Country: UK (Sudan)
Also known as Mo Ibrahim, 66, is a British Sudanese mobile communications entrepreneur and billionaire. He was born in north Sudan and started out working at the African country’s postal service.
When British Telecommunications was about to launch the first mobile service in the UK the company invited him to come on board as a technical director. Ibrahim took the job, but eventually formed his own company with $50,000 in savings. With the help of 450 engineers the company designed networks around the world. He then sold his first company a few years later for about $1bn. When big operators were reluctant to go into Africa, Ibrahim saw an opportunity and decided to enter the market in 1998 with his company Celtel, one of Africa’s biggest telecommunications companies, vowing not to pay a single dollar in bribes. The company ended up with 15 operations in Africa increasing subscriber numbers from a few thousand to over 500m users. He sold it in 2005 to Kuwait investors for $3.4bn and now devotes himself to philanthropy.