3 Nigerian Billionaires Who Have Invested Millions in the Youth
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3 Nigerian Billionaires Who Have Invested Millions in the Youth

Nigeria is home to some of the billionaires in Africa, who have made significant contributions to the economic and social development of the country. 

Beyond their financial success, some of these wealthy individuals have made deep commitments to investing in the next generation of Nigerian leaders. 

From Tony Elumelu, whose foundation provides a 10-year, $100 million commitment to identify, train, mentor, and fund 10,000 African entrepreneurs to Abdulsamad Rabiu’s annual $100 million Africa Fund for Social Development, these individuals have substantially invested in empowering and supporting young people across the country.

They have also demonstrated a remarkable dedication to creating opportunities for Nigerian youth to thrive and succeed. Let’s take a look at some of them:

Tony Elumelu (Tony Elumelu Foundation)

Elumelu tops the list because of his notable contributions to youth development through his foundation (Tony Elumelu Foundation). Elumelu is a Nigeria billionaire who chairs Heirs Holdings, the United Bank for Africa (UBA)) and Transcorp. 

He established his foundation in 2010. The foundation has through its Entrepreneurship Programme empowered 10,000 young African entrepreneurs from 54 countries on the continent. In 2021, TEF in partnership with the Nigerian Export Promotion Council (NEPC) signed an N400M agreement to accelerate the performance of 50 TEF Entrepreneurs in Nigeria within the non-oil Export Sector. 

The partnership was designed to create an army of exporters that will drive non-oil exports and promote the diversification of Nigeria’s export portfolio for inclusive and sustainable growth. Elumelu who advises budding young entrepreneurs to be hardworking believes that “dreaming is less than 1%; the 99% is about translating your dream into action.” This belief drives him to make several opportunities available for young Nigerians to translate their dream into reality. 

Successful applicants of the Tony Elumelu Foundation’s USD100 million Entrepreneurship Programme launched in 2015 receive world-class business training, mentorship, non-refundable seed capital of US$5,000, and global networking opportunities. With an objective of empowering women and men across the continent, the Tony Elumelu Foundation has been a catalyst for economic growth. It has through its programmes eradicated poverty and ensured job creation.

The Tony Elumelu Foundation has thus far empowered 15,847 young African entrepreneurs and supported 1,200,000 Africans on TEFConnect.net across 54 African countries. He has signed several partnerships and memorandum of understanding (MOUs) that have provided opportunities to young Africans and is driving calls for investment in youths.

Aliko Dangote (Aliko Dangote Foundation)

Africa’s richest person has through his several enterprises promoted investments and created thousands of direct and indirect youth employments across the country and in Africa. In 2021, the Chairman of the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote launched a youths’ empowerment initiative, the “Aliko Dangote Foundation- VDMA Technical Training Programme,” worth E7 million (Euro) to bridge skills gaps in Nigeria.

Dangote who understands the direct relationship between youth unemployment and the crime rate in society is one of the pioneers of the Coalition Against COVID (CA-COVID). In 2020, CA-COVID, resolved to create four million jobs within the next five years, with the youths being the biggest beneficiaries of the job windfall for which the business leaders plan to invest N175 billion. CA-COVID is an alliance created by the Bankers’ Committee, comprising banks and major private sector players to address the funding challenges faced by federal and state governments in fighting the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Nigerian businessman once said, “I believe in hard work and one of my business secrets is hard work. It’s hard to see a youth that will go to bed by 2 am and wake up by 5 am, I won’t rest until I achieve something.” This determination has made Dangote donate millions of dollars to support educational initiatives across the country, including building schools, providing scholarships, and funding research programs.

Abdulsamad Rabiu (BUA Foundation and Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative)

Abdulsamad Rabiu is the second-richest man in the country who chairs BUA Group, a leading food, infrastructure, mining and manufacturing conglomerate in Nigeria. Rabiu launched the Abdul Samad Rabiu Africa Initiative, which objective is to unlock sustainable development opportunities in Africa and cater for various interventions in education, health and social development. The initiative started with a $100 million annual funding for Africa’s social development and renewal – $50 million would be dedicated to Nigeria yearly while $50 million would go to the rest of Africa.

Some of his notable contributions to education in Nigeria include the 2021 N1 billion each donation to six higher institutions in Nigeria – the University of Ibadan, Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria; University of Nigeria, Nsukka; the University of Maiduguri; the University of Ilorin; and the University of Benin. Rabiu also awarded a $3 million education infrastructure support grant to the Ghanaian government through its Ministry of Education to eradicate ‘schools under trees’ whilst developing primary education infrastructure across the country. 

Two months ago, Rabiu donated $12.3 million to 22 Nigerian universities and academic institutions to significantly help improve the country’s higher education system.

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