Stay Smart About Africa

Africa’s Big Givers: Giving Back in a BIG Way

Some of Africa’s wealthiest business leaders and personalities take social responsibility very seriously, generously using both their time and resources to improve the lives of others. Here’s a look at some of the philanthropic efforts of some of the continent’s big givers.


La Fondation Didier Drogba was launched in 2007 by Ivorian soccer player Didier Drogba, with a vision to improve education and healthcare in Côte d’Ivoire, and other African countries. Drogba’s first-hand experience of the lack of adequate healthcare in Africa after he attempted to assist a young leukemia patient who couldn’t receive proper treatment in Abidjan is what prompted him to start the foundation.

“There is nothing better than when you see a kid with a smile on his face and that is why I’m trying to help”, says Drogba, adding, “I want to do a lot of things in Africa, I want to give people the chance to dream, and it is easier to dream when you are in good health and happy.”

The foundation has since opened the doors to one of five hospitals built to cater for underprivileged women and children, collaborated with the local Red Cross to assist various orphanages, and worked with United Against Malaria in a national awareness campaign. africa's big givers



The Sawiris Foundation for Social Development is a grant-based organization that was founded in 2001 by Egyptian billionaire Naguib Sawiris and his family.

Focused on youth training for employment, scholarships, cultural awards, microcredit, health and community development in the north African country, the initiatives are financed through the foundation’s endowment fund, as well as through annual donations from founding members.

In 2014, in partnership with the Ministry of Social Solidarity, the foundation funded training for employment and microcredit projects to create 5,000 job opportunities for young people and women heads of households in selected poor urban neighborhoods.

The foundation also contributes to an ongoing project that provides quality primary school education, long-term accommodation, along with rehabilitation services for street children.

africa's big givers


The Tony Elumelu Foundation (TEF) is an entrepreneurship-based organization that focuses on empowering Africa’s entrepreneurs as its contribution to unlocking the continent’s economic and social development. “I firmly believe that we should be strategic and catalytic in our philanthropy”, Elumelu says about the foundation.

The major programme of the foundation is the Tony Elumelu Entrepreneurship Programme (TEEP), an annual training and mentoring programme for African entrepreneurs. Upon completion of the programme, entrepreneurs receive non-renewable capital to kick-start their businesses.

The aim of the programme is to deepen the African economy and grow more indigenous entrepreneurs, creating over one million jobs over the next 10 years.

africa's big givers


 The Liya Kebede Foundation (LKF) was launched by supermodel, designer and health advocate, Liya Kebede, in 2005 as a non-profit organization that advances safe motherhood in Africa.

The LKF, which was launched alongside Kebede’s appointment as a Goodwill Ambassador for Maternal & Child Health for the World Health Organization, has since trained over 40 health workers in Ethiopia who have gone on to assist over 10,000 mothers in birthing their children safely.

“I was raising awareness, but I wanted a program on the ground,” says Kebede.

The foundation’s ongoing projects include expanding maternal health education through partnering with the International Leadership Academy of Ethiopia, upgrading maternity clinics with well-trained staff and equipment in partnership with the Ethiopian North American Health Professionals Association, and continued training with midwives to reduce the high rate of maternal mortality across seven African's big givers


Started by South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe and his wife, Dr. Precious Moloi-Motsepe in 1999, the Motsepe Foundation was started as a way for the family to informally give to charities. It was formalized in 2003 into a foundation that focuses on social and economic development in South Africa, with the aim of alleviating poverty at a community level. “It’s a recognition that people in my position, and me in particular, have a huge responsibility to South Africans who are less fortunate, those who are unemployed, poor and marginalized, and to make a humble contribution to improve their lives and living conditions,” Motsepe says of his philanthropic initiatives.

The initiatives of the foundation include awarding bursaries to students pursuing careers in science, technology, engineering, mathematics and business, an entrepreneurship programme for women, and a youth soccer tournament that aims to develop sports in the country while contributing to youth and education development. The Motsepe’s have committed to donating half of their wealth to the poor as part of Bill Gates and Warren Buffet’s global ‘Giving Pledge’ initiative that encourages the world’s billionaires to pledge some of their wealth to's big givers


The Dangote Foundation is the Corporate Social Responsibility arm of the Dangote Group, a Nigerian multinational industrial conglomerate founded by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote.

Through the foundation, Dangote has spent over $180 million on philanthropic efforts on the continent over the past two years, which is the largest amount any African individual or company has spent on charity.

“I personally want to take philanthropy very seriously,” says Dangote, “I want to be much more aggressive than what we have had in the past.”

The foundation continues its efforts in the education sector through the establishment of the Dangote Academy, and through the rehabilitation of some of Nigeria’s universities. It also provided humanitarian aid to victims of the floods that swept through Ebonyi State, Oyo State, Lagos and Sokoto in 2014, and electrified 15 villages in Benue's big givers


Ethiopian businessman and billionaire Sheikh Mohammed Al Amoudi is one of Africa’s wealthiest men and one of the world’s leading philanthropists. He believes in the Islamic concept of ‘zakat’ which means donating a significant proportion of your wealth to the community for the community’s development and betterment.

“I have been fortunate enough to achieve a great deal during my lifetime and to have benefited from the support of the local communities for my business projects,” Sheikh Al Amoudi says about his philanthropic ventures. “In return, I think it is only right that I ensure that the community benefits from my business success.”

Al Amoudi invests primarily in education and healthcare-related initiatives. He committed over $20 million to AIDS awareness and treatment between 2007 and 2011 in partnership with the William J. Clinton Foundation, and has been involved in building hospitals in Ethiopia. africa's big givers

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South African journalist based in Johannesburg. A Wits University graduate, Lebo enjoys writing lifestyle and entertainment stories.

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