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From Mauritius to Nigeria, 25 family businesses to look out for in Africa

Here is some key information about how they began and the value that they are adding to the continent.

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Mauritian businessman Arnaud Lagesse.

Family businesses play a critical role internationally and in the context of African economies. However, due to a lack of reliable data their significance and contributions are not fully appreciated or understood. One thing is clear, however – family-owned businesses are the backbone of the African economy.

Though family businesses abound across Africa, only a small fraction of these businesses survive into the second and third generations. While the majority of family business owners across the continent plan to pass their organizations to the next generation, the appropriate structures for ensuring this occurs are mostly lacking among African family businesses. Some of these structures include outlining how ownership and management are transferred. Very few family businesses have such structures in place including policies and procedures that have a significant impact on business continuity such as Testament/Last Will. Also, very few family businesses in Africa have a robust, formalized, and communicated succession plan in place.

Considering only a few African family businesses enjoy multi-generational survival, today Billionaires.Africa celebrates 25 leading family businesses in Africa that have successfully passed on business entities to the second and third generations.

The African family businesses on this list have met all of the following criteria:

·      They are 21 years and older. This 20-year time frame corresponds on average with a level of transition from first-generation control to at least some participation of the next generation of the family owners;

·      At least one member of the family is formally involved in the leadership of the company;

·      Listed companies are defined as family businesses if the persons who founded or acquired the company from their families or descendants control at least 25 percent or more of the decision-making rights required by their share capital; and,

·      The share capital controlled by the family is at least in the second generation or beyond.

Here are 25 family businesses in Africa, how they began and the value they are adding to the continent:

1. Cevital SPA

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryYear Employees 
DiversifiedIssad Rebrab Family$4 billionAlgeria197110,001+

Cevital Industries Group is Algeria’s largest privately-owned conglomerate founded by Issad Rebrab, Africa’s seventh richest man, in 1971.

It is a globally renowned food brand with 2-million MPTA sugar refineries, among the largest in the world. The company’s interests span the agri-food sector, retail, industry and services.

2. Mansour Group

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryYear Employees 
DiversifiedThe Mansour Family$7.5 billion Egypt1952 60,000+

Mansour Group is an Egypt-based multinational founded in 1952 by Loutfy Mansour. The family-run conglomerate is the second-largest company in Egypt in terms of revenue. 

It has an operational footprints in more than 100 countries globally, employing around 60,000 people.

The company’s interests span the energy, automotive, consumer durables, finance, retail, construction, tourism, shipping, defense, information technology, investment and food sectors.

It is also in partnership with some of the world’s leading brands, including General Motors, Peugeot, MG, Caterpillar and McDonald’s.

The company is managed by the Mansour brothers Mohamed, Youssef and Yasseen, who sit on the group’s board.

3. Al Mada 

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
DiversifiedMorocco/The Royal Family$3.5 billion Morocco1966 ——-

Al Mada or Societe Nationale d’Investissement (SNI) is a large privately-held Moroccan holding company-conglomerate belonging to the Moroccan Royal Family. 

The company was founded in 1966 by the Moroccan State and Royal Family, located in Casablanca.

Al Mada holds stakes in major private companies in Morocco’s key sectors. The companies include AttijariWafa (banking), Managem (mining), Nareva (energy), Lafarge Cements and Marjane (retail). 

Al Mada also has investments in other African countries, including Cameroon, Ivory Coast, Rwanda and Gabon.

While King Mohammed VI owns the company, Moroccan businessman Hassan Ouriagli serves as its CEO.

4. Pick n Pay

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
RetailThe Ackerman Family$6.3 billionSouth Africa1967 10,001+

Pick n Pay is a South Africa-based supermarket chain founded in 1967 by Jack Goldin and later bought over by Raymond Ackerman.

Pick n Pay is South Africa’s second-largest chain store.

It has an operational footprint in other countries, including Pakistan, Swaziland, Botswana, Zambia, Zimbabwe, Lesotho, Namibia, Afghanistan, Nigeria, Hong Kong and Iraq.

5. Akwa Group S.A

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
Oil & Gas / DiversifiedThe Akhenouch Family$3 billionMorocco19325000-10,000

Akwa Group S.A. is a Casablanca-based conglomerate privately held by the billionaire Akhenouch family.

