The recent growth of Africa’s economy is recognized globally as a major success story. Nigeria in particular stands out and is predicted by many expert commentators to become one of the 15 largest economies in the world by the year 2050, part of the MINT group along with Indonesia, Mexico, and Turkey.
Key to this dramatic growth are a number of african entrepreneurs who have played critical roles in a range of industries to drive success across the continent.
Long standing top African entrepreneurs with visions for the future
Orji Uzor Kalu
Orji Uzor Kalu, born in Nigeria in 1960, developed a keen political interest while studying at the University of Maiduguri. He started out trading in palm oil and has gone on to become chairman of SLOK Holding (a consortium of companies involved in a range of industries) and the Nigerian Daily Sun and New Telegraph newspapers. His interest in politics has been maintained, and he is an active member of the Progressive Peoples Alliance (PPA), even running as the party’s candidate for president in the April 2007 general election. This balance between business and politics provides him with a diverse focus on both the operations of business and the impact these have on the country more widely.
Tunde Folawiyo – honored recipient of the 2010 African Business Leadership Award – is a key player in the growing energy industry of Nigeria, having founded Folawiyo Energy Ltd, a company responsible for around 30 percent of premium motor spirit in Nigeria today. Tunde has a particular interest in helping the energy industry to evolve to the point where it becomes self-sustaining. He is also an active and vocal advocate for the wider philanthropic benefits that economic success can bring; he speaks regularly about how self-sufficiency of the energy industry could facilitate major investment in education and a reduction in the requirement of foreign aid.
The need to innovate is a critical skill for any entrepreneur, and this ability is the foundation of the success of William Kamkwamba. William was born in Malawi and built an electricity-producing windmill made up of junk, including rubber belts, bamboo poles and a bicycle dynamo, when he was only 14 years old. In doing so he provided a means of sourcing water for his family and village. Building on this success, William went on to create bigger and better inventions and has applied this innovative thinking in studying for a degree in Environmental Studies and Engineering at Dartmouth College in the US.
Sandra Appiah and Isaac Boateng
Telling Africa’s story is essential, and social media plays, and will continue to play, a crucial role in this. Sandra and Isaac, both from Ghana, have established a new media company called Face2Face Africa in New York and work to deliver their mission of restoring Africa’s global image.
Entrepreneurs share a number of important qualities, such as ambition, vision and drive. They also have their own personal traits that play a key part in their individual success and will ensure they continue to succeed and contribute to the continuing growth of Africa’s economy.