Jim Ovia
Jim Ovia

Jim Ovia, Nigeria: ICT skills, entrepreneurship

Jim Ovia founded Zenith Bank, one of Nigeria’s largest lenders, with subsidiaries in Ghana, Sierra Leone, the Gambia and the UK.

The Jim Ovia Foundation has funded 1,500 scholarships totalling N100m ($200,000) since 2010, and supports IT skills programmes for marginalised young people, working with partners such as IBM and Google. The Jim Ovia Scholars programme, founded in 1998, provides aid to outstanding students during undergraduate and graduate study. The Jim Ovia ICT Entrepreneurs programme provides funding to the most promising five to 10 ideas a year, through a competitive bid process.

Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa, Zimbabwe: education, online learning

Strive Masiyiwa
Strive Masiyiwa © Getty

Strive Masiyiwa founded Econet, a diversified telecommunications group with operations in Africa, Europe, South and North America and east Asia.

Since 1996, working with his wife Tsitsi, Mr Masiyiwa has focused his philanthropy on education through the Higherlife Foundation, which says it has helped more than 250,000 children. The foundation, which has offices in Zimbabwe, Burundi, Lesotho and South Africa, supports orphaned and vulnerable children through its Capernaum Trust, including funding school fees, uniforms and other school materials. It also developed Ruzivo, an online digital learning platform for primary and secondary school students in Zimbabwe. An impact analysis carried out by the foundation says students who used Ruzivo outperformed the national average exam pass rate in Zimbabwe between 2010 and 2014.

Cyril Ramaphosa, South Africa: education, school facilities, nutrition

Cyril Ramaphosa
Cyril Ramaphosa © AFP

Cyril Ramaphosa, deputy president of South Africa and its governing party, the African National Congress, built his wealth through Shanduka, an investment firm with interests in mining, finance, packaging, chemicals and energy.

Mr Ramaphosa began his philanthropic activities in the mid-1990s, supporting disadvantaged students with bursaries. In 2004, he founded the Cyril Ramaphosa Foundation, with a focus on education and entrepreneurship. Its Adopt-a-School programme supports more than 400 disadvantaged schools across South Africa. It has built more than 560 facilities, including libraries and sanitation, and reached more than 820,000 learners. It partners with non-governmental organisations (NGOs), companies, government departments and service providers, including the Lafarge Education Trust, the charitable arm of the infrastructure company, South African investment firm Old Mutual, and Biblionef, a book donation NGO.

Patrice and Precious Motsepe, South Africa: higher education, gender equality

Patrice and Precious Motsepe
Patrice and Precious Motsepe © Kevin Tachman/ amfAR16

South African mining magnate Patrice Motsepe founded African Rainbow Minerals and, through African Rainbow Capital, later diversified into financial services. He is worth an estimated $1.8bn.

Patrice Motsepe created his foundation in 1999 with his wife, Precious, sister of Cyril Ramaphosa, focusing on education and health, women’s empowerment, young people and sports.

The Motsepes announced they were joining the Giving Pledge initiative, spearheaded by Warren Buffett and Bill and Melinda Gates, in 2013. Mr Motsepe said his pledge to donate at least half his family’s wealth was intended to help the many South Africans who had seen few benefits since the end of apartheid in 1994. The foundation has allocated about 1,500 bursaries over the past four years for students at tertiary institutions in South Africa, with 350 committed for the 2018 academic year.

Aliko Dangote, Nigeria: disaster response, famine, nutrition

Aliko Dangote
Aliko Dangote © Bloomberg

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has built an estimated $12bn fortune through cement, sugar, salt, flour, oil, rice and industrial investments.

Mr Dangote has given to African causes through the Dangote Foundation and the corporate social responsibility arm of the Dangote Group. His focus has been on disaster response, including famine and victims of flooding in Nigerian cities.

At the recent Global Nutrition Summit in Italy, he pledged N36bn ($100m) to tackle malnutrition in Nigeria, with the aim of reducing malnutrition by 60 per cent in the neediest areas, including Borno, Adamawa and Yobe states in the north. Here, 4.4m people are at crisis level — or outright famine — because of violence waged by Islamist group Boko Haram, which has created large-scale displacement. Mr Dangote has also donated to universities, hospitals, sports clubs, religious organisations, prisons, schools for children with disabilities, and in support of wells and sanitation systems.

Dikembe Mutombo, Democratic Republic of Congo: heathcare, drug provision

Dikembe Mutombo
© Getty

Dikembe Mutombo played professional basketball in the US NBA league, from the early 1990s until his retirement from sports in 2009.

The Congolese-American sports star set up the Dikembe Mutombo Foundation with a focus on healthcare in 1997, the year his mother died. She was unable to reach a hospital because of the civil unrest in the country.

The foundation’s interventions include the provision of free medical supplies — in 2004, it gave away 10,000 doses of albendazole, a deworming medication to treat parasitic infections such as hookworm, which affects more than 500m people globally, causing blood loss and anaemia. In the same year, Mr Mutombo joined Bono, the activist and U2 singer, to launch the One Campaign. In 2006, he raised CDF36bn ($23m) to help build the Biamba Marie Mutombo hospital, a 300-bed facility in Kinshasa, the capital of the Democratic Republic of Congo. It has reportedly treated more than 100,000 people since opening 10 years ago.

Mark Shuttleworth, South Africa: technology, open-source platforms

Mark Shuttleworth
Mark Shuttleworth © Gallo Images

South African entrepreneur Mark Shuttleworth founded Thawte, a digital certificate and internet security company, which was sold to VeriSign for $500m in 1999. He then founded Canonical, the company that enabled the development of the Linux-based Ubuntu system.

The Shuttleworth Foundation was established in 2001 to promote education and technology in Africa. It gives annual grants to fellows for projects that include the development of low-cost 3D-printed medical supplies, such as the $3 stethoscope.

Mohammed Dewji, Tanzania: healthcare, skills development

A former parliamentarian, Mohammed Dewji is chief executive of MeTL Group, a conglomerate created by his father in the 1970s whose interests include textiles, beverages, flour and edible oils in 11 African countries. Mr Dewji has an estimated fortune of $1.4bn.

In his commitment to the Giving Pledge, Mr Dewji said he would use impact investing to help the disadvantaged and would build a business strategy that sees them “not as charity cases, but as willing and able consumers for products that match their needs”. In 2000, Mr Dewji represented his home constituency, the Singida region, as a member of parliament and through the Mo Dewji Foundation, he has supported education, healthcare and skills development, spending more than TSh7bn ($3m).

Liya Kebede, Ethiopia: maternal and child healthcare

Liya Kebede
Liya Kebede © Getty

Liya Kebede was a supermodel for top fashion designers, including Ralph Lauren and Tom Ford, and created her own fashion label, lemlem.

In 2005, Ms Kebede created the Lemlem Foundation, a non-profit body that supports maternal health in Africa. An estimated 162,000 African women die from pregnancy and childbirth-related complications every year.

Her foundation supported the training of health staff and equipped maternity wards at two district hospitals in Ethiopia. Between 2011 and 2015, more than 10,000 women gave birth safely at the Adare hospital in Hawassa, and the number of women seeking prenatal and postnatal care rose 25 per cent, with the maternal mortality rate at the hospital falling to less than 1 per cent. Ms Kebede has served as the WHO Ambassador for Maternal, Newborn and Child Health since 2005.

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