‘Read Africa’ is an initiative of UBA Foundation aimed at rekindling the dwindling reading culture amongst African youths.

UBA Foundation - Education

A highly educated and well-informed youth is critical to the future of Africa. Quality education is therefore crucial in developing the manpower needed by Africa to exploit emerging opportunities and propel the continent to higher levels of development. For this reason, the Foundation is actively involved in facilitating educational projects and bridging the literacy gap on a pan-African scale.

The Education pillar is the umbrella arm of UBA Foundation that guarantees this commitment. The Read Africa program and National Essay Competition are geared at stimulating the quest for sound knowledge and arming educational institutions/organizations with support and/or resources to meet various learning needs.


UBA Senegal 2019 National Essay Competition (NEC)

The UBA Foundation organized this Monday, February 24, in the bank’s premises in Mermoz, the traditional award ceremony for the 12 finalists and the 2 schools which presented more candidates for the annual national essay competition.
Education and  environment: two important sectors in which, in addition to its banking activities, the United Bank for Africa is participating in the development of the African continent. Indeed, for six years, the banking group has organized an annual national essay competition with the aim of investing in excellence and promoting the culture of reading among young people, through a program entitled “Read Africa” ​​or ” reading Africa ”.
This year, the National Essay Competion (NEC), translated as National Dissertation Competition, saw the participation “of more than 2000 students from all over Senegal in the pre-selection.
For this sixth edition, the 12 laureates each received a computer and a certificate of participation while the winner of the 1st prize Mamadou Doucouré from the Prytanee Militaire of Saint-Louis, benefited from 2,500,000,000 CFA francs, the winner of the 2nd prize , Prytanee Militaire de Saint-Louis gets by with 2 million Cfa while the third winner of the Lycée Galandou de Diouf gets 1 million 500 thousand Cfa francs.
In addition to the prizes for the students, the Uba banking group brought a major innovation this year through an endowment of material worth 1,000,000 CFA francs for each of the two establishments: Lycée Lamine Gueye and Lycée Seydina Issa Rokhou Laye who presented more candidates for the competition.
According to Mr. Samb, Company Secretary and Legal Director who presided over the ceremony on behalf of the Director General, indicated that “this competition is an opportunity for the Pan-African banking group to demonstrate its approach to Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), by granting scholarships to first three contest winners. “To date, 15 students have benefited from a grant for renowned African universities”, through the UBA Foundation.
A competition now eagerly awaited in the school environment by both students and educational institutions.

UBA Foundation Donates Computer Equipped Multipurpose Hall to AAU

UBA Foundation, the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of United Bank for Africa (UBA) Plc, has donated a modern multipurpose hall equipped with computers, to the students of Ambrose Alli University in Ekpoma, Edo state. The hall which is equipped with computers, measures 839 square meters with adjoining offices and conveniences. It was donated to the university to help students measure up to today’s standards of education.

Chairman of UBA Plc, Mr. Tony Elumelu, spoke of his passion to ensure that the youths are provided with all they need to help them succeed in their life’s choices. He added that the project was especially dear to his heart as an alumnus of the great institution which helped to shape his future. ‘When I was a student at Ambrose Ali university, we didn’t have these facilities and it was a struggle. It is a different time today and I am happy to be able to contribute positively to the way that the students experience their educational journey at the university’ said Elumelu. The multipurpose hall was commissioned and handed over to the school at a ceremony which was well attended by members of the school’s governing council and staff of the prestigious university, led by its Vice-Chancellor, Prof Ignatius Onimawo. Speaking at the commissioning, UBA’s Directorate Head, South Bank, Mr. Chris Ofikulu, who represented the UBA group chairman, Mr. Tony Elumelu, noted that over the years, UBA, through its Foundation has been involved in various CSR activities aimed at impacting and improving the lives of youths at various levels.

