Home » Tea titan Baba Danpullo’s Nexttel appoints Benoit Yaoussou as first Cameroonian CEO

Tea titan Baba Danpullo’s Nexttel appoints Benoit Yaoussou as first Cameroonian CEO

by Ishioma Emi

Former Cameroonian Posts and Telecommunications  Ministry and Telecom Regulatory Agency Inspector Benoit Yaoussou has been appointed CEO of Viettel Cameroon SA, otherwise known as Nexttel. 

Viettel Cameroon SA is a joint venture between the Viettel Global Investment JSC, a Vietnamese state telecom company, and Bestinver Cameroun S.A.R.L, a Cameroonian company owned by tea mogul Baba Ahmadou Danpullo. It is the third privately owned mobile telecom network service provider in Cameroon.

Before his appointment, the post was held by a Vietnamese executive. At the same time, two Cameroonians served as deputy CEO and chairman of the executive board. The appointments reflected the structure of the company: Viettel Cameroon was then 70-percent owned by Viettel Global Investment SA, while Danpullo owned a 30-percent stake in the business. 

However, in 2019, the Vietnamese and Cameroonian governments were forced to step in to resolve a heated management crisis between the two stakeholders.

Danpullo accused Viettel’s general manager “of running Nexttel like his private business,” IT Web reported.

He added that his Vietnamese partners were recruiting their counterparts at the expense of unemployed Cameroonians. The parties also had numerous conflicts regarding signatures for financial transactions, engaging foreign partners, purchasing telecom hardware and transferring technology.

Eventually, Vietnamese Foreign Affairs Deputy Minister Nguyen Quoc Cuong, a special envoy to Vietnam’s prime minister, and Cameroonian Prime Minister Joseph Dion Ngute were forced to meet personally in Yaounde on May 6, 2019 to find a lasting solution to the Nexttel crisis.

Although rumors now abound that Nexttel is presently under the complete control of Danpullo, Business in Cameroon reported that no credible evidence exists to back the hypothesis.

Danpullo is the founder of Baba Ahmadou Group, a Cameroonian conglomerate that owns Ndawara Tea Estate. Ndawara is the largest privately owned tea estate in West Africa. In addition to his stake in Nexttel, Danpullo owns a significant stake in Marble Towers in Johannesburg, one of the tallest buildings in Africa.

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