Billionaire Creativity: How Africa's Richest People Stay Innovative 
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Billionaire Creativity: How Africa’s Richest People Stay Innovative 

Africa’s richest people understand that innovation and creativity are two sides of a coin needed for any successful business. This is why they have managed to stay ahead of the game despite the challenges of doing business in Africa.

From tech entrepreneurs to oil tycoons, these billionaires have broken boundaries in industries, through their innovative ideas and entrepreneurial spirit making a name for themselves, inspiring young entrepreneurs, and providing solutions to problems across the continent. 

To go far and achieve success as they did, it’s necessary to explore the creative strategies that Africa’s wealthiest individuals use to stay ahead of the curve and continue to thrive in their industries. Let’s get in:

Aliko Dangote

Aliko Dangote, the founder and CEO of Dangote Group believes that innovation is the key to staying ahead in business. An Entrepreneur and Philanthropist, Naveen Jain once said, “Innovation is key. Without it, you can’t survive.” Dangote’s company, Dangote Group, is involved in a wide range of industries, including cement, sugar, salt, and flour, and he is constantly looking for new ways to expand and improve his businesses. 

He stays innovative by keeping an eye on industry trends and developments and continually investing in cutting-edge technologies and equipment that will improve efficiency, reduce costs and increase output. His $19 billion oil refinery is equipped with some of the world’s best instruments and he has a $100 million investment in a fertilizer plant that uses cutting-edge technology to produce high-quality fertilizer.  

Dangote is also not afraid to take calculated risks. The business magnate is also committed to developing local talent and building a skilled workforce. His long-term vision for his company makes him constantly seek ways to create sustainable solutions to address Africa’s economic challenges.

Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa, who made Forbes’s recent list of Africa’s billionaires has been a pioneer in the telecommunications industry in Africa. His company, Econet Wireless has introduced several innovative products and services over the years.  American entrepreneur and inventor, Steve Jobs, co-founder of Apple Inc said “Innovation comes from saying no to 1,000 things.” Strive Masiyiwa said no to Zimbabwe’s government monopoly in the telecommunication industry. 

Since innovation is about finding new ways of solving problems, Strive introduced  EcoCash, a mobile phone-based money transfer, financing and microfinancing service, that has revolutionised the way people in Zimbabwe and other African countries transfer money and make payments. Through continuous learning, collaboration, flexibility and embracing technology, Strive has been able to stay innovative.

Johann Rupert

Johann Rupert, South Africa’s richest person, has remained innovative over the years by focusing on customer needs. He once said, “I don’t want to start producing dressing gowns and cuff links with the Purdey name stamped on them. Making Purdey the leading gunmaker is our priority. Once we have succeeded in doing that, then we might look at some accessories, but it is a long haul. The Chairman of the Swiss luxury goods firm, Compagnie Financiere Richemont recognises that innovation must be driven by a deep understanding of the market, and has invested heavily in research and development to ensure that his products meet the changing needs of consumers.

Mohamed Mansour

Mohamed Mansour is an Egyptian billionaire who chairs the Mansour Group, a conglomerate that operates in several industries, including automotive, consumer goods, and energy. Mansour who has been a pioneer in the automotive industry in Egypt has introduced several innovative products, including electric vehicles and hybrid cars. Knowing that innovation is about creating value for society and for future generations, Mansour also believes in investing in research and development to stay ahead of the competition. 

In an interview with Forbes, Mohamed said he decided to develop a full-time “presence” in Silicon Valley as an anchor investor to Ramy Adeeb’s early-stage investment vehicle. “Now we have an office called 1984,” named after the famous Apple Macintosh advert, “With a young man” he adds, “who has done extremely well.”

Koos Bekker 

Koos Bekker, the Former CEO of Naspers, once said “Innovation is not a destination, it’s a journey. You have to keep moving forward and evolving.” His quote is a reflection of how he has stayed innovatively creative over the years. Widely recognized for transforming Nasper into a global media powerhouse, Bekker oversaw investment in various tech startups, including Tencent, which turned out to be a massive success.

Also,  Bekker’s belief in the culture of experimentation made him transform South African newspaper publisher Naspers into an e-commerce investor and cable TV powerhouse.

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