Patriarch Ahmed Ouldhadj Akhannouch founded the company in 1932. His son, Aziz Akhannouch, who currently serves as Morocco’s minister of agriculture since 2007, serves as the CEO and chairman.

The company is engaged in the oil and gas industry and a further operation in the telecommunications, tourism, hospitality and real estate sectors. Its service stations operate under the Afriquia brand. 

6. El Sewedy Electric Co S.A.E.

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
Energy SolutionsThe Elsewedy family$2.9 billion Egypt1938 

Elsewedy Electric Co S.A.E. is a Cairo-based multinational electrical company founded in 1938 by the Elsewedy family. Ahmed Elsewedy is the group’s president and CEO.

The company manufactures and sells integrated energy products and services, including electrical cables and accessories, electrical products, telecommunications and transformers.

The company, which listed on the Cairo Stock Exchange in 2006, provides sustainable projects in energy and infrastructure.

7. Ezz Steel

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
Iron & SteelAhmed Ezz$2.2 billionEgypt1994 8,000+

Al Ezz Dekheila Steel Co. EZDK (Ezz Steel) is Egypt’s largest steel company. It is also the largest in the Middle East and North Africa. 

The company was founded in 1994. Ezz Steel and its subsidiaries engage in the manufacturing, trade and distribution of iron and steel products of diverse kinds and associated products and services. 

Farouk Ibrahim currently serves as the group’s chairman.

8. Elaraby Group

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
Manufacturing / RetailThe Elaraby Family—–Egypt196440,000+

Elaraby Group is an Egyptian joint stock family enterprise established in 1964.

It is a leader in developing and manufacturing consumer electronics and home appliances in Egypt, the Middle East and Africa. 

The company’s products are widely accepted in more than 60 countries. 

The Elaraby business has more than 40,000 employees, 16 commercial and industrial enterprises, over 3,000 sales partners, 17 trade stores across Egypt and approximately 600 after-sales service centers.

9. Memaar Al Morshedy 

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
Real EstateThe Morshedy Family——-Egypt1983About 10,000

Memaar Al Morshedy is an Egypt-based real estate development company founded in 1983 by Mohamed Morshedy.

It provides a wide variety of real estate projects that ranges from economy-housing, middle-class housing, and up to premium accommodation all over Cairo and Giza.

 His son, Hassan Morshedy, currently serves as the company’s CEO.

10. Hassan Allam Holding 

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
ConstructionThe Allam Family——-Egypt193634,000+

Hassan Allam Holding is a leading privately owned engineering, construction and infrastructure company based in Egypt.

The company was founded in 1936 by Hassan Allam as an informal construction company.

The company focuses on large-scale engineering and construction projects, building materials, electrical and utility investment and development.

It has a record 34,000+ employees in Egypt and the Middle East and North Africa.

Kamal Allam chairs the company’s 11-man board with five other family members also sitting on the board. They include Hassan, Amir, Samir, Hossam and Mohamed Allam.

11. Sipromad Group 

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
Manufacturing / DiversifiedThe Akbaraly Family——-Madagascar19723,000

Sipromad Group is a Madagascar-based conglomerate that has spanned three generations. The group is engaged in the manufacturing and marketing of mass consumer products.

It further diversified into services and technology in the early 2000s.

In 1972, Sermamod Akbaraly founded Sipromad as a retail business specialized in detergents.

In 2020, he entrusted Sipromad to his son, Ylias Akbaraly, who transformed it into today’s diversified corporation, Sipromad Group.

Ylias is the company’s CEO.

12. Groupe SIFCA

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
AgribusinessPierre Billon—–Ivory Coast196433,000+

SIFCA is an Ivorian agribusiness group co-founded in 1964 by Pierre Billon, Henri Tardivat and Aime Barou.

The company focuses on three business segments, including oil palm, sugar cane and natural rubber.

It has its operations in six countries, including  Ivory Coast, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Senegal and France, where it has ten subsidiaries with over 33,000 employees.

 In 2002, it entered into a strategic alliance with Michelin in the rubber sector.

13. Groupe Rawji 

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
DiversifiedThe Rawji Family—–Democratic Republic of  Congo19027,000+

Rawji Group is a leading diversified conglomerate based in the Democratic Republic of Congo.

The group operates as a dominant force in the financial services, distribution, FMCG manufacturing and real estate sectors.

