In celebration of the Black History Month, WorldRemit has launched the inaugural Top Ten Most Influential Africans in the Diaspora List, to recognize the contributions of Africans in America.
The list of ten notable Africans has four Nigerians – Kehinde Wiley, Olurotimi Badero, Bennet Omalu and Afam Onyema, who are being honoured for their groundbreaking success in a vast spectrum of professions, including arts, medicine, fashion, entertainment and philanthropy.
Most of the honorees are notable individuals who have partnered with top global leaders and institutions such as the United Nations, Oprah Winfrey, Barack Obama, The Oscars, Unicef, the World Economic Forum, the Smithsonian museum and many others.
The criteria used for selection is limited to first-generation African immigrants, who had a track record of making significant impacts in their respective fields, among the US African immigrant community or their communities back home. Also, they must have broken the barriers and status quo limiting African immigrants and created opportunities for others.
Commenting on the selection, Founder and Chairman, WorldRemit, Ismail Ahmed said, “As an African immigrant, I am fully aware of the hard work, sacrifices, and resilience needed to become successful in the West. I am immensely proud of all Africans who take the opportunity to achieve great things and contribute to their communities in an impactful way. To be able to honour Africans in the diaspora is enormously special to us here at WorldRemit.”
WorldRemit had the Publisher and CEO of OkayAfrica, Abiola Oke sit on the judging panel which selected ten finalists from a shortlisted group of black Africans based in the U.S. The other judges include WorldRemit founder and Chairman, Ismail Ahmed, who is also an immigrant originally hailing from Somaliland, and Daniel Canning, Managing Director of WorldRemit’s business in the Americas.
“Our mission at OkayAfrica is to connect a global audience to African culture, and through our publication, we highlight the positive contributions made by many African across the diaspora. It is fitting that WorldRemit established this program to coincide with Black History Month,” said Abiola Oke.
About the honorees
Kehinde Wiley, a portrait painter is a Nigerian-American based in New York City. He is known for his highly naturalistic paintings of black people and was commissioned in 2017 to paint a portrait of former President Barack Obama for the Smithsonian National Portrait Gallery, which has portraits of all the US presidents. He is the first black artist to paint official portraits of the president for the National Portrait Gallery.
Olurotimi John Badero is a physician, interventional cardiologist, nephrologist and cardio-nephrologist – the world’s first and only fully trained cardio-nephrologist. He obtained his medical degree from the Obafemi Awolowo University, before relocating to the United States for his medical residency and fellowships.
Bennet Ifeakandu Omalu is a physician, forensic pathologist, and neuropathologist – the first to discover and publish findings of chronic traumatic encephalopathy (CTE) in American football players while working at the Allegheny County coroner’s office in Pittsburgh. He got his medical degree from the University of Nigeria, Nsukka and worked for three years in Jos before relocating to the United States as a result of the tension following the inconclusive 1993 general elections. His career and achievements have been captured in the book and movie – Concussion.
Afam Onyema is a Non-Profit Founder & CEO of The GEANCO foundation. He graduated cum laude from Harvard University with a degree in psychology and played on the 1997 Ivy League Championship-winning football team. He worked for a couple of years before settling to run his family’s non-profit organization.
Why this matters: Black History Month started in 1976, and since then the American Government recognized February as the month for highlighting the significant contributions made by African Americans to areas including American literature, business, science, politics, philanthropy, entertainment, sports, and their communities.
[READ ALSO: Elumelu named in Ebony Power 100 List for 2020)
According to Daniel Canning Managing Director, Americas for WorldRemit; “Data continues to show that black Africans in the diaspora are contributing significantly to the U.S. economy and society as a whole, while in many cases still supporting their communities back home. At WorldRemit, we believe that it is important for us to acknowledge and highlight these positive contributions, and Black History Month seemed like the ideal time to do so”
What you should know: WorldRemit is a leading fintech provider specialised in international money transfer services. They broke new grounds in an industry previously dominated by offline legacy players by taking international money transactions online – making them more secured, faster and cost-effective. The company currently employs over 800 people globally and operates money transfers in over 150 countries in 6,500 money transfer corridors worldwide
For those receiving money, the company offers a wide range of options including bank deposit, cash collection, mobile airtime top-up and mobile money. Backed by Accel, TCV and Leapfrog – WorldRemit is headquartered in London, with a global presence n several countries the United States, Canada, South Africa, Japan, Singapore, the Philippines, Australia and New Zealand.
Shell considers relocating its headquarters to the UK
Royal Dutch Shell has consistently pushed for the Dutch Government to stop taxes on dividends.
Oil and gas giant, the Royal Dutch Shell, is considering moving its corporate headquarters from The Netherlands to Britain. This could be a move against the implementation of dividend tax in The Netherlands.
The move was disclosed by the oil company’s Chief Executive Officer, Ben Van Beurden, during an interview with a Dutch newspaper on Saturday, July 4, 2020. According to him, the oil giant is not ruling out relocating its headquarters from the Netherlands to Britain. He said:
“You always need to keep thinking. Nothing is permanent and of course we will look at the business climate. But moving your headquarters is not a trivial measure. You cannot think too lightly about that.”
