Kampala, Uganda | ISAAC KHISA | Pan-African lender, United Bank for Africa, has unveiled a full operation in the United Kingdom, opening up trade opportunities between the continent and European nations.
This follows authorization of the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA) and the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) for UBA (UK) Limited to carry out full scale wholesale banking across the United Kingdom. UBA UK has been in operation since January 2008.
The new development now enables UBA to consolidate its unique positioning as the first and only Sub-Saharan African financial institution with banking operations in both the UK and the US , thus reinforcing its strong franchise as Africa’s Global Bank, facilitating trade and capital flows between Africa and the world.
Tony Elumelu, the chairman of UBA Group Chairman, said during the launch ceremony held at The Prestigious Shard in London on March 28 that the institution is excited by the authorization of the relevant regulatory authorities in the United Kingdom for UBA to upgrade its operation and further fulfil its aspiration of deepening trade and investments flows between Africa and Europe.
“The enhancement of our business in the United Kingdom is very timely and mutually beneficial for African and European corporates as well as respective governments,” he said.
“With the British and other European governments seeking new and improved measures to grow trade relations with Africa, we are enthusiastic on our positioning and capabilities in supporting corporates and government institutions to fulfil these lofty aspirations, which we believe are pertinent for the sustainable growth of both continents.”
Elumelu said he is extremely pleased as UBA is living up to its mantra of being Africa’s global bank and positioning itself to support investors in key financial centres across the world.
The Group CEO, Kennedy Uzoka: “With the upgrade of UBA UK Limited, we are excited to deepen our support to existing customers whilst also providing the leverage for new customers to effectively fulfil their cross-border transactions through UBA Group’s network.”
UBA UK CEO, Patrick Gutmann, said they are now on a stronger footing, as the authorization of the PRA and FCA for an enhanced business model affords them the opportunity to swell their capital and balance sheet as well as the broader UBA Group’s network across Africa.
“We welcome our existing and new customers to this new world of borderless opportunities, as we creatively serve our customers in meeting their international transaction needs,” he said.
Some of the guests in attendance at the event were the President of Dangote Group; Alhaji Aliko Dangote, President; Afreximbank, Prof. Benedict Oramah; Former Prime Minister of Pakistan, Shaukat Aziz; Member of the British House of Lords and Executive Committee Member of the All Party Africa Group, Rt. Hon Lord Anthony Tudor St. John, amongst many others.
Available statistics indicates that African continent represents the fourth most important Europe’s trading partner after the United States, China and Switzerland, accounting for 7.5% of total extra-EU trade in goods in 2016.
In 2006, Africa accounted for 8.4% of EU trade and was EU’s third main trading partner. Over this 10-year time period, the share of Africa in extra-EU imports fell from 8.7% in 2006 to 6.7% in 2016, while its share in exports remained roughly stable at around 8%.
After a significant decrease in 2009 following the economic and financial crisis, the value of EU imports of goods from Africa recovered until 2012 to hit a high of US$210.78bn. It then continuously fell to 130.58bn in 2016.
UBA has operations in 20 African and now UK and two global financial centers: Paris and New York.
Dangote Group President, Aliko Dangote (3rd L), UBA Group Chairman, Tony Elumelu (3rd R), Afreximbank President, Prof. Benedict Oramah, (2nd R) during the launch of UBA operations in UK. Courtesy Photo.