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Stakeholders berate MTN over persistent default, abuse of law

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Following double sanctions slammed on the MTN Group over allegations of illegal repatriation of $8.13 billion, and another $2 billion in outstanding taxes, capital market stakeholders believe these are a ‘dent’ on the firm’s corporate governance image.

They urged MTN to entrench best practice and accountability in its operations, and ensure that its business in Nigeria is in compliance with existing laws before listing on the nation’s bourse.

Admitting that the MTN’s Initial Public Offer (IPO) will emerge the biggest in the history of the Nigerian capital market if it comes, they however argued that the incessant abuse of the law as being alleged by the Government would erode investors’ confidence in the company even before the eventual listing.

According to them, investors’ have experienced untold hardship due to loss of investments in the past, and may not want to fall victim of future circumstances that would aggravate their plight.

The President, Proactive Shareholders Association, Taiwo Oderinde, urged MTN to tackle any corporate governance lapses before approaching the market for listing. “Companies, especially multinationals must play in accordance to the rules governing their business jurisdictions.
“They must go back and put their house in order before coming for the IPO because if they continue in this way, we will fight them on the floor of AGM.”

The Chief Relationship Officer, Foresight Securities Limited, Charles Fakrogba, said multinationals operating in a particular jurisdiction should not contravene the laws governing their business environment.He wondered why a telecoms giant like MTN would contravene tax laws as being alleged, considering the huge revenue they generate in Nigeria on a yearly basis.

“Can MTN behave this way in South Africa; this is bad image for MTN, and it would be difficult for them when they come to the market. They should ensure that they resolve all issues with government immediately because their corporate governance is at stake.”
In July 2016, MTN had announced that its board had resolved to proceed with preparations for a listing of its shares on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE).

The mobile operator said the IPO will go ahead “as soon as commercially and legally possible,” and it has established a management task team with the responsibility to guide the company towards the listing.

According to pre-IPO documents seen by an international online news platform, MTN was to list its Nigerian unit worth $5.23 billion by July 2017. It planned to raise at least $400 million from the IPO to pay preference shareholders and go on a roadshow between May and June.

But given the protraction, operators are doubtful the MTN IPO will hold, and subsequent listing on the NSE this year, a development that had dampened investors spirit and whittled initial interest and enthusiasm for the proposed IPO.Furthermore, the huge fine recently slammed on the firm by Nigerian authorities over allegations of illegal repatriation of fund and unpaid taxes indicate that MTN may not approach the market in the near future as being anticipated.

However, the telecommunication giant has denied any wrongdoing on the two allegations, saying: “MTN Nigeria, as a law-abiding citizen of Nigeria, is committed to good governance and to abiding by the extant laws of the Federal Republic of Nigeria. The re-emergence of these issues is regrettable as it damages investor confidence and, by extension, inhibits the growth and development of the Nigerian economy.”

(GuardianNG)
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Press Release

Qatar Airways to launch new route to Lusaka and Harare from August

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Qatar Airways (Image: YouTube)

Qatar, DOHA – Zambia and Zimbabwe are being added to Qatar Airways expanding list of destinations in Africa from early August, bringing its award-winning service to two important southern African destinations.

The new service to Lusaka and onwards to Harare is scheduled to be operated with a Boeing 787 Dreamliner. It will connect passengers in Zambia and Zimbabwe with Qatar Airways’ global network of more than 140 destinations. With the addition of these two new routes the carrier will operate over 100 weekly flights to 27 destinations in Africa.

Qatar Airways Group Chief Executive, His Excellency Mr. Akbar Al Baker said: “Africa continues to be an area of strong growth for Qatar Airways and launching this service will support the development of the economy and tourism sector in both countries.

“Not only do we continue to rebuild our network after the pandemic, but we are actively expanding it with the addition of these two key destinations. These are the fifth and sixth new destinations in Africa added to our network since the start of the pandemic, taking our total new destinations added across the globe to 10.”

The launch of Lusaka and Harare also supports increased demand for trade between Zambia and Zimbabwe and destinations on the Qatar Airways network such as London, Frankfurt and New York and from multiple points in China. With a total of 30 tonnes of cargo capacity on the aircraft per flight, Qatar Airways Cargo will play a key role in facilitating key exports from Zambia and Zimbabwe.

