Africa is a continent brimming with creative and ingenious minds contributing to a vast business ecosystem in the sub-Saharan region of Africa. The continent is home to several countries with the fastest growing global economies. Many young, ambitious Africans are setting out to write their own stories and leaving remarkable legacies with the creation of enterprises that will transform Africa and rekindle its economies.

Africa means business, and over the years, it has seen the emergence of a number of mega-corporations, most of which are run by foreigners. For instance, AngloGold Ashanti, the world’s largest gold producer, is led by Mark Futani, an Australian. Safaricom, East Africa’s largest telecom provider, is run by a Guyanese man, Bob Collymore, and CEO Graham Mackay, an American, runs the world’s largest beverage maker, SABMiller. Now, a bold and fearlessly ambitious group of African men and women are taking the reins on Africa’s businesses, building pan-African companies with regional, and sometimes global, presences and shaping the economic future of the African continent through their resolutions and actions.

Here are ten such powerful, influential, and successful Africans who, against all odds, have made it big. It surely was not an easy pursuit, but with determination, hard work, resilience, and a strong upholding of their principles, they prevailed.

Jason Njoku (Nigeria)

Richest Men In Africa

Status: Founder and CEO of iROKO Partners and iROKOTv

Net worth: 12 million USD

Secret to success: Tenacity is the biggest reason for his achievements. He spots an idea, makes a plan, and runs with it. Don’t hang around waiting for things to happen. Learn from your mistakes, and keep true to your own vision.

Quote:  I make more mistakes than I make good choices. My only saving grace is that the few good choices that I make are better and more significant.

Mark Shuttleworth (South Africa)

Richest Men In Africa

Status: Founder of Knife Capital

Net worth: 500 million USD

Secret to success: He likes to surround himself with people better than himself in one aspect and bring all those talents together to create super solutions. He is a visionary who is very patient and both ready and willing to lose money if it helps him change an industry in a few years.

Quote:  A big part of willpower is having something to aspire to, something to live for.

Mike Macharia (Kenya)

Richest Men In Africa

Status: Founder and CEO of Seven Seas Technology

Net worth: 11.2 million USD

Secret to success: Link African problems with monetary value and be persistent. Never give up because all things are not rosy. Business and entrepreneurship has its ups and downs. Keep this in mind and fight forward.

Quote:  Life is not always smooth sailing, not even those considered to have made it, but it is the bumps along the way that moulds one to perform better in the next instance. In the face of all these challenges, passion is what keeps you going.

Aliko Dangote (Nigeria)

Richest Men In Africa

Status: Owner of Dangote group

Net worth: 13.8 billion USD

Secret to success: Self-sufficiency and a manufacturing strategy. Rather than entering new market via acquisition, focus on building it from scratch with unquestionable quality and then compete with the existing players. It is an approach that is generating wins for my company.

Quote: Do not kill the competition. Competition is healthy for businesses and it keeps, you the entrepreneur, on your toes.

Nicky Oppenheimer (South Africa)

Richest Men In Africa

Status: Businessman and Philanthropist

Net worth: 7.1 billion USD

Secret to success: Believe in Africa, be down to earth, forget emotion, reinvest, and know the art of recovery.

Quote:  I’m a great believer that if you know how to operate in Africa, there are unbelievable opportunities.

Mohammed Gulamabbas Dewji (Tanzania)

Richest Men In Africa

Status: President and CEO of MeTL Group

Net worth: 1.4 billion USD

Secret to success: It is all about hard work. I put in hundred hours a week. It is never a stopped game. You can never say I have worked hard enough now.

Quote:  People in Tanzania look at my wealth and think I must be sunbathing and playing golf all day, but I work really hard.

Michael Adeniyi Agbolade Ishola Adenuga, Jr. (Nigeria)

Richest Men In Africa

Status: Business Tycoon

Net worth: 5.8 billion USD

Secret to success: Vision, hard work, dedication, patience, commitment, risk, and reclusiveness.

Quote:  The harder you work the luckier you get.

Issad Rebrab (Algeria)

Richest Men In Africa

Status: CEO of Cevital

Net worth: 3.4 billion USD

Secret to success: Hard work and determination with a little risk taking.

Quote:  Think big, start small and move fast.

Michael Kojo Essien (Ghana)

Richest Men In Africa

Status: Professional footballer

Net worth: 90 million USD

Secret to success: Determination and constant progression in his football career.

Quote: Yes, I am aggressive and there is nothing wrong with that. I am determined about one thing. I won’t change my game.

Mohammed Hussein Ali Al-‘Amoudi (Ethiopia)

Richest Men In Africa

Status: Businessman

Net worth: 10.3 billion USD

Secret to success: I make a personal commitment to the direction and success of all the programmes in which I invest. I make all philanthropic decisions myself after taking account of a range of expert opinions.

Quote:  There is a natural link between the effective running of my businesses and the effective direction of philanthropic funds. I apply business principles of my philanthropic work so that maximum value is given to the causes I support.

Success is not for a selected group of people. You, too, can be successful with a clearly spelt out and defined vision. Discipline yourself, prepare for resistance and setbacks, and never give up. Pursue with passion until you attain 100% completion of your vision. Do not let the achievements of today keep and deter you from reaching out and achieving the success of tomorrow.

Cephas Nshimyumuremyi, a successful African entrepreneur from Rwanda in East Africa, says to be successful is to do what you know, and Justina Kavale of Namibia says to believe in your ideas for the passion in what you are doing only comes if you believe in the ideas yourself. Many young African entrepreneurs and successful men and women did not have it all, but they took their beliefs, passion, commitment, determination and hard work, coupled it with the vast resources Africa has to offer and made the best of it.

Jason Njoku, Mohammed Dewji, Michael Essien, and other numerous successful Africans have proved it is not utterly impossible for Africans to make it big in life.

What are we waiting for? Get a vision, stay true to it and don’t be a quitter.

Max Gapher
Max Gapher takes deep interest in the areas of Finance, Agriculture, Technology and Marketing. He is a Banking and Finance Student of the Wisconsin International University College. Writing to him is always an emotional journey. He believes connecting with your emotions tend to bring out the best pieces. Max is also a serial entrepreneur and believes entrepreneurship is the path to follow if Africa wants to see a better version of herself in the future.