Five richest Nigerian entrepreneurs you should know about besides Dangote

Abu Mubarik July 13, 2023
Photo credit: Dangote Cement PLC

Nigeria is Africa’s largest economy and holds the enviable position of having the richest black man in the world, Aliko Dangote. For more than a decade, Dangote has held the top spot as Africa’s richest man as well as the richest black man in the world with an estimated net worth of $18 billion, according to Forbes. He is the founder and chair of Dangote Cement, Africa’s largest cement producer. The Nigerian billionaire’s refinery, which is Africa’s biggest oil refinery, opened in Nigeria recently and is expected to help address fuel shortages in the country

Aside from Dangote, Nigeria has other billionaires and multi-millionaires as it is the hub of budding entrepreneurs across the continent and the world at large. Below are the richest Nigerian entrepreneurs that you should know about besides Dangote.

Abdul Samad Rabiu

Abdul Samad Rabiu has a net worth of $7.6 billion, according to Forbes Africa. He is the founder of BUA Group, which is mainly into cement production, sugar refining, and real estate. His first business line was in iron, steel, and chemical imports. 

Rabiu established his flagship company, BUA International Limited, in 1988 with the intent of going into commodity trading. The business initially imported rice, edible oil, flour, iron, and steel. After some years, BUA gained Nigerian Oil Mills Limited, the largest edible oil processing enterprise. He also launched two flour-milling plants in 2005.

Rabiu commissioned the second-largest sugar refinery in sub-Saharan Africa in 2008, breaking the eight-year monopoly in the Nigerian sugar industry. Years later, the company went on to build a $900 million cement plant in Edo State in 2009, which was completed by 2015.

In the name of BUA Foundation, Rabiu built a 7,000-square-meter pediatric ward at the Aminu Kano Teaching Hospital, as well as a Center for Islamic Studies at Bayero University also in Kano, among others.

Mike Adenuga 

Mike Adenuga made his wealth through telecom and oil production. His net worth, per Forbes, is $6.3 billion. He operates the third largest telecom network in Nigerian known as Globacom, which has an estimated 55 million subscribers.

One of his most valuable assets is a 6% stake in Adidas. He acquired a 5% stake in the New York-listed firm, Madison Square Garden Sports, and owns a stake in Lafarge Cement. He partnered with Fortress Investment Group to purchase Aston Villa FC.

In addition, Adenuga is into oil exploration. His firm, Conoil Producing, operates 6 oil blocks in the Niger Delta. He made his first million at age 26 selling lace and distributing soft drinks.

Femi Otedola

Business mogul Femi Otedola discovered his passion for entrepreneurship very young. At just six, he provided manicure and pedicure services to his father and his friends in exchange for money. He would later carve his path in Nigeria’s oil and gas industry to become a key player. He established Forte Oil, a petroleum and power generation company with over 500 stations in Nigeria. Otedola was also into real estate with 184 flats. 

He became the largest investor in the Nigerian banking sector. He had shares in Africa Finance Corporation and was the Chairman of Transcorp Hilton. Otedola also had shares in Mobil Oil Nigeria Limited, the second largest shareholder in Chevron Texaco and Visafone. 

In 2014, he was featured on Frobes’ richest list with a net worth of $1.8 billion. He was the second Nigerian to be featured in the Forbes list of billionaires after Dangote. Otedola completed his education at Obafemi Awolowo University in 1985. He briefly worked in his father’s marketing firm after his education before going solo to start his oil business.

Folorunsho Alakija 

Folorunsho Alakija is a Nigerian entrepreneur with a reported net worth of $1 billion as of 2020, according to Forbes estimates. She is regarded as Nigeria’s richest woman, as well as the richest woman in Africa. In 2017, she was the second richest woman in Africa with a net worth of $1.73 billion after Isabel dos Santos, as per Forbes. However, following the fall in the net worth of dos Santos over corruption allegations, Alakajia hit the top spot as Africa’s richest woman. Her wealth is built on the back of Nigeria’s oil industry.

Alakija started her career in office administration after training in Britain as a secretary. She later went into banking, where she remained until she decided to venture into entrepreneurship. She worked for Sijuade Enterprises in Lagos for a year and a half before joining the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria.

Tony Elumelu

Tony Elumelu is a Nigerian entrepreneur, investor, and philanthropist with a net worth of $700 million, per Forbes’ estimates. He had previously been featured on Forbes as a billionaire but fell off the billionaire club. Elumelu started his journey as a salesperson, a copier salesman to be specific. He worked at Allstates Trust Bank after completing his master’s degree in Economics from the University of Lagos.

He made news in 1997 after leading a group of investors to take over a struggling commercial bank based in Lagos called Standard Trust Bank. By 2005, he had turned the fortunes of the bank around and merged it with the United Bank for Africa. The bank came to have over seven million customers while operating in 19 countries in Africa and the United Kingdom and the U.S.

Aside from the bank, he came to have a controlling interest in Transcorp, a publicly traded Nigerian conglomerate with interests in hospitality, agriculture, oil production, and power generation.

Forbes reported in 2015 that Elumelu also has investments in real estate across Nigeria and a minority stake in mobile telecom firm MTN Nigeria.

Last Edited by:Mildred Europa Taylor Updated: July 13, 2023


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