The 16th Annual Banking and Finance Conference, organized by the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria (CIBN), was held under the theme, “Nigeria’s Economic Growth and Empowerment: The Role of the Financial Services Industry.”

This annual event stands as the continent’s premier gathering of banking and finance professionals.

It also serves as a pivotal platform for stakeholders within the financial industry to converge and engage in meaningful discussions on pressing topics crucial to the sector’s growth and stability.

The event was graced by Vice President, Kashim Shettima, Country Director, World Bank, Mr. Shubham Chaudhuri, who was the Keynote Speaker; Acting Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria, Folashodun Shonubi, who delivered a special goodwill message and Dr. Ken Opara, the Chief Host.

The conference had five panel sessions, one of which was focused on infrastructure

financing in Africa. Mr. Olukorede Adenowo (HCIB), chaired this session. Mr. Opuiyo Oforiokuma was the Speaker while Ms. Helen Brume, Dr. Benson Uwheru (FCIB), Mrs. Stella Marie-Omogbai (HCIB) and Dr. Ola Brown (MFR) were the panelists.

One of the panelists, Dr. Ola Brown, delivered a compelling message, calling upon Nigerians to strategically manage the nation’s image as a means to attract high-quality foreign investors.

In her thought-provoking address, she posed a poignant question, “What does it profit a man to gain the whole coupon of this world and lose his principal?

Dr. Ola expounded upon the notion that no matter how high the interest rates are, Nigeria won’t get high-quality investors until we manage the perception of the country as one where people can invest and get paid back according to the agreed terms.

She stressed that this perception challenge contrasts with reality, citing Nigeria’s impeccable record of never defaulting on its Eurobonds.

Dr. Ola is a medical doctor who holds a Master Degree in Finance and Economic Policy. She is currently doing her PhD in Finance. She is also the founder of HealthCap Africa, a venture capital firm that focuses on early-stage investments in healthtech and fintech startups across Africa.

HealthCap has invested in over 20 fintech and healthtech companies that currently have operations across 12 countries, serving nearly one million customers and patients, and creating over 1000 jobs.

Moreover, the Annual Banking and Finance Conference addressed matters concerning the broader economic development of the nation, aiming to provide insightful solutions that will have a profound impact on the entire financial system and the national economy at large.

“We should explore how we can key into different areas with the power of capital to transform our nation’s economic landscape and uplift communities across Nigeria”, the Chairperson of the Conference Consultative Organizing Committee and MD/CEO, FSDH Merchant Bank, stated as she extended her appreciation to all conference partners and sponsors.

Other confirmed resource persons at the conference include, Dr. Kingsley Obiora, who is the Deputy Governor, Economic Policy CBN; Mrs. Razia Khan, Managing Director and Chief Economist, Africa and Middle East, Global Research; Standard Chartered Bank Nigeria and Prof. Olayinka David-West, Associate Dean, Lagos Business School, among others.