‘As a pan-African bank, UBA is focused on being a socially responsible institution as well as a role model for businesses in Africa. The CSR arm of the bank, UBA Foundation is committed to the socio-economic betterment of the communities in which the bank operates, with particular emphasis on development in the areas of Education, Environment, and Economic Empowerment. We believe in intervening and building capacity within communities to facilitate projects that will act as catalysts to social and economic development’ he stated “As you may be aware, Tony Elumelu is a product of this great university and is conscious of the need to help other students perform better by setting a good stage for their career paths, and this is what has informed the construction of the modern hall, which is expected to help equip the future leaders of our great nation Nigeria,” he said.

The AAU VC, Prof Ignatius Onimawo, who expressed his heartfelt gratitude towards the gesture by the UBA Foundation, noted that the bank has met one of the pressing needs of the school this new year 2020, and urged other financial institutions to follow suit in order to help build the capacity of the youths who hold the key to a great future. He enjoined the students to make proper use of the facilities provided by the bank, and to ensure that they emerge great leaders and mentors like Elumelu, who has been making the school proud with all his efforts at curbing poverty in Africa. ‘We at Ambrose Ali university are so proud of our son Tony Elumelu and every time we see him doing good across the continent, we feel joy and accomplishment’ said Onimawo.

Girls Dominate 2019 UBA Foundation National Essay Competition as Jolaosho Oluwatoroti Otokini is declared the winner

It was an all-female top three affair, as 14 year-old Jolaosho Oluwatoroti Otokini of Louisville Girls High School, Ogun State, emerged the overall winner of the 2019 edition of the UBA Foundation National Essay Competition, winning the grand prize of an educational grant of N2,000,000.00 to study in any African university of her choice. 

Oluwatoroti clinched the first position at the Grand Finale of the Competition which was held on Monday December 9th, 2019 at the UBA Head Office, Marina Lagos. Her essay was declared the best out of over 5000 entries received by the UBA Foundation from students of senior secondary schools across Nigeria.

This year’s NEC had12 finalists made up of eight girls and four boys with over 500 per cent increase in participation from pupils across every single state of the federation.

Oluwatoroti who was visibly elated expressed her profound excitement as the winner of the competition, adding that the experience has given her more confidence with which she can face great challenges in the years ahead. She noted that the grant  will help in the pursuit of her dream towards becoming a pediatrician.

“This is something I worked very hard to achieve. I read and studied very hard for this competition, and I am very happy that my hard work paid off in the end. I am indeed very grateful to UBA and the UBA Foundation for this huge opportunity and for making me believe in myself, and I would like to encourage other students not to stop trying,” Otokini said.

Her mother, Mrs Jaiyeola Jolaosho, said, “This grant will go a long way to support my bid for quality education for Oluwatoroti. Now our dream to give her an education at the African Leadership Academy will be fulfilled with this grant. I am so happy about this, because I noticed that she has a penchant for writing, and we are so elated that she won. I will encourage all her siblings to apply for  for this competition going forward.”

The second prize was bagged by Precious Ifeoma Okey, aged 15, of Oladipo Alayande School of Science, Oyo State, who won a N1,500,000 educational grant, whilst the third prize of N1,000,000 went to Aimeé Okoko, 18 years old. Aimeé attends Beautiful Beginning Academy, FCT Abuja. All 12 finalists received brand new laptops from the UBA Foundation.

This year, the Foundation introduced a prize for the school with the highest number of essay entries and the Livingstone College, Lagos came tops. They will  be receiving gifts worth over N1m from the UBA Foundation  for their participation in the competition.

Congratulating the winners at the event, the MD/CEO of UBA Foundation, Bola Atta, commended them for their exceptional brilliance.  “Every student who sent in an entry is a winner. To be confident about your writing skills and ambitious enough to enter a competition to further enhance your educational path is laudable.  For those that did not win, I would say do not be discouraged. Take it as a challenge to perfect your writing skills and enter for the competition again in 2020” she said.

According to Atta, UBA Foundation, being the CSR arm of UBA Plc, makes it a point of duty to give back to communities where UBA operates. Education in any capacity, Atta noted, remains  the Foundation’s focus area as it is the bedrock of any nation. 

