CATEGORY TWO: AFRICA’S BEACONS OF HOPE FOR OUTSTANDING ENTREPRENEURS AWARDS -to recognize Top-Ten Africa’s private entrepreneurs and industrial icons who have propelled industrial revolution in Africa through the establishment of companies and industries thereby creating jobs and wealth for thousands of African citizens.

The awardees are:

Bhimji Depar Shah, is a Kenyan businessman, industrialist and entrepreneur and he is the founder and current Chairman of BIDCO Group of Companies, a Kenya-based, family-owned manufacturing conglomerate with businesses in 13 African countries. He is listed as one of the wealthiest people in Kenya, with an estimated net worth of approximately US$700 million in November 2014.

Bhimji was born in India in 1932. He migrated to Kenya, the largest economy in the East African Community, sometime prior to 1970. He settled in Nyeri, opening up a petrol station in the town. In 1970, he started Bidco Industries Limited, a garments manufacturing business. In 1985, the company switched to soap production. In 1991, Bidco opened up an edible oil manufacturing plant in Thika, and moved its International headquarters into the town, northeast of Nairobi, Kenya's capital. As of November 2014, the industrial conglomerate is a leading manufacturer of soaps, detergents, and baking powder, with annual gross revenue in excess of US$500 million.

Thomas Svanikier is a leading Ghanaian entrepreneur, industrialist, and philanthropist. He is the founder and executive chairman of Svani Group, an automotive conglomerate, as well as a founder and Chairman of the Advisory Board of Fidelity Bank, a growing international financial institution with presence in over 20 countries. Svanikier has been at the forefront of Ghana’s economic modernization over the past 25 years, most notably in the automobile and financial sectors.

Svanikier is also a well-known philanthropist in Ghana. He serves as a leader for the Opportunities Industrialisation Centre (also known as OIC International). OIC is a non-profit group in Pennsylvania that gives technical and vocational skills training to underprivileged adults and teenagers. He is also a leader of the Africa Poverty Eradication Commission located in Accra.

Svanikier is also a known generous supporter of education and youth development programs. He donated a 35-seater bus worth $64,000 to Ghana’s renowned Winneba Youth Choir.

In December, 2014, in the midst of the Ebola outbreak in West Africa, Svani Group partnered with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in the fight against the Ebola epidemic. The Svani Group donated eight heavy-duty vehicles as well as several power generators to the United Nation’s Ebola Emergency Response. In 2015, Svanikier and his wife founded the Svanikier Public Policy Leadership Initiative which donated $100,000 to the University of Oxford’s School of Government. The funds went towards sponsorship for six Ghanaian public officials to attend courses at the University focused on Governance and Natural Resource management.

Onsi Sawiris (also written Sawires, Arabic: أنسي ساويرس‎‎) is an Egyptian businessman. He was estimated to be worth approximately $1.2 billion according to Forbes in 2017. He is the patriarch head of Egypt's wealthiest family and founder of Orascom Construction Industries (OCI). The Orascom conglomerate has various construction, telecommunications, tourism, science and technology and industry companies which are run by his three sons, Naguib Sawiris, Nassef Sawiris and Samih Sawiris. Orascom is involved in tourism development, telecommunications, construction and other fields. OCI is one of the Africa’s largest corporations with more than 40,000 employees and is active in more than 25 countries.

The Sawiris give to charity through the family foundation, the Sawiris Foundation. A scholarship at the University of Chicago bears his name, thanks to a $20 million donation by his son, Nassef, a graduate of the school. Both Nassef and Naguib are billionaires.

Dr. Hasmukh Dawda is a businessman, entrepreneur, industrialist and philanthropist in Uganda and Kenya. He is the chairman of the FI Holdings–House of Dawda Group, a manufacturing conglomerate with interests in East Africa.

Hasmukh attended Ndere Primary School, but dropped out of school at age 13 because of an inability to pay school fees. Forced to drop out of school, he went into business for himself, beginning with hawking confectionery. An Indian shopkeeper offered him a job at Sh150 per month. He was able to save and raise about KSh2,000, by the age of 19. He put that money as a down-payment on a KSh5,000 pickup truck, paying the balance in installments. He also opened a retail shop in his home village of Ndere. In 1970, he began processing molasses at rented premises, using equipment that he already owned. He began buying raw material directly from the farmers, with whom he had good relations. He also began trading in cotton and fresh fruit. Five years later, he built Uholo Factory, a jaggery (molasses factory) that runs to date. In 1985, he established Jambo Biscuits Limited, a confectionery maker, under the Companies.

