The Most Generous Philanthropists In Africa In 2012
None of Africa’s wealthiest people has made a commitment to Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge- yet. This is highly unlikely to happen anytime soon, for while Africans in general are an extremely charitable lot, only a tiny fraction of its ultra high net worth individuals are significant givers.
During an interview with Luisa Kroll of FORBES last year, Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote hinted that there are a considerable number of unknown African philanthropists who prefer to shun conspicuous philanthropy, opting instead to give anonymously- possibly for spiritual or personal reasons. This could be true, but then again, it could be a myth. We can never know for sure that Africa’s rich are actually giving back if we cannot track or verify their philanthropy.
We love to keep track, so here’s a list of 9 immensely wealthy, notable African philanthropists who publicly stated that they gave $1 million or more during the course of 2012 to causes ranging from Nigerian flood relief efforts to scholarships and healthcare. Of course, this is not an exhaustive list, but this takes into account the Africans who gave publicly in 2012. To create the list, I scoured databases, news reports and foundation filings and verified with
the givers themselves or their representatives.
These are some of the most generous African philanthropists of 2012:
Aliko Dangote, Nigeria
President, Dangote Group
Estimated Giving: $35 million
Africa’s richest man was the continent’s most generous philanthropist last year, giving away an estimated $35 million. In November, in the wake of a cataclysmic flood in Nigeria that killed close to 400 people and left more than 2 million people homeless, Aliko Dangote announced a flood relief fund contribution of $15.8 million (N2.5 billion) to the Nigerian government’s
relief efforts. Last year, Dangote also donated $6.3 million to 6 Nigerian universities, including a $3.1 million gift to fund the development of the Bayero State University Business School in Kano, the state where Dangote was born. Other gifts included a $500,000 donation to victims of munitions blasts in Congo and a $12.6 million donation to a non-governmental organization committed to developing low-cost housing for Nigeria’s urban poor.
Jim Ovia, Nigeria
Founder, Zenith Bank
Total estimated giving: $6.6 million
Like Dangote, the Nigerian banking and telecoms magnate also donated N1 billion ($6.3
million) to assist the Nigerian government in its relief efforts for the rehabilitation of victims of the various flood disasters across Nigeria last year. Ovia is also the founder and financier of the Youth Empowerment & ICT Foundation, a non-governmental organization which encourages
young Nigerians to embrace information & communication technology (ICT) as a tool for socio-economic change. Last year, the foundation gave a N50 million ($320,000) grant to ten young Nigerian techpreneurs to develop their individual tech businesses.
Strive Masiyiwa, Zimbabwe
Founder, Econet Wireless
Estimated Giving: $6.4 million
In May 2012, Zimbabwe’s richest man and Econet Wireless founder Strive Masiyiwa was awarded an honorary doctorate by Morehouse College in recognition for his philanthropic and humanitarian work across the African continent. When he accepted the honor, the telecoms tycoon promised to sponsor at least 10 African students to attend the historically black college. In September 2012, the Zimbabwean multimillionaire fulfilled his promise by establishing a $6.4 million trust for the sole purpose of sponsoring at least 40 African undergraduates to Morehouse College over a four-year period. Masiyiwa also funds the Capernaum Trust, a Zimbabwe-registered Christian charity that sponsors scholarships and medical assistance for over 28,000 orphaned Zimbabwean children.
Tony Elumelu, Nigeria
Chairman, Heirs Holdings
Estimated Giving: $6.3 million
The revered Nigerian banker and former CEO of the United Bank of Africa was one of the largest donors to the Nigerian government’s relief efforts for the rehabilitation of victims of a series of flood disasters across the country. Elumelu donated N1 billion ($6.3 million) through his Tony Elumelu Foundation whose primary mandate is to enhance the competitiveness and growth of Africa’s private sector by grooming young African entrepreneurs.
Arthur Eze, Nigeria
Chairman, Atlas Oranto Petroleum
Estimated Giving: $6.3 million
The mysterious Nigerian oilman donated N1 billion ($6.3 million) to flood
relief efforts last year. Eze is the founder and chairman of Atlas Oranto
Petroleum, a West African exploration company that owns several producing and
non-producing oil and gas assets across Nigeria, Liberia, Equatorial Guinea and
the Gambia. Eze is also a major donor to several Nigerian public
Mike Adenuga, Nigeria
Estimated Giving: $3.2 million
Nigeria’s second richest man is the founder of the Mike Adenuga Foundation, a
Nigerian philanthropic organization which says little about its activities.
However, in November, the billionaire telecoms tycoon publicly donated N500
million ($3.2 million) to flood victims in Bayelsa state, located in southern
Naushad Merali, Kenya
Chairman, Sameer Group
Estimated Giving: $1.2 million
In March last year, Kenyan tycoon and chairman of the eponymous Sameer Group donated Ksh 100 million ($1.2 million) to facilitate the construction of a fully fledged day care medical center at Kenyatta National Hospital (KNH). Merali made the donation through his Zarina & Naushad Merali Foundation. The 24-bed day care center will offer same-day minor surgical services for walk-in patients who do not require overnight management and will house four main operating theaters and two minor operating theaters.
Manu Chandaria, Kenya
Chairman, Comcraft Group
Estimated Giving: $1.2 million
In December, Kenyan tycoon Manu Chandaria donated 100 million shillings ($1.2
million) to Gertrude’s Children’s
Hospital which provides healthcare to impoverished Kenyan
children. The donation, aimed at improving the intensive care and diagnostic
services at the hospital will be used to fund the construction and installation
of equipment in an ultra-modern facility which would be named ‘The Chandaria
Chandaria made the donation through his Chandaria Foundation, which supports
causes in education and health. Chandaria’s Comcraft group, which
he chairs, produces steel, plastics, and aluminum products from manufacturing
facilities in 45 countries.
Ashish J. Thakkar, Uganda
CEO, Mara Group
Estimated Giving: $1.1 million
In 2012, the Ugandan tycoon and CEO of the eponymous Mara Group spent $1 million funding the Mara Foundation, which sponsors renovations for dozens of Ugandan high schools, funds building workshops for teachers across East Africa and offers scholarships to hundreds of destitute students of East African origin in addition to offering free mentorship to startup entrepreneurs.
You might also like this: