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Biya has reminded youths of illusions, perils of traveling at all costAccess Holdings Plc confirms death of its CEO, Dr Herbert Wigwe

In his message to the youth on the 58th edition of the Youth Day, President Paul Biya expressed his worry over the growing desire of a section of youths who crave to travel out of Cameroon. Especially when it turns into an obsession and even concerns people who have succeeded in their social integration locally.

He ascertain that Cameroon, like many others in the world, is experiencing a difficult situation. But the solution is not always to walk away.

‘Leave, yes, but not at any cost. In addition, know that while you aspire to leave, many foreigners are trying to settle in Cameroon, confirming that it is a welcoming land and a country of opportunities’ said the President.

He added that, ‘In saying this, I do not lose sight of the legitimate aspirations that are yours. Nor the concerns that are those of all the young people of your generation, wherever they are.’

The president reminded his young compatriots, that they are the present and the future of Cameroon. Who are tasked with the responsibility to co
ntinue, with faith and determination, the exhilarating work of building this strong and prosperous nation.

Most Cameroonian migrants are in search of greener pastures.

According to the Human Flight and Brain Drain Index, the average value for Cameroon in 2021 is 7.1 index points, which is above the world average of 5.25, based on 173 countries. Most Cameroonian skilled migrants emigrate to neighbouring countries, to Europe, or to the United States. Emigration from Cameroon contributes to brain drain on an on-going basis. According to the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OSCE), 42.3% of the 57,050 Cameroonians working in Europe are highly qualified. Afrol News further indicates that, according to the Cameroonian Medical Association, 4,200 Cameroonian doctors, mostly specialists, are working abroad and only 800 are left in the country with a doctor-patient ratio of 1:10,000-20,000 in the cities and 1:40,000-50,000 in rural areas, writes Migrant Refugees.

Over the last decade, a consider
able number of people have emigrated from Cameroon. According to the most recent publication by Macro Trends in 2021, Cameroon experienced a steady increase in its international migration from 2000 to 2015. In 2005, the number of international migrants from Cameroon was 258,737, a 13.29% increase from 2000. By 2010 it had increased to 289,091, a rise of 11.73% from 2005. In 2015, the number was 381,984, which is a 32.13% increase from 2010. The most recent statistic of international migration as a percentage of the population was published in 2015, and it stood at 1.6%

Source: Cameroon News Agency

The Board of Directors of Access Holdings Plc has confirmed the passing of Dr Herbert Wigwe, CFR, the Company’s founding Group Chief Executive Officer (CEO) and former Group Managing Director of its flagship subsidiary, Access Bank Plc.

In a statement copied to the Ghana News Agency, the Board of Access Holdings Plc said Dr Wigwe died alongside his wife and son on Friday, February 9, 2024, in a helicopter accident in the United States of America.

‘The entire Access Family mourns the loss of Herbert, Doreen and Chizi. We extend our deep and sincere sympathies to his family and loved ones,’ it said.

The statement said Dr Wigwe was a key driving force and a larger-than-life personality who brought his remarkable passion, energy, and experience to the transformation of the Access franchise since joining the Bank in 2002.

Commenting on the passage of Dr Wigwe, Mr Abubakar Jimoh, Chairman of Access Holdings said: ‘The Access Family has suffered a major loss with the passing of Dr Wigwe who was a great friend an
d fine gentleman.

‘He had a prodigious intellect, admirable personal qualities, and vast business experience which he brought to bear on the Access Family and for which we owe him a debt of gratitude.

‘We remain confident that the Access Group will build further on Dr Wigwe’s legacy of growth and operational excellence.’

Dr Wigwe was instrumental in the growth of Access Bank, which he co-founded with his friend and business partner Aigboje Aig-Imoukhuede.

He took over as Access Bank Group CEO in 2014, focusing on the Bank’s expansion in Nigeria and Africa before taking the helm at Access Holdings in 2022.

Under his leadership, Access Bank drove its African strategy to become Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest retail bank by customer base.

Mr Olumide Olatunji, Country Managing Director for Access Bank Ghana, said: ‘We are deeply saddened by the demise of Dr Herbert Wigwe, who was a man of many colours because of the exceptional impact he had on the growth of the banking industry and communities we serve.’

‘As
our first Board Chairman and a pan Africanist, Dr Wigwe was pivotal in nurturing and making the Access Bank franchise relevant in Ghana as a key development partner. His legacy will never be forgotten’.

Dr Wigwe was a member of the Access Bank UK board as well as the board of the Nigerian Business Coalition Against AIDS (NiBUCAA).

He has long been an advocate for the eradication of malaria in Africa, working with the Corporate Alliance on Malaria to support this objective.

He also sat on the board of the Nigerian Mortgage Refinance Company and Friends Africa and was an honorary member of the Chartered Institute of Bankers of Nigeria and a fellow of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of Nigeria and Institute of Credit Administration.

A two-time winner of the African Banker of the Year award from the African Banker Awards, Dr Wigwe was a passionate advocate of the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, which form the bedrock of Access Holdings’ growth strategy.

His academic credentials include a
degree in Accounting from the University of Nigeria, an MA in Banking and Finance from the University College of North Wales (now Bangor University), and an MSc in Financial Economics from the University of London. He also completed the Harvard Business School Executive Management Programme.

Dr Wigwe recently founded Wigwe University, Africa’s first ivy league institution dedicated to providing a world-class education and raising the next generation of fearless leaders.

Access Holdings Plc is a leading multinational financial services group that offers commercial banking, lending, payment, insurance, and asset management services.

Headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, Access Holdings operates through a network of more than 700 branches and service outlets, spanning three continents, 20 countries, and 60+ million customers.

Access transitioned into a holding company to drive rapid growth and become a full-scale ecosystem player offering interconnected services across customer needs.

Established in 2022, Access
Holdings Plc consists of the Access Bank Group; Access Pensions; a Payment and Switching Services Company; a Digital Lending Company, and an Insurance Brokerage Company.

The banking vertical serves its various markets through four business segments: Retail, Business, Commercial and Corporate, and has enjoyed what is it arguably Africa’s most successful banking growth trajectory in the last eighteen years, becoming one of Africa’s largest retail banks by customer base and Sub-Saharan Africa’s largest bank by total assets.

Access Holdings strives to deliver sustainable economic growth that is profitable, environmentally responsible, and socially relevant, helping customers to access more and achieve their dreams.

Source: Ghana News Agency

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