The Chief Executive Officer and Executive Director of FCMB Bank (UK) Limited, James Benoit, has challenged African economies on the need to look inwards and create wealth that will ensure sustainable development of the continent and reduce over reliance on foreign remittances.
Besides, while admitting that Nigeria’s dependence on Diaspora remittances may not just disappear, he advised that its proportion in the total budget has to reduce as soon as possible to achieve the country’s growth agenda in the near future.
The international banker also stressed the need for African countries and their leaders to stop what he described as excessive regulation, leading to unnecessary bureaucracy that has hindered growth.
“Africa has a major demographic challenge, which will be its growth engine or else, drown it. Red tape bureaucracy must be cut, youth must get education or trade, and other skills and the empowerment of women must all be addressed. The continent must also be joined up to trade among itself rather than just export, which is low value-added,” he said.
Benoit, with 27 years of international banking experience spanning North America, Asia Pacific, Africa, Middle East and Europe, emphasised the critical role of technology in Nigeria’s economic growth and advancement, saying it must be accorded priority.
He however, explained that the extent of adoption of technology in the country would depend a lot on its accessibility, with requisite infrastructure deliberately built for that purpose.
According to him, technology will not serve any major purpose if it is not used by Nigeria’s growing middle class or deployed to produce services for export, among others.
He reiterated the importance of educating or training the youth and ensuring medical care is accessible, so they can healthily contribute.
FCMB Bank (UK), last year, obtained the Variation of Permission (VoP) from the UK Regulators- the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) and the Prudential Regulation Authority (PRA), allowing the bank to include retail (deposit and investments) servicing in its product offering.
Benoit noted that the approval and extension of services was a major achievement which has equipped the bank to deliver its promise of being the Corporate and Private Bank for African-oriented and Africa-based entrepreneurs, investors and professionals across all their banking needs.
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