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Nigeria’s financial talent pushing through troubled times

By Nicholas Norbrook
Posted on Friday, 26 January 2018 14:14

CORONATION MERCHANT BANK Aigboje Aig-ImoukhuedeBusiness-booster

Aig-Imoukhuede was chief executive of Access Bank during the toxicasset meltdown of 2009 – at which point he oversaw the takeover of intercontinental Bank. After stepping down in 2013 and becoming president of the Nigerian Stock exchange in 2014, Aig-Imoukhuede is back with new ventures. In 2014, he founded coronation capital, a private equity fund based in Mauritius, which has invested in Nigerian insurer Wapic. And his latest bet is on coronation Merchant Bank, which aims to bolster the longterm financing gap in the Nigerian market.

FINANCE MINISTRY Kemi Adeosun Convincing presentation

Investors came, they liked what they saw and they improved Nigeria’s solvency. Credit for the success of the latest bond road show has to go to finance minister Adeosun, who has been in the role since November 2015. Investors praised her assured presentations on Nigeria’s route out of oil dependency. With a closing price of 7.9%, and oversubscribed to the tune of $7.8bn from an original $1bn target, the $1bn eurobond is a solid start to fixing the gaping hole in the ambitious 2017 budget. next stop for Adeosun is the World Bank, which is contemplating a loan of its own.

CENTRAL BANK OF NIGERIA Godwin Emefiele Keeping a cool head

Not thought to be an initial convert to the intractable foreign exchange policies of President Muhammadu Buhari, central bank governor Emefiele has proved adaptable. His is the tough task of distributing the scarce US dollars to competing power bases, from the importers of fuel to commercial lenders. He was forced to tell Nigerians not to panic when the naira to dollar exchange rate approached 500:1 and nonperforming loans hit 12.5% – which is well above the 5% regulatory maximum.

SUNTRUST BANK Muhammad Jibrin Technophile

In 2015, SunTrust Bank – originally a mortgage finance company – won the country’s first new commercial banking licence since 2001. Chief executive Jibrin has managed the institution through its metamorphosis into a modern lender: it is the first branchless bank in Nigeria, doing what many banks talk about but few have the courage to follow through on. Jibrin sees the legions of unbanked youth and Nigeria’s thousands of credit-starved small businesses as an opportunity. With SunTrust’s virtual doors thrown pen in August 2016, analysts are keen to see its first year results.

From the March 2017 print edition

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