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Forbes Confirms Dangote Africa’s Richest Man, as Otedola Returns to Billionaire List

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After a six-year hiatus, Nigerian business magnate, Femi Otedola, has returned to the Forbes Africa list of the richest people, landing at No. 20 position with a fortune of $1 billion.

Otedola’s comeback marks a significant milestone. He last graced the Forbes Africa list in 2017 with his controlling stake in fuel distributor – Forte Oil.

However, a strategic shift saw him divest from oil and embrace the energy sector. In 2013, he used a Forte subsidiary to acquire Geregu, a public power generation plant and capitalised on its privatisation.

According to Forbes, Otedola’s 73% stake in Geregu is valued at over $850 million, forming the backbone of his fortune.

“He owned about 90% of Geregu when it was listed on the Nigerian exchange’s Main Board in 2022, but has since sold shares to institutional investors, which include Afreximbank’s Fund for Export Development in Africa and the State Grid Corporation of China,” Forbes said.

“His 73% stake in Geregu is worth more than $850 million, about three-quarters of his $1.1 billion fortune, which puts him at No. 20 on the list.”

Forbes added that despite Otedola’s rise, the overall wealth of African billionaires dipped slightly compared to last year. This reflects the global economic slowdown, but it’s important to note that African billionaires still fared better than their global counterparts, who saw a 4% decline.

“After taking Otedola’s comeback into account, Africa’s billionaires dipped slightly, but still fared better than the decline of 4% last year, when African markets faded in sync with equity values around the world. This year, African equities joined a late-year global rally, with the S&P All Africa index rising 10% in the final two months of 2023 but still ended down more than 9% in the 12 months through January 8, 2024,”

The magazine stated that “the continent remains one of the world’s toughest places to build – and hold onto – a billion-dollar fortune, as global investors remain leery of its stock exchanges, businesses struggle against strained economies, poor infrastructure and volatile exchange rates while changing political winds can make, boost or bust private fortunes.”

Meanwhile, Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote remains Africa’s richest man, with his fortune rising to $13.9 billion from $400 million, claiming the top spot for the 13th year in a row, despite political uncertainty following the February presidential election and a naira devaluation in 2023 that offset Dangote Cement’s rising share price.

The top three spots are rounded out by South African luxury goods magnate Johann Rupert held onto the No. 2 spot with $10.1 billion, down from $10.7 billion in 2023 as shares of his Compagnie Financiere Richemont–maker of Cartier watches and Montblanc pens – slid. South African Nicky Oppenheimer, who formerly ran diamond mining firm DeBeers before selling it to mining firm Anglo American a decade ago, ranks No. 3 with $9.4 billion, up $1 billion from 2023.

Interestingly, 13 of the 20 billionaires on the list saw their fortunes increase, while seven saw their net worth decline. The biggest decline on this year’s list belongs to Algerian industrial magnate Issad Rebrab, who was barred by a court in May from exercising any commercial or management duties at his conglomerate, Cevital.

Rebrab, who denied any wrongdoing, had previously served 8 months in jail on corruption charges until his release in January 2020. Rebrab, who shares the wealth with his wife and five children, including his son, Malik, who took over as CEO in 2022, saw his net worth fall by almost half to $2.5 billion.

The biggest gain belongs to Egypt’s Nasseff Sawiris, who added $1.4 billion to $8.7 billion thanks to a rise in Addidas shares (he owns about 6%), as well as dividends from the German sneaker company and family conglomerate OCI.

This year, South Africa claims six spots on the ranking, followed by Egypt with five and Nigeria with four. Algeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe each have one billionaire on the list, while Morocco has two.

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Personality in Focus

Glamour, Glitz, Gifts Galore As Healthgarde Celebrates 30 Years Anniversary, Produces New Star of Africa

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By Eric Elezuo

It was a distinct show of excellence, glamour and reward for achievement as a crowd of multilevel marketers attached to leading healthcare group, Healthgarde International, gathered to celebrate 30 years of wellness, empowerment and creation of happiness.

It was more of a gathering of champions, headliners and Nigerians, who has distinguished themselves in their fields of endeavours, having made the choice of partnering with the leading brand, Healthgarde. 

Healthgarde International is a global firm proudly founded and run by African women for Africa, under the leadership of Nneka Nwarueze. 

The grand hall of Highpoint Event Centre in the heart of Agidingbi GRA in Ikeja, was a beehive of activities as early as 10am on D-day with members and their families and friends already seated and networking in earnest just as the event anchor, Hyenana Comedian, Kick-started proceedings with the invitation of the chief host and Chief Executive Officer, Healthgarde International, Mrs Nneka Nwarueze.

In her opening remarks, Nwarueze went down memorylane to trace the developmental strides of the brand since its days as Swissgarde to the present, noting that in 30 years of existence, lives have been affected and destinies either changed or reversed for the very best.

She acknowledged that just like many distinguished brands, the journey of 30 years has been ‘rough, tough and challenging’, noting that as organizers, they are not breaking even byt sustained by the that gesture to ensure that thousands of members are well taken care of, and not told stories.

“We have an active base of over 12,000 distributors in Nigeria and in Southern Africa, over 20,000 of them. My experience in this business is over 30 years since Swissgarde. Our business network and networth is spread across the United States, Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Ghana, Uganda, Botswana, and is still growing.

“Today, we are happy to celebrate our top achievers whose dedicated efforts continue to give our high-quality health products increasing market share. We also introduced into the global market today our new offering – the Healthgarde Relax Tea, which everyone here today received as gift in their souvenir bags. It is rich in antioxidants and boosts the immune system,” Nwarueze said.

She further encouraged the networkers never to relent as the business has consistently paid off for them, and proved to be a mainstay in today’s Nigeria’s economy.