Today, the FI Holdings–House of Dawda Group currently has the following subsidiary companies:

  • Uganda Pharmaceuticals Limited - Pharmaceutical distributor and retailer in Kampala, Uganda.
  • Manji Foods Limited- Manufacturer of confectioneries in Nairobi, Kenya.
  • Masaaba Cotton Company in Mbale, Uganda- Exporter of premium roller lint to Europe, the Far East, and Japan.


Alhaji Atiku Abubakar, is the former Vice President of the Federal Republic of Nigeria, an astute politician, entrepreneur and philanthropist. Mr. Abubakar, who has investments in media, shipping, education, and other sectors, said he is the largest private employer of labour in Nigeria as he currently employs about 50,000 people in his various business conglomerates. He is a co-founder of Intels, an oil services company with extensive operations in Nigeria and in several other countries. He is also the founder of Adama Beverages Limited, a multi-billion Naira beverages company, and the American University of Nigeria (AUN), both in Yola, Adamawa State.

Atiku started out in the real estate business during his early days as a Customs Officer. In 1974, he applied for and received a 31,000 Naira loan to build his first house in Yola, which he put up for rent. From proceeds of the rent he purchased another plot, and built a second house. He continued this way, building a sizeable portfolio of property in Yola.

In 1981 he moved into agriculture, acquiring 2,500 hectares of land near Yola to start a maize and cotton farm. The business fell on hard times and closed in 1986. "My first foray into agriculture, in the 1980s, ended in failure," Atiku wrote in an April 2014 blog.

He then ventured into trading, buying and selling truckloads of rice, flour and sugar. His most important business fortune came while he was a Customs Officer at the Apapa Ports. An Italian businessman in Nigeria, invited him to set up a Nigerian Container Services, NICOTES, NICOTES, a logistics company operating within the Ports, would go on to provide immense wealth to Atiku. ”Of all the businesses into which I would venture, the most successful and the most lucrative would be Intels, a small oil services company I established with an Italian business man in the early 1980s” Atiku said in an interview.

Recently, Atiku announced that he would establish an animal feeds factory in Abuja as part of his contribution towards boosting employment in his country, Nigeria. According to the statement, the factory called Rico Gardo, when operational, will produce animal feeds of various types, including for cattle, small ruminants, horse and poultry.

Alhaji Aliko Dangote is a Nigerian industrialist and famous African business tycoon. He is the founder and president of Dangote Group, one of the most diversified business conglomerates in Africa with a hard-earned reputation for excellent business practices and products' quality with its operational headquarters in the bustling metropolis of Lagos, Nigeria, West Africa. The Group's activities encompass: Cement manufacturing / importing, Sugar manufacturing &amo; refining, Salt refining, Flour & Semolina milling, Pasta manufacturing, Noodles manufacturing, Poly Products manufacturing, Logistics - Port Management and Haulage, Real Estate and the Dangote Foundation for charity.

Since inception, the Group has experienced phenomenal growth on account of quality of its goods and services, its focus on cost leadership and efficiency of its human capital. Today, Dangote Group is a multi-billion Naira company with operations in about 13 African countries and with over 26,000 employees. The Group's core business focus is to provide local, value added products and services that meet the 'basic needs' of the populace.

Dangote is also a renowned philanthropist who recently enlisted himself on the list of black philanthropists through his culture of generous giving. Aliko Dangote has already made significant contributions to charity totaling over $35 million.

