When it comes to international aid programs, everyone has heard of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, as well as Warren Buffett’s astronomical donation track record, with last year’s donations reaching $1.87 billion. However, outside of the American audience, African billionaires are also stepping up and contributing to causes they care about. Here is a list of African philanthropic billionaires that lead programs in their own countries.
The wealthiest African, Aliko Dangote, worth an estimated $20.2 billion, donates millions of his wealth to education, health and social causes. Last year Dangote took part in the first ever Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy, where he discussed the benefits of donating, listing Gates and Buffett as inspirations.
Nathan Kirsh, a South African native, earned his $3.6 billion wealth by monopolizing the small goods market in New York City. According to Forbes, his philanthropic efforts focus on Swaziland, where he supplied approximately 10,000 people with starter capital for small businesses. Kirsh states that 70 percent of his recipients are women with a 70 percent success rate for his program overall. He also hopes to make Swazi schools the first in Africa to boast guaranteed computer literacy for all graduates.
Folorunsho Alakija hails from Lagos, Nigeria and is Africa’s richest woman thanks to her very profitable ownership of an oil block in the 1990’s. Since then, Alakija has expanded her $7.3 billion enterprise to real estate around the world, notably $200 million worth in the United Kingdom alone. With her money, Alakija founded the Rose of Sharon Foundation in 2008 which aids orphans and widows in her native country of Nigeria.
Mohamed Mansour has an estimated $2.3 billion fortune from his investment company the Mansour Group, which owns Egypt’s largest grocery store Metro and Egypt’s McDonald’s franchises, among other businesses. Mansour founded the Lead Foundation, a nonprofit that has provided over 1.3 million loans to small business endeavors and under-privileged women in Egypt. Mansour also chairs the Mansour Foundation for Development, which strives to eliminate illiteracy, poverty, and disease in order to expedite the development of Egyptian society.
– Emily Bajet