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Dangote, MTN, GTBank Emerge Most Admired African Brands

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For the third time in a row, Dangote Group has emerged as the most admired African brand, of African continent origin, by consumers, paired with the telecommunication giant, MTN in a survey of 100 Africa best brands announced in a novel global virtual event that incorporated the market openings of Kenya, South Africa, and Nigeria.

GTBank returns to the top spot in financial services and the United Kingdom’s BBC retains its media category ranking as the most admired media brand in separate category sub-surveys of the most admired financial services and media brands in Africa. African brands only occupy 13 of the 100 entries, seven less from last year.

Established 10 years ago, to coincide with the 2010 FIFA World Cup, the world’s biggest single sporting event, the Brand Africa 100: Africa’s Best Brands survey and rankings have established themselves as the most authoritative survey, analysis, and metric of brands in Africa.

African brands only occupied 13 of the 100 entries, 7 less from last year’s. Founder and Chairman of Brand Africa and Brand Leadership, Thebe Ikalafeng during an online interactive session via Zoom said: “African brands have an important role in helping to build the image, competitiveness and transforming the continent’s promise into a real change. It’s concerning that in the 10 years since the triumphant FIFA World Cup in South Africa which globally highlighted the promise and capability of Africa, and despite the vibrant entrepreneurial environment, Africa is not creating more competitive brands to meet the needs of its growing consumer market.” Global Client Development Manager, GeoPoll, Caitlin van Niekerk said: “The reach and accessibility of mobile across the continent enabled us to survey respondents across a representative sample of countries quickly and effectively, giving us vital and timely results at a critical time. Kantar has been the insight lead for Brand Africa since inception in 2010.”

It is a consumer-led survey that seeks to establish brand preferences across Africa. The survey is conducted among a representative sample of respondents 18 years and older, in 27 countries which collectively represent 50 percent of the continent, covering all economic regions and accounting for an estimated 80 percent of the population and the GDP of Africa. The 2020 survey was conducted between February and April 2020 and yielded over 15,000 brand mentions and over 2,000 unique brands

Out of the top 100 brands in 2010/11, only half still appear in this year’s list due to mergers, acquisitions, and the obsolescence of many brands. The most prominent changes are in the technology category with the demise Blackberry (#32 in 2010/11), the consolidation of Vodafone (#54 in 2010/11 and now #13 in 2020) which acquired Vodacom in 2008 and re-branded in 2011, Etisalat (#40 in 2010/11) re-branding to 9 Mobile in 2017 and Motorola (#39) being acquired by Lenovo in 2014. A Chinese brand, Tecno, has raced up the ranking from #33 to #5 in the rankings – a dominant performance for one of China’s premier global brands that are not even sold in China

In his reaction, Group Chief Corporate Communication Officer of the Dangote Group, Anthony Chiejina said the management was not unexpected of the ranking because the company has a long-standing reputation for quality, relevance compliance, and social stewardship. “Our mission and vision engage and inspire us to buy extension connect us to with both our internal and external stakeholders.

“We fervently believe that only Africans can develop Africa, and this gives us a stronger sense of relevance in all the countries where we have our operations. we are touching lives by providing their basic needs and empowering Africans more than ever before creating jobs reducing capital flight, helping government conserve foreign exchange drain by supporting different industrial infrastructural projects of African government.”

Mr. Chiejina stated further that Dangote Cement has been producing high quality and affordable cement, reducing poverty, engaging in unprecedented philanthropy, and above all respecting the laws of the land where we operate. “All these are our credo and we do not compromise it, it is our way. And the ranking is just an acknowledgment of all these by our stakeholders, We keep our brand promise and stay authentic,” he concluded

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The Aristocrat: Kayode Olanshile Alfred, Celebrity Journalist and Style Genius To Launch “2020 Green With Envy Collections”

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It’s more than 180 days since the 2020 New Year, and it seems certain folks are prepping up their formations to spice the remaining half of the year with colour, class and cool.

Kayode Olanshile Alfred, the champion of elegant fashion and Aristocrat Clothings, is topping the list of these folks and has made highlights available for a new level in the clothing industry. The 2020 Green with Envy Collections is the first of its kind and will undoubtedly overturn the sad and sorry temperament of elegance-seeking folks, a welcome development after the Covid-19 pandemic.

Since adventuring from journalism into the industry of fashion wear and elegance, Kayode Alfred has become one of those rare monstrosities who are both new to the game and absolute masters of it. The secret to his constant success is the ability to read the currents of fashion demands and promptly satisfy clients. However, he has managed to add—in-between these processes—splashes of the ordinary and the extraordinary, one to pamper clientele and another to improve their tastes. The Green With Envy Collections is also a formation of these two approaches.

Alfred’s baby and company, Aristocrat Clothings, is firmly behind the 2020 Green With Envy Collections. With the launching very imminent, the plan is to harmonize the company’s anniversary with the new development. Thus, with the new Collections, customers will now be able to access Aristocrat Clothings across Nigeria and even in Ghana, especially via the company’s partner, Twice as Nice.

