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Cross border e-commerce continues to provide significant growth opportunities for retailers and manufacturers with an international online product offering. According to a 2017 DHL report, cross-border retail volumes are predicted to increase at an annual average rate of 25% between 2015 and 2020 (from USD 300 Billion to USD 900 Billion) – twice the pace of domestic e-commerce growth. Steve Burd, Vice President of Sales for DHL Express Sub-Saharan Africa, says that this highlights a boundless opportunity for African businesses looking to take a piece of the cross border e-commerce pie.

Burd says that as the market leader in express logistics, DHL Express works with thousands of e-commerce customers around the world, with a lot of them at start-up phase. “We are therefore well aware of the perceived hurdles involved when considering to trade across borders.”

He points to five common areas which domestic e-commerce customers consider to be a challenge when deciding where to trade internationally.

1. The cost of express shipping

There is no risk at offering your customers an express delivery option, says Burd. “Customers want choice, not only in their product selection, but also when and how they receive it. In our experience, customers are willing to pay a fair price for a faster, more efficient service.”

2. Returns rates

“We’ve found that the return rates are actually much lower on international shipping. Businesses could always do it on a trial basis and measure the benefits over losses and adjust their strategies accordingly.”

3. Basket values 

“We have found that basket values often increase with the introduction of express shipping. Customers tend to buy more to justify the premium shipping costs.”

4. The customer’s business is doing well locally

Evidence shows that international customers will spend significantly more than local ones, says Burd. “So even if international traffic to your website is small, it can be worth a lot for limited effort. There are free online tools available which will give you an indication of your international traffic on your website – this will provide an idea of which countries to focus your efforts on. There is no risk in opening doors to the international market – only the risk of getting left behind.”

5. Unfamiliarity with customs procedures and processes

“This is where your choice of delivery partner comes in. If your paperwork has been done correctly, there shouldn’t be any customs delays or worries. Collaborating with an experienced partner that has extensive knowledge and know-how of customs procedures on the African continent will assist the business’ e-commerce offering to evolve.”

To further connect and support the e-commerce industry in Africa, DHL Express recently signed on as title sponsor for the 2018 DHL eCommerce MoneyAfrica Conference & Exhibition (Confex), taking place on 14 and 15 of March this year.

“The DHL eCommerce MoneyAfrica Confex has established itself as one of Africa’s biggest opportunities to bring stakeholders in the fintech and e-commerce sectors together. This year’s event features presentations and knowledge sharing from an array of African and international thought leaders, geared at enabling participants to formulate innovative strategies to unlock more opportunities on the continent,” concludes Burd.

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BUSINESS

FirstBank’s Adesola Adeduntan Bags ‘Best Chief Executive Officer’ Award

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The Chief Executive Officer, First Bank of Nigeria Limited (FirstBank), Dr. Adesola Adeduntan has been adjudged the ‘Best Chief Executive Officer’ of the year at the Digital Innovation and Excellence awards, held recently in Accra, Ghana.

 

The awards, which climaxed the Digital Banking Summit was aimed at rewarding individuals and groups whose contribution and efforts have spurred growth in the banking industry across Africa.

 

Dr. Adeduntan who has been at the helm of affairs of FirstBank, FBNBank Ghana’s parent Bank since 2016 had ensured the rollout of the Group’s digital banking strategy, which aims to leverage new and evolving technologies to facilitate access to everyday financial services for consumers and businesses alike.

 

Receiving the award on behalf of Dr. Adeduntan in Accra on Friday, Victor Yaw Asante, the Managing Director of FBNBank Ghana said the award amply speaks to Dr. Adeduntan’s commitment to driving the financial inclusion agenda of FirstBank as well as its subsidiaries across Africa.

 

“On behalf of Dr. Adeduntan and his management team at First Bank of Nigeria Limited, I will like to thank you for recognising the Bank’s unrelenting quest to meet the needs and preferences of our customers with our deployment of a full bouquet of digital banking services.

 

Victor Yaw Asante stated that “though humbling, this award reminds us to keep listening and to demonstrate an understanding of our customers’ busy, modern lives and connect with them through the provision of solutions that not only meet their needs but also delivers relevant experiences that meet their expectations.

 

“We would deepen our collaboration with our partners and strive to replicate our success in Nigeria across all our subsidiaries,” he said.

 

This award adds to the rich ‘awards shelf’ of FirstBank since the turn of the year, as the Bank has been recognised beyond the shores of Nigeria for its leading role at promoting technological inclusion, cashless transactions and financial inclusion in the fast revolving and technological driven financial industry in Nigeria.

 

Amongst the many awards bagged by the premier and leading financial institution in Nigeria include; Cashless Driver: Highest Volume in Bill Payments and Cashless Driver: Highest Transaction Volume in Real-Time Payments at the CBN Electronic Payments Incentive Scheme (EPIS) Efficiency Awards. Other awards are; Most improved Mobile Banking Application, Highest Transacting Bank (across Interswitch’s Solutions) and Highest Number of Verve Transacting Cards (Unique Cards) at the Interswitch Connect Sales Dinner & Awards Night as well as Best Banking Brand in Nigeria 2019 by Global Brands Magazine. 

