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Despite COVID-19 pandemic, Africa’s billionaires 15% richer in 2021

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Despite pandemic, Africa’s billionaires 15% richer in 2021

Africa’s billionaires became richer in 2021 despite the devastating impacts of the global pandemic on businesses around the world, a new report by Forbes has revealed.

The continent’s 18 billionaires are now worth an estimated $84.9 billion, which implies a 15 per cent increase within a year and the most since 2014 when a larger number of billionaires (28 billionaires ) were worth $96.5 billion when combined.

“On average, the continent’s billionaires are worth $4.7 billion now vs. $3.4 billion in 2014,” Forbes, a global media company, said in its latest report.

The report published on Monday is a product of a study that tracked the wealth of African billionaires who reside in Africa or have their primary business within the continent.

It excluded the Sudanese-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim, who is a U.K. citizen and Mohamed Al-Fayed an Egyptian billionaire who is a London resident. However, Strive Masiyiwa, a citizen of Zimbabwe and a London resident, appeared on the list because of his telecom holdings in Africa.

The billionaires’ net worths were calculated using stock prices and currency exchange rates from the close of business on Wednesday, January 19.

According to the report, soaring stock prices from Nigeria to Zimbabwe lifted the fortunes of the tycoons, as demand for products from cement to luxury goods ticked up.

For the 11th year in a row, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria remained the continent’s richest person, worth an estimated $13.9 billion, up from $12.1 billion last year following a 30 per cent increase in the stock price of Dangote Cement, his most valuable asset.

According to the report, analysts found that a surge in housing developments in Nigeria and growth in government infrastructure spending drove higher demand in the first nine months of 2021.

Luxury goods magnate, Johann Rupert of South Africa, who was ranked fourth among the billionaires, rose to second spot in the latest rankings.

“A more than 60% surge in the share price of his Compagnie Financiere Richemont–maker of Cartier watches and Montblanc pens–pushed his fortune to $11 billion, up from $7.2 billion a year ago, making him the biggest dollar gainer on the list ,” the report says.

Similarly, the report said South African Nicky Oppenheimer, who formerly ran diamond mining firm DeBeers before selling it to mining firm Anglo American a decade ago, ranks number three, and worth an estimated $8.7 billion.

“The biggest gainer in percentage terms–up 125%—is Strive Masiyiwa of Zimbabwe, worth $2.7 billion, up from $1.2 billion last year. Shares of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which he founded, rose more than 750% in the past year, helping to drive up the size of his fortune,” the report partly reads.
Also, the study shows that Nigerian cement tycoon, Abdulsamad Rabiu, is $1.5 billion richer after taking yet another of his companies public.

In early January, Mr Rabiu listed his sugar and food firm BUA Foods on the Nigerian stock exchange, where himself and his son retained a 96 per cent stake in the company which recently had a market capitalization of nearly $2.8 billion.

The report said only two out of the 18 billionaires are worth less than last year (Koos Bekker of South Africa and Mohammed Dewji of Tanzania)

It said Mr Bekker dropped to $2.7 billion from $2.8 billion as the share prices of consumer Internet firms Naspers and Prosus fell more than 20 per cent each, while Mr Dewji’s fortune declined to an estimated $1.5 billion from $1.6 billion a year ago due to lower multiples for publicly traded competitors.

Findings from the study reveals that none of the 18 billionaires from Africa are new to the ranks, and that the billionaires hail from seven different countries.

It said while South Africa and Egypt have five billionaires each, Nigeria currently has three and Morocco with two.

“All of the continent’s billionaires are men; the last woman to appear in the ranks, Isabel dos Santos of Angola, fell off the Forbes list in January 2021,” the report said.

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Nigerian students’ association threatens to shut down all international airports over prolonged ASUU’s strike

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ASUU to begin fresh strike

The National Association of Nigerian Students (NANS) Southwest Zone D has threatened to shut down all international airports over the failure of the Nigerian government to address the lingering strike action of the Academic Staff Union of Universities and other staff unions.

Coordinator of the NANS Zone D, Adegboye Olatunji in a statement said the students had waited long enough for the government to resolve the crisis.

He added that students would take the bull by the horns and no longer keep quiet, pointing out that President Muhammadu Buhari’s position on the crisis could ruin their future.

The statement read, “It is timely and urgent to address this press conference today with a view to putting an end to the long lingering strike action of ASUU and ASUP (Academic Staff Union of Polytechnics), a total reformation of the educational sector.

“The Leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students Southwest (Zone D) in conjunction with the National Association of University Students Southwest (NAUS) has taken it upon herself to categorically stand against the dilapidated state of the educational sector in Nigeria.

“We are at a time when Nigerian Students have lost hope and do not know what’s next on the radar. ASUU strike has been on for over 3 months without forgetting the ASUP warning strike of 2 weeks.

