While Africans in general are an extremely charitable lot, Africa’s 40 richest people have yet to make a mark in global philanthropy, though are making notable efforts in their home countries. Among the more significant givers among Africa’s 40 richest:
Strive Masiyiwa, Zimbabwean - The Zimbabwean telecoms tycoon and founder of Econet Wireless is one of Africa’s biggest givers. In 1996 Strive and his wife, Tsitsi Masiyiwa founded the Capernaum Trust, a Zimbabwe-registered Christian charity that supports over 28,000 orphaned Zimbabwean children. The organization provides bursary awards, scholarships, food packs and medical assistance to the children. The charity also funds the construction of libraries and other resource centers where beneficiaries can access educational materials.
Theophilus Danjuma, Nigerian - Nigeria’s former defense minister is the founder and chairman of South Atlantic Petroleum, one of the country’s leading oil exploration companies. Last year he endowed his T.Y.Daniuma Foundation with $100 million - the largest in Nigerian philanthropic history. The foundation makes grants to Nigerian-based non-governmental organizations that promote causes in education, free healthcare, policy advocacy and poverty alleviation.
Aliko Dangote, Nigerian - Africa’s wealthiest man recently embraced philanthropy. Over the last one year the Nigerian-born commodities tycoon has given $15 million to a Nigerian SME fund which grants low-interest loans to small businesses. In May, his Dangote foundation partnered with the World Economic Forum to establish a fellowship program aimed at grooming young leaders from Africa. Dangote donated $2 million to the programme. He has also recently given away millions to healthcare and educational causes as well as to communities that have been afflicted by natural disasters.
Nicky Oppenheimer, South African - South Africa’s richest man is custodian of the legacy of his fathers, Ernest and Harry Oppenheimer. He currently oversees the operations of the Oppenheimer Memorial Trust, a charity his father, Harry, founded in 1958. The foundation gives away over $6million annually in scholarships and bursaries to select South African students at both undergraduate and postgraduate levels. Oppenheimer is also an avid financial supporter of environmental conservation causes.
Raymond Ackerman, South African - Acherman is the founder of the Pick N Pay Group, one of South Africa’s largest supermarket chains with some 870 stores spread across the country. He gives back through The Ackerman Family Educational Trust, which provides scholarships and bursaries for about 60 South African students every year. The trust, which is managed by his wife, Wendy, also helps the mentally and physically disabled.
Hakeem Belo-Osagie, Nigerian - The reclusive Nigerian-born Harvard-trained Petroleum economist is the chairman and largest individual shareholder of the Nigerian operations of UAE Telecoms company, Etisalat. Belo-Osagie has given away millions to educational institutions such as the African Leadership Academy and Kings College Lagos. He also funds a scholarship program for select African students at Oxford University.
The Sawiris family, Egyptian- In 2001 Onsi Sawiris, the patriarch of the Sawiris family business dynasty of Egypt founded the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development, a charity which provides micro credit to Egyptian entrepreneurs and grants scholarships to outstanding Egyptian students in tertiary institutions. The foundation also funds an annual prize for the best of Egyptian literature.