To combat the COVID-19 pandemic, a long list of Africa’s ultra-wealthy are providing backup to governments, including Patrice Motsepe, Nicky Oppenheimer, Aliko Dangote, Tony Elumelu, Strive Masiyiwa, Othman Benjelloun and Aziz Akhannouch.
In Nigeria, cement magnate Aliko Dangote, the continent’s richest man with an estimated fortune of $10bn, has been on the frontlines from the outset and is coordinating a response effort.
READ MORE 10 facts about South Africa’s Motsepe, who wants the biggest job in African football
Through his Coalition Against COVID-19 and with the help of funding from the Central Bank of Nigeria, Dangote kicked off a campaign to raise N30bn ($78.8m) from some 100 local donors to finance more than 2,100 intensive care beds, 600,000 test kits for distribution around the country and a food relief programme. Thus far, more than 50 companies have partnered up with this highly publicised initiative.
Dangote put N2.2bn of his own money into the organisation.
Funds and foundations
Other private donors include the founder of Globacom and third-richest African, Mike Adenuga, who donated N1.5bn, alongside the industrialist Abdul Samad Rabiu, the managing director of Access Bank, Herbert Wigwe, the oil baron Femi Otedola and the vice chairman of Famfa Oil, Folorunsho Alakija, each of whom contributed around N1bn.
In addition to Rabiu’s personal donation, BUA estimates its total donations to the Covid-19 relief efforts to be over 8.5bn naira.
In South Africa, President Cyril Ramaphosa has been at the forefront of relief efforts, creating the Solidarity Fund, with the Oppenheimer family chipping in almost a third of the funding, or R1bn (€65.5m). The country’s second-richest family, the Ruperts, have pledged to donate R1bn to help small businesses and their workers.
Patrice Motsepe, South Africa’s third-wealthiest person and the chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, raised R1bn through his private foundation, working together with faith-based organisations, trade unions, NGOs, traditional leaders and local government authorities. “The priority is to save lives and slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus” by purchasing disinfectants, personal protective equipment and water tanks.
Early action in Morocco
Appointed as an African Union special envoy on COVID-19, the Zimbabwean telecom tycoon Strive Masiyiwa has taken a different approach, calling on community leaders, religious leaders, MPs and mayors to stop the spread of the virus at the local level. The billionaire provided 100,000 test kits for Zimbabwe’s most vulnerable groups and 45 ventilators for the country’s public hospitals.
READ MORE Nigeria: Dangote Refinery, African Free Trade hinge on better roads
In Morocco, billionaires Othman Benjelloun, head of Bank of Africa, and Aziz Akhannouch, chief executive of fuel retailer Afriquia, got the ball rolling as early as March, donating Dh1bn ($113.4m) each through their companies to boost the country’s Special Fund for the Fight Against Coronavirus.
Elsewhere in North Africa, after coming under scathing criticism for his lack of involvement and his tweet calling for Egyptians to return to work, Naguib Sawiris forked over E£100m ($6.4m) through his foundation in April. The donation provided support to the Egyptian health ministry and poor families.
Understand Africa's tomorrow... today
We believe that Africa is poorly represented, and badly under-estimated. Beyond the vast opportunity manifest in African markets, we highlight people who make a difference; leaders turning the tide, youth driving change, and an indefatigable business community. That is what we believe will change the continent, and that is what we report on. With hard-hitting investigations, innovative analysis and deep dives into countries and sectors, The Africa Report delivers the insight you need.
Also in this in Depth:
mending relationshipsIs Ghana warming up to the Sahel again after diplomatic rift? Ghana President Nana Akufo-Addo has sent emissaries led by his national security chief Albert Kan-Dapaah to Ouagadougou and Bamako and followed up with a personal meeting with military leader Ibrahim Traore.
big fish escape netNigeria: Can EFCC anti-graft agency continue its run under Tinubu? Nigeria’s Economic and Financial Crimes Commission under the leadership of Abdulrasheed Bawa has seen rising success in tackling crime, hitting a peak in 2022. But critics say only small-time criminals are being put behind bars.
BACK ON TOPIsrael’s ambassador to Morocco: The politics behind David Govrin’s return to Rabat The scandal-plagued former Israeli ambassador to Morocco is headed back to Rabat.