Further confirming the Chief Executive Officer’s comment, a Shell spokesman told Reuters that the oil giant is looking at ways to simplify its dual structure, as it had been doing for many years.
Royal Dutch Shell has consistently pushed for the Dutch Government to stop the tax on dividend paid to shareholders, as this makes financing dividend, share buy-backs and acquisition a lot more difficult.
An earlier attempt by the Dutch Government to stop the dividend tax as an incentive to convince Unilever to unify its dual structure in Rotterdam, was met with an outcry by the public, who see that as a gift to rich foreigners.
It can be recalled that Shell had announced a few days ago that it might likely write down between $15 billion-$22 billion in post impairment charges for the second quarter of 2020. The impairment, which is its largest since the merger with Shell Transport and Trading Company Ltd in 2005, shows the huge adverse impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on the oil giant’s businesses.
Also, in a move that shocked investors, Shell for the first time since the Second World War, cut down the dividend that it paid to its shareholders by two-thirds due to the negative impact of the pandemic. The decision came as a surprise to many including shareholders of the oil company which is by far the biggest payer of dividend in the FTSE 100.
Governor David Umahi of Ebonyi tests positive for COVID-19
Umahi has directed those who worked in the budget review for 2020 to immediately test for COVID-19.
The Governor of Ebonyi State, David Umahi has tested positive for COVID-19, reported on Saturday afternoon.
Umahi’s Special Assistant on Media, Mr. Francis Nwaze, confirmed the news and also revealed that some associates of the governor also tested positive.
He also said that the Governor is not showing any symptoms of the disease, though he has isolated himself in line with the NCDC protocols.
“The governor has directed his Deputy, Dr Kelechi, to coordinate the state’s fight against the disease and appealed to the citizens to take the NCDC protocols seriously.
“He will currently be working from ‘home’ and will be conducting all meetings virtually,” Nwaze added.
David Umahi becomes the sixth Nigerian governor to test positive for the disease, Governors of Kaduna, El- Rufai, Bauchi, Bala Mohammed and Oyo, Seyi Makinde have fully recovered while the recent cases have been the Governors of Ondo, Rotimi Akeredolu and Delta, Ifeanyi Okowa.
On Thursday, Governor Umahi announced that the state’s Executive Council was finalizing the budget review required by World Bank and said “most us broke down and are being treated of malaria.”
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He also directed those who worked in the budget review for 2020 to immediately test for COVID-19 and admitted he is expecting a second test result after he initially tested negative in March.
Nigeria’s debt rises to $79.5 billion, as debt to revenue ratio worsens
According to data obtained from DMO, $27.66 billion (N9.9 trillion) is the total external debt.
Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy’s total public debt rose to $79.5 billion (N28.63 trillion) as of the first quarter of 2020, which is March 31, 2020. This represents a 15% increase from the figure that was recorded for the corresponding period in 2019, which was about $69.09 billion (N24.94 trillion).
This was disclosed in a latest publication by the Debt Management Office (DMO) on Friday June 3, 2020.
Nigeria has seen its debt stock rise sharply in recent years as the country tries to fund infrastructural and developmental projects and boost its fragile economy, which has been in and out of recession. The country’s economy has been projected to fall into recession again, due to the adverse impact of COVID-19 that has seen oil prices crash globally.
According to data obtained from DMO, $27.66 billion (N9.9 trillion) is the total external debt. This represents 34.89% of the total public debt stock. Whereas, $51.64 billion (N18.64 trillion) is the total domestic debt, which represents 65.11% of the total public debt.
The Federal Government accounts for 50.77% of the total domestic debt, which is $40.26 billion (N14.53 trillion), whereas the State Governments and Federal Capital Territory account for 14.34% of the total domestic borrowing which is $11.37 billion (N4.11 trillion).
Nigeria has been under a lot of fiscal crisis following the crash of oil prices triggered by the coronavirus pandemic. The oil sector accounts for about 90% of the country’s foreign exchange earnings and about 60% of its total revenue.
The country, which had lined up a series of debt issue this year, had to halt the external commercial borrowing due to oil price collapse. The Minister for Finance, Zainab Ahmed, had last week disclosed that the country would no longer go ahead with its Eurobond debt issue.
The Nigerian government, for now, is focusing on the domestic markets and concessionary loans to help fund the 2020 budget deficit which is made worse by drop in revenue. In the recently approved 2020 revised budget, the federal government is expected to borrow N850 billion from the domestic market.
This rising debt has put a lot of pressure on the government’s resources as it spent $1.69 billion (N609,13 billion) to service its domestic debt in the first quarter of 2020 alone.
Nairametrics had reported that Nigeria’s global rating is at risk due to the sharp rise in the country’s sovereign debt and a growing finance gap. According to a report from the global rating agency, Fitch Ratings, this could trigger a rating downgrade as policymakers struggle to stimulate growth and deal with the impact of low oil prices and sharp drop in revenue.
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According to Fitch, the country’s debt to revenue ration is set to deteriorate further to 538% by the end of 2020, from the 348% that it was a year earlier.