New York based Women's World Banking (WWB) has signed on UBA Microfinance Bank as its only network partner in Nigeria. With the admittance of the microfinance subsidiary of United Bank for Africa Plc as a network partner of the WWB, UBA Microfinance Bank has joined the global network of partner microfinance institutions and banks including ASA, the number 1, and other top 9 Microfinance Finance Banks in the world.
The WWB President Ms Mary Ellen Iskenderian, who met with officials of the UBA Group in Lagos recently, said the microfinance subsidiary of UBA was selected after an extensive review exercise. "We traditionally had a broad presence in Africa but 7 years ago, we implemented very strict and high performance standards (financial operating and social) and unfortunately many of our African network partners who were unable to meet with the standards were taken out of the network. Last year however, we put in place a new Africa strategy where we identified Nigeria as one country we want to come to and UBA Microfinance Bank was selected as the partner we would like to work with" she said.
The thrust of what WWB offers to partner institutions is in the area of technical services. To this end Ms Iskenderian pointed out that UBA Microfinance Bank would benefit immensely
from training workshops and exposure visits as a result of becoming a WWB network partner.
These sentiments were further echoed by the Managing Director of UBA Microfinance Bank, Mrs Lizzy Osunde who disclosed that the bank will explore the possibility of extending the network partnership with WWB to other parts of Africa where UBA has presence. According to her "we are relatively new, but being a partner institution we will learn greatly from peer practices and global best practices. We have the unique opportunity of leveraging on their structures and experiences to prosecute our ambitious growth agenda of providing finance to micro businesses."
WWB is a global network of 46 microfinance providers and banks, working in 22 countries and serving over 20 million micro-entrepreneurs directly and indirectly. It was founded after the first United Nations World Conference on Women, held in Mexico City in 1975. The organisation essentially seeks to expand the economic assets, participation, and power of poor women as entrepreneurs and economic agents by opening their access to finance, knowledge and markets.
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