In his remarks the Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of UBA Plc Mr. Kennedy Uzoka said UBA was very happy to be touching lives and making a solid impact through its Foundation’s National Essay Competition and the grant it gives out annually to those who emerge winners. He specifically commended the fact that more females emerged winners this year, adding that it is in line with the bank’s commitment to women empowerment.

Uzoka who is also the Chairman, UBA Foundation said, “What we are doing today in unique in Africa, we are doing this to continue to encourage our young ones to study hard because we noticed that overtime, the level of education has been going Southward.  For 9 years now, we have been supporting students with grants to further their educational pursuits’.

Uzoka informed the gathering made up of parents, students and the media, that the essay competition has produced well over 100 winners, since its inception in 2011 in Nigeria – many have already graduated, and a few are studying varied courses at Universities in Nigeria and across the African continent. 

He encouraged the winners to be of good character, and ensure that apart from striving for academic excellence, to avoid any negative action that might dent the foundation’s image and that of their families as they are now UBA ambassadors.

The judges, led by Professor of English (Gender Studies) and Director of Pre-degree Studies, University of Uyo, Mrs. Ini Uko, stated that they were impressed with the participants who showed great promise, noting that most of the students wrote intelligently and their ideas were well articulated, new and refreshing. She added that the judges were also encouraged by the fact that entries came in from students from all parts of the country. 

The UBA Foundation’s National Essay Competition initiative has been operational in other countries in Africa including Ghana and Senegal whilst Mozambique and Kenya are expected to kick off in 2020. The initiative .is mapped out to spread to more African countries in the very near future.

UBA is one of Africa’s leading banks with operations in 20 African countries. It also has presence in the global financial centres, London, New York and Paris.  UBA provides banking services to more than 15 million customers globally, through diverse channels.

UBA foudation offers books to Behanzin's college in Porto-Novo, Benin Republic

A packed room. Terminal students, eager to discover the message of their visitors, were eagerly waiting… This Wednesday, October 30, 2019, a team of UBA BENIN on behalf of the UBA Foundation went, with their arms full, to the Behanzin high school in Porto-Novo, as part of its traditional educational activity called « Read Africa ». During an exchange session with high school students and their instructors, teams from the Marketing and Communication Department of UBA BENIN and the Porto-Novo branch donated books to the program in high schools at the College of Benin, on behalf of the UBA Foundation.

Several dozen copies of Jean PLIYA’s book titled « Les Tresseurs de corde » were offered to this secular high school to further expand its library.

Presenting UBA bank and its foundation to the hundred or so learners gathered for the occasion, Mr. Didier SOUROU stressed the social role played by the foundation in the communities in which the UBA bank operates. « We have a social role to play in our community to impact lives. Today, we are interested in the field of education by encouraging young learners to enjoy reading. We do not only come to give books but we encourage reading in order to inspire an army of Africans who love reading tomorrow to go and find the bountiful treasures, hidden through the pages of books” said Mr. SOUROU.

Mr. José HOUNVENOU, the Principal of the Béhanzin High School, for his part, was pleased with the choice of the school he heads, in order to welcome this gesture which aims at the promotion of books in schools. “We want to reassure the bank that these books are being made available to learners and urge them to use them wisely to get the most out of them.”

The other highlight of the day was a followed-up and guided reading session. Students took turns reading excerpts from Jean PLIYA’s book “Les tresseurs de corde”. The best readers were awarded with gifts from the UBA Foundation. Each of the learners present at the session received UBA-branded gifts and other gadgets.


Read Africa Project

‘Read Africa’ is an initiative of UBA Foundation aimed at rekindling the dwindling reading culture amongst African youths.

Our children no longer read; their passion for reading informative and educative books is fast eroding and this is part of the ills we want to correct in the continent’s educational sector.