Businesses include Rawbank, Beltexco (DRC’s largest trading company), Prodimpex, Hexagon, Parkland and Marsavco, plus a significant stake in CIMKO. This cement plant aims to provide the country with a reliable and stable source of cement supply. 

14. Orientals Weavers Group

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
EnergyThe Khamis Family$600 millionEgypt197919,000+

The Oriental Weavers Group is a Cairo-based carpet maker, one of the world’s largest carpet manufacturers, founded in 1979 by industrialist and entrepreneur Mohammed Farid Khamis.  

The group engages in the production, sale, and export of ready-made carpets.

Its products include area rugs, custom carpets, and Gobelin tapestry through segments including woven, tufted, non-woven felt, and fibers and handmade. 

Oriental Weavers produces three grades (A, B, and C) of machine-woven carpets and rugs for the residential, commercial and hospitality industries.

It has offices in London and the U.S. cities of Dalton, New York and Las Vegas.

Leading shareholders include Mohamed Farid Fouad Khamis, Farida Mohamed Farid Fouad Khamis, Yasmine Mohamed Farid Fouad Khamis.

15. Madhvani Group

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
DiversifiedThe Madhvani Family$1 billion+Uganda 191410,000+

The Madhvani Group of Companies, commonly referred to as the Madhvani Group, is one of the largest conglomerates in Uganda founded in 1914 by Muljibhai Madhvani.

The group has investments in Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda, South Sudan, Tanzania, the Middle East, India and North America.

The business is involved in agriculture and agro-processing, steel, packaging, hotels and tourism, insurance, information technology, media and communication, construction, distribution of industrial products and consumer durables.

Family figures in the business include Muljibhai Madhvani, Jayant Madhvani, Manubhai Madhvani, Pratap Madhvani, Surendra Madhvani and Mayur Madhvani.

16. IBL Limited 

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
DiversifiedThe Lagesse Family$124.72 millionMauritius193925,750+

IBL Limited is the largest business group on the island nation of Mauritius. It started out in the country’s shipping and sugar industries in the 1830s. Today, it stands as one of the region’s largest diversified groups and working across nine business segments in 25 countries worldwide.

It is one of Mauritius’ largest private employers.

17. CIEL Group 

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployes 
DiversifiedThe Dalais Family$516.55 millionMauritius191232,000+

CIEL Group is a Mauritius-based multinational investment company operating in five clusters, including agriculture, finance, healthcare, hotels and resorts, property and textiles.

The company mainly provides long-term growth and dividend income for distribution to investors. It invests in a diversified portfolio of equity and equity-related investments. 

The group is present in more than 10 emerging markets across Africa and Asia. 

The company generates most of its revenue from the textile segment. It exports more than 33 million garments annually and has production units in Mauritius, Madagascar, India and Bangladesh.

Arnaud Dalais is the chairman and major shareholder in CIEL Group.

18. Export Trading Group

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
Agriculture / AgribusinessThe Mahesh Patel Family$2.9 billion+(2016)Kenya19677000+

Export Trading Group (ETG) is a diversified agricultural conglomerate specializing in farming, trading, and processing of agricultural commodities.

Mahesh Patel founded the company in 1967. It owns and manages a vertically integrated supply chain across five continents (48 countries).

ETG has emerged as one of Africas largest Agricultural Conglomerates. Patel currently serves as its  chairman and CEO.

19. ENL Group 

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
DiversifiedThe Noel Family$330 million (2015)Mauritius 18216,800+

The ENL group is a Mauritius-based conglomerate founded precisely a century ago by Martial Henri Rene Noel.

It is a broad-based enterprise developing and managing a portfolio of more than 120 international and homegrown brands in industries including agro-industry, real estate, hospitality, logistics, fintech, commerce and manufacturing.

The fifth generation of Noels currently manages the family-run public company.

20. ABC Group

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
DiversifiedThe Ah Chuen Family$47.17 Million (2020)Mauritius19311,400+

ABC Group is a leading conglomerate in Mauritius founded in 1931 by Sir Moilin Jean Ah Chuen. It is a closely-held family empire.

The company started its operations as a retail grocery store in Port Louis opposite the Central Market under the name ABC, meaning “Au Bazar Central” (At the Central Marketplace) and “Aux Bonnes Choses.”