Mr. Jean Kacou Diagou is the Chief Executive Officer and Chairman of the Board of NSIA Participations S.A in Ivory Coast. Mr. Diagou is a professional and expert in the insurance industry accumulating over 40 years’ experience and he is an internationally recognized philanthropist. He contributed very actively to the restructuring of the sector particularly through his participation in the preparation of the CIMA Code, a regulation which is commonly applicable in 14 (fourteen) African countries. NSIA holding companies currently operate throughout Africa including Cameroon, Congo, Gabon, Benin, Côte d’Ivoire, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea Bissau, Mali, Nigeria, Togo and Senegal.
General Theophilus Yakubu Danjuma (Rtd.) popularly known as T.Y Danjuma, is a Nigerian business tycoon and one time Minister of Defense under President Olusegun Obasanjo’s civilian government. He is the founder and chairman of South Atlantic Petroleum (SAPETRO), Nigeria America Line (NAL), Founded in 1979, COMET Shipping Agencies Nigeria Ltd established in 1984, and NatCom Development & Investment Limited. He is also the chairman of May & Baker Nigeria Plc, Nigeria’s first pharmaceutical company founded on September 4, 1944, among other conglomerates.

The NAL-COMET Group offers comprehensive services within shipping, oil servicing, terminal operation, clearing and forwarding, underwater engineering, electrical and electronic supply and installation, transformer manufacture, fishing, food product importation and distribution. In 2009, NAL COMET staff was said to be about 250 including 12 expatriate staff members. In 2005, NAL-COMET acquired a roll-in-roll-out port (RORO) in Lagos which makes it the largest independent port operators in Africa.

In December 2009, South Atlantic Petroleum Limited (SAPETRO), donated a new state of the art medical centre to the Nasarawa State University. The medical centre, to be known as South Atlantic Petroleum Medical Centre would be available to serve the University, as well as the local and neighbouring communities.

The $100-million donated by Theophilus Danjuma to set up the TY Danjuma Foundation, was also reported to have come from South Atlantic Petroleum Limited.

Said Salim Awadh Bakhresa (born 1949 in Zanzibar), is a Tanzanian business tycoon. He is the founder and the chairperson of the Bakhresa Group of Companies. He is a well-known industrialist in the mainland of Tanzania and island of Zanzibar. With a humble beginning as a small restaurateur in seventies, he created the business empire within a span of three decades.

At the age of 14, he dropped out of school to become a potato mix salesperson and would later go on to become a successful African businessman. Bakhresa Group; is a conglomerate of various companies and is the largest milling company in East Africa with operations in Tanzania and five other countries.

After getting into the potato mix industry, Bakhresa got involved as a restaurant operator in the 1970s and then went into grain milling. Even today, the main products from Bakhresa's company comes from the Kipawa Flour Mill where various rice and grain products are being processed.[5] The neighboring country of Rwanda is dependent on Bakhresa's mill to provide 120,000 tons of wheat flour per year; which is expected to ease pressure of food prices in a country which approximately 52% of households don't have an adequate level of food security. His group employs more than 2,000 people and is Tanzania's largest conglomerate.

Bakhresa is helping to reduce the effects of malaria on his employees by preventing the spread of the disease at his workplaces. As a result, Bakhresa's firm only spends about $3400 USD a month for malaria medication as opposed to $10000 USD per month to heal its sick workforce. They stopped using Fansidar; a monotherapy drug in favor of more effective artemisinin-based therapies that utilizes polytherapy. Other companies are united with the Bakhresa Group to stop malaria in their region. Residents of Tanzania who work outside of Bakhresa's company have also benefitted from Bakhresa's crusade against malaria in Africa.

Mark Lamberti is the Chief Executive Officer of Imperial Holdings Limited, a South African based international group of logistics and automotive companies, which employ over 51, 000 people in 35 countries mainly in sub Saharan Africa, the United Kingdom and Europe. The Group ranks among the largest companies on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE).

Lamberti is a generous giver particularly in the field of education and has contributed to the development of education if Africa. His interest in education has led to his involvement as a benefactor, director, advisor or lecturer to a number of educational institutions including the Wits Business School where he is an Honorary Adjunct Professor of Business Administration. He is currently a Trustee and Executive Committee member of the National Education Collaborative Trust, which is a government, business, labour and civil society initiative in support of South Africa’s National Development Plan and Education Sector Plan. Lamberti’s achievements have been widely acknowledged throughout his career, most notably in 2001 as the winner of the Ernst & Young South Africa’s Best Entrepreneur Award.