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Dangote, Others Raked in $237Bn in 2016

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Aliko Dangote

In a year when populist voters reshaped power and politics across Europe and the U.S., the world’s wealthiest people are ending 2016 with $237 billion more than they had at the start.

Triggered by disappointing economic data from China at the beginning, the U.K.’s vote to leave the European Union in the middle and the election of billionaire Donald Trump at the end, the biggest fortunes on the planet whipsawed through $4.8 trillion of daily net worth gains and losses during the year, rising 5.7 percent to $4.4 trillion by the close of trading Dec. 27, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.

“In general, clients rode through the volatility,” said Simon Smiles, chief investment officer for ultra-high-net-worth clients at UBS Wealth Management. “2016 ended up being a spectacular year for risk assets. Pretty remarkable given the start of the year.”

The gains were led by Warren Buffett, who added $11.8 billion during the year as his investment firm Berkshire Hathaway Inc. saw its airline and banking holdings soar after Trump’s surprise victory on Nov. 8. Buffett, who’s pledged to give away most of his fortune to charity, donated Berkshire Hathaway stock valued at $2.6 billion in July.

The U.S. investor reclaimed his spot as the world’s second-richest person two days after Trump’s victory ignited a year-end rally that pushed Buffett’s wealth up 19 percent for the year to $74.1 billion.

“2016’s been event-driven with global news driving prices rather than fundamentals,” said Michael Cole, president of Ascent Private Capital Management, which has about $10 billion of assets under administration.

“The belief that Trump is going to come in and deregulate big parts of the economy is driving the markets right now.”

The individual gains for the year were dominated by Americans, who had four of the five biggest increases on the index, including Microsoft Corp. co-founder Bill Gates, the world’s richest person with $91.5 billion, and oilman Harold Hamm.

The country’s richest were largely opposed to a Trump presidency during the election, including Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, who told the media in May that stocks could fall as much as 20 percent if Trump were to win the election.

U.S. billionaires — including Buffett — favoured Trump’s rival Hillary Clinton. Still, they profited from his victory when they added $77 billion to their fortunes in the post-election rally fuelled by expectations that regulations would ease and American industry would benefit.

The New York real estate mogul is building a cabinet heavy on wealth and corporate connections, and light on government experience, a mix that hedge fund billionaire Ray Dalio said last week would unleash the “animal spirits” of capitalism and drive markets even higher.

Dalio is the world’s 63rd-richest person with $14.1 billion.

Investors and executives welcomed Trump’s picks, including billionaire Wilbur Ross to lead the Department of Commerce and former Goldman Sachs Group Inc. executive Steven Mnuchin as his Treasury secretary, who have a combined net worth of at least $5.6 billion, according to the index.

“You know, I was not opposing Trump as much as most people,” Saudi Arabian billionaire Mohamed Bin Issa Al Jaber said in a Dec. 11 interview. “He’s capable and — as a businessman — he’s shrewd about the bottom line. The people he’s surrounding himself with have baggage but they’re also successful and shrewd.”

France’s Bernard Arnault was the sole non-American representative among the five best performers, adding $7.1 billion to take his fortune to $38.9 billion. His LVMH Moet Hennessy Louis Vuitton SE said the Chinese luxury-goods market is improving.

Gates remained the world’s richest person throughout the year. Amancio Ortega, Europe’s richest person and founder of the Zara clothing chain, was in second place on the index for most of the year until he ceded it to Buffett in November. Ortega, who dropped $1.7 billion in 2016, is the world’s third-richest person with $71.2 billion.

Wildcatter Hamm’s fortune was propelled by a strengthening oil price and expectations a Trump administration will slash fossil-fuel regulations. Hamm added $8.4 billion to more than double his fortune to $15.3 billion. He led the 49 energy, metals and mining billionaires, who were the best-performing category on the ranking, adding $80 billion and reversing the $32 billion fall they had in 2015.

Billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch each dropped $2 billion after Koch Industries reported on its website that annual revenue is estimated to be “as high as $100 billion,” compared with the estimate of “as much as $115 billion” that the conglomerate published on the site previously. Company spokesman Rob Carlton stated in a Nov. 17 e-mail that Koch revenue fluctuates with the price of commodities.

Technology fortunes were the second-best performing on the ranking, with 55 billionaires adding $50 billion to their fortunes over the year, despite worries that a Trump presidency might introduce policies that could hurt their companies.

“I think we’ll have to see what the policies of the administration are,” Google co-founder Sergey Brin told the media gathered on the red carpet of the annual Breakthrough Prize gala in Silicon Valley in December. “I certainly hope they will be pro-science, pro-technology and all the things this world has really benefited from.”

Amazon.com Inc. founder Jeff Bezos, who doubled his fortune to $60 billion in 2015, led gains among technology executives again this year, rising $7.5 billion in 2016 on robust sales growth at the online retailer. He was followed by Facebook Inc. co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who added $5.4 billion.

Some of the industry’s biggest relative gains went to the founders of the world’s leading startups, such as Uber Technologies Inc.’s Travis Kalanick and Snap Inc.’s Evan Spiegel. The so-called “unicorn” billionaires, which include Spotify Inc. co-founder Martin Lorentzon, who was identified as a billionaire for the first time in 2016, secured a series of mammoth funding rounds while moving closer to testing their fortunes on the public markets.

Other billionaires uncovered by the Bloomberg index in 2016 included the father and son behind Jose Cuervo tequila, New York real estate developer Axel Stawski and Kosovo construction tycoon Behgjet Pacolli.

The index also unveiled 11 surviving family members of reclusive Thai entrepreneur Chaleo Yoovidhya, the inventor of Red Bull, whose heirs share a combined $22 billion net worth, the world’s largest energy-drink fortune. Three billionaires emerged in Argentina, including the country’s first technology billionaire Marcos Galperin, as markets rose on enthusiasm for President Mauricio Macri’s finance-friendly economic policies.

Most fortunes outside of the U.S. didn’t get the same boost from Trump’s victory, and were hurt by fluctuating commodities prices and the rise of the dollar, the currency used for the Bloomberg ranking. Nine of the 10 biggest decliners in 2016 were from outside the U.S., led by China’s second-richest person, Wang Jianlin, who lost $5.8 billion. Wang ended the year as the world’s 21st-richest person with $30.6 billion.

Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, the richest person in Africa, lost $4.9 billion or one-third of his wealth as the combined effect of falling oil prices and the June devaluation of the naira pushed him to No. 112 with $10.4 billion. Dangote was the world’s 46th-richest person in June.

Saudi Arabia’s Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal Al Saud fell $4.9 billion, a 20 percent drop. Alwaleed said in November that all of his stakes in public companies including Citigroup Inc. are potentially for sale, reversing a longstanding policy that some of his most prized shareholdings were “forever.”

Wealth creation in China turned negative for the first time since the inception of the Bloomberg index five years ago, with the country’s richest losing $11 billion in 2016 amid a slump in the Shanghai Shenzhen CSI 300 index and a 7 percent decline for the yuan against the dollar.

Alibaba Group Holding Ltd. founder Jack Ma closed the year with $33.3 billion, adding $3.6 billion in 2016. He dropped in and out of his place as Asia’s richest person for the first four months of the year before claiming it for good in May after Alibaba’s finance affiliate, which is laying the groundwork for an initial public offering expected as soon as next year, completed a record $4.5 billion equity fundraising round.

China has 31 billionaires on the index with $262 billion, trailing the U.S., which has 179 billionaires who control $1.9 trillion, and Germany, whose 39 individuals have $281 billion. Russian billionaires also began to put the negative effects of U.S. and European sanctions behind them, reversing the combined $63 billion declines for 2014 and 2015 and adding $49 billion in 2016.

