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Get to Know Bella Disu, Nigerian Business Executive Leading One of Africa’s Largest Telecom Companies

Bella Disu (born Belinda Ajoke Olubunmi Adenuga), a 37-year-old business leader from Nigeria, has established a strong presence in the African telecom industry and beyond, demonstrating the family’s genius gene.


Her father, Dr. Mike Adenuga Jr., is Africa’s fifth richest billionaire with a fortune of $6.7 billion. She has led the family’s multibillion-dollar business empire in telecoms, property development, manufacturing, and construction, establishing herself as one of Africa’s most influential executives.


Bella Disu joined Globacom Limited, Nigeria’s second-largest telecoms business, in 2004 after earning a B.A. in International Relations from the University of Massachusetts, Boston and an M.Sc. in Leadership from Northeastern University. Since then, she has played an important part in the company’s growth, gradually stepping into her father’s enormous shoes and having a significant effect as Globacom’s executive vice chairman.


Her skill in contract negotiation and project management has contributed to the effective completion of large projects. One major accomplishment is the establishment of the Alliance Française Mike Adenuga Centre, a cultural hub commissioned by French President Emmanuel Macron in 2018. This endeavor inspired Bella to become fluent in French in a matter of months.


At the 2019 Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Bella revealed that she didn’t know French at the time. “When President Macron left, I thought, ‘Now you’re the face of this idea. You’ll be a phony if you don’t know French. From August to November, I studied French fluently.”


Globacom, led by Bella Disu, has established itself as Nigeria’s largest provider of digital services. She has been crucial in expanding the company’s strategic business segments, such as Glo Mobile, Glo Broad Access, and Glo Gateway.


During her early years at Globacom, she observed the company install the first $800 million high-capacity fiber-optic cable, Glo-1, connecting the UK to Nigeria. Glo-1 demonstrated resilience by remaining active during Nigeria’s massive internet interruptions.


Bella, a passionate arts lover, author, and philanthropist, has established herself as a leading corporate leader by contributing to the success of Globacom. She pushes for women to have a stronger voice in the workplace and beyond, bringing her transformative vision to corporate boards and leading firms to higher productivity and profitability.


During the introduction of Nigeria’s Digital Economy Report earlier this month at the Transcorp Hilton Hotel in Abuja, she described Globeacom’s goal to encourage technological growth in Nigeria. She announced the creation of four digital innovation hubs in major cities around the country.


Bella Disu is a multidimensional leader who has a strong presence in Nigeria’s many sectors. In addition to her employment at Globacom, she is the CEO of Cobblestone Properties and Estates, a renowned property development company.


Cobblestone offers a diverse portfolio of residential and commercial properties, including iconic landmarks such as Bella’s Place (a seven-story office complex), The Mall, Ile-Oja at Opebi (Ikeja), Sisi Paris, Ilé-Ọjà Victoria Island (a premium retail mall), and Probyn (an exquisite terrace apartment complex).


Disu’s leadership goes beyond real estate. She is Chairman of Abumet Nigeria, an innovative glass and aluminum manufacturing firm, and a Non-Executive Director of Julius Berger Nigeria Plc. Her achievements at Julius Berger influenced the company’s diversification into the agro-allied market, resulting in a huge profit rise in 2023 and Q1 2024.


Disu’s focus extends to societal impact. Recognized for her achievements in a variety of fields, she was named to the renowned Choiseul 100 Africa list in 2022 and 2023, establishing herself as a vital role in determining the continent’s economic development.


As the founder and chairperson of the Bella Disu Foundation, she oversees projects in education, health, and disaster assistance aimed at improving socioeconomic conditions in underprivileged regions. In 2024, she established the SheGlows Program at Globacom to develop female leaders and create a supportive environment for their professional development, demonstrating her commitment to women’s empowerment.


Bella reflected on her early career: “When I started off at 18, one of my struggles was that I looked around and didn’t see many young women like me who were high up in organizations…” I wished I had seen a lady in my position who could mentor and encourage me. Representation goes a long way. Now I’d like us to spread the word that balance is more than simply a hashtag.

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