VENTURES AFRICA – Of the 11 Nigerians ranked on the Africa’s 40 Richest list, three have stood out in a record charity donation to government efforts at mitigating the effects of unprecedented floods that ravaged the central and eastern region of Nigeria, killing thousands, displacing millions more and destroying properties worth millions of dollars. In no respective order, Ventures Africa takes a look at the top 5 billionaire businessmen who have made monumental donations to flood victims in Nigeria.
Dangote remains Africa’s richest man, and the 76th richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $12 billion. The Dangote Group Chairman leads the pack of donors with an individual offering of 2.5 billion naira ($16 million) to Nigeria’s Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation which was launched in November to complement the government’s relief efforts. He also chairs the committee.
The donation of the billionaire industrialist, dwarfs the 1.8 billion naira ($11 million) contributed by the Governors’ Forum, a consortium of Nigeria’s 35 governors.
In August, Dangote attended the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy, where 399 other billionaires deliberated on committing a portion of their fortunes to charitable courses. Recently, he met with former world’s richest man, Bill Gates, to partner with him in the fight against polio in Nigeria.
“Nobody says ‘thank you’ for growing a profitable company,” he said during the launching of the presidential committee. “…people will say ‘thank you’ when you give.”
As Africa’s 5th richest man, he boasts of a $4.6 billion wealth pooled from interests in telecoms and oil. The renowned tycoon presented a $500 million ($3.2 million) cheque for post distress efforts, to Seriake Dickson, the governor of Bayelsa State, home to Nigeria’s president, where floods buried his mansion.
Mike Adenuga who owns Globacom, a leading Nigerian telecoms company with operations in some African countries, has through various CSR activities proven to be a genuine supporter of African development. His telecoms company revived Nigeria’s football league after signing multimillion dollar deal to become the official partner of the league almost a decade back. This year, it reiterated its commitment with a $2.3 million signing. Globacom also pioneered signing local stars in multimillion naira deals, as corporate ambassadors. “I’m touched by the plight of the flood victims,” the Nigerian-born billionaire said, when communicating his reason for the donation.
C0-founder of the 558.8 billion naira ($3.5 billion) market valued-Zenith Bank, Nigeria’s biggest lender. He ranks 19th on the Africa’s 40 Richest list. Of his $825 million fortune, as estimated by Forbes, the banking giant and self-made millionaire gave $6.4 million to flood relief efforts.
Ovia also owns Visafone, a leading CDMA operator in Africa’s second largest economy. Recently, his mobile company partnered with Blackberry manufacturer, Research In Motion (RIM), to pioneer the provision of CDMA-enabled smartphones in Nigeria, which has one of the fastest growing rates in Africa (the world’s second-biggest mobile market region by subscription count).
The former GMD/CEO of the United Bank of Africa (UBA), and current Chairman of Heirs Holdings, also made an individual donation of 1 billion naira ($6.4 million) to the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation. Though not listed amongst Africa’s richest 40, the vocal business leader and philanthropist champions the development of African enterprise through the Tony Elumelu Foundation, a pan-African NGO that promotes and celebrates African entrepreneurship and leadership. “No one can develop Africa but us(Africans),” he says.
He has popularised the word ‘Africapitalism’- an economic philosophy that emphasises the commitment of the private sector to sustainable economic growth in Africa.
Prince Arthur Eze
Labelled as one of Nigeria’s secret billionaires, the oil magnate is the chairman and CEO of Atlas Oronto Petroleum, a West African oil and gas firm with operations in Africa’s largest oil producing nation and several other African countries including Gambia, Sierra Leone, Liberia, Togo, Ivory Coast, Chad, Cameroon and Equatorial Guinea.
His company reportedly divested a number of oil fields in Liberia for $250 million in 2010. Eze earned $200 million from the sale.
The renowned businessman who hails from the Eastern part of Nigeria, donated 1 billion naira ($6.4 million) to flood relief efforts at the launching of the presidential committee. His famed wealth earned him the nickname “Arthur 1,000,000.”