From Cape to Cairo via Nairobi and the busy ports of Lagos, Africa has it fair share of dynamic business leaders who have not just built world-class businesses, but have positioned the continent’s economies for unprecedented growth and development. Ventures Africa takes a look at 21 ‘words of wisdom’ from some of Africa’s billionaire businessmen.
Miloud Chaabi, Morocco
Miloud Chaabi is a business tycoon with an estimated net worth of $2.1 billion placing him as the richest person in Morocco. Chaabi began working as a farmer and goat herder in his early teens. He eventually saved up enough money to move to Kenitra. He launched his first construction company, Ynna Holdings, in the late 40s. He grew Ynna Holdings from a construction firm into the ownership firm of hotels, supermarkets, and renewable energy, among other holdings. He owns the Riad Mogador hotel chain and the Aswak Assalam chain of supermarkets. He also runs one of Morocco’s most prolific charity groups, the Miloud Chaabi Foundation
Quote: ‘‘Bribe seekers know who to look for and my company’s reputation for integrity means I never get hassled into bribery’’.
Aliko Dangote, Nigeria
Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote is an industrialist currently worth $20 billion. He founded the Dangote Group which controls much of Nigeria’s commodities trade. This business magnate and philanthropist referred to as ‘‘the golden child of Nigerian business circle’’ once drove a taxi cab on the streets of London to fund his education, three decades later, his consortium now spans across many sectors of the Nigerian economy and is expanding to the rest of Africa. He has retained his position as Africa’s richest man for the 3rd year in a row.
Quote: ‘‘If you give me $5 billion today, I will invest everything here in Nigeria. Let us put our heads together and work’’.
Mohammed Ibrahim, Sudan
Mohammed Ibrahim is a mobile communications entrepreneur. He is a respected international philanthropist, who is credited with ‘transforming the continent’ and is thought to be the ‘most powerful black man in Britain’. In 2007, he launched the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, which awards an initial prize of $5 million and an annual life payment of $200,000 to African Heads-of-State awardees. Past recipients of the award include Nelson Mandela and Olusegun Obasanjo.
Quote: ‘‘What do you do if you are an executive who resigns? You declare yourself a consultant’’.