An African American blog of politics, culture, and social activism.
Source: Forbes Magazine
Africa’s 40 richest people have yet to make a mark in global philanthropy, but some of them are making notable efforts in their home countries.
While conducting intensive research for Forbes’ inaugural list of Africa’s 40 Richest, we also probed the philanthropic donations of the continent’s wealthiest people.
While Africans in general are an extremely charitable lot, only a small fraction of its 40 richest people are noteworthy givers- like Zimbabwean telecoms tycoon Strive Masiyiwa. Masiyiwa, founder of Econet Wireless, is also the founder of the Capernaum Trust, a Zimbabwean charity that provides bursaries and scholarships to over 28,000 orphaned children.
Then there is Theophilus Danjuma. A former Nigerian defense minister, he is one of the continent’s most recognizable givers. Last year he bestowed a $100 million endowment on his TY Danjuma Foundation, which provides grants to non-governmental organizations that champion free healthcare, education and poverty alleviation.
Through The Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, Africa’s second richest man, Nicky Oppenheimer, gives away millions of dollars annually to South African college students, providing bursaries and scholarships from undergraduate to postgraduate level. Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote is also one of the continent’s biggest givers, even though he just recently embraced philanthropy. Over the last year he has given away more than $25 million to causes as varied as microfinance for small and medium businesses to a mentorship program for young African leaders and Nigerian communities struck by natural disasters.
These are the more significant givers among Africa’s 40 richest:
Strive Masiyiwa, Zimbabwean
The Zimbabwean telecoms tycoon and founder of Econet Wireless is one of Africa’s biggest givers. In 1996 Strive and his wife, Tsitsi Masiyiwa founded the Capernaum Trust, a Zimbabwe-registered Christian charity that supports over 28,000 orphaned Zimbabwean children. The organization provides bursary awards, scholarships, food packs and medical assistance to the children. The charity also funds the construction of libraries and other resource centers where beneficiaries can access educational materials.
Theophilus Danjuma, Nigerian
Nigeria’s former defense minister is the founder and chairman of South Atlantic Petroleum, one of the country’s leading oil exploration companies. Last year he endowed his T.Y Danjuma Foundation with $100 million- the largest in Nigerian philanthropic history. The foundation makes grants to Nigerian-based non-governmental organizations that promote causes in education, free healthcare, policy advocacy and poverty alleviation.
Aliko Dangote, Nigerian
Africa’s wealthiest man recently embraced philanthropy. Over the last one year the Nigerian-born commodities tycoon has given $15million to a Nigerian SME fund which grants low-interest loans to local businesses. In May, his Dangote foundation partnered with the World Economic Forum to establish a fellowship program aimed at grooming young leaders from Africa. Dangote donated $2 million to the programme. He has also recently given away millions to healthcare and educational causes as well as to communities that have been afflicted by natural disasters.
Nicky Oppenheimer, South African
South Africa’s richest man is custodian of the legacy of his fathers, Ernest and Harry Oppenheimer. He currently oversees the operations of the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, a charity his father, Harry, founded in 1958. The foundation gives away over $6million annually in scholarships and bursaries to select South African students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Oppenheimer is also an avid financial supporter of environmental conservation causes.
Raymond Ackerman, South African
Raymond Ackerman is the founder of the Pick N Pay Group, one of South Africa’s largest supermarket chains with some 870 stores spread across the country. He gives back through The Ackerman Family Educational Trust, which provides scholarships and bursaries for about 60 South African students every year. The trust, which is managed by his wife, Wendy, also helps the mentally and physically disabled. In 2001 he partnered with the University of Cape Town to found the Raymond Ackerman Academy of Entrepreneurial Development, an institution which grooms young budding entrepreneurs at centers in Johannesburg and Cape Town. The academy’s fees are highly subsidized because of Ackerman’s funding.
Hakeem Belo-Osagie, Nigerian
The reclusive Nigerian-born Harvard-trained Petroleum economist shot into national consciousness in the late 90s after staging a hostile takeover of the United Bank of Africa, one of the country’s largest commercial banks. Today, he is the chairman and largest individual shareholder of the Nigerian operations of UAE Telecoms company, Etisalat. Belo-Osagie has given away millions to educational institutions such as the African Leadership Academy and Kings College Lagos. He also funds a scholarship program for select African students at Oxford University.
The Sawiris family, Egyptians
In 2001 Onsi Sawiris, the patriarch of the Sawiris family business dynasty of Egypt founded of the Sawiris Foundation For Social Development, a charity which provides micro credit to Egyptian entrepreneurs and grants scholarships to outstanding Egyptian students in tertiary institutions. Onsi’s sons, Naguib, Samih and Nassef all sit on the board of the foundation. The foundation also funds an annual prize for the best of Egyptian literature.