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Dangote Retains Top Spot As Africa’s Richest Man For The 9th Time

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For the ninth year in a row, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria has been declared as the wealthiest person in Africa, with an estimated net worth of $10.1billion.

In the latest ranking of the world’s billionaires by Forbes, the American global media company, focusing on business, investment, technology, entrepreneurship and leadership, Dangote’s present worth is down from his estimate of $10.3 billion, a year ago; attributed to possibly a slightly lower stock price for his Dangote Cement flagship company.

Africa has 54 nations, but only eight countries have billionaires according to Forbes, with South Africa and Egypt dominating not only the top 10 richest people in Africa list, but in the rankings overall with five billionaires each. Nigeria comes second with four billionaires, including Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.

Nassef Sawiris of Egypt is the new number two richest, worth $8 billion, up from $6.3 billion last year. Sawiris’ most valuable asset is a stake in shoemaker Adidas worth a recent $4 billion. The increase in Adidas’ share price alone added nearly $1.5 billion to his fortune since January 2019. He also owns a significant stake in fertilizer producer OCI N.V. In 2019, Sawiris and U.S. investor Wes Edens purchased the remaining stake they didn’t own in U.K. Premier League team Aston Villa Football Club.

Number three on the list is Nigeria’s Mike Adenuga, worth $7.7 billion. He owns mobile phone network, GloMobile as well as oil producer Conoil and extensive real estate holdings. His mobile phone network, Globacom, is the third largest operator in Nigeria, with 43 million subscribers while his oil exploration outfit, Conoil Producing, operates six oil blocks in the Niger Delta.

One member of this elite group was worth 50% less than a year ago. Due primarily to the introduction of a new (weaker) currency in Zimbabwe, Strive Masiyiwa’s fortune fell to $1.1 billion from $2.3 billion in January 2019. Zimbabwe, which has battled with hyperinflation, had been using the U.S. dollar as its currency, but in 2019 it switched to its own currency, initially called the RTGS. When converted into U.S. dollars, the values of Masiyiwa’s stakes in Zimbabwe-listed mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe and Cassava Smartech fell dramatically in dollar terms.

Just two of the 20 billionaires are women: Isabel dos Santos, the eldest daughter of Angola’s former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos; and Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria. Dos Santos’ fortune has declined to an estimated $2.2 billion, down $100 million from a year ago. In late December, an Angola court issued an order to freeze the assets that Isabel dos Santos and her husband, Sindika Dokolo, own in Angola. Those include her stake in telecom firm Unitel and stakes in two Angolan banks; Forbes estimates those assets are worth hundreds of millions of dollars. A statement issued by Isabel dos Santos said the judgment contained “a number of untruths” and that she would fight the decision “by using all the instruments of Angolan and international law at my disposal.”
Africa’s billionaires are as a group richer than a year ago. Altogether, the continent’s 20 billionaires are worth a combined $73.4 billion, up from $68.7 billion a year ago.

Country rankings are unchanged from a year ago: Egypt and South Africa are tied with five billionaires each, followed by Nigeria with four and Morocco with two. Forbes found one billionaire each from Algeria, Angola, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. That’s the same as last year but a better representation than nine years ago, when only four African nations were home to ten-figure fortunes.

Dangote, Africa’s wealthiest man, founded and chairs Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer. He owns nearly 85% of publicly-traded Dangote Cement through a holding company. Dangote Cement produces 45.6 million metric tonnes annually and has operations in 10 countries across Africa. Dangote also owns stakes in publicly-traded salt, sugar and flour manufacturing companies. Dangote Refinery has been under construction for three years and is expected to be one of the world’s largest oil refineries once complete.

Explaining the methodology used in the ranking, Forbes Africa said “Our list tracks the wealth of African billionaires who reside in Africa or have their primary businesses there, thus excluding Sudanese-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim, who is a U.K. citizen, and billionaire London resident Mohamed Al-Fayed, an Egyptian citizen. (Strive Masiyiwa, a citizen of Zimbabwe and a London resident, appears on the list due to his expansive telecom holdings in Africa; Isabel dos Santos, a citizen of Angola, has been living in Europe but retains assets in Angola—although they were recently frozen by a court in Angola.).