The development is also primed towards reaching far beyond the African continent. In a little while, folks from America and London—and indeed all of Europe—will be able to walk down their respective blocks and buy the signature Aristocrat casual wears and face-caps from Aristocrat Clothings stores.

Nobody doubts the certainty of this new expansion of Aristocrat Clothings. Was it so recently that the company partnered with Twice as Nice? That single investment and foresight contributed to Alfred’s company becoming one of the leading fashion houses in Nigeria.

The 2020 Green With Envy Collections is just a new phase in the advancement of Aristocrat Clothings, and the business goals of Kayode Alfred. To say that the journalist-turned-fashion merchant is extraordinary is to downplay matters. Whenever asked, the genius of penmanship and refinement always deflects the praises and encomium to God, to an awesome crew, and a mission to see simplicity and elegance at the height of clothing and fashioning.

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‘The Worst Is Yet To Come’ As COVID-19 Cases Exceed 10 Million Worldwide —– WHO

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Six months into the coronavirus pandemic, over 10 million people have been infected and more than 500,000 have died, data from worldometers.info has revealed.

The World Health Organisation (WHO) head, Tedros Ghebreyesus, said the worst is yet to come, noting that the virus would infect many more people if governments did not start to implement the right policies.

“Six months ago, none of us could have imagined how our world – and our lives – would be thrown into turmoil by this new virus”, Mr Ghebreyesus told a virtual briefing on Monday, the BBC reported.

“We all want this to be over. We all want to get on with our lives. But the hard reality is this is not even close to being over,” he said. “Although many countries have made some progress, globally the pandemic is actually speeding up.”

The WHO chief noted that “we’re all in this for the long haul.”

“We will need even greater stores of resilience, patience, humility, and generosity in the months ahead,” he said. “We have already lost so much — but we cannot lose hope.”

In an atmosphere of global political division and fractures on a national level, “the worst is yet to come. I’m sorry to say that,” he said.

“With this kind of environment and condition, we fear the worst.”

The latest grim milestone came on Tuesday, nearly four months after the WHO declared the coronavirus a pandemic on March 11, when there were 118,000 confirmed cases and 4,000 had died.

The first 41 cases were confirmed in Wuhan, China, on January 10. But the contagion has since spread to the world’s six continents and over 200 countries.

For most of its victims, the coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks after a combination of treatment therapy, leading to the recovery of almost six million sufferers.

But the contagion is far more deadly for especially older adults and people with existing health problems. It can cause severe pneumonia that can make breathing almost impossible for the victim.

This has made ventilators, a piece of automated equipment that pumps air in and out of the lungs of patients unable to breathe on their own, very scare and high in demand.

As the virus continues to spread, life, as it was, is no longer the same with billions across the world trying to recover from the economic downturn of the lockdown measures. Hospitals are under strain as confirmed infections pile up.

There is no vaccine yet for coronavirus and the pathogen has been mutating in its pattern of spread. A study found that deadly disease can spread through the air and remains contagious for hours.

Statistics

As of the time of filing this report, there are 10,590,953 confirmed cases across the globe, data from worldometers.info, an online dashboard that tracks the global number of confirmed coronavirus cases showed.

Some severely affected countries including the U.S., Brazil, Russia, India, Italy, France, and Spain.

However, the four worst-hit countries – U.S., Brazil, Russia, and India – have a combined figure of over five million infections, more than half of the global total.

There are 4,277,962 active cases as of the time of reporting. Of that number, about 4,220,122 (99 percent) are in mild conditions while only 57,840 (1 percent) cases are in serious or critical conditions.

Meanwhile, about 5,798,970 people have recovered after treatment so far worldwide.

As of the time of reporting, about 514,021 people have succumbed to coronavirus, data from worldometers.info showed.

The United States which already has the highest number of reported infections in the world – 2,727,853 – is also the country with the highest death toll of more than 130, 000.

Europe, however, remains the worst-affected region with the combined death toll in Italy, Spain, France, Russia, and the U.K exceeding 150,000, showing the high price nations can pay if the virus outstrips the capacity of a country’s health care system.

Some experts believe the death toll could be higher as many people suspected of the disease die without being tested.

Countries have continued to report inadequate testing kits for potential patients of the virus.

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Hushpuppi, Woodberry Planning $435m Cyber Heist Before Arrest —- Dubai Criminal Investigation Department

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Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, Director of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Dubai Police said Hushpuppi and his gang were planning a $435 million cyber fraud on a global scale before they were busted.

Al Jallaf told Gulf Today, that the simultaneous raids of Hushpuppi and his gang yielded incriminating documents, which have since been confiscated.

Both Gulf Today and UAE National published salacious details of the arrests of the 12-man gang of fraudsters, led by Raymond Igbalode Abbas, also known as Hushpuppi.

Also arrested with him was Olalekan Jacob Ponle aka “Woodberry”, along with ten other cybercriminals in a special operation.

