According to Forbes, here are ten millionaire African business people to watch closely. They missed the cut for the list of Africa’s 40 Richest this year, but some of them may be strong contenders for future membership.
1. Femi Otedola, Nigeria
The Nigerian diesel marketer was briefly a billionaire in 2009 but dropped off FORBES rankings following a steep fall in the share price of his petroleum marketing company, African Petroleum (now Forte Oil) and his very high debt profile. Otedola had been one of Nigeria’s biggest debtors for the past few years with non-performing loans reported at close to $1 billion. In October, the Nigerian media reported that Otedola had cleared his debts, albeit in unclear circumstances. He’s making a bold attempt at a comeback. In October he was part of a consortium that won a bid for a government-owned power plant; his Zenon Petroleum Company is still the dominant supplier of diesel and kerosene in Nigeria and he boasts an attractive property portfolio in some of Nigeria’s swankiest neighborhoods.
2. Strive Masiyiwa, Zimbabwe
Masiyiwa is the founder and executive chairman of Econet Wireless, a publicly-listed mobile telecom company with operations in Zimbabwe, Botswana, Lesotho, Burundi and Rwanda. Econet also owns a 3G license in New Zealand. Last year, Econet launched the Econet Power Station – a solar power device that aims to provide low cost energy to rural communities. If the Power Station does as well as Masiyiwa hopes, he should be back on the list in no time.
3. Paschal Dozie, Nigeria
Source: Banking, Telecom
A trained cconometrician, Paschal Dozie founded Diamond Bank in 1991 and grew it into one of Nigeria’s largest commercial banks before retiring as CEO in 2005. Through his investment holding company, Kunoch Limited, he still holds a significant stake in the Nigerian Stock Exchange-listed bank. Dozie is also a founder of African Capital Alliance, a private equity firm focused on sub-Saharan Africa. He is one of the largest individual shareholders in mobile phone network MTN Nigeria.
4. Ashish Thakkar, Uganda
Ugandan tycoon started out selling used computers at age 14 to his classmates and friends. He diversified into packaging and property development, and through the years has built his Mara Group into what he says is a $100 million (profit) conglomerate with interests in infrastructure, asset management and agriculture. The group has 7,000 employees and operations in 24 countries. Devoted philanthropist provides startup grants and mentorship to young entrepreneurs through his Mara Foundation.
5. Obateru Akinrutan, Nigeria
Nigerian monarch founded energy services firm Obat Oil in 1981 with a single gas station to meet the needs of his family and neighboring community. The group has grown over three decades to become one of the West African country’s largest energy services providers. Assets include 50 service stations in strategic locations and a modern tank farm with a storage capacity of 65 million liters.
6. Tunde Folawiyo, Nigeria
Source: Oil, Shipping, Telecom
7. Sunny Odogwu, Nigeria
Source: Real Estate
8. Sipho Nkosi, South Africa
Source: Natural Resources
9. Wendy Appelbaum, South Africa
10. Samuel Macharia, Kenya
Read more: Forbes.com