Mike Adenuga: How The Bull Became The Third Richest Man In Africa

Posted on February 19 2020 , at 10:46 pm
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Mike Adenuga is the owner of Globacom, Nigeria’s third-largest mobile phone network, and an oil exploration firm, Conoil Producing firm. He was ranked the third richest African in Forbes 2020 African Billionaire list with a whopping net worth of $7.2 billion. He is one of four Nigerians who made it to the highly coveted list this year.

Mike Adenuga who is a self-made billionaire has built a fortune through hard work, great investments, and strategic positioning. His first foray into the world of business came through the sales of car accessories, particularly removable car stereos. On the Bisi Olatilo Show, he said, “the journey started when I came back in 1974 and when I came in in 1974, there were a lot of opportunities… I decided that let me start importing car stereos because cars were coming in without stereos. Also, to be able to combat the issue of theft, we started importing removable car stereos.” He also credited his first big break to the importation of the removable car stereos.

He made his first million at the age of 26 through selling lace and the distribution of drinks and provisions. Business Insider reports that Adenuga stumbled into lace importing. They quoted him from a Newswatch interview saying, “I went on a trip to New York and when I was coming back, I missed my flight, doing on British Airways. So I had to fly Swiss Air and I sat next to the owner of one of the biggest lace manufacturing factories in Austria. So, we were talking and he got me into the business of importing lace, and all sorts of things.”

According to Ventures Africa, while still in his twenties, the businessman started a construction business and leveraged on his political connections to win government contracts. As the business boomed, he ventured into banking, establishing Devcom Bank in 1989.

A year later, he established Equitorial Trust Bank and merged both banks in 2005 after Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN)’s directive that required all banks to raise their capital base to N25 billion. In 1991, his oil exploration company, Conoil Producing Limited struck crude oil in commercial quantities. It now operates 6 oil blocks in the Niger Delta. 

On August 29, 2003, he launched Globacom with the ‘per second billing’, the first of its kind. The mobile network was generally accepted. Forbes describes the telecommunication company as ‘the third-largest operator in Nigeria, with 43 million subscribers.’

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