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Adeduntan: FirstBank is reducing poverty, deepening financial inclusion through its 31,000 agent network

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By Okafor Endurance

 

In its quest to deepen financial inclusion, FirstBank is channelling its resources to reach those at the bottom of the pyramid through its agency banking.

The tie-one bank has over 31,000 agents spread across Nigeria with 9,000 assigned to provide financial services to the highly excluded Northern region.

According to Adesola Adeduntan, the MD/CEO, First Bank of Nigeria Limited, the bank took it upon itself as part of their strategic plan to be the bank that can be the right partner to the CBN and the government by helping to achieve the right social impact.

“If there is that bank on ground to help the country to address the seeming geographical gap in terms of financial inclusion, it is FirstBank, because we are already doing a lot,” Adeduntan said.

With over 125 years of unbroken existence in Nigeria, the lender has the largest branch network in Nigeria with over 750 branches spread across the country.

Nigeria has an exclusion rate of 36.8 percent as at December 2018; this translates to about 36.6 million Nigerian adults who are not included in the formal financial net.

The Central Bank of Nigeria plans to ensure it drive that number to 20 percent by the year 2020. But with less than five months to the deadline, the regulator has about 16.8 percent exclusion gap.

“So with over 31,000 agents and 750 branches spread across all the LGAs in Nigeria, FirstBank is indeed a frontrunner at not just providing banking to all Nigerians but importantly improving their respective businesses and developing the Nigerian economy,” Adeduntan noted.

According to Emeka Onwuka, CEO, Parkway Project, a Lagos-based Fintech company known for its popular ReadyCash product, when it comes to financial inclusion, the distribution is really “where we have the problem.”

“It is not about wallet rather it is about the touch point where people can actually go and have access,” Onwuka added. In January 2019, the central bank unveiled a revised version of the National Financial Inclusion Strategy (NFIS) in which it projected that it will enroll about 500,000 mobile money/bank agents available to serve about 105 million adult Nigerians by the year 2020. The figure translates to about 476 agents per 100,000 adults.

 

Less than five months to the projected deadline, Nigeria’s financial institutions have however enrolled a joint 65,753 mobile agents, data obtained from the Nigeria Interbank Settlement System (NIBSS) showed.

This is 86.85 percent less than the 500,000 mobile agents which are going to serve about 105 million adult Nigerians. If the industry regulator is to meet the target by 2020, it would have to enroll about 434,247 agents in five months.

According to data by EFInA, a huge population of Nigerian adult still lack access to financial products and services. The number is however highest in the northern part of the country.

Compared to other regions of Africa’s most populous nation, the northern part of the country reported more unbanked people owing to high illiteracy level, insurgency in some parts of the region coupled with high poverty rate, as compiled from BusinessDay survey.

“Currently we have up to 9,000 agents specifically in the northern part of the country and the same thing goes for the statistics of our ATM,” Adeduntan said.

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Wema Bank Opens Bootcamp to Support Fintechs

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Wema Bank, Nigeria’s leading innovative bank, hosts a bootcamp focused on engaging fintech startups to develop solutions that will optimise service delivery in banking and finance.

The Hackaholics Bootcamp is a ten-week intensive program designed to engage outstanding startups who participated at the Wema Bank Hackathon to develop their ideas and make them into market-ready products or services. They will also be trained on global practices for lean startups which includes user research and pivoting, customer journey mapping among other solution design thinking.

The Bootcamp which kicked off on Monday, September 16, 2019, at the Wema Bank Codeville, Ilupeju, Lagos will feature robust ideation and training sessions on product design and development facilitated by experts.

Trainers at the Bootcamp – Chuba Ezekwesili,Head of Research and Strategy and Co-founder, Akanka, Iyin Aboyeji, Co-Founder Flutterwave, Andela and Founder Street Capital, Joseph Agunbiade, Co-founder BudgIT, Founder Univelcity, Getmobile Technologies Limited, and SmartED and other experts – will take participating teams through extensive market research and predictive trend analysis to ensure they develop solutions that are relevant in an ever-changing market.

Participating teams will be equipped with different business model toolkits to develop a scalable market-ready solution, a go-to-market strategy, branding and communications. They will also be equipped with skills on how to pitch to and win over investors.

In his remarks, Wema Bank’s Head of Innovation, Samuel Omotayo stated that: “the path to growth in today’s world is through collaboration and competition within and outside your organization.”

“Our goal is to equip and support startups to bring their ideas to life and ultimately, to have market-ready viable products by the end of the Bootcamp.

“We aim to create solutions that will drive process efficiency, optimize service delivery and improve customer experience. We are also looking to partner with other tech organizations in this regard.”

It should be recalled that in March this year, the bank pulled together startups and young tech professional for its first hackathon, Hackaholics, as part of its drive to leverage technology in solving financial, institutional and social challenges.

Through the bootcamp, Wema Bank will build on the success of Hackaholics and continue its support of fintechs in reinventing financial service delivery in Nigeria.

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