The business operates in five main industries: automobile, banking, financial and insurance services, foods, and shipping and logistics. 

21. Bidco Africa

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
FMCG / Manufacturing.The Shah Family$500 million+Kenya 197025, 000+

Bidco Africa is a Kenya-based multinational conglomerate founded in 1970  by Bhimji Depar Shah and his family to manufacture garments. 

But over the years, the group has grown to become East Africa’s leading FMCG company. With more than 40 brands, it is the largest producer and marketer of consumer goods in the region.

Its headquarters is in Thika, Kenya, with subsidiaries and distributors across 17 countries in East Africa, Central Africa and Southern Africa.

Its products include edible oils, fats, margarine, laundry bars and detergents, personal care products, animal feeds, and food and beverages.

22. Nasco Group

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
FMCGThe Nasreddin Family$540 millionNigeria19631,800+

The NASCO Group was founded in 1963 by Eritrean businessman Ahmed Idris Nasreddin.

It started its operation with the establishment of a jute bag factory in Jos, Nigeria. This was the first in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The company manufactures and distributes brands across the food and household sectors.

 Idris Nasreddin passed a few months back. His son Attia Nasreddin currently serves as the CEO.

23. MeTL Group 

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
DiversifiedThe Dewji Family$1 billion+Tanzania197024,000+

Gulamabbas Dewji founded Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Limited (METL)  Group in 1970 as a small trading company.

It is Tanzania’s largest home-grown company, with a presence in 11 countries in Africa, including Uganda, Ethiopia, Kenya, Rwanda, Burundi, Zambia, Mozambique, Malawi and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

MeLT’s interest spans manufacturing, Agriculture, infrastructure, trading, mobile telephony, financial services, transport, infotech and distribution.

Mohammed (Mo) Dewji, Tanzania’s richest man, currently drives the company he inherited from his father.

24. Bakhresa Group 

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
DiversifiedThe Bakhresa Family$800 million (2016)Tanzania19838,000+

Bakhresa Group is an industrial conglomerate based in Dar es Salam,  Tanzania.

The company is owned by Tanzanian multimillionaire Said Salim Bakhresa, whose four sons serve as executive directors on the company’s board. 

The group is one of the largest in the region, with operations spread in Tanzania Mainland and Zanzibar, Kenya, Uganda, Malawi, Mozambique, Zambia, Rwanda, Burundi, Zimbabwe and South Africa.

It has investments in agribusiness, beverages, logistics, media, oil trading, recycling, entertainment and packaging. 

25. Elnefeidi Group

Segment Ownership Revenue CountryyearEmployees
DiversifiedThe Elnefeidi Family——–Sudan1934——

Elnefeidi group is a Sudanese family-owned business founded in 1934 by Haj Bashir Elnefeidi.

Elnefeidi started small as a soap maker but has grown into an industrialized group that has experienced decades of transformations and expansion in the agriculture, logistics, automotive, commercial food, real estate, electronics and aviation industries.

The group’s operations and affiliates span Africa, Europe, the Middle East, and North America. Amin Bashir Elnefeidi currently serves as the group’s president.

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Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote gains $100 million in June

The $100-million increase in his net worth in June follows a $300-million decline in May.

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Aliko Dangote.

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote saw his net worth rise by $100 million in June despite the mixed performance of his publicly traded companies, as investors reduced their positions in shares that had delivered impressive year-to-date growth due to profit and valuation concerns.

According to data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Dangote’s net worth increased by $100 million between the start of business on June 1 and the end of business on June 30, rising from $20.3 billion to $20.4 billion.

The $100-million increase in his net worth in June follows a $300-million decline in May, when investors sold down shares in his flagship company Dangote Cement as part of a move to preserve wealth after the cement maker’s stock price surged to an all-time high of N300 ($0.72) per share on May 19.

The increase in his net worth brings his year-to-date wealth gains to $1.32 billion, making him one of the few billionaires in the world who have been able to record impressive gains in their fortunes despite recent stock market declines.

Apart from the multimillion-dollar increase in his net worth in June, the Nigerian billionaire, who recently launched the continent’s largest granulated urea fertilizer complex, received a total dividend of $725.2 million this year from his publicly traded businesses, which is significantly more than the $639.5 million he received last year.

