Paris, the 19th of September 2017
Microcred, a leading financial inclusion-focused group operating across Africa and in China, announces that Arnold Ekpe has been appointed Chairman of the Supervisory Board of the Group, effective today.
Mr. Ekpe joins at a pivotal moment for the business as it seeks to become Africa's leading digital inclusive finance provider. The appointment follows a number of other recent additions to its Management Board, including Vince Tallent as Chief Financial Officer, Charles Gill as Chief Operating Officer and Guillaume Lesay as Chief Risk Officer.
Mr. Ekpe, one of Africa’s most well-known banking leaders, brings with him extensive experience of finance in the continent, having previously served as Group Chief Executive Officer at Ecobank, the pan-African commercial banking group. He also served as CEO of UBA, the Nigeria based pan-African bank, and is a former partner in Africa Capital Alliance, the leading West Africa private equity company.
He is currently the Honorary President of the Business Council for Africa in the UK, and holds a number of other director roles including Chairman of SFRE Luxembourg, non-executive director of Crown Agents Bank and Crown Agents Investment Management, UK, and non-executive director of Dangote Flour Mills in Nigeria. He is also a trustee of Vision for a Nation, a UK charity for the visually impaired.
Mr. Epke succeeds Jacques Attali, who has chaired Microcred since its establishment in 2006. Mr Attali has led the Supervisory Board throughout the growth of Microcred from start-up to international financial services provider to almost 650,000 micro and SME customers across ten markets.
With total assets in excess of €500 million, and 1000 points of presence (incorporating agents and branches), Microcred is now one of the leading pan-African digital inclusive finance providers.
Commenting on the appointment of Mr. Epke, Arnaud Ventura, Microcred’s Founder and CEO, said: “We are honoured to have Mr. Epke join Microcred to chair our Supervisory Board. As one of the most respected bankers of our generation, having built Ecobank into the largest pan-African bank, Arnold brings an enormous level of knowledge and experience in building cross border financial institutions at a time when we are looking to accelerate our offering to become the leading digital bank servicing the mass market unbanked population in Africa.”
Along with management team and the members of the Supervisory Board, I would like to extend my personal gratitude to Jacques for the support and mentorship he brought us and offered me personally since the foundation of Microcred. Thanks to his personal support and the support extended by PlaNet Finance, he helped Microcred grow to become the business it is today.”
Commenting on his appointment, Mr. Ekpe said: “I am passionate about financial inclusion and the application of technology to financial services in Africa, and as such I am delighted to be joining Microcred at what is an exciting inflection point for the group. The company occupies a truly unique position in the market, combining an extensive client base of 650,000 customers across ten countries, a solid balance sheet and a leading edge technology offering. I look forward to being part of the next stage of its journey, as it seeks to build its position as Africa's leading digital inclusive finance provider.”
Microcred also announces that it is establishing a formal High Level Advisory Board to formally engage with the Management and Board on a regular basis, and to advise the Company on its development. The decision comes as Microcred seeks to strengthen its corporate governance and capital structure as it embarks on its mission to become the leading digital finance bank with a focus on Africa.
The Advisory Board will consist of a number of high profile advisers with significant banking and political experience, led by Lionel Zinsou, who in addition to being the former Prime Minister of Benin also acted as Chairman of leading European private equity firm PAI Partners.
The other members of the Advisory Board include Marcel Kodjo, former General Secretary of Central Bank of West Africa; Younoussi Touré, former Prime Minister of Mali; Ben Zwinckels, Chairman of AfricInvest; Hassen Zargouni, Founder & CEO of Sygma Tunisia; Kablan Yao-Sahi, Former Managing Director of Central Bank of West Africa; and Alain Lepatre, former CEO of Bank of Africa in Madagascar and Burkina Faso.
Commenting on the new Advisory Board, Mr. Lionel Zinsou said: “I am delighted and honoured to be able to join Microcred and its prestigious Advisory Board to support the development of Microcred as it seeks to accelerate its reach in order to address the challenge of financial inclusion in Africa.
Africa’s growth offers tremendous potential, and the dynamism of the younger generation in Africa creates immense opportunities for a leading group such as Microcred. Our Advisory Board will be a creative body, helping the management of Microcred to draw and design the financial services of tomorrow.”