Africa’s Global Bank, United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has reiterated its unflinching commitment to support small and medium scale businesses (SMEs) in Nigeria and across Africa to succeed and contribute meaningfully to their economies and the continent as a whole.
The bank’s management made this pledge at the official opening of the 37th Lagos International Trade Fair (LIFT) 2023, organised by the Lagos State Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) with the theme, ‘Navigating Economic Challenges, Forging a Path to Prosperity’ held in Lagos State.
Since 2019, UBA has been the headline sponsor for this all-important event, and this year’s edition which is the 36th edition, held at the Tafawa Balewa Square, Lagos, between November 4 and 13, 2023, is also being headlined by the bank.
Speaking at the event, the Deputy Managing Director, UBA, Mr Muyiwa Akinyemi, commended LCCI for its visionary leadership in consistently hosting the trade fair as well as its continuous efforts at creating a veritable platform for businesses in Nigeria and Africa to thrive and prosper.
He took time to recognise the priceless role that SMEs play in advancing the success of economies all over the world, adding that “We have continued to not only pull our weight behind the fair, by consistently retaining headline sponsorship for this all-important event, but have also provided far reaching expert advice that empower SMEs to go ahead and become global champions as we have seen with many success stories of businesses that have participated in this fair at any point in time.”
“Also as a leader in African trade, we have identified this fair as a veritable avenue for both domestic and international exhibitors to promote their businesses through product launches, sales opportunities, and business-to-business meetings with government agencies while fostering international trade partnership deals across borders,” Akinyemi stated.
UBA’s Group Head, Retails Products and Sales, Prince Ayewoh, who also spoke at the event, said the LCCI has done well to transform the fair to become one of the major attractions of trade in Africa when it comes to SME attendance across the continent.
Ayewoh explained that SMEs typically contribute around 50% of GDP and 60% of employment in national or local economies while evidence suggests they contribute only about 30% of exports and even less of international investment.
He noted that it is on this premise that the UBA, which has an extensive spread across Africa and other major economies of the world, is always on the lookout for partnership opportunities that will benefit the business environment and the economies where we operate.