Through his manufacturing conglomerate Dangote Industries Limited, Dangote opened an application nearly four days ago to raise up to N300 billion ($723 million) in medium-term debt funding from Nigerian investors to fund the completion of his $19-billion integrated refinery and petrochemical complex, Dangote Oil Refinery.

The refinery’s pipeline infrastructure, when completed in the first half of 2023, will process 540,000 barrels of Nigerian crude per day in the first phase of operation, increasing to 650,000 barrels per day later.

The refinery will also produce 65 million liters of premium motor spirits (petrol), 15 million liters of diesel, and 3 billion standard cubic feet of gas per day.

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Egypt’s richest man Nassef Sawiris loses $600 million in June after gaining $1.25 billion in May

His fortune is derived from a 38.8-percent stake in Netherlands-based OCI N.V. and a six-percent stake in German sportswear behemoth Adidas.

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Egypt's richest man Nassef Sawiris.

After reporting a whopping $1.25-billion increase in his net worth in May, Egypt’s richest man Nassef Sawiris saw his fortune plummet by $600 million in June as the market value of his investment portfolio fell by double digits, mirroring the drop in EU stocks over the month.

Sawiris, a leading Egyptian businessman and one of Africa’s richest billionaires, serves on the boards of Adidas, a leading sportswear manufacturer, and OCI N.V., a global manufacturer and distributor of nitrogen products.

The majority of his fortune is derived from a 38.8-percent stake in Netherlands-based OCI N.V. and a six-percent stake in German sportswear behemoth Adidas, which is valued at $2.11 billion at the time of writing this report.

According to data from the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Sawiris had a net worth of $7.45 billion at the start of business on June 1, but his net worth dropped to $6.85 billion at the end of business on June 30 due to a decline in the share prices of OCI N.V. and Adidas.

The $600-million decline in his net worth in June follows a drop in EU equities as global markets face immense pressure, with aggressive monetary tightening by the U.S. Federal Reserve and other major central banks fueling fears of an impending economic downturn.

Despite the recent loss, the year-to-date change in Sawiris’ net worth remains positive, with the businessman’s fortune rising by more than $350 million this year, from $6.5 billion at the start of business in January to $6.85 billion at the time of writing.

The increase in his net worth year-to-date can be linked to his stake in OCI N.V., which enjoyed an increase in its valuation after the group reported a 246-percent increase in net income in the first quarter of 2022, from $102 million in the first quarter of 2021 to $354 million, driven by a 108-percent rise in revenue above $2.3 billion due to higher volumes and selling prices.

The group revealed that its outlook remains positive until at least 2024, providing strong support for nitrogen prices to remain above historical averages.

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Ghanaian tycoon Daniel McKorley’s McDan Group to donate land to students for soya bean cultivation

McKorley is a well-known businessman and the founder and CEO of the McDan Group.

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Ghanaian tycoon Daniel McKorley.

Ghanaian tycoon Daniel McKorley has announced plans to donate three to five acres of land to students for soya bean cultivation as part of the efforts to increase food sufficiency in Ghana, as food prices continue to rise due to supply constraints exacerbated by the war in Ukraine.

According to GhanaWeb, the leading business mogul announced the decision at the third edition of the McDanYouthConnect series of events, explaining that the move is part of a concerted effort to improve agriculture and promote food sufficiency in the country. He added that students will be given the opportunity to cultivate one or two products and create value for the nation.

His decision, which was applauded by all dignitaries and persons who attended the event, resulted in the release of 100 acres of land for the block farming project.

McKorley went on to advise students to continue engaging with the “right” people to increase their knowledge base, to network, and to ask for help when trying out something new, as such an attitude in life will allow them to unlock their future potential and grow.

McKorley is a well-known businessman and the founder and CEO of the McDan Group of Companies, an Accra-based transportation and logistics group with three divisions: McDan Shipping, McDan Aviation, and McDan Logistics.

Aside from its core operations in Ghana, the group maintains active operations and an extensive presence in West African countries such as Sierra Leone, Liberia, and Equatorial Guinea through its broad interests in shipping, logistics, and aviation.

McDan Group, led by McKorley, opened its first private jet terminal at an international airport in Accra, Ghana’s capital city, earlier this year, with three planes and one helicopter operating under the McDan Aviation brand.

The jet terminal will serve high-end clients seeking to maximize luxury clients and corporate executives seeking a quick and efficient commute for business purposes.

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