Albert Essien, the group chief executive officer of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated told CNBC Africa on the side-lines of WEF Africa that the theme resonated with Ecobank’s vision.
“We have served in bringing economic development in the region so the theme is very appropriate to us as it talks about inclusive growth and creating employment which is what we are doing. We currently have a workforce of 18,000-19,000 employees.”
Nigeria has of late been viewed as a prime market by companies in various sectors due to its population advantage.
“We have seen growth in the top line of our business in the country and we are seeking to capitalise on that more as we believe that our business in the country will grow.”
“Nigeria is very important to us as it has about 40 per cent of our assets which makes us pay very close attention to Africa’s biggest economy.”
Essien added that there are great opportunities in Nigeria in areas such as the power, upstream oil and gas, and the retail sectors.
Commenting on the issue of impairment charges of non-performing loans, Essien says that the issue has been dealt with.
“We have calmed the waters, we are restoring confidence and reaching out to stakeholders, our regulators, customers and staff to assure them that what happened is in the past.”
“We are in the thrills of having a new board and there is a committee working on that which is expected to submit names to the annual general meeting in June.”
Essien added that, “there is a lot of stability now as [the crisis within the organisation] was no longer featuring in the newspapers anymore. All institutions have their down time, we have survived and have come out stronger.”
On future growth prospects, the group chief executive said the company was looking at the Francophone and other parts of sub-Saharan Africa.
“Francophone as a block especially West Africa is a good growth point though it might not be as fast as Nigeria. Ghana also has good growth despite their economic challenges. We also believe that we could grow our subsidiaries in the east and the southern parts of Africa.”
BY TRUST MATSILELE