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Nigerian banker Herbert Wigwe says 370 million Africans have no access to financial services

Wigwe owns a 4.51-percent stake in Access Holdings.

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Herbert Wigwe.

Herbert Wigwe, a multimillionaire banker who is the group managing director of Access Holdings, Nigeria’s largest financial services group, has disclosed that 370 million Africans and about 60 million Nigerians do not have access to financial services.

The statement highlights opportunities to expand financial services in Africa following the launch of the banking group’s 2023–2027 corporate strategy, which aims to serve 100 million retail customers by 2027.

The Lagos-based tier-1 bank intends to accomplish this objective by utilizing its well-established presence in key trade and financial centers globally, such as London, Dubai, Hong Kong, Lebanon, Beijing, and Mumbai. It also aims to boost intra-African trade by establishing a subsidiary and forming strategic partnerships with development finance institutions.

As part of its 2023–2027 corporate strategy, Access Holdings intends to migrate the majority of its customers to digital platforms by 2027 and expand its presence in at least 26 countries, including several in the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development.

At the launch of the corporation’s new plan (2023–2027), Wigwe addressed a diverse audience of analysts, researchers, shareholder leaders, and journalists, stating that Access Holdings would serve as a driving force for the corporation’s transformation. 

He emphasized that the company, with its core business as the foundation, will be at the forefront of this transformation, positioning itself as a leading financial and ecosystem player

“We want to be truly known as a global player in the market,” Wigwe said. “I have no doubt that we are truly on our way to becoming a global bank with an African heritage. We will also make sure that our correspondent banking is made stronger at the end of the five-year plan due to the fact that our subsidiaries, especially the one in UK, are growing well.”

Access Holdings, which is Nigeria’s largest financial services group in terms of assets and one of the most capitalized financial institutions listed on the Nigerian Exchange, presently operates in 11 African countries, including South Africa, Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Rwanda, and Mozambique.

Wigwe, a significant shareholder with a 4.51-percent stake in the group, has been instrumental in driving Access Holdings’ growth and expansion.

The group aims to establish itself as a leading player in the African and global financial services industries, with plans to expand into Europe by launching a unit in France and consolidating operations in London.

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Ye faces new hurdle in business and personal life as Australian visa denial looms

The potential denial of a visa may be the latest in a long list of repercussions facing Ye.

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Ye
Kanye West, now formerly known as Ye.

Kanye West, who is now formerly known as Ye, may face a new hurdle in his business and personal life as he may be denied entry into Australia.

The African-American rapper-turned-mogul had reportedly planned to meet the family of his new partner, Melbourne native Bianca Censori, but his anti-Semitic comments in October may prevent him from entering the country.

The news of a potential ban was confirmed by Australian Minister for Education Jason Clare, who stated that individuals who have made similar comments have been denied visas in the past and that Ye will have to go through the same process and answer the same questions.

“People like that who’ve applied for visas to get into Australia in the past have been rejected,” Clare said. “I expect that if he does apply, he would have to go through the same process and answer the same questions that they did.” 

Anti-Defamation Commission Chairman Dvir Abramovich and opposition leader Peter Dutton have joined in calling for Ye to be banned from entering Australia due to his “appalling” comments.

The backlash from Ye’s anti-Semitic remarks has already had a significant impact on his business ventures and wealth. In October, he lost all of his partnerships through his brand Yeezy with companies such as Adidas and Balenciaga.

The termination of the Adidas partnership, which began in 2013, had a substantial impact on Ye’s net worth. Forbes reported that the termination of the deal led to a decline of more than $1.6 billion, taking Ye’s net worth from $2 billion to $400 million.

The cancellation of the partnership that grew the Yeezy line into a brand that accounted for up to €1.5 billion ($1.47 billion) of Adidas’ total sales over the last decade is expected to cost the German behemoth up to €250 million ($247 million) in earnings.

The aftermath of Ye’s anti-Semitic comments has been negative for his wealth and ranking as one of the richest Black individuals in the US and one of the richest businessmen globally.

The potential denial of a visa to enter Australia may be the latest in a long list of repercussions facing Ye because of his anti-Semitic comments. 

