Africa In Focus

Africa In Focus: "The mainstream thinking now is that Africa is different and we could get it right if we want. The choice is fully ours, and it is now time for us to define what we want."

African Development Bank (AFDB) President, Dr. Donald Kaberuka.

Wednesday, 2 May 2012

Ecobank Launches Diaspora Account

VENTURES AFRICA – As a result of the growing African market both at home and abroad, Ecobank Nigeria is repositioning itself to meet the needs of Africans in Diaspora. The bank is doing this by setting up a Diaspora Account to meet up with the growing market trend.
Ecobank is planning on using its strength as a Pan-African that cuts across major markets and the Diaspora to serve as a formidable banking institution where customers can transact their business world-wide.

The number of African immigrants living and working outside their home countries keeps growing yearly. The 2008 World Bank estimate of remittances made by Africans in Diaspora was put at over $380 billion and since then the number has not recede.
Being away from home has not cut away these immigrants from their source, as some of them still maintain political and economic ties with their homeland.

Consequently, Ecobank Nigeria has repositioned itself by setting up a special package under its platform – the “Ecobank Africa Diaspora Account”. The product is conceived to meet the financial needs of people in the African Diaspora. It structures the bank’s services to support the African professional, the potential business of Africans in the Diaspora by banking them effectively and providing well packaged financial services.

This banking product will answer needs of the current trend in Globalisation, which has been facilitated by telecommunications, information Technology and E-commerce. Ecobank has promised to use all her available resources and infrastructure to adequately cover the sector.

Speaking on the new Diaspora Account, the Product Manager, Vivienne Ijomah, said, “The account is a multicurrency deposit liability and transactional product which facilitates creation of banking relationships with African migrants within and outside Africa. Given the immediate and future scope of Ecobank Africa Diaspora Account, we will roll out the product in two phases.”

The first phase is now available in the market, focuses on Africans living in Africa but outside their home country, that is, those living within Africa while Phase two will focus on those living outside Africa, she said. “We have the capacity to do an end-to-end processing of a non-resident account through Ecobank designated branches in our affiliates.”

According to her, “This pre-supposes that with this kind of product, customer shall maintain regular current and Savings Account in our affiliates where he or she resides and work. A one-time account package shall be completed, which will be used to open another account in his or her affiliate of residence and a non-resident account back home.”

Ijomah revealed that the accounts is targeted at Africans working away from home, especially Embassy staff of countries where the bank is represented; staff of international organisations and multinational companies with regional presence across Africa.

Ecobank’s Head, Brand Communications, Mrs. Adetola Oshoma, gave the creative direction of the product. She said, “For the heroes who work away from their home country, the Ecobank African Diaspora Account is the one thing people can’t be without.

She noted that the campaign focuses on individuals working away from their home countries and Ecobank’s empathy with these people. “Sometimes the job takes you far away from your home country and your families. To the company, these people are heroes and we are recognising them for what they do by designing the Ecobank African Diaspora Account”, she added.

Also at the launch event, Managing Director of the bank in Nigeria, Jubril Aku, represented by Dele Alabi, the Executive Director, Finance and Risk, said “The reason behind the conception of the Africa Diaspora Account. This special product is targeted at the African professional who works outside his or her home country and demonstrates the bank’s passion for providing convenient, accessible and reliable financial products and services for all our customers wherever they may be in the world.”

“Africa Diaspora Account satisfies the need for a bank account back in your home country and country of residence. It is an excellent product for the man or woman, the engineer, the medical doctor, the teacher who has left his home country to work in another country, and is determined to provide for those at home. At Ecobank we say the ‘African in Diaspora is a hero’”, he added.

The bank’s Executive Director, Kingsley Aigbokhaevbo also spoke about the vision behind the account. He said the company believes Africans are hard-working people and should be able to do their desired financial transactions wherever they may be, the world over.

“African immigrants living and working outside their home countries have been on the increase from year to year. Typically, the African Diaspora follows a discernible pattern – a drift from developing economies to relatively stronger economies. This trend is also now pronounced within Africa in the form of economic cooperation amongst member states of ECOWAS and the rest of Africa. This, no doubt, is facilitating movement of goods, services and labour mobility”.

He noted that, backed by a study of the bank’s research team, the estimate within countries where Ecobank has presence, there are at least 13 million African migrants.

“This, in our opinion, constitutes a pool of migrants who are gainfully employed. You would agree that African migrants have rising profile and they exert a lot of influence on their home economies by way of inward remittances for the upkeep of their dependent relatives and personal investments. In fact, the World Bank has asserted that there is a strong positive correlation between the GDP of African Countries and inflows from their Nationals abroad. This could be comparable to Foreign Aid to Africa,” Aigbokhaevbo asserted.

“As a Pan African Bank, Ecobank is more advantageously positioned to meet the needs of the African. This is why we strongly support the product and have no doubt of its ability to meet the yearnings of majority of Africans in the Diaspora,” he posits.
Ecobank Nigeria is a member of the Ecobank Group and the holding company for Ecobank Group is Ecobank Transnational Incorporated.

Ecobank is reportedly Africa’s leading regional financial institution with operations in 32 countries across the African continent. The Group also has international presence in Dubai, China, United Kingdom and France. The full-service bank offers retail, wholesale and transaction banking services to its growing clientele base. The bank offers a broad range of innovative products and services to governments, financial institutions, multinationals, international organisations, large corporates, medium, small and micro-businesses and individuals.

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