Africa has produced some media tycoons who have amassed great power and wealth on the continent. Here are top five media magnates in Africa.
56-year-old Ben Bruce started Silverbird Productions in Nigeria in 1980 with only six staff and two business activities, pageant and programme syndication. Today, with hundreds of staff, the company has become a conglomerate, owning three radio stations, Silverbird television, the Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria, Silverbird Cinema, Silverbird Entertainment and Silverbird Galleria. His entry into the pageantry business came at a time when the Miss Nigeria franchise was beginning to lose its glamour, the interest of Nigerians and its sponsor. His brainchild, Most Beautiful Girl in Nigeria (MBGN) pageant eventually took over the market leadership from the Miss Nigeria, owned and operated by the Daily Times of Nigeria. Bruce is also credited for rejuvenating Nigeria’s cinema culture with the launch of Silverbird Cinemas. This year Murray-Bruce was appointed as an honorary special adviser in the cabinet of newly sworn-in Bayelsa State governor, Seriake Dickson.
The 59-year-old South African is easily Africa’s most powerful media mogul. As CEO and the largest individual shareholder of Naspers, a $12 billion (market cap) media conglomerate, Bekker controls 23 magazines (including YOU, Drum and True Love), 7 newspapers, pay-TV giant DSTV, and Brazilian publisher Abril. Bekker believes the future of media lies online. He has spent hundreds of millions gobbling up significant stakes in some of the web’s most valued internet outfits, including a 30% stake in London-listed Russian Internet giant, Mail.ru. Naspers also owns stakes in 24.com and QQ. He has been chief executive of Naspers since 1997.
The Kenyan national heads East Africa’s largest media conglomerate, the Nairobi Stock Exchange-listed Nation Media Group (NMG). The $350 million (market cap) conglomerate owns 7 newspapers, including Daily Nation, the region’s highest-circulating daily newspaper. NMG’s other assets include 3 television and 3 radio stations, as well as mobile value-added services and Internet companies across Kenya, Uganda and Tanzania. Gitahi holds an MBA from the United States International University, Kenya.
A trained Chartered accountant, Mengi is one of Africa’s most revered media moguls, and one of Tanzania’s most influential men. The IPP Group, which he founded in the mid-1980s, owns 10 national newspapers (including Tanzania’s Financial Times, ThisDay and The Guardian), two of East Africa’s most popular Television stations (EATV and ITV), and about ten radio stations.
The Aga Khan
‘His Highness’ the Aga Khan founded Nation Media Group (NMG) in 1960 in order to provide independent news in the years building up to Kenya’s independence through the Taifaand Nation newspapers. Now majority-owned by public shareholders, though the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development remains the largest shareholder, it is the biggest media house in East Africa, has expanded operations into Uganda and Tanzania. Along with its two original publications it also publishes the regional weekly East African as well as running NTV, QTV, QFM and Easy FM radio in Kenya, and NTV and KFM radio in Uganda. It is also one of the largest companies on the Nairobi Securities Exchange (NSE). The Aga Khan became Imam (spiritual leader) of the Shia Imami Ismaili Muslims in 1957 at the age of 20, succeeding his grandfather.
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