Sterling One Foundation, UNDP host social impact breakfast for financial institutions
Sterling Bank

Sterling Bank Plc recently partnered with the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry (LCCI) to organise the Chamber’s 2022 Secondary Schools Essay Competition with the theme: “The role of Fintech in Shaping Entrepreneurship for National Development.”

The competition, which was held in Lagos recently, saw Master Nwomuma Wisdom winning the first prize of N500,000, Nwokolo Ifena came in second and took home a cash prize of N350,000 while Miss Pamzat Debrah came in thrid and received a cash gift of N300,000, all from Sterling Bank. The bank also promised to follow up with the education of the first winner.

Speaking at the event, Group Head, Education Finance at Sterling Bank, Mrs. Ndjideka Nwabueze, said the bank sees itself as an impact organisation that is committed to empowering its communities and development through investment in education and other critical sectors of the economy through its HEART of Sterling strategy. The other sectors are Health, Agriculture, Renewable Energy and Transportation.

She said the bank was motivated to support the competition by the objective of providing access to finance to all education stakeholders, schools, parents, teachers, students and the entire value chain.

She said the bank is also committed to improving the quality of education in the country and has designed several financial products for customers’ satisfaction. She disclosed that the bank is working through various partnerships to drive economic growth and improve learning opportunities through different projects in the education sector.

Nwabueze said, during the COVID-19 pandemic, the bank supported the Lagos State Government through the Ministry of Education to provide digital learning materials to support children’s learning and created a learning platform where teachers would be exposed to educational programmes. The programmes on the platform have the objective of upgrading teachers’ teaching skills and outcomes. The platform has empowered over 1,000 teachers and others are coming on board, she said.

The Group Head also said they are working with Decagon to expose Nigerian youths to tech skills like ICT and software engineering as well creating job opportunities for them. “So far, we have produced over 500 graduates from the programme that are working locally and abroad,” Nwabueze said.

Also speaking, the President of LCCI, Asiwaju (Dr.) Michael Olawale-Cole said fintechs in Nigeria are looking to expand the tentacles of the financial sector to reach the unbanked population of 60 million people through mobile apps that make services possible.

It has been estimated that there are about 250 fintech operators/companies in the Nigerian space and these players brought about the valuation of the industry to $153.1 million in 2017. The figure is projected to rise to $543.3 million by the end of 2022.

He said the LCC Secondary School Essay Competition was designed to help in developing the capacity of the average Nigerian child to understand economic issues, interrogate their intellectual minds, stimulate entrepreneurial instincts inherent in them and enhance their contributions to national development.

He added that in this 6th edition, invitations were sent out to over 250 schools.

In her contribution, Lagos State Commissioner of Education, Mrs. Folashade Adefisayo, said the state government has set up the Lagos State Youth Empowerment programme for free skill acquisition by youths in the state.

The commissioner, who was represented by a Director in the Office of the Special Adviser on Education, Mrs. Sanwo-olu Olubisi said after the training, the graduates would also get free start-up grants from the Lagos State Empowerment Trust Fund to begin operation.

Chairperson, Business Education Training & Services of LCCI and Divisional Head, Corporate Client Coverage & Sales at Sterling Bank, Mrs. Mojisola Bakare who delivered the vote of thanks, expressed the gratitude of the LCCI to the sponsors of the competition as well as the participating schools, the Chief Examiner, Vice Chancellor, Federal University of Agriculture, Abeokuta, Professor Olushola Kehinde and other examiners.

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