The United Bank for Africa (UBA) Liberia Limited has been named as the “Humanitarian Bank of the year 2014” for the role it continues to play in the fight against the Ebola virus disease (EVD).
The honor was bestowed upon UBA by the International Learning Institute (ILI) and its subsidiary, Gender International Magazine Publication and Resource Center, at the Champions of the Year Annual Award 2014. The ceremony was held last Saturday at a local resort in Monrovia.
Several personalities, institutions and groups were also honored for their outstanding contribution to the fight against the virus.
“We are very grateful to be awarding UBA as the Humanitarian Bank of the Year, for standing by the Liberian people. This bank donated over US$400,000 to the national taskforce through the President, and also provided some logistics to enhance government’s efforts.
"We have nothing to give you, UBA, but to recognize you in this public manner for your contributions. Only our good Lord will repay you for this generosity,” Chief organizer Mildred Dean said.
UBA’s head of corporate communication and Services, Douglas M. V Jones, who received the award, noted that all of their contributions were not intended to win an award, but to demonstrate their corporate social responsibility to the government and the Liberian people.
Mr. Jones said Ebola, like other natural disasters and pestilences, has no boundary, and as such, it was of more necessity for everyone, including UBA, to rally around government to defeat the virus.
He noted that the bank began to get involved in the fight when its chairman, Tony Elumelu, decided to make donations to the three Ebola hot-spots, Liberia, Guinea and Sierra Leone, during the heat of the outbreak.
“That was the time for us to do something to save the lives of our brothers and sisters that were dying on a daily basis,” he said.
Mr. Jones noted that the bank was compelled to act because it was not only after banking profits but also the responsibility to look after humanity.
“When the bank flourishes in good times, it should also be able to stand up in bad times and this is exactly what UBA was doing."
He also disclosed that UBA and the government have reached an agreement known as, 'Social Corporate Compact.' The agreement is to help in the post Ebola reconstruction process. The bank is wholeheartedly waiting to help in whatever way it is needed, he declared.
UBA in November 2014 made an additional donation of US$300,000 to the Government of Liberia to help in the Ebola fight. This came after the UBA and its chairman had previously made several donations to the government and the National Taskforce.
In September 2014, the bank also made an initial donation of a pick-up truck as logistical support to government’s efforts and promised to keep observing the situation and make additional donations when it became expedient.
In her response, President Ellen Johnson-Sirleaf termed the donation as reinforcement of good partnership between Liberia, the UBA and the Federal Republic of Nigeria, which she further described as “long standing partnership benefiting all sides.”
She praised UBA’s strong commitment to Liberia’s recovery and assured the bank that its interventions in Liberia, especially in the Ebola fight, had had a great impact on Liberians.
She reminded UBA’s top management of the post-Ebola reconstruction era as financial institutions partnering with Liberia will greatly be needed in this direction.
UBA Liberia, which is a subsidiary of UBA Plc in Nigeria, was incorporated as a private limited liability company in October 10, 2006. Upon the formal launch of its first branch on Bushrod Island, the bank promised quality and professional services as well as a robust roll-out of branches throughout the country.
UBA obtained its banking license from the Central Bank of Liberia (CBL) in July 2008. The chairman of the group is Tony Elumelu, who runs the group from its headquarters in Nigeria.