The Group Chairman of the United Bank for Africa (UBA), Tony Elumelu, said the gulf market is important to the operation of the financial institution, helping to facilitate investment into Africa.
Elumelu said the region, which comprises United Arab Emirates, Qatar, Saudi Arabia, Oman, Bahrain, as well as Kuwait, is vital to UBA’s international expansion, and the firm has began to make a play for the Arab market shard by opening a branch in Dubai, on Thursday.
The branch is situated in the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), and will be the hub for UBA’s investment banking and advisory services in the gulf area, connecting clients with trades in the African market.
“We have been looking forward to this day as it is the first time we will have presence in this part of the world. We know that our international expansion is incomplete if we are not present in the gulf.” Elumelu said.
The investment banker also stated that, “Collaborating with our franchises in 20 African countries and the major financial centres of London, New York and Paris, UBA (DIFC Branch) will facilitate the financing of trade transactions between the Middle East and Africa, enabling trade finance and investments.”
Aslo speaking on the expansion, and its importance to UBA’s operation, the firm’s Group Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer, Kennedy Uzoka, said, “We are the only bank with Nigerian origin that has extended out of Nigeria to the UAE.
“Those before us have come through other locations and that shows the strength and respect the Dubai authorities have for UBA. Our presence in Dubai affirms that UBA is a strong franchise, expanding its reach across the world.” He said.
Uzoka added that, “The authorities and business environment here in the DIFC is phenomenal and UBA is seeing Dubai as the gateway for Africa and that is why we are here, to be closer to our clients, to be partnering with them and facilitate businesses and trade flows into Africa through the UBA franchise. So, we are super excited.”
Meanwhile, the CEO of UBA branch in DFIC, Vikrant Bhansali, said “We will finance trade, facilitate commerce and help grow investment in Africa, across all sectors.”
UBA will become a channel for foreign investment from Dubai to Africa, with the Chief Executive Officer, Dubai International Financial Centre(DIFC) Authority, Arif Amiri, saying the expansion brings both continents closer.
“UBA(DFIC) attests to the strong relationship between Dubai and Africa. It is a beautiful start as we are looking forward to achieving more interaction, channelling more trade and investments into Africa, and with UBA DIFC, we are closer to achieving our objectives. DIFC will continue to seek partnerships that will deliver winning relationships as we have just witnessed with UBA Group.” Amiri said.