Wealth is essentially an enabler, and those who have been able to accumulate a significant amount for themselves are among a select few. This is because it allows you to afford the little vanities of life that the majority can only dream of.
But much more than that, many others are using their wealth to empower and embolden the next generation—in many instances, hundreds of people with whom they have no affiliation or direct relationship. These, one could say, are the real MVPs, as they have transcended just enjoying their wealth alone or seeing it simply as a tool to control and influence.
Many of these billionaires have gone on to establish institutions and foundations aimed at providing younger Africans with both knowledge and funding to fuel their own dreams, with the goal of producing more billionaires in the next generation.
In this article, we will look at five African billionaires who are using their wealth to empower the next generation:
The list of African billionaires empowering the younger generation is led by billionaire CEO and Chairman Heirs Holdings. Elumelu is one man who has an incredible philosophy about wealth and his position.
Following an impressive banking career, Elumelu left UBA in 2010 and shortly after set up the Tony Elumelu Foundation with a vision to create a thousand more UBAs. He also founded the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme, also known as TEEP, with a mission to identify and provide mentoring, training, networking, and funding for one thousand African start-ups per year for the next ten years. Such an audacious goal.
Through the programme, Elumelu has committed $100 million to support the next generation of African entrepreneurs, which he says may be the next UBAs.
According to him, those who have attained success must go on to become role models for the younger generation so that the next generation can learn from their mistakes and achieve even more than they have.
On why he champions the empowerment of young people, he says, “I champion young people who are focused, hardworking, and committed to making a difference in their communities, because I have seen first-hand how their drive and determination make things happen.”
He goes on to say that it is by prioritising the youth, and supporting their dreams and aspirations that a sustainable future can be created for our world.
Sudanese billionaire Mo Ibrahim is another African billionaire who is giving back to the younger generation and society in general. Mo Ibrahim is the founder of the mobile communication company, Celtel, one of the first mobile phone companies that operated in and served Africa and the Middle East.
He sold Celtel to Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Company for a whopping $3.4 billion in 2005 and went home with $1.4 billion from the deal. Mo has been committed to the fight against corrupt leadership through his Mo Ibrahim Foundation.
He also owns the majority of the assets in Satya Capital, a private equity fund that invests in African businesses, education, and healthcare. Cellulant, a well-known pan-African company, is one of these.
In January 2013, South African billionaire mining magnate Patrice Motsepe pledged to give half of his wealth, then estimated by Forbes to be about $2.65 billion, back to South Africa’s impoverished masses through his foundation.
Motsepe was inspired by and cultivated the act of giving which he learned from his mother, who constantly gave out free groceries to poor customers at the family’s grocery store. He has gone on to constantly impact a good number of South African households through his foundation.
While the likes of Tony Elumelu are somewhat open about their giving, others like billionaire Mike Adenuga prefer to rather do theirs silently. Adenuga has also invested and given back so much to the younger generation. He has over the years given away millions of dollars to educational and religious organisations across Nigeria and several more to humanitarian relief and arts.
Aliko Dangote is Africa’s richest man and stands tall on the list of African billionaires who are empowering the younger generation.
In 2018, he once remarked and said he wants to be known as Africa’s biggest philanthropist. He said, “I do not only want to be known as Africa ’s richest man, but the biggest philanthropist.
“I will continue to use my resources and my voice to help shape a better Nigeria and Africa as a whole.”
Indeed, he is on track to doing just that. Through his Dangote Foundation, which has an endowment of $1.25 billion, he invests in causes in the areas of education, the arts, and humanitarian relief. He is noted to have given more than $100 million in the last five years to these causes.
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