“We calculated net worths using stock prices and currency exchange rates from the close of business on Friday, January 10, 2020. To value privately held businesses, we couple estimates of revenues or profits with prevailing price-to-sales or price-to-earnings ratios for similar public companies. Some list members grow richer or poorer within weeks or days of our measurement date.”

Sharing the third position with Mike Adenuga with $7.7billion worth is a South African, Nicky Oppenheimer. Heir to his family’s fortune, Oppenheimer sold his 40% stake in diamond firm DeBeers to mining group Anglo American for $5.1 billion in cash in 2012.

He was the third generation of his family to run DeBeers, and took the company private in 2001. For 85 years until 2012, the Oppenheimer family occupied a controlling spot in the world’s diamond trade. In 2014, Oppenheimer started Fireblade Aviation in Johannesburg, which operates chartered flights with its fleet of three planes and two helicopters. He owns at least 720 square miles of conservation land across South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Johann Rupert is the fifth richest African. He is the chairman of Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont. The company is best known for the brands Cartier and Montblanc. It was formed in 1998 through a spinoff of assets owned by Rembrandt Group Limited (now Remgro Limited), which his father Anton formed in the 1940s. He owns a 7% stake in diversified investment firm Remgro, which he chairs, as well as 25% of Reinet, an investment holding co. based in Luxembourg. In recent years, Rupert has been a vocal opponent of plans to allow fracking in the Karoo, a region of South Africa where he owns land. Rupert says his biggest regret was not buying half of Gucci when he had the opportunity to do so for just $175 million.

Nigeria’s Abdulsamad Rabiu is in number eight position among the top 20 African billionaires. Rabiu is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate active in cement production, sugar refining and real estate. In early January 2020, Rabiu merged his privately-owned Obu Cement company with listed firm Cement Company of Northern Nigeria, which he controlled. The combined firm, called BUA Cement Plc, trades on the Nigerian stock exchange; Rabiu owns 98.5% of it.

Isabel dos Santos is one of the two women in the top 20 African billionaires coming in 13th position with a net worth of $2.2 billion. Aged 46, Dos Santos is the oldest daughter of Angola’s longtime former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who stepped down in 2017. Her father made her head of Sonangol, Angola’s state oil firm, in June 2016, but Angola’s new president removed her from that role in November 2017.

Forbes research found that while Isabel’s father was president, she ended up with stakes in Angolan companies including banks and a telecom firm. She owns shares of Portuguese companies, including telecom and cable TV firm Nos SGPS

In the 19th position is Strive Masiyiwa with a net worth of $1.1billion. Masiyiwa, 58, overcame protracted government opposition to launch mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in his country of birth in 1998. He owns just over 50% of the publicly-traded Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which is one part of his larger Econet Group. Masiyiwa also owns just over half of private company Liquid Telecom, which provides fiber optic and satellite services to telecom firms across Africa. His other assets include stakes in mobile phone networks in Burundi and Lesotho, and investments in fintech and power distribution firms in Africa.
Closing the 20 top African billionaire bracket is Nigeria’s Folorunso Alakija with a net worth of $1billion. Aged 69, Alakija is vice chair of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil exploration company with a stake in Agbami Oilfield, a prolific offshore asset. Famfa Oil’s partners include Chevron and Petrobras. Alakija’s first company was a fashion label whose customers included the wife of former Nigerian president Ibrahim Babangida. The Nigerian government awarded Alakija’s company an oil prospecting licence in 1993, which was later converted to an oil mining lease. The Agbami field has been operating since 2008; Famfa Oil says it will likely operate through 2024.

Forbes Africa journalist Peace Hyde says she first interviewed Aliko Dangote in Nigeria about three years ago for the popular Forbes Africa show, ‘My Worst Day with Peace Hyde’, airing on CNBC Africa, and has since had the privilege of meeting and speaking with him several times at both official and private functions.

“Dangote is someone who is extremely focused and driven with a bullish passion for Africa. For him, the goal is to dream as big and as grandiose as you can when it comes to the future of Africa because he believes, we have the human capital and resources to transform our continent. Everything is possible in his mind. His approach to business is testament to this fact.”

The largest employer in Africa’s most populous economy, Dangote is also seen as a stabilising force within the economies of several countries across the African continent. His story, however, has not been without failure.
“Dangote has had his fair share of ups and downs. But his advice to young entrepreneurs is having the ability to delay gratification and work hard through tough times so they can enjoy the fruits of their labour at a later date,” says Hyde.

Through the Aliko Dangote Foundation, which has the objective of reducing the number of lives lost to malnutrition and disease as well as combating Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in children, thousands of children have been saved from the brink of death.

Dangote is also known as a man of few words. “I have seen him spend an entire afternoon answering questions about his business to a room of MBA graduates and proceeding to take pictures with everyone before leaving. You will not find any of the obvious trappings of wealth like flashy cars or a big entourage with him and he takes the time to speak to anyone who approaches him at a function,” adds Hyde.

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Zenith Bank records over N208bn in PAT

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In a clear demonstration of  of its resilience and market leadership, Zenith Bank has announced an impressive result for the year ended December 31, 2019, with profit after tax (PAT) of N208.8 billion, achieving the feat as the first Nigerian bank to cross the N200 billion mark.

According to the bank’s audited financial results for the 2019 financial year released in Lagos at the weekend, profit after tax rose by 8 per cent to N208.8 billion from the N193 billion recorded in the previous year.

The Group also recorded a growth in gross earnings of 5 per cent, rising to N662.3 billion from N630.3 billion reported in the previous year.  The growth was driven by a 29 per cent increase in non-interest income from N179.9 billion in 2018 to N231.1 billion in 2019.  This was as fees on electronic products continued to grow significantly with a 108 per cent  Year on Year (YoY) growth from N20.4 billion in 2018 to N42.5 billion in the current year, and standing as  a validation of the bank’s retail transformation strategy which continues to deliver impressive results.

Profit before tax also increased by 5 per cent from N232 billion to N243 billion in the current year, arising from topline growth and continued focus on cost optimisation strategies. Cost-to-income ratio moderated from 49.3 per cent to 48.8 per cent.

The drive for cheaper retail deposits coupled with the low interest yield environment helped reduce the cost of funding from 3.1 per cent to 3.0 per cent.  However this also affected net interest margin which reduced from 8.9 per cent to 8.2 per cent in the current year due to re-pricing of interest bearing assets.  Although returns on equity and assets held steady YoY at 23.8 per cent and 3.4 per cent respectively, the Group still delivered an improved Earnings per Share (EPS) which grew 8 per cent from N6.15 to N6.65 in the current year.

The Group also increased its share of the markethaving secured increased customer deposits across the corporate and retail space as deposits grew by 15 per cent to close at N4.26 trillion. Total assets also increased by 7 per cent from N5.96 trillion to N6.35 trillion.  The Group created new viable risk assets as gross loans grew by 22 per cent from N2.016 trillion to N2.462 trillion. This was executed prudently at a low cost of risk of 1.1 per cent and a significant reduction in the non-performing loan ratio from 4.98 per cent to 4.30 per cent. Prudential ratios such as liquidity and capital adequacy ratios also remained above regulatory thresholds at 57.3 per cent and 22.0 per cent respectively.

In demonstration of its commitment to its shareholders, the bank has announced a proposed final dividend pay-out of N2.50 per share, bringing the total dividend to N2.80 per share.

In 2020, the Group remains strategically positioned to capture the opportunities in the corporate and retail segments, while efficiently managing costs and expanding further its retail franchise by employing digital assets and innovation.

Consistent with this superlative performance and in recognition of its track record of excellent performance, Zenith Bank was voted as the Best Commercial Bank in Nigeria 2019 by the World Finance and the Most Valuable Banking Brand in Nigeria 2019 by The Banker.

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Ecobank Nigeria to host Regional Trade Forum 2020

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Ecobank Nigeria is set to host its 2020 Regional Trade Forum in Lagos.

It gathered that the forum taking place in March, will be a two-day event, providing the opportunity for exporters and importers within the African region to exhibit their products in a marketplace scenario with panel discussions by highly experienced and diversified stakeholders and leaders of thought in the industry.