“We have also waited for long to see if the Federal Government will dance to the music of Nigerian students who have been clamouring for an end to the ASUU strike but the reverse is the case. We’ve had several press conferences, granted several interviews, and held several meetings to plead with both ASUU and Federal Government. Our future is been jeopardised. We’re in a country where age is a key factor in labour market.

“Aviation unions gave a 2-day warning strike on shut down of flight operations. A meeting was scheduled by the Federal Government and strike action was called off in less than 24hours because the first-class citizens would be affected. But it is so obvious that none of them is affected by ASUU/ASUP Strike. They have their children all over the world enjoying a smooth educational system.

“On Monday, May 16th, 2022, the Accountant General of the Federation, Ahmed Idris was arrested over alleged money laundering and diversion of public funds of at least N80 Billion by the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission (EFCC). Where is the integrity of the government preaching against corruption? How much of the public funds would have settled the educational sector and put an end to the yearly ASUU/ASUP Strike action.

“For so long, ASUU/ASUP strike has been ongoing and the Federal Government has not been showing concern through the Minister of Education.

“We are ready to take the bull by the horns as Nigerian students will not keep silent and watch our future being ruined by the prolonged ASUU/ASUP Strike.

“According to the Commandment of Solidarity, we’re on the last C of ALUTA which is Confrontation. This is the time to call on all Nigerian students across all zones to come out in mass to take over all international airports in the country. Nigerian students are tired of the long-overdue strike action.

“The leadership of the National Association of Nigerian Students Southwest (Zone D) in conjunction with the National Association of University Students (NAUS) hereby declares a massive protest to shut down all international airports in Nigeria. We must state categorically to the Federal Government that all activities shall be shut down by over twenty-two million five hundred and twenty-seven (22,575,000) Nigerian students across Southwest Nigeria until ASUU / ASUP Strike is called off totally.”

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VIDEO: Tension as Okada riders, policemen clash in Lagos

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There is tension in the Ojo Local Government Area of Lagos over an attempt by policemen to enforce the state government ban on the operation of commercial motorcycle operators also known as Okada riders.

The state government had on Wednesday issued a total ban on the activities of the Okada riders in six local government areas of the state over the killing of a sound engineer, David Imoh, at Lekki.

Policemen from Onireke Police Station, Ojo, had impounded some commercial motorcycles for operating along the Mile 2 – Badagry expressway, an action which the riders resisted.

The riders attempted to overrun the station and possibly set free some of their members who were arrested by the policemen.

The riders set fire in the middle of the road, while the owners of vehicles abandoned them by the side of the road due to the chaos.

The crisis led to a stampede as pedestrians fled for fear of being caught up in the crossfire.

Moreso, the incident created heavy vehicular movement on both sides of the road.

While the policemen fired several shots into the air to disperse the commercial motorcycle operators, the riders themselves pelted the officers with stones, daring the policemen to come after them.

A yet to be ascertained number of persons sustained different wounds as they tried to run away from the trouble zone.

Presently, a combined team of anti-riot policemen and some soldiers have been deployed to return normalcy to the area.

WATCH THE VIDEO OF THE CLASH BELOW:

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Army Major commits suicide 3 days to court-martial verdict

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A former Battalion Commanding Officer who led the fight against Boko Haram in the North East, Major UJ Undianyede, is said to have committed suicide.

According to sources, he killed himself less than 72 hours to the verdict of a court-martial trying him for alleged military infractions during the war.

The sources, who confirmed the incident last night, said the Major killed himself on Monday on the premises of the Nigeria Defence Academy (NDA) in Kaduna, with his service pistol.

“I think he killed himself because of the judgment of the court-martial which has been fixed for tomorrow (today, May 19). We only learnt about his death today (Wednesday).

“In prosecuting the war, the Major with some of his colleagues allegedly committed some infractions for which he was being tried at the 1 Division in Kaduna,” one of the sources said.

The offences listed against the deceased officer by the court martial in the 1 Division included misappropriation of funds, abandonment of military post, insubordination, and desertion, among others.

Another source attributed the Major’s death to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), noting that he had been in the North East for some time battling Boko Haram terrorists.

The Major, a Course 55 Regular Officer and other members of his class, were said to be due for promotion to the rank Lieutenant Colonel this September.

When contacted, the spokesman of the Nigerian Army, Brig.-Gen. Onyema Nwachukwu, said he had not been briefed.

However, the Public Relations Officer of the NDA, Major Bashir Jajira, dismissed the report, saying no officer of the academy was involved in suicide.

“No personnel of the academy was involved in suicide as reported, and in fact, our cadets are presently in Kachia for combat shooting training, they are not in the academy. So, no such training took place.”

In the same vein, the Assistant Director, Army Public Relations, 1 Division Headquarters, Kaduna, Major Musa Yahaya stated that he was not aware of any court-martial taking place in the division as earlier reported.

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