There are some African politicians who have not only ventured into the realm of governance but have also made a mark in the business world, accumulating substantial wealth along the way. These individuals serve as fascinating examples of the intersection between politics and entrepreneurship in Africa.
While it’s important to acknowledge that wealth can be a subjective concept and subject to change, a handful of politicians across the continent have been associated with business ventures and have achieved significant financial success. Their stories offer insights into the multifaceted nature of African politics and shed light on the influence of wealth in shaping political landscapes.
Let’s delve into the world of African politics and business to discover notable politicians who have made their mark as both influential leaders and successful entrepreneurs.
Cyril Ramaphosa – South African
Matamela Cyril Ramaphosa, South African businessman and the incumbent president of South Africa has left an indelible mark on both the political and business landscapes of South Africa. Ramaphosa’s political journey began when he co-founded the National Union of Mineworkers (NUM), a trade union that played a crucial role in advocating for the rights and welfare of mine workers in South Africa. Under his leadership, NUM became a powerful voice for workers’ rights and played a significant role in the anti-apartheid movement.
His political career gained momentum during the transition from apartheid to democracy in South Africa. He played a pivotal role in the negotiations that led to the peaceful transition of power and the end of apartheid, serving as the Secretary-General of the African National Congress (ANC) and as the chief negotiator for the ANC during the negotiations.
He left politics briefly and founded Shanduka Group, an investment holding company that had interests in extractive resources, telecommunications, food and beverage, property, financial services, energy, and industrial sectors. His company as well as other ventures such as agriculture made him one of South Africa’s richest men
In post-apartheid South Africa, Ramaphosa continued his political ascent. He held various leadership positions within the ANC, including Deputy President under President Jacob Zuma from 2014 to 2018. In February 2018, he was elected as the President of South Africa following the resignation of Jacob Zuma.
Aziz Akhannouch – Morocco
Aziz Akhannouch is a Moroccan politician, businessman, and the current Prime Minister of Morocco. The billionaire started out as a businessman when he joined the Akwa Group, a Moroccan conglomerate founded by his father, Ahmed Akhannouch. Under his leadership, the group expanded its operations with interests particularly active in the oil and gas sector. The Akwa Group’s subsidiary, Akwa Holding, became a major player in Morocco’s energy sector, notably as a distributor of petroleum products.
Akhannouch successfully navigated the business landscape, cementing his position as one of Morocco’s wealthiest individuals.Akhannouch delved into politics when he joined the National Rally of Independents (RNI), one of Morocco’s leading political parties. He quickly rose through the party ranks, serving as the Secretary-General of the RNI. He was also appointed as Minister of Finance by King Mohammed VI.
Atiku Abubakar – Nigeria
Atiku Abubakar has a multifaceted career that encompasses entrepreneurship and politics. He forayed into business early in the 1970s when he ventured into real estate, agriculture, transportation, amongst others where he derived his wealth.
Building on his business success, Abubakar entered politics and joined the People’s Democratic Party (PDP), one of Nigeria’s major political parties. He ran as governor of Adamawa State three times before he was finally elected and then became Olusegun Obasanjo’s running mate during the 1999 presidential election and was re-elected in 2003. Atiku Abubakar has also ran unsuccessfully for the President of Nigeria six times.
Patrice Talon – Benin
Patrice Guillaume Athanase Talon, businessman and the current President of Benin. He went into agriculture and established a successful cotton company, Benin Control when his dreams of becoming a pilot were shattered after he failed a medical test.
Talon’s political career gained momentum when he served as the campaign manager for then-incumbent President Boni Yayi. Talon was accused of tax embezzlement and also a rift emerged between him and President Yayi which included an accusation of involvement in a plot to kill the president.
Talon returned to Benin and contested the presidential elections in 2016. He emerged victorious and assumed the presidency the same year.
Mohammed VI – Morocco
Mohammed VI, the King of Morocco has played a significant role in both the political and business realms of the country. Having ascended the throne following the death of his father, King Hassan II. Since then, he has implemented a series of reforms aimed at modernizing Morocco and promoting economic development.
Aside from his political acumen, Mohammed is Morocco’s leading businessman and banker. His business interests span diverse sectors, including banking, mining, agriculture, and telecommunications.. Through his holding company, Société Nationale d’Investissement (SNI), now known as Al Mada, he has made lots of money together with fortunes owned by the Moroccan Royal Family.
Uhuru Kenyatta – kenya
Uhuru Kenyatta, the current President of Kenya, is a notable figure who has left a lasting impact on both the political and business landscapes of his country. His father, Jomo Kenyatta, was the first President of Kenya, and the Kenyatta family has been involved in various business ventures. They have diverse interests in sectors such as banking, real estate, agriculture, and tourism.
Prior to his political career, Kenyatta made strides in the business world. He co-founded the Kenyan company Wilham Kenya Limited, which specialized in the export of agricultural produce.
Kenyatta’s political journey began when he joined the Kenya African National Union (KANU), one of Kenya’s prominent political parties. He held several government positions, including Minister of Tourism and Minister of Finance, during President Daniel arap Moi’s administration. In 2013, Kenyatta ran for the presidency and emerged victorious.
Ifeanyi Ubah – Nigeria
Patrick Ifeanyi Ubah Nigerian Politician, entrepreneur and businessman currently serving as Senator representing Anambra South Senatorial District in the Nigerian senate. He started out as an exporter of motor tyres and spare parts majorly in West Africa before he expanded into Europe
He founded Capital Oil and Gas Limited in 2021 and The Authority Newspaper, a Nigerian daily newspaper. He is also the owner of Ifeanyi Ubah F.C., a football club in the Nigeria Premier League.
Building on his success in the business world, Ubah ventured into politics. In 2014, he contested for the governorship position in Anambra State, under the platform of the Labour Party and lost. In the 2019 general elections, Ubah contested and won a senatorial seat representing the Anambra South Senatorial District under the platform of the Young Progressives Party (YPP).
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