As travellers return to the skies with Qatar Airways, they can take comfort knowing that they are travelling with the only airline in the world that has, together with its state-of-the-art global hub Hamad International Airport, achieved four 5-Star Skytrax ratings – including the prestigious 5-Star Airline Rating, 5-Star Airport Rating, 5-Star COVID-19 Airline Safety Rating and 5-Star COVID-19 Airport Safety Rating.

These achievements highlight Qatar Airways’ commitment to providing our passengers with an industry-leading experience at every point of their journey, including the highest possible level of health and safety standards that safeguard the wellbeing of our passengers both on the ground and in the air. For full details of all the measures that have been implemented onboard and in HIA, please visit www.qatarairways.com/safety.

A multiple award-winning airline, Qatar Airways was named ‘World’s Best Airline’ by the 2019 World Airline Awards, managed by the international air transport rating organisation Skytrax. It was also named ‘Best Airline in the Middle East’, ‘World’s Best Business Class’, and ‘Best Business Class Seat’, in recognition of its ground-breaking Business Class experience, Qsuite. Qsuite is available on flights to more than 40 destinations including Casablanca, New York, Paris and Singapore.

Flight schedule starting 6 August:

Wednesday, Friday and Sunday

Doha (DOH) to Lusaka (LUN) QR1455 departs: 02:20 arrives: 08:50

Lusaka (LUN) to Harare (HRE) QR1455 departs: 10:20 arrives: 11:20

Harare (HRE) to Lusaka (LUN) QR1456 departs: 18:55 arrives 19:55

Lusaka (LUN) to Doha (DOH) QR1456 departs: 21:25 arrive 05:55 (+1)

 

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Investment

Fatura secures a $3 Million pre-series A investment round

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Fatura co-Founders (Source: Hossam Ali)

Fatura round was co-led by Sawari Ventures and Arzan VC, with the participation of Egypt Ventures, EFG-EV, The Cairo Angels as well as Khwarizmi Ventures. The B2B marketplace was launched late 2019 and already crossed the 1 Billion EGP yearly GMV milestone, and that’s just in the FMCG sector. Fatura is a mobile application that connects wholesalers & manufacturers with retailers in different industries. The start-up has been operating in the FMCG industry and it is currently piloting in other industries.

During the past year the start-up also extended its reach to more than 25,000 retailers and more than  500 wholesalers and manufacturers across 20 governorates, exchanging more than 10,000 SKUs. Fatura also cracked the surface of financial services by introducing digital lending with focus on retailers financing, aiming to add more services in that area in the near future.

“Fatura’s existing infrastructure has enabled them to expand their offerings to new customers,” commented Hany Al-Sonbaty, Managing Partners at Sawari Ventures, adding that, “the team has demonstrated that they have the vision to identify new opportunities and the prowess and agility to implement and deliver. We are excited to become part of their journey.”

Hossam Ali, Fatura’s CEO, commented on the news saying: “There is a great opportunity in the B2B space in Egypt, that is growing as the players are becoming digitally mature and ready. Collectively, the digital B2B players in the FMCG space capture less than 5% of the market and there is a long way to go. Our conviction is to stay asset-light, be inclusive to all the industry stakeholders and to attract the best on-ground acquisition force across the country”

Fatura has built a strong foundation and infrastructure that enables it to monetize its data and services. The company’s future plans include new services that support the different players in its ecosystem including manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers, multiple digitization initiatives with focus on digital payments and regional expansion into new markets.

“Being part of Fatura’s success story is exciting for us. The FMCG industry is in need of Fatura’s product, which will solve many challenges faced by small retailers. Also, its fintech angle complements the core product and enables retailers to scale their business further with less working capital constraints.” – Hasan J. Zainal, Managing Partner of Arzan Venture Capital

This investment will gear Fatura to extend its services beyond e-commerce and digital lending to optimize the exchange of goods, money and information in the B2B context while focusing on convenience and the different users’ experience.

 

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Business Africa Online, InnoPower and Afrigrants to Host some of the best African, USA Innovators and Investors

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Business Africa Online, InnoPower, LLC (USA) and Afrigrants Foundation are set to Host some of the best Innovators, Investors, Business Consultants and Industry Experts in the world at the Going Global Summit with the theme, “Africa: The Next Global Frontier”. The summit is a part of InnoPower Minority Business Week (IMBW) hosted by Innopower, LLC (USA) scheduled to hold from Monday, June 14 to Friday, June 18, 2021 and currently ongoing.

