The gale of job losses being witnessed in the country due to the current economic hardship has caught up with Ecobank Nigeria, which has sacked over 1,040 of its employees.
Investigations by our correspondents revealed that the affected staff members of Ecobank included full time and contract workers.
Top officials of the pan-African lender confirmed to our correspondents that the initial list of those to be sacked had over 1,400, workers but was later reduced to “a little above 1,000.”
Ecobank spokespersons declined to comment on the number of workers who were disengaged.
However, the lender said in a statement that it had converted over 200 outsourced personnel to permanent employees as part of its drive to attract and reward talent, while also repositioning for improved efficiency.
In line with the recognition of excellence, the bank also said it had recently implemented a merit-based pay increase for the top performers across all cadres.
The Managing Director, Ecobank, Mr. Charles Kie, was quoted as saying that converting qualified outsourced staff to permanent workers was in line with the bank’s commitment to developing and growing talent by nurturing its people along their career paths and giving them access to higher responsibilities.
He said the bank was resolute that recognising and rewarding excellence would drive its goal of achieving exceptional performance in the industry.
Kie said, “The bank, in its renewed drive for optimal performance, has in addition realigned certain roles bank wide to ensure improved efficiency. This necessitates the exits of some staff who were adequately compensated.
“This is in furtherance of a market repositioning exercise designed to strengthen the bank’s business across all markets where it operates.”
He emphasised that the ETI was on a trajectory to achieve leadership and that the Nigerian subsidiary remained one of Ecobank Transnational Incorporated’s major affiliates as well as one of the country’s systemically important financial institutions.
Kie explained, “Our focus is to improve the quality of service to our customers as well as our operational efficiency.
“We understand that people are our key assets; so, we have emphasised the need to reward our best performers, continue to re-invigorate our people, while also opening up new opportunities for talented and committed people to join us as permanent employees. At the same time, based on our repositioning plan, we had to disengage some staff, while ensuring that, in line with industry standards, they are treated fairly.”
Ecobank Nigeria is a member of the Ecobank Group, which is present in 36 African countries. The Group employs nearly 19,000 people from 40 different countries in over 1,200 branches and offices.
ETI had posted over N40bn decline in its profit for the 2015 financial year owing to high impairment charges.
Fidelity Bank Trains 200 Sokoto Varsity Students in Skill Acquisition
Fidelity Bank Plc and Gazelle Academy have trained 200 undergraduates of Sokoto State University (SSU) in the acquisition of skills in fashion design, handsets repair, cocktail and make up.
Speaking at an event in Sokoto Monday, the Managing Director of Fidelity Bank, Nnamdi Nwankwo, represented by the bank’s Head of Recruitment, Chris Nnawe, said the programme under Fidelity Youth Empowerment Academy Stream 7 (YEa7) is part of the bank’s cooperate social responsibility.
“We in Fidelity bank have targeted programmes on education, environment and youth empowerment. This one you are witnessing today is part of fulfilling our promises to the society,” he said.
Nwankwo said that the programme started in 2016 at the University of Nigeria, Nsukka, stressing that since then the bank and its partner, Gazelle Academy, have visited more than five higher institutions in the country, as this one is stream 7 of the programme.
According to him, youths were trained to acquire some skills to enable them to be self reliant and also make them to be employers of labour even while in school.
He disclosed that at the end of the training, start packs will be given to each participant to aid him/her to start something of their own, adding that after the undergraduates’ education, they can seek for soft loans from the Small, Medium Enterprise (SMEs) Department of the bank.
On her part, the founder of Gazelle Academy, Mrs Muna Unuozo, said the programme was aimed at equipping the students with skills that they could use while still in school or after graduation.
She said that with the knowledge of the skill acquired, they could fend for themselves even while in school.
Speaking at the event, the Governor of Sokoto State Aminu Waziri Tambuwal thanked Fidelity Bank and Gazelle Academy for chosing the school for the programme.
Tambuwal said that as a responsible government, his administration have prioritized the welfare of the youths in the state.
He enjoined the participants to be focused and concentrate in order to benefit from the training.
Earlier, the Vice-chancellor of the university, Prof. Sani Dangogo, thanked Fidelity Bank and Gazelle Academy for the benevolent gesture, saying the training will go a long way in alleviating the financial burden of the students.
CBN Approves Six Companies To Import Milk
The Central Bank of Nigeria, CBN has approved six banks for the importation of dairy and its derivatives into the country.
The bank in a statement issued on Tuesday said the approval was in line with its objective to increase and improve the local production of milk, its derivatives and other dairy products in the country.
A circular issued by the Bank on Tuesday, February 11, 2020, and signed by the Director, Trade and Exchange Department, Dr. Ozoemena Nnaji listed the companies as
- FrieslandCampina WAMCO Nigeria;
- Chi Limited;
- TG Arla Dairy Products Limited;
- Promasidor Nigeria Limited;
- Nestle Nigeria PLC (MSK only) and
- Integrated Dairies Limited.
According to the circular that takes immediate effect, all Forms ‘M’ for the importation of milk and its derivatives by authorized dealers will only be allowed for the aforementioned companies.
The Bank, therefore, advised importers not on the list of companies cited in the circular to cancel all established Forms ‘M’ for the importation of milk and its derivatives for which shipment has not taken place.
Clarifying the intent of the circular, the Director, Corporate Communications Department at the CBN, Isaac Okorafor explained that the Bank engaged the six companies because they showed sufficient willingness and ability and had keyed into the CBN’s backward integration programme in order to enhance their capacity and improve local milk production.
Okorafor further explained that the objective of the Bank in that sector was to increase milk production in the country from the current figure of 500,000 metric tonnes to about 550,000 metric tonnes within the next 12 months.
In addition to facilitating easier access to funding for dairy investors, he said it was the Bank’s desire to ensure that the country conserves foreign exchange, trigger economic growth and boost employment opportunities in the sector.
Dangote Retains Top Spot As Africa’s Richest Man For The 9th Time
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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