THISDAY Honors FIVE African Business Champions

As a way of honouring Nigerian companies whose operations have transcended the Nigerian borders, THISDAY Board of Editors has named five firms based on their track record, innovative ideas and business edge in flying the Nigerian flag on the international level.

In an age when perceptions about Nigerians are mostly unsavoury, this award is in recognition of those who are, by dint of hard work and courageous adventure, putting the name of Nigeria on the map of international business.

The five companies nominated are Dangote Group, Globacom, Industrial and General Insurance (IGI), Oando and Omatek Computers. Nigeria’s Global Champions (Business)

Dangote Group The Dangote Goup was founded by Alhaji Aliko Dangote who is the President of the Group. The Dangote Group has operations in Nigeria and several other countries in West Africa. Dangote controls much of Nigeria’s commodities trade through his corporate connections.

With an estimated current net worth of around $3.3 billion, he was ranked by Forbes as the 334th richest man in the world as of March 5, 2008, making him the richest African citizen and the second richest black person in the world. The Dangote Group, originally a small trading firm founded in 1977, is now a multi-billion naira conglomerate with operations in Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, and Togo.

Dangote’s businesses include food processing, cement manufacturing, and freight. Dangote recently acquired 45 per cent stake in South Africa’s cement firm, Sephaku Cement, a subsidiary of Sephaku Holdings Limited.

Globacom Globacom is fast becoming an African brand, having been exported to the West African countries of Ghana and Benin Republic with plans to cover more countries on the continent. Globacom, branded as Africa’s fastest growing telecoms company, is the country’s second national operator (SNO).

Dr Mike Adenuga Jnr, the Chairman of Globacom, is a consummate Nigerian businessman with vast interests in several sectors of the economy, including banking and oil. The company, as the SNO, is about completing the laying of over 10,000 kilometres of fibre optic cables across the country preparatory to launching landline services and value-added services such as broadband internet access.

Globacom is building Africa’s first private submarine cable from Nigeria through other African countries to UK and the US. It is also respected for its innovations, having pioneered the introduction into the Nigerian market of various products and services such as 3G, Blackberry, Mobile Internet, Vehicle Tracking, Multimedia Messaging Service, Voice SMS, Text to Email, Mobile Banking and Per Second Billing.

Globacom also crashed the cost of SIM acquisition from about N30,000 (about $252) to almost zero and was credited by the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) in a 2004 report for leading the revolution that made telecoms available and accessible to Nigerians in general.

IGI The Industrial and General Insurance Company Plc is unarguably one of the well-run insurance companies in the country. From its modest beginning, the company has established its presence in Uganda and Rwanda through the acquisition of majority interests in some insurance firms in those countries.

Heavily capitalised and well-run, the company is being led by Mr. Remi Olowude, with a team of dedicated management. As a measure of public confidence in the company, its private placement in 2007 was oversubscribed by over 500 per cent.

Today, the company has shareholders’ fund in excess of N15 billion and is one of the most profitable firms in the sub sector.

Oando Mr Wale Tinubu has led the Oando Plc team to phenomenal successes. The company has successfully transformed into an energy giant in the West African sub region through innovative management and consistent value creation.

It has evolved from a traditional downstream company to an integrated energy solutions provider. It is one of Nigeria’s leading indigenous oil companies with investments spanning the entire energy value chain. Oando currently operates in Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and Benin Republic.

The company operates both in the downstream and upstream sectors of the oil and gas industry. Oando’s leadership position as Nigeria’s foremost integrated energy company is associated with its successes in the petroleum products marketing business.

As the nation’s leading oil retailer, with one in every five litres of petroleum products being sold or distributed by Oando via its 500 retail outlets and strategically located terminals, it has continuously ensured products supply and availability in Nigeria and West Africa.

• Omatek Computers The Managing Director/Chief Executive Officer of Omatek Computers Ventures Plc, Mrs. Florence Seriki, is another enterprising Nigerian business leader who has stamped her feet on the West African sub-region.

After successfully building the Nigerian company into a world class organisation, producing computers for use all over the country and within the West African sub region, Seriki took the company to Ghana and established a factory there. The company has employed several Ghanaians and boost the nation’s economy.

Ghanaian Communications Minister Dr Benjamin Aggrey-Ntim said recently that the Nigerian companies in Ghana, particularly the Omatek computer company, have helped in boosting the Ghanaian economy. Aggrey-Ntim commended the foresight of the Nigerian computer company (Omatek Ventures Plc), saying that the decision to come to Ghana was a wise one.

source – thisdayonline

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