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7 Richest Entrepreneurs in West Africa You Should Know

The West African region is home to some of the world’s most well-known entrepreneurs and business moguls. They include well-known figures such as Aliko Dangote, Abdul Samad Rabiu, and Mike Adenuga. From humble beginnings, they have founded and built multi-national corporations that employ hundreds of people in a variety of industries.

Here are seven of the most successful West African entrepreneurs to know about:

Aliko Dangote

Aliko Dangote is a Nigerian business magnate with a net worth of $12.7 billion, according to Forbes, and $19.0 billion according to Bloomberg. He makes much of his money from Dangote Cement, one of Africa’s most successful and well-known firms. His cement production has a capacity of 48.6 million metric tons per year and operates in ten African countries.

Dangote, in addition to his cement industry, also manufactures sugar and, until recently, fertilizer and oil refinery. He has lately opened one of the world’s largest refineries. Furthermore, he is involved in car assembly under the name Dangote Peugeot Automobiles Nigeria Limited (DPAN). The Land Trek, 3008, 5008, and the new 508 were the first vehicles to be assembled.

Mike Adenuga 

Mike Adenuga had humble beginnings. He received his secondary school education at Ibadan Grammar School in Oyo State. He supported himself by working as a taxi driver and security guard while attending Northwestern Alva Oklahoma State University and Pace University in New York.

He made his money in mobile telecommunications and oil production. In 2006, Adenuga launched the Globacom mobile phone network. The mobile phone network has around 30 million subscribers and is expanding its operations in West Africa. It first opened its doors in Nigeria, Benin, Ghana, and the Ivory Coast.

The Nigerian magnate’s fortune began when he was 26 years old and had returned to Nigeria after studying in the United States. He took over his mother’s sawmill and began selling lace and other products. He also peddled Coca-Cola and had some significant military contacts in Nigeria.

He used his connections to obtain big state building contracts. Ibrahim Babangida, Nigeria’s former military president, granted him an oil exploration license. Adenuga utilized this to establish Conoil and become the first Nigerian to hit commercial quantities of oil.

Abdul Samad Rabiu

According to Forbes Africa, Abdul Samad Rabiu has a net worth of $7.6 billion. He founded the BUA Group, which specializes in cement manufacture, sugar refining, and real estate. His first company was importing iron, steel, and chemicals.

Rabiu founded his flagship company, BUA International Limited, in 1988 with the intention of entering the commodity trading business. Initially, the company imported rice, edible oil, flour, iron, and steel. After a few years, BUA acquired Nigerian Oil Mills Limited, the world’s largest edible oil processing company. In 2005, he also opened two flour milling units.

Rabiu broke Nigeria‘s eight-year sugar monopoly by commissioning the second-largest sugar refinery in Sub-Saharan Africa in 2008. Years later, in 2009, the business built a $900 million cement facility in Edo State, which was finished in 2015.

Rabiu established the BUA Foundation, which funded the construction of a 7,000-square-meter pediatric ward at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, as well as a Center for Islamic Studies at Bayero University in Kano.

Ibrahim Mahama

In Ghana, Ibrahim Mahama is a business magnate. Following his return from England, he established Engineers & Planners (E&P). When he returned, he discovered an opportunity in a sector that Ghanaians typically ignore: the supply of mining and construction equipment.

He made the decision to start renting heavy-duty equipment to contractors. According to Emy Africa Magazine, his breakthrough came when he obtained a subcontract to supply Razel-Bec (previously Messrs Razel) with trucks for the construction of the Sankara Interchange Project.

E&P is now the largest Ghanaian-owned mining and construction contracting company in West Africa and one of the continent’s largest. Aside from his mining investments, he is also involved in cement manufacture. He recently hired Dzata Cement. He also co-founded the Joyce Tamakloe Cancer Foundation to help hospitals combat cancer.

Folorunsho Alakija

According to Forbes, Folorunsho Alakija is a Nigerian entrepreneur with a reported net worth of $1 billion as of 2020. She is considered as Nigeria’s richest woman as well as Africa’s richest woman. According to Forbes, she was the second richest woman in Africa in 2017 with a net worth of $1.73 billion, trailing only Isabel dos Santos. However, as dos Santos’ net wealth plummeted due to corruption allegations, Alakija surpassed her as Africa’s richest woman. Her fortune is based on Nigeria’s oil business.

Alakija began her work in office administration after training as a secretary in the United Kingdom. She eventually got into banking, where she stayed until she decided to start her own business. She spent a year and a half working at Sijuade Enterprises in Lagos before joining the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria.

Koffi Djondo

Unlike most of his business peers, Koffi Djondo leads a tranquil life. He is hardly recognized outside of Togo, although his impact in the commercial world extends far beyond the country’s borders. For decades, he has advocated for a United Africa in which the means of economic production are owned by and for Africans.

He has quietly constructed a commercial empire that has not only produced thousands of jobs for many Africans, but also contributes to the pan-African agenda. Djondo and his business partners co-founded Ecobank, the first pan-African bank, in 1985.

Since then, the bank has expanded rapidly, with a presence in 35 Sub-Saharan African nations and over 18,000 African employees. The corporation achieved a record profit of $2.3 billion in 2013. Ecobank has offices all around the world, from London to Beijing.

Djondo was born on July 4, 1934, in a small Togolese hamlet. His accomplishment reflects the life of someone born with a silver spoon in his mouth. The business magnate will undoubtedly scoff at such a lavish depiction of his boyhood.

He was raised by strict parents who later divorced. He gained a sense of self-reliance as an only kid, which he applied to his education.

Richelieu Dennis

Richelieu Dennis is a Liberian philanthropist, entrepreneur, and investor. He is the founder of Essence Ventures LLC, which purchased Time Inc.’s Essence, the preeminent black women‘s leisure magazine.

He is also a co-founder of Sundial Brands, a personal-care products company he founded in 1991 with his mother Mary and college roommate Nyema Tubman. Dennis was born in Liberia and reared there with his parents.

When he was eight years old, his father died, and he relocated to Sierra Leone with his mother and sister. Both countries were experiencing increasing tensions at the time, and Dennis was awarded a scholarship to the United States, where he attended Babson College in Massachusetts.

He graduated in 1991, during the civil wars in both his own country and Sierra Leone. After fleeing the first civil war, which lasted from 1989 to 1997, his mother joined him.

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