These children are also distracted and challenged by the presence of electronic social media — Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and others. There are other factors militating against the Nigerian educational system as well as Africa as a whole. Having identified the need to curb the trend, especially in response to the declining culture of reading in post primary institutions across the continent, UBAF came up with the ‘Read Africa’ project, designed to resuscitate the reading culture amongst our youths across the African continent.

Conceived and introduced in 2011 by the foundation, the project involves the provision of recommended English literature for junior and senior secondary schools students across Africa.

On Plans Towards Achieving its Objectives

The strategy of the campaign is to procure classic literature books and pay visits to schools with the management and staff of the Foundation and the parent company. The idea is to leave a good impression and motivate the children during our visits to schools, especially with our top management officers, such as the Group General Director (GMD), that the children can look up to, as role models. We believe that, in having such role models, they can build their aspirations around the tenets of hard work and reading for greater knowledge. We are confident of a positive impact.

Sharing books like Weep Not Child, authored by Ngugi Wa Thiong’o, donated to Baptist Academy in 2012, we are on a drive to spread our message to a multitude of other schools, to entrench the idea of reading in their students.

In addition to the distribution of literature, the foundation also offers mentoring and reading sessions in each of the schools we have selected.

On the Success of the «READ AFRICA» so far

The first edition of ‘Read Africa’ was well received in Nigeria and across the 19 countries where UBA has operations, having been successfully implemented in selected schools across the continent. The project was anchored by senior executives of the bank and UBAF staff, who visited these schools to mentor the students and distribute select literature to the students, at no cost to them.

Senior secondary school children received ‘Purple Hibiscus’, a book authored by Chimamanda Adichie, while the junior secondary school students were given ‘Out of his mind’, written by Bayo Adebowale.

During the reading sessions, students were given talks on the importance of reading by the visiting executives, who impressed upon the children that, having also once been secondary school students themselves, reading had played a major role in what they had accomplished up to that point.

The visiting executives were energetic in their interactions with the students, as they connected strongly with the opportunity to give back to the society, by encouraging African youths. As a result, they made a passionate case for taking reading seriously, attributing their own success to doing so themselves.

This intensity of emotion was especially evident in cases where the executives were also alumni of the schools they were visiting, and their message resonated strongly with the students who viewed them as one of their own. The children responded to this passionate message with enthusiasm and were clearly encouraged.

Believing firmly in the lingering effects of such interactions under the Read Africa initiative, the foundation is incorporating an array of notable Nigerian role models to accompany our executives on subsequent visits, with a view to expand upon this initiative that has already been so well received.

In pursuance of its mission to uplift the lives of the communities in which the United bank for Africa (Plc) operates, UBA Foundation’s initiative, Read Africa is visiting schools in African countries to encourage young children embrace the culture of reading.

Read Africa is an initiative of UBA Foundation geared at rekindling the dwindling reading culture amongst African youths. Conceived and introduced in 2011, by the Foundation, the project involves the provision of recommended Literature for junior and senior secondary school students across the African continent.

This year, the foundation has selected the book The Fisherman by Chigozie Obioma as one of the books that will be distributed to children on the continent. The Fisherman is a tale of four brothers growing up in the 90’s in Akure, Nigeria and the secret that bound them together.

UBA National Essay Competition (NEC)

The National Essay competition provides a competitive platform to develop the intellectual and writing abilities of senior secondary school students in Nigeria. Winners get educational grants to study in any African University of their choice. The competition has been held annually since 2011 with students challenged to write on different engaging topics to test their writing and cognitive skills.

The essay competition is structured in such a way that eligible secondary students are expected to send in handwritten entries on the topic “What is the biggest environmental issue you think your generation will face? How can it be avoided and how can it be solved?” to the UBA Foundation’s office in Lagos. On November 2nd, when entries close, 4 renowned Nigerian Professors will review the entries and select an initial shortlist for further assessment. Three finalists will emerge at the end of the exercise and they will win scholarship prizes that will be utilized for tuition in Nigerian Universities of their choices and automatically become UBA Scholars.

UBA Foundation

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