Home » 10 charitable foundations founded by African billionaires you should know

10 charitable foundations founded by African billionaires you should know

by Yusuf Abdulfatai
Abdul Samad Rabiu

Many UHNWIs in Africa have typically deployed their enormous fortunes toward improving the lot of the societies that enabled them to prosper. But for many African billionaires, they prefer to own and fund their own foundations rather than making grants to nonprofits, to enable them and their proxies to have total control over how the funds are utilized.

Here are 10 of the biggest charitable foundations founded by African billionaires you should know.

TY Danjuma Foundation

Founder: Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma

Nationality: Nigerian

Source of wealth: Oil

Nigerian billionaire Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma is the founder of South Atlantic Petroleum, which owns upstream assets in Nigeria, Benin, the Central African Republic, and Madagascar. His family office has investments in London property, tech startups, and art. In 2009, he founded the TY Danjuma Foundation. Based in Abuja, Nigeria, it makes grants to various organizations that champion and promote causes in free healthcare, education, poverty alleviation, and policy advocacy.

Abdul Samad Rabiu Initiative

Founder: Abdul Samad Rabiu

Nationality: Nigerian

Source of wealth: Cement, Sugar, Edible Oils

In March 2021, Nigeria’s second richest man Abdul Samad Rabiu launched the Abdul Samad Rabiu Initiative, which provides $100 million annually to fund sustainable, impact-driven solutions to developmental issues affecting health, educational, and social development throughout Africa. Rabiu, 61, is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate with interests in cement manufacturing, food, real estate, and port infrastructure.

Tony Elumelu Foundation

Founder: Tony Elumelu

Nationality: Nigerian

Source of wealth: Banking, Oil, Power, Real Estate

Nigerian multimillionaire Tony Elumelu is the founder of the Tony Elumelu Foundation, which champions entrepreneurship throughout Africa. In December 2014, the foundation made global headlines when he pledged $100 million over a 10-year period to launch the Tony Elumelu Foundation Entrepreneurship Program, which aims to create 10,000 entrepreneurs across Africa. The program provides training, funding, and mentoring to empower the next generation of African entrepreneurs. After an intensive training exercise over many months, the Tony Elumelu Foundation gives a $5,000 grant to 1,000 African entrepreneurs to jumpstart their businesses. The foundation has made this grant without fail since 2015. 

Higher Life Foundation

Founder: Strive Masiyiwa

Nationality: Zimbabwean

Source of wealth: Telecom

Zimbabwe’s sole billionaire Strive Masiyiwa and his wife, Tsitsi, are the founders of the Higher Life Foundation, which supports thousands of orphaned and poor children in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burundi, and Lesotho. It pays for the school fees of these children and provides accommodation and food.

Michelangelo Foundation

Founder: Johann Rupert

Nationality: South African

Source of wealth: Luxury Goods

South Africa’s richest man Johann Rupert is the founder of the non-profit organization Michelangelo Foundation for Creativity and Craftsmanship, which celebrates and preserves master craftsmanship, while strengthening its link to the design community. It helps people rediscover human creativity by promoting the work of master European artisans who utilize centuries-old techniques and methods to create beautiful objects with lasting value.

Motsepe Family Foundation

Founder: Patrice Motsepe

Nationality: South African

Source of wealth: Mining

South Africa’s first Black billionaire, mining magnate Patrice Motsepe was the first African billionaire to sign Bill Gates and Warren Buffett’s The Giving Pledge in 2013. But before then, back in 1999, he and his wife Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe founded the Motsepe Family Foundation. The foundation, which still runs today, funds bursary programs for poor South African students, as well as other initiatives in music, the arts, and sports.

Mo Dewji Foundation

Founder: Mohammed Dewji

Nationality: Tanzanian

Source of wealth: Diversified

Tanzania’s richest man Mohammed Dewji joined The Giving Pledge in 2014. His Mo Dewji Foundation, which he founded in 2014, continues to provide grants for education, business development, and healthcare, among other things.

Aliko Dangote Foundation

Founder: Aliko Dangote

Nationality: Nigerian

Source of wealth: Cement, Sugar

Africa’s richest man established his foundation as far back as 1994. The foundation is now the largest private foundation in Sub-Saharan Africa, with an endowment of more than $1.2 billion. The foundation funds a number of programs aimed at improving the health and education of African children, as well as disaster relief. To further its humanitarian goals, it collaborates with a broad range of reputable international and domestic charities, non-governmental organizations, and agencies. To date, the Aliko Dangote Foundation’s largest collaboration has been with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and leading northern Nigerian state governments to eradicate polio and strengthen Nigeria’s routine immunisation program, beginning in 2013.

Oppenheimer Generations Foundation

Founder: Nicky Oppenheimer

Nationality: South African

Source of wealth: Diamonds

Nicky Oppenheimer of De Beers fame and his son, Jonathan, fund the Oppenheimer Generations Foundation. It provides grants to largely underfunded areas such as wildlife conservation efforts and in August 2020 pledged to donate ZAR 1 billion ($63 million) to support small businesses during the COVID-19 crisis.

The Jannie Mouton Foundation

Founder: Jannie Mouton

Nationality: South African

Source of wealth: Investments

South African billionaire Jannie Mouton, the founder of the PSG Group, is the founder of the Jannie Mouton Foundation. In August 2017, he donated more than $80 million in PSG shares to the foundation. The Jannie Mouton Foundation aims to spend more than $6 million each year in developmental activities and fund non-profit organisations that facilitate positive societal change.

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