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James Mwangi’s Equity Group to receive $4.1 million for acquisition of Spire Bank

Equity Group is the largest financial services conglomerate in East Africa.

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James Mwangi.

Equity Group Holdings, the Kenyan financial services giant led by James Mwangi, is set to receive millions of dollars from Mwalimu Sacco’s acquisition of financially distressed Spire Bank, as the teachers-backed lender agreed to pay Equity Group Ksh510 million ($4.1 million).

The deal is structured as an asset purchase transaction, backed by the Central Bank of Kenya (CBK), and will see Equity Group assume control over the assets and liabilities of the troubled bank.

The $4.1-million payment by Mwalimu Sacco to Equity represents the difference between the assets and liabilities of Spire Bank, implying that the bank holds zero value and the teachers have lost millions of dollars after purchasing a majority stake in 2014.

Mwalimu Sacco CEO Kenneth Odhiambo said the key consideration was to stop the bleeding and preserve Sacco’s bottomline for its members.

Equity Group will settle all redundancy costs for the more than 100 employees who will lose their jobs following the deal. The bank’s non-performing loans stand at Ksh2.63 billion ($21.1 million), and Equity’s immediate task will be to step up collections and recoveries.

The process of exiting Spire Bank was not as seamless as the initial acquisition, with Mwalimu Sacco citing the bank’s decline as beginning after the withdrawal of Naushad Merali’s deposits worth Ksh1.7 billion ($13.7 million), which represented one-fifth of the bank’s total deposits. 

The takeover of the troubled Spire Bank may present additional challenges and opportunities for Equity Group, which under the leadership of Kenyan businessman, Mwangi reported profits in excess of $280 million in the first nine months of 2022.

As of today, Equity Group shares on the Nairobi Securities Exchange are trading at Ksh44.95 ($0.361) per share, a 0.99 percent decrease from their closing price on Fri., Jan. 27.

This values the company at Ksh170 billion ($1.36 billion) and Mwangi’s 3.38-percent stake at Ksh5.74 billion ($46.1 million).

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Nigerian billionaire Abdul Samad Rabiu’s food conglomerate achieves milestone with $195-million profit

Rabiu and his son, Isyaku Naziru Rabiu, own 99.8 percent of BUA Foods.

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Abdul Samad Rabiu
Abdul Samad Rabiu. ©Billionaires.Africa

BUA Foods Plc, a leading food conglomerate majority owned by Africa’s fourth-richest man Nigerian billionaire Abdul Samad Rabiu, has achieved a milestone in its financial performance as it reported record-high earnings at the end of its 2022 fiscal year.

With a profit surge surpassing N90 billion ($195 million), the company’s latest earnings report highlights its impressive growth and financial strength. The Abdul Samad Rabiu-led food conglomerate has reported a record high in its financial performance, with its profit for the year ending Dec. 31, 2022, surging by a staggering 30 percent.

The unaudited financial statements reveal that the group’s earnings rose from N69.77 billion ($151.5 million) in 2021 to N90.4 billion ($196.3 million) at the end of 2022, driven by an increase in revenue from its diverse product portfolio of sugar, pasta, bakery flour, and wheat bran.

The remarkable growth reflects the company’s ability to continuously expand its offerings and maximize profitability in a competitive market.

BUA Foods’ revenue surged from N333.37 billion ($723.8 million) to N417.82 billion ($907.1 million) due to increased sales of non-fortified sugar N79.15 billion ($171.8 million) to N144.29 billion ($313.2 million) and other food items such as sugar molasses, bakery flour, pasta, and wheat bran.

The increase in consumer demand for food items, including stockpiling, resulted in higher prices and a corresponding boost in revenue for the group.

The robust performance led to an increase in retained earnings and shareholder equity from N192.66 billion ($418.26 million) and N200.7 billion ($435.7 million) in 2021 to N237.15 billion ($514.86 million) and N245.21 billion ($532.35 million) in 2022.

The outstanding financial performance is expected to result in a substantial increase in dividend earnings for Rabiu and his son, Isyaku Naziru Rabiu, with their 99.8-percent ownership in the consolidated food conglomerate.

This will be a marked improvement from the N62.9 billion ($151.6 million) that they received in dividends last year.

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