The United Bank of Africa (UBA) has launched a new branch at the Dubai International Financial Centre (DIFC), United Arab Emirates (UAE).
The bank, which has been in operation for over seven decades, is present in 20 African countries, the United Kingdom, the United States of America and France.
According to the bank, the branch in the DIFC will service corporate, financial Institutions and customers across the Middle East with a core focus on correspondent banking, relationship management and advisory services.
A correspondent bank is a financial institution that provides services to another one — usually in another country. It is like a third-party bank – serving as a middleman between different financial institutions.
Speaking at the launching in Dubai, Tony Elumelu, chairman, UBA Group, said the bank aimed to continue focusing on its strategic objective of leading the way in Africa — with the group’s foray into the Gulf region.
“It is beyond the Middle East but the far east as well. But in the first instance, we believe that Dubai should serve this area. We have a lot of customers who do business in the far east, and we have a lot of customers in the far east,” he said.
“What we want to do is to be that bank that helps to support our people who do business in any and every part of the world. That is why we are called Africa’s Global bank. UBA is that bank, and we are happy that Dubai is happening, and sometimes soon the far east would also come on stream.”
On his part, Kennedy Uzoka, group managing director (GMD), UBA, said: “Today is a historic day for UBA. As you know, we have been in operation for about 73 years; we have a very strong franchise in our continent because our business is primarily Africa-based”.
“However, we have to deal with the entire world and that means that we need to have strong financial support across the world. We are in the United States as the only bank out of Sub-saharan Africa that operates in that country; we are in the United Kingdom, and we have a representative office in France.
“We believed that the equation wasn’t balanced, that was why we decided to come to Dubai Financial Centre. The whole idea is to make sure that our customers are served, regardless of where they are operating. So, whether you are a customer in Kinshasa, Dakar, and you are dealing with any client across the globe that has an interest in this part of the world, UBA is able to provide you with the service you require.”
Through its new expansion, the company said it would harness opportunities in the Middle East, Africa and South Asia (MEASA).
It also intends to reinforce its strong franchise as “Africa’s Global Bank” by facilitating trade and capital flows between Africa and the rest of the world.
Speaking on the bank’s plans to accelerate international trade flows, Vikrant Bhansali, managing director/CEO, UBA(DIFC), said: “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 flow into Africa through the UBA franchise”.
Arif Amiri, CEO, Dubai International Financial Centre(DIFC) Authority, said: “We will continue to provide that through the support of the ecosystem, one of its kind. We will continue to seek partnerships that will deliver and go for a winning relationship.”
The group said it would cross-sell the group’s corporate banking products, adding that loans and deposits would be booked in other group entities.
It said the DIFC branch would operate under the category 4 licence and would be regulated by DFSA, the financial regulatory agency of the special economic zone, the Dubai International Financial Centre.