Wealth managers for the world’s richest are girding themselves for similarly frenetic start to 2017 as the seismic changes voters demanded this year start to take shape.

“Expect the unexpected,” said Sabine Kaiser, founder of SKadvisory, which advises family offices on venture capital and private equity. “I don’t think family offices are overly concerned or getting too nervous but after Brexit and Trump they’ve resigned themselves to market volatility.”

Nigeria CommunicationsWeek believes that technology makes life more exciting and helps improve the lives of people around Nigeria and indeed the world.

So since 2007, we have devoted our energy to independent reportage of technology and how they affect lives.

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Infinix Mobility ‘ZERO 5’ Unveiled in Nigeria

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By peter oluka

Infinix mobility, Africa’s leading technology brand, today in Nigeria, unveiled its flagship model for 2017 ‘Infinix Zero 5’.

The Infinix Zero 5 enjoyed a global reception, as it was earlier unveiled at the weekend in Dubai which hosted celebrities, partners, media and bloggers from different countries the brand operates.

Infinix first unveiled the Zero series 5 years ago in Nigeria and today, the brand is at the top of the league with cutting edge technology built into the new Infinix Zero 5. The Highly anticipated smartphone represents Phone photography, style and speed all in one smartphone. The infinix Zero 5 features Dual rear cameras, optical zoom, 6GB RAM, 16MP selfie camera and much more.

Speaking at the device Launch in Lagos,Benjamin Jiang, global head of Infinix,  said: “The Zero series at large has been our flagship product globally by virtue of its innovative features and validates our R&D prowess. It has witnessed brilliant performance in key global markets such as Africa. Our vision is to take smartphone photography to a level where it bridges the gap between amateur and professional photography. With its innovative design, incredible dual camera, 2x Optical Zoom and overall performance, the Infinix Zero 5 bridges the narrowing gap between smartphone and tablet, and we believe our new device speaks to the middle class consumer demand in the Dual-camera smartphone segment”.

The Zero 5 smartphone is Infinix’s most high-end and technologically-advanced product to date. The Chinese Company will target a new generation of consumers and firmly believes that the Zero 5’s innovative design and features- particularly the camera- will shock the industry and offer Best-in-Class product in the smartphone sector.

Using Android’s Nought operating platform, the Zero 5 boasts an optical zoom dual camera and massive 16MP front-cameras, rear fingerprints scanner and protective screen features.

The Zero 5’s rear dual camera uses both a 12MP wide angle lens and a 13MP telephoto lens, with a 2x optical zoom and 10x digital zoom, and an f/2.0 aperture. There is also a special Portrait Master Mode that uses and RGBW sensor and multi-frame noise reduction technology to assist users in capturing the perfect hero shot.

But the jaw-dropping feature of the Zero 5 is unquestionably the front camera, or an Infinix has dubbed it, ‘Selfie Camera’. The selfie cam is a mega 16MP four-in-one camera with a LED flash to boost. In a market where the selfie is king and Instagram reigns supreme, Infinix expects the 16MP front camera to take things to a new level and become a must-have accessory for selfie lovers.

About Infinix: Infinix is a premium smartphone brand from TRANSSION Holdings designed for young generations who desire to live a smart lifestyle. Founded in 2012, Infinix is committed to building cutting-edge technology and fashionably designed dynamic mobile devices to create globally-focused intelligent life experiences through a merging of fashion + technology. Through daily interactions these intuitive products become part of a lifestyle that represents trend-setting and intelligent experiences for young people around the world.

Infinix currently promotes four product lines: ZERO, NOTE, S, and HOT in a global marketplace reaching countries in Europe, Africa, Latin America, Middle East and Asia.

With the brand spirit of challenging the norms, Infinix smart devices are designed specifically for young people who want to stand out, reach out and in sync with the world.

