Home » Forbes list shows Globacom founder Mike Adenuga as fifth richest in Africa

Forbes list shows Globacom founder Mike Adenuga as fifth richest in Africa

Adenuga notably shook up the African telecom sector with the launch of his telecom network in August 2003

by Omokolade Ajayi
Mike Adenuga

In 2024, global billionaires saw their wealth soar, and Nigerian billionaire Mike Adenuga, the visionary behind Nigeria’s second-largest telecom services provider, was no exception. Adenuga reclaimed his spot as Africa’s fifth-richest person and Nigeria’s second wealthiest, outpacing fellow Nigerian billionaire Abdul Samad Rabiu on Forbes’ 38th Annual World’s Billionaires List.

Known for his diverse investments in oil, gas, telecommunications, banking, construction, and real estate, Mike Adenuga notably shook up the African telecom sector with the launch of his telecommunications network, Globacom Limited (Glo), in August 2003. In recent times, his net worth has surged to $6.9 billion from $6.1 billion in 2023, solidifying his rank as Africa’s fifth-richest person and Nigeria’s second wealthiest, according to Forbes World’s Billionaires List.

Adenuga’s net worth rides a rollercoaster

A year ago, Mike Adenuga ranked sixth in Africa and third in Nigeria with a net worth of $6.1 billion. In January, his fortune surged to $7.4 billion after Forbes reassessed the value of his mobile phone network, Glo, the second-largest telecom operator in Nigeria. However, the naira’s devaluation caused his net worth to plunge to $6 billion by mid-March, before a recent rebound to $6.9 billion.

Forbes’ estimate likely understates Adenuga’s true wealth. He’s considered one of Africa’s most liquid billionaires, and his publicly disclosed holdings, including Glo and stakes in other listed companies held through his private investment firms, may not capture the full picture.

Adenuga holds significant stakes in oil exploration through Conoil Producing and Conpetro. His investments also include construction giant Julius Berger (valued at more than $17 million), a 0.86-percent stake in Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc (Transcorp) led by Tony Elumelu, and a 30.63-percent stake in Sterling Financial Holding, solidifying his position among Nigeria’s financial elite.

On the global stage, Adenuga ranks 400th on the Forbes World’s Billionaires List, among 2,781 billionaires with a combined net worth of $14.2 trillion. This represents a $2-trillion increase from last year and surpasses the previous record set in 2021 by $1.1 trillion.

Glo makes strides in Africa under Adenuga

Adenuga’s astute leadership and relentless pursuit of success have propelled Glo on its ambitious quest to become Africa’s most extensive telecommunications network. The company boasts millions of subscribers in Nigeria and Ghana, capturing approximately 28 percent of the Nigerian market share. This places Glo within striking distance of South Africa’s MTN, which holds a 35 percent share.

Glo’s impressive journey under Adenuga began with a solid foundation. In 2009, the company became the first to construct the $800 million Glo-1 submarine cable. This high-capacity fiber-optic cable, stretching from the United Kingdom to Nigeria, marked the first successful submarine cable connection between the two countries. This along with moves focused on bolstering network capacity and reach, has demonstrably strengthened Glo’s infrastructure. Notably, Glo remained operational during a recent internet outage that crippled services for millions across West Africa.

Further strengthening its operations, the leading group leveraged its robust mobile network to launch its payment service banking (PSB) unit, MoneyMaster PSB, in 2022. This move positions Glo alongside competitors 9Mobile, MTN, and Airtel in offering mobile payment banking services in Nigeria.

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