Catholic Church in Africa elected Richard Kuuia Baawobr of Ghana as new head


His Eminence Richard Kuuia Baawobr of Ghana (middle) is now the highest-ranking member of the Roman Catholic Church in Africa. This is the first time since the establishment of SECAM 53 years ago that a Ghanaian has been elected the President of the body/Photo: SECAM



By Favour Nnabugwu


The Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa, and Madagascar (SECAM), the association of Catholic Bishops of Africa, Madagascar, and the Islands, has elected His Eminence Richard Kuuia Baawobr of Ghana as its new President.

His Eminence Richard Kuuia Baawobr is now the highest-ranking member of the Roman Catholic Church in Africa.

The election took place in Accra, Ghana, on Saturday during the 19th Plenary Assembly of SECAM, whereby 130 participants, including cardinals and bishops from all corners of the continent.

The new President succeeds His Eminence Philippe Cardinal Ouédraogo from Burkina Faso.

Another Cardinal, His Eminence Fridolin Besungu Ambongo of the Archdiocese of Kinshasha, in the Democratic Republic of Congo, was elected First Vice-President, while Most Rev. Lucio Andrice Muandula of the Diocese of Xai Xai, in Mozambique, was elected Second Vice President.

The new President of SECAM, His Eminence Richard Kuuia Baawobr, was named Cardinal on 29 May 2022 by Pope Francis and will be officially installed Cardinal on 27 August 2022.

SECAM, established in 1969 in Kampala, Uganda during the visit of St. Pope Paul VI, was born out of the desire of African Catholic Bishops present at the Second Vatican Council to speak with one voice on matters pertaining to the Church in Africa.

The Symposium, headquartered in Accra, consists of eight regional associations:

  • Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central Africa (ACEAC).
  • Association of Episcopal Conferences of Central African Region (ACERAC).
  • Assembly of the Catholic Hierarchy of Egypt (AHCE).
  • Association of Member Episcopal Conferences of Eastern Africa (AMECEA).
  • Episcopal Conferences of the Indian Ocean (CEDOI).
  • Regional Episcopal Conference of North Africa (CERNA).
  • Inter-Regional Meeting of the Bishops of Southern Africa (IMBISA).
  • Reunion of Episcopal Conference of West Africa (RECOWA/CERAO).
Pension Asset gains N843 bn in 6 months, hit record high of N14. 27 trn

By Favour Nnabugwu



Nigeria’s pension fund assets rose by N842.7 billion in the first half of the year, hitting a record high of N14.27 trillion from N13.42 billion recorded at the beginning of the year, according to a report released by the National Pension Commission (PenCom).

On the other hand, a total of 27,157 RSA contributors switched their pension managers between January and June 2022, bringing the total number of RSA transfers processed by the Commission to 78,549 since the opening of the transfer window.

Since the launch of the PFA transfer window, which gives an opportunity for Retirement Savings Account (RSA) holders to switch from one pension fund administrator to another, Q1 2022 recorded the highest quarterly movements, increasing by 20.1 percent quarter-on-quarter, an indication of how competitive the industry has become.

Meanwhile, RSA registrations increased by 2.8 percent to stand at 9.79 million from 9.53 million recorded as of December 2021, which represents an increase of 266,830 new RSA registrations in six months.
Total pension funds increased by 6.28 percent from N13.42 trillion as of December 2021 to N14.27 trillion as of June 2022.

Investments in corporate debt securities rose significantly by 26.11 percent to N1.19 trillion in the review period (year-to-date).
PFAs increased their investments in real estate by 50.66 percent to N236.2 billion as of June 2022 from N156.8 billion recorded as of the beginning of the year.

Investments in private equity funds dipped slightly by 0.24 percent to stand at N38.87 billion from N38.96 billion.
Meanwhile, PFA allocations to FGN securities stood at N9.01 trillion, a 2.67 percent increase from N8.77 trillion in December 2021. It is worth adding that investments in FGN securities accounted for about 63 percent of the total pension fund.

This is likely to continue considering the growth in the interest rates of the FGN Bonds and BN Treasury Bills, which have been recording significant oversubscriptions.

A major incentive is that FGN securities are safer than other variable assets, which most RSA funds are averse to.
The RSA fund II accounted for most of the fund contribution with N6.24 trillion, representing 43.7 percent of the total pension funds, followed by RSA Fund III with N3.86 trillion, which represents 27 percent of the total assets.

Pension Fund Administrators earn N125.4bn in 2021 – PenCom

By Favour Nnabugwu



Pension Fund Administrators (PFAs) earned N125.39 billion in the financial year ended December 31, 2021, according to the National Pension Commission (PenCom)

PenCom in its 2021 annual report on its official website revealed

The commission said the figure indicated an increase of 14.33 per cent, compared to the total income of N109.68 billion earned in 2020 stated that the total operating expenses of the PFAs amounted to N65.58 billion, as against N55.20 billion recorded in 2020, while gross operating profits in the industry increased from N54.78 billion in 2020 to N59.52 billion in 2021.

According to the commission, the major source of income for the PFAs is fund management fees, which account for over 90 per cent of total income.

It noted that the PFAs recorded combined Return on Assets of 19.68 per cent and Return on Equity of 25.44 per cent, which indicated that the PFAs sustained their profitability in the year under review.

PenCom said the six Closed Pension Fund Administrators (CPFAs) generated total revenue of N3.65 billion, which was an increase of 19.67 per cent, when compared with the total inflow of N3.05 billion generated in 2020.

The commission explained that the major source of inflows for the CPFAs were receipts from their sponsor companies, which constituted 65 per cent of their total revenue, while management fees and investment income accounted for 32 per cent and three per cent respectively.

According to PenCom, the CPFAs incurred total expenditure of N3.55 billion and a net gain of N92.44 million for the year ended Dec. 2021.

It stated that the operating expenses consisted mainly of expenses on staff , which accounted for over 65 per cent of operating expenses.