The Going Global Initiative intends to boost a stronger pipeline of awareness, access to Africa’s talent and solutions with these focus areas; Entrepreneurship, Connection and Advocacy. The InnoPower Going Global Summit 2021 is a digital summit and intends to connect Africa to the global economy, starting with the USA. It will attract global business leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, decision and policy makers around the world, especially from Africa and the United States of America (U.S.A). The Summit will feature panel sessions, virtual pitch, awards and networking.

Panel Discussion Topics will cover:

  1. Positioning African entrepreneurs for global exposure and impact.
  2. Raising Global Capital: Understanding the Why, When and How.
  3. Post COVID-19: Exploring US-Africa Investment Opportunities.

Esteemed Guests include:

  • Dr. Akintoye Akindele (Nigeria) – Executive Chairman, Platform Capital
  • Lawrence Walter (USA) – Vice President, Entrepreneurship at IEDC
  • Ayodeji Balogun (Nigeria)– Founder and CEO of Premier Credit
  • Lydia Idem (USA) – Founder & Managing Director of FM Capital Group
  • Adesuwa Okunbo Rhodes (Nigeria) – Founding Partner & CEO, Aruwa Capital Management
  • Nike Anani (Nigeria) – Founder, Nike Anani Practice Ltd
  • Ali Hussein Kassim (Kenya) – Tech Executive and Advisor
  • Mohamed Aboulnaga  (Egypt) – Tech Entrepreneur
  • Shila Nieves Burney (USA) – Founder, Zane Venture Fund & Zane Access
  • Segun Abiona (Nigeria) – Founder & Innovation Director, Nicole & Giovanni
  • Manisha Dookhony (Mauritius) – Economist & Senior Advisor
  • Sherif Nessim (Egypt) – Founder & Managing Director, Jedar Capital
  • Linda Wayoe (Ghana) – Director, AM Group & Board Member UK-Ghana Chamber of Commerce
  • Mariam Kamel (Egypt) – Manager, AUC Angels
  • Horesia Nyawade (South Africa) – CIO & Co-Founder, Vuuqa
  • Muhammida El Muhajir (Ghana) – Global Brand Strategist

Conceptualised by Afrigrants Foundation, Pitch School Africa is an annual youth entrepreneurship event  that trains young entrepreneurs on how to pitch their business ideas to potential investors. Over 200 students across Africa participated in the Pitch School Africa 2021 stream, which has now been narrowed down to just 4 BIG ideas that will be featured at the Grand Finale. The 4 Finalists that will pitch their business ideas at the 2021 InnoPower Going Global are; Gualo Confidence (Nigeria) – Gualocian fish processing, Budani Bulayani (Botswana) – Budzi Products, Favour Adeleke (Nigeria) – Qiqi Farms and Oluwatomilola Mustapha (Nigeria) – Raytreat.

The Pitch Jury are;

  1. Ronda Taylor, PhD Department Chair Entrepreneur Program, Ivy Tech Community College-Central Indiana.
  2. Dr. Kristin Burton Asst. Professor, Entrepreneurship, College of Business, Purdue University.
  3. Joe Albano, Principal Logika International LLC.

The winner will be awarded the grand prize of $5000 with a one year mentorship from the finest business developers across the world.

Awards

Over the past 12 months, businesses have faced remarkable challenges due to global economic meltdown and the COVID-19 pandemic crisis. Many ventures were forced to shut their doors through legislation and other circumstances. Some managed to survive by thinking out of the box and adapting to the changing and dire times. Business Africa Online (BAO) with the support of InnoPower, LLC (USA) will be recognising and awarding three (3) African resilient startups that have pulled out all the steps to grow back better through the pandemic in Africa. The awardees will get a support grant of $500 each with an acceleration program led by global business developers.

“Our strategic partnership with InnoPower, LLC (USA) is to support and further drive its Going Global Initiatives here in Africa. Also to reaffirm our commitment to connect African entrepreneurs and businesses with US-based investors. We are inspired and motivated everyday by the incredible African (Social) entrepreneurs and investors within our community and their desire to impact the world positively.” says Alaba Ayinuola, Founder & CEO of Business Africa Online

To register for this virtual summit, please visit bit.ly/InnoPowerGoingGlobal2021

 

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