that done before the next meeting. 

The second thing is that we are going to include women and youth in terms of having access to finance. Those are the two things that we said we want to work on.

AR: Going forward what are your aspirations for Ecobank?  What would you like your legacy to be? 

AA: We want to achieve the reasons our founding fathers created the firm. To be a leading institution in the continent, not only in terms of profitability but in terms of our conduct. People need to see that you’re doing things in the best possible way; we need to be an example to all other African institutions. We want to be a good force for our society to make a large difference. That is what I intend to focus on. 

During the period that I have been here we’ve had a big focus on technology and we are going to have a big focus on people, on entrepreneurs and financial inclusion. We launched the fintech challenge and we are working with the people in the fellowship now to make sure that they can become better citizens. Our view, our hope and aspirations, are that with all of this work we are doing we will be able to make a material change to the lives of our people and to also be able to take the agenda forward so that we solve a lot of challenges and we create a lot of opportunities. 

AR: Do you have any other comments you would like to make? 

AA: Yes and no. The point I would like to just make is that African countries, we have our own challenges. So does every other person. But we have got a lot of opportunity. 

Our role as leaders within the continent is to work together and take advantages of the opportunities so that we don’t have to repeat the same talk every year. That is why when we met in Kigali we said ok, we want to solve the payment problem and the issue of access to finance for women and girls.

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