“Our gathering today is to unleash the reward system for those who have done so well in the year under review,” she added.

Among an array of winners from various categories on the day was the Mrs. Benita Okonkwo, who emerged as the Star of Africa, coasting to victory as the member that made the best overall impact in the year under review.

Benita Okonkwo led the array of over 20 winners in different categories. She emerged a double winner as Business Leader of the Year and Star of Africa as the Lagos convention of wellness and gathering of multilevel marketing giants held. 

Okonkwo who was obviously, but pleasantly surprised at her double win, had trumped the sales earnings and figures of every other Healthgarde consultant (as the firm’s salespersons are titled) within and outside Nigeria. Her crowning as ‘Star of Africa’ was done with pomp and pageantry with a blast of fireworks and confetti.

Other major award categories included Entrepreneur, Depot, Rising Star, Social Media Star, Staff, Top Performers and Recruiters of the Year, not to mention the series of lucky draw winners that spliced and spiced up the convention.

Other major winners on the day include Charity Ikedife, who emerged as the Staff of the Year, Oluwaseyi Funmi Hannah as Social Media Star, Bolanle Aina as Rising Star of the Year and Fatima Yusuf as Entrepreneur of the Year.

In an moment of excitement, so many women testified of how their multilevel marketing of Healthgarde products had upped their fortunes and mental wellness. Among them were Juliana Idakpo, Baba Ijebu and another, who used to hawk fairly used cloths (okirika). They won the awards as uplines and carted away several prizes including microwave ovens, refrigerator, washing machine, gas cooker, and flask.

Also at the event as its live wire, South Africa-based Chief Operating Officer, Healthgarde International, Lovelyn Bassey, explained: “Our products have deepened the global market and we are proud of the thousands of women who, despite growing economic hardships, spousal job losses, etc have been empowered to boost the wellness of Nigerians as well as create wealth to support their homes.”

The event was not without the spices that give every gathering the leverage that makes top notch as Dancerapy, a motivational dance led the audience into a dance choreography that was magnificent to behold.

Also, a special adviser to the Miniter of the Interior, Tunji-Ojo, was also on hand to give the guests a charge that inspired them into rooting for Healthgarde as a brand.

Responding separately to Point-blank.ng, both Mrs Nwarueze and Bassey called on the Federal government to give attention to multilevel marketing as it has proved to be reliable and rewarding.

“This is not ponzi scheme or what people know as MMM. It is a business venture that has stood the test of time, and been putting smiles on the lips of families. It is a Nigerian thing, and deserves the attention and support to the government to take it to greater heights,” the CEO and COO said separately.

Healthgarde, a first class health multilevel marketing organization, in 2020 stood on its own, away from Swissgarde. In those four years, the brand has held a reward for excellence gathering where the year is reviewed, and members made to smile home with mouthwatering prizes.

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Fidelity Bank Extends Employment Contract of Its CEO, Onyeali-Ikpe, by Two Years

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Fidelity Bank Plc has announced its Board of Directors’ decision to extend the employment contract of its GMD/CEO, Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, from 2024 to 2026.

This was contained in the company’s notice to the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX), according to Nairametrics.

The statement signed by Ezinwa Unuigboje, the Company Secretary noted that the decision was taken at the Board meeting on February 12, 2024.

It added that the extension is in furtherance of the Bank’s strategic objectives and premised on Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe’s sterling performance since the assumption of office on January 1, 2021.

The statement reads:

“Fidelity Bank Plc (the Bank) is pleased to announce its Board of Directors’ decision to extend the employment contract of its GMD/CEO, Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe, from 2024 to 2026.

The decision was taken at the Board meeting on February 12, 2024. The extension is in furtherance of the Bank’s strategic objectives and premised on Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe’s sterling performance since assumption of office on January 1, 2021,”

The Board noted that it is confident that the Bank’s performance will continue its upward trajectory under Dr. Nneka Onyeali-Ikpe’s leadership, and looks forward to working closely with her and the Executive Management Team on execution of various strategic initiatives including international expansion.

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Healthgarde ‘Star of Africa’ to Emerge at Lagos Convention

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Wellness and multilevel marketing giant, Healthgarde International, is revving up for its 2024 convention this weekend in Lagos, Nigeria and plans to celebrate its high achieving sales heroes with pomp and pageantry.

Previewing highlights of the convention in a media statement issued February 14, the Chief Executive Officer, Healthgarde International, Nneka Nwarueze, said: “We will recognize and celebrate our top achievers whose commitment and sales drive continue to give our high quality health products the marketing edge.

“We will be crowning a new ‘Healthgarde Star of Africa’ as well as launch a new product that we are introducing to the market at the Lagos convention. At Healthgarde International, our goal is to maintain a thriving direct selling company developed in Africa by Africans for Africa. Our passion is to keep making a difference in people’s lives by creating wealth through sustained wellness” Nwarueze said.

South Africa-based Group Chief Operating Officer, Healthgarde International, Lovelyn Bassey, who arrived Wednesday ahead of the convention, reviewed Healthgarde’s 2023 business strides for health journalists, and said: “Our products have deepened the markets in a few more countries, including Botswana.

“We are also happy to report that quite a few Healthgarde consultants from Nigeria qualified and enjoyed a well deserved, all expenses paid five-star holiday to South Africa last year, while some others won impressive cash prizes. Our 2024 celebration of excellence this Saturday, February 17 will be very colourful and exciting too,” Bassey said.

Healthgarde Nigeria has an active base of over 12,000 distributors, and in Southern Africa, over 20,000 active distributors. Its business network and networth is spread across the United States, Nigeria, South Africa, Namibia, Lesotho, Swaziland, Ghana, Uganda and Botswana, and is still growing.

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