Here is the story as published by Golf Today:

Dubbed “Fox Hunt 2”, the operation took down the suspects for committing crimes outside the UAE, including money-laundering, cyber fraud, hacking, criminal impersonating, scamming individuals, banking fraud, and identity theft.

Lt. General Abdullah Khalifa Al Marri, the Commander-in-chief of Dubai Police, said the arrest of ‘Hushpuppi’, ‘Woodberry’ and ten gang members involved in money laundering and cyber fraud activities, is another achievement added to the proud record of Dubai police in ensuring the emirate’s security and safety as well as preserving people’s money and property.

“Similar to operation ‘Fox Hunt 1’ that took down an African gang of nine online scammers last February, Op ‘Fox Hunt 2’ is another painful hit to cybercriminals who try to mess with the world’s security and safety,” he said.

Al-Marri further reaffirmed the force’s commitment to foiling cyber fraud and online scams using the latest technology.

“As criminals constantly change their criminal methods, Dubai Police work tirelessly to qualify elites of officers and employees specialized in facilitating the latest technologies to tackle emerging and transnational organized crime,” he said.

The commander-in-chief of Dubai Police also praised the tremendous efforts made by the force’s teams who arrested the suspects and mastered the use of modern technologies.

The director of Dubai CID said the raid resulted in confiscating incriminating documents of a planned fraud on a global scale worth AED 1.6 billion ($ 435 million).

“The team also seized more than Dhs150 million ($40.9 million) in cash, 13 luxury cars with an estimated value of Dhs25 million ($6.8 million) obtained from fraud crimes, and confiscated 21 computer devices, 47 smartphones, 15 memory sticks, five hard disks containing 119,580 fraud files as well as addresses of 1,926,400 victims”, he said.

After conducting further investigations and analyzing confiscated electronic devices, Dubai Police investigators uncovered sensitive information mined by the suspects on individuals and companies overseas including bank accounts and fake credit cards as well as documents and files condemning the gangs’ illegal activities.

Synchronized Raids

According to Expert Major General Khalil Ibrahim Al Mansouri, Assistant Commander-in-Chief for Criminal Investigation Affairs, the suspects were caught in a series of synchronized raids by six SWAT teams from Dubai Police.

“The operation was carried out in a highly professional manner in terms of planning and execution as well as setting a zero hour to take down all gang members at the same time,” Al Mansouri said.

Al Mansouri said the operation foiled the gang’s bid to deceive many people from around the world and steal their money.

He also lauded the efforts of the task force assigned to the case.

“The investigation teams at Dubai Police have done a great job in utilizing AI-based technologies, including the Criminal Data Analysis Centre at Dubai Police, to track down the cyber fraudsters,” Al Mansouri said.

Revealing the operation’s details, Brigadier Jamal Salem Al Jallaf, Director of Criminal Investigation Department (CID) at Dubai Police, said that upon receiving the security intel about an African gang involved in money-laundering and cyber fraud, an investigation team was formed to track down the suspects, make the arrest and put an end to the gang’s illegal activities that have been badly affecting individuals and companies overseas and targeting their bank accounts and credit cards.

“After verifying available information, the team has started to track the gang including “Hushpuppi”, who celebrated his wealth via social media platform, under a businessman façade, in an attempt to lure victims from all over the world,” Al Jallaf said.

Al Jallaf said the anti-cybercrime task force was able to track the gang members and detect their criminal activities including creating fake accounts on social media websites with fake nicknames, hacking corporate emails to deceive clients into making money transfers to the gang’s bank accounts.

“The suspects also targeted victims overseas by creating fake websites for well-known companies and banks in a bid to steal victims’ credit card information and then launder the stolen money,” Al Jallaf continued.

The director of Dubai CID said the raid resulted in confiscating incriminating documents of a planned fraud on a global scale worth AED 1.6 billion ($ 435 million).

“The team also seized more than Dhs150 million ($40.9 million) in cash, 13 luxury cars with an estimated value of Dhs25 million ($6.8 million) obtained from fraud crimes, and confiscated 21 computer devices, 47 smartphones, 15 memory sticks, five hard disks containing 119,580 fraud files as well as addresses of 1,926,400 victims”, he said.

After conducting further investigations and analyzing confiscated electronic devices, Dubai Police investigators uncovered sensitive information mined by the suspects on individuals and companies overseas including bank accounts and fake credit cards as well as documents and files condemning the gangs’ illegal activities.

Fox Hunt 1

Last February, Dubai Police arrested an African gang of nine fraudsters specialized in cyber scams after they had run 81 fake businesses across 18 countries around the world.

Dubbed “Fox Hunt 1” the operation revealed a hidden online fraud network that deceived victims into transferring money in return of job opportunities. The gang used multiple bank accounts to make money transfers and deposits totaling more than Dhs32 million ($8.7 million)

The operation prevented the gang from abusing 800,000 email addresses and foiled their bid to steal Dhs4 billion ($1.08 billion).

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