Ecobank Nigeria is a member of the pan African banking group with unparalleled Africa wide Network Advantage across 33 countries catering for businesses and providing world class trade services to its customers. The Ecobank Group network has over 30 years been enhancing the financial integration of the continent. The Group provides solutions to facilitate trade in the various trade corridors and groupings across Africa

Announcing the Trade Forum in Lagos, Sunday Abah, Head Trade Finance of Ecobank Nigeria said Ecobank is using the forum to unveil its comprehensive trade solutions to its existing and prospective customers alike by sharing the various payment methods available to facilitate cross border trade throughout its network across Africa. According to him, Ecobank recognizes the role of exporters and importers in driving economies through trade.

“By creating a networking forum for importers and exporters via the trade exhibition slated for the first day of the forum, the Bank extends support to stakeholders in export and import businesses.

“Ecobank’s trade products and solutions are designed around two broad areas: Trade finance which enables customers benefit from adequate and well mitigated credit facilitation in the area of Import finance, export finance, bill discounting, trade loans, distributor finance, structured trade and commodity finance amongst others; also we do Trade Services, which gives our customers the advantage of speedy turnaround time and error free processing of Import Letters of Credit, Import collections, Customs bonds, Export collections and regional trade services amongst others,” he noted.

Ecobank’s unique intra-Africa trade solutions enable settlements of trade transactions and mitigation of payment risk; provide regional solutions and enable exporters obtain payment guarantees without the need for a letter of credit and its related costs to the importer. Ecobank works closely with clients in reviewing key factors regarding transactions processing, settlements, financing, and risk mitigation as well as credit enhancement. The bank boasts of a unique and large Pan-African platform that positions it to support trade at all levels. Its technology platform is designed to help unlock the opportunities of the continent through standardization across 33 countries, while fueling regional integration, trade and investment across borders.

The Ecobank Africa Trade Forum is expected to attract hundreds of guests and participants. Leaders from across Ecobank Group will also be attending to share their market specific trade knowledge and information.

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Banker, Wife Arraigned Over Fraud

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A former senior staff of Sterling Bank has been arraigned for allegedly cooking the books to inflate bonuses for his wife in a marketing scheme arranged by the bank for relations and friends to draw accounts and funds to the bank.

Akinwole Dosunmu who coordinated the scheme at Sterling Bank is accused of inflating bonuses for his wife at the expense of those who genuinely drew in the accounts with undeserved bonuses reaching N2.74 million.    

The Economic and Financial Crimes Commission, EFCC, on Tuesday, February 18, 2020, arraigned Akinwole alongside his wife, Motunrayo Olanike Dosunmu before Justice Ladiran Akintola of the Oyo State High Court, Ibadan.

The couple was accused of stealing the sum from the Sterling Bank Plc. Akinwole was an employee of the bank, while his wife was a customer and a beneficiary in the bank’s Third Party Acquirer Scheme.

The bank had initiated the scheme as a marketing strategy through which relatives and friends of their marketing agents were awarded commission for bringing new customers to open and operate new accounts with the bank. Akinwole, also a marketer with the bank, was appointed to coordinate the scheme.

Apart from the commission on account opening, the referral also enjoys certain percentage on the saving made through the accounts every month.

It was, however, alleged that while reviewing activities under the scheme in 2016, the bank discovered that most of the accounts appropriated to Motunrayo as a third-party acquirer were fraudulently tagged to her by her husband.

The investigation allegedly further revealed that the accounts were never sourced by neither of the couple, but by other third-party agents.

According to the petition filed by the bank, the couple had benefited a total of N2, 740,300.9292 as ommission fraudulently paid to Motunrayo through the scheme.

It was on account of the allegation and further investigations by the EFCC that the couple was arraigned on a 16-count charge of stealing on Tuesday.

The offence is contrary to Section 390 (9) of the Criminal Code Laws CAP 38, Laws of Oyo State, 2000.

In view of their plea, counsel to the EFCC, Ifeanyi Agwu, applied for a date for trial and for the defendants to be remanded in the custody of Nigerian Correctional Service.

However, the defence counsel, J. B. Olaoye, informed the court that he has filed applications for bail on behalf of the accused persons.

Justice Akintola adjourned the matter till Friday, February 21, 2020, for hearing of the bail applications and ordered that the defendants be remanded in the custody of the Nigerian Correctional Service, Agodi, Ibadan.

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