African Entrepreneurs Speak

Power and drive are 2 things leading African entrepreneurs seem to have in common. Across the globe, entrepreneurs and business leaders are marked by their enviable managerial skills and intellectual capacity.

African entrepreneurs straddle the continent from Cape Town to Cairo. From Nairobi to the busy ports of Lagos. There is no doubt Africa has its fair share of dynamic business leaders who have not only built world-class businesses. They have also positioned the continent’s economies for unprecedented growth and development.

  1. Christoffel Wiese, South Africa

Wiese serves as chairman and the largest single shareholder of Shoprite, Africa’s biggest retailer. He built the company which was bought for R1 million into a company worth more than R100 billion today.

“To run a company with more than 100,000 employees in 17 countries, you have to be able to think on your feet.”

2) Aliko Dangote, Nigeria

Aliko Dangote is one of the leading African entrepreneurs, and is considered to be the richest man on the continent. He is the founder of the Dangote Group, which controls much of Nigeria’s commodities trade.

“If you give me $5 billion today, I will invest everything here in Nigeria. Let us put our heads together and work.”

3) Stephen Saad, South Africa

Stephen Saad is the co-founder of Aspen Pharmacare, South Africa’s leading publicly traded drug manufacturer.

“In life, you don’t get anywhere or do anything you hope to without some sort of sacrifice.”

4) Isabel Dos Santos, Angola

Isabel dos Santos is the oldest daughter of Angola’s President, José Eduardo dos Santos. She was 24 years old when she started her first business and is considered one of the top female African entrepreneurs. She is also one of the richest women in the world.

“I think there are a lot of people with family connections but who are actually nowhere. If you are hardworking and determined, you will make it and that’s the bottom line. I don’t believe in an easy way through.”

5) Patrice Motsepe, South Africa

Mining magnate Patrice Motsepe founded and now chairs African Rainbow Minerals (ARM). ARM is a publicly traded mining conglomerate with interests in platinum, nickel, chrome, iron, manganese, coal, copper and gold. Here’s what one of the biggest African entrepreneurs in mining has to say:

“One has to set high standards… I can never be happy with mediocre performance.”

Nicky Oppenheimer, South Africa

In addition to Nicky Oppenheimer’s work with De Beers, he also helms Greene and Partners Investments. This is a venture capital firm that focuses on building business in South Africa and surrounding areas.

“I am a great believer that if you know how to operate in Africa, there are unbelievable opportunities.”

6) Jim Ovia, Nigeria

Jim Ovia founded Zenith Bank Group in 1990. The bank has grown into West Africa’s second largest financial services provider by market capitalisation and asset base.

“I will continue to empower the youths. That is my passion. The youths are the leaders of tomorrow. We must continue to support them.”

7) Mo Ibrahim, Sudan

Mo Ibrahim is the founder of Celtel, a mobile phone company with over 24 million subscribers in Africa. After selling Celtel, Ibrahim founded the Mo Ibrahim Foundation. His foundation now actively supports good governance across the African continent.

“The leadership we are looking for is true engagement with Africa. We need a cohesive voice for Africa…”



Source: Ventures Africa

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