 

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How and Why 95 Per Cent of SMEs Die- Elumelu

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Tony Elumelu, chairman of Heirs Holdings

Tony Elumelu, chairman of Heirs Holdings, has said multiple taxations and levies kill 95 percent of small and medium scale businesses in Nigeria.

 

Elumelu made this statement while speaking at the Lagos Business School Alumni Association 2017 Alumni Day in Lagos.

 

He said five percent of the small businesses that survived after one year was a big disincentive to the nation in terms of employment creation.

 

The entrepreneur said multiple business regulation, multiple taxation and inconsistent government policies affect SMEs competitiveness and their ability to attract capital in their investment climate.

 

He said despite the multiple taxation, Nigeria remains the lowest in the world with 10 percent tax contribution to gross domestic product (GDP).

 

“It seems we have a big problem, because, with high taxation and multiple levies, it is expected we should have very high tax revenue,’’ he said.

 

He said the government should find out the reason for the discrepancy between desired growth and development.

 

He urged the government to create a more conducive environment that would encourage survival of SMEs in order to reduce the unemployment rate.

 

“Government doesn’t create jobs, it is the right enabling environment for SMEs that create jobs.”

 

He urged the government to streamline all taxation and levies across the three tiers of government to avoid the collapse of SMEs.

 

Taiwo Oyedele, head of tax and corporate advisory services, PwC Nigeria, called for the amendment of the constitution to ensure coordination among the three tiers of government and their agencies.

 

Oyedele said the multiplicity of government agencies with the same work function was becoming worrisome.

 

“You don’t need tax incentives for people to do business, we just need to remove the disincentives,” he said.

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NDDC Chairman Seeks the Use of ICT to Re-position Niger Delta

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Sen. Victor Ndoma-Egba (SAN), Chairman, Governing Board of Niger Delta Development Commission (NDDC), has reiterated its commitment to re-position the region through the development of Information Communication Technology (ICT).

He stated this when Mr Bayo Onanuga, Managing Director of the News Agency of Nigeria (NAN), and other management staff visited him on Friday in Abuja.

He said the commission had a programme whereby five optic cables were given to the region to increase internet access.

“You don’t need to be a university graduate to be an ICT guru.

“If we create ICT in the region, it will boost our economy, he said.

The chairman said the commission was also looking at the area of sport, young boys and girls could be engaged competitively.

“Today, sport is a huge industry. What one footballer earns is what a local government makes.

“It is an area that we must engage our young girls and boys competitively,” he added.

Ndoma-Egba commended the effort of the board in the development of the region so far.

“We are committed to doing things right, that is why we have the concept of the four Rs, Restructuring of the balance sheet, Reform of governance protocols, Restore the NDDC’s core mandate, and Reaffirm the Commission’s collective commitment to do what is right.’’

According to the chairman, the commission is being funded largely from proceeds from oil.

“Someday, we don’t know when but the oil will finish. If it thus finishes, Technology will make it less important.

“Today, people are talking of electric cars, while fuel pumps in some places in the world are being replaced by electric and gas pumps.

“So, we must begin to contemplate developing the region beyond oil, and to do so we have to envisage a frame work that can drive development beyond oil,” he said.

Ndoma-Egba said that the commission would set up a development bank that would guarantee development in the Niger Delta region.

According him, the advantage of the development bank is to drive big projects being embarked upon by the bank.

He said the board inherited more than 10,000 contracts, and cancelled more than N200 billion worth of contracts, because they lacked manpower.

“You see one person doing more than 50 projects, so we are trying to streamline to see that everything is balanced,” he said.

The chairman said the commission was a regional development agency that guarantees transparency, which calls for synergy to share responsibility with other stakeholders in the region.

Ndoma-Egba also pledged that the commission would continue its collaboration with NAN, adding that there was no doubt NAN was keeping up with technological trend in the world.

He urged NAN to continue to collaborate with the commission in its efforts to develop the region.

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