6 Africans Who Made it in Asia
1. Ladi Delano – Stayed in China originally from Nigeria
Ladi Delano made his first millions as a liquor entrepreneur while living in China. In 2004, at age 22, he founded Solidarnosc Asia, a Chinese alcoholic beverage company that made Solid XS, a premium brand of vodka. Solid XS went on to achieve over 50% market share in China.
He sold the company for $15 million and invested his funds into his next venture-The Delano Reid Group, a real estate investment holding company focused on mainland China. He is the co-founder and Chief Executive Officer of Bakrie Delano Africa (BDA) – a $1 billion joint venture with the $15 billion (market cap) Bakrie Group of Indonesia. Bakrie Delano Africa is responsible for identifying investment opportunities in mining, agriculture and oil & gas and executing them.
Today, Delano is the co-founder and CEO of Bakrie Delano Africa (BDA) – a $1 billion joint venture with the Bakrie Groupof Indonesia. Bakrie Delano Africa stands as the Bakrie Groups’ investment partner in Nigeria.
So far, the Indonesian Conglomerate has provided over $900 million worth of funding for investment in Nigeria and Bakrie Delano Africa identifies opportunities for investment in mining, agriculture, oil & gas, and executes the investment processes.
He was on Forbes’ list of the youngest millionaires to watch in Africa in 2012 and is the youngest Nigerian billionaire.
2. Patrick Ngowi – Stayed in China originally from Tanzania
At age 19, Patrick Ngowi had saved enough money to enroll in Dezhou University, China where he studied renewable and alternative energy (with particular emphasis on solar power). He returned to Tanzania after his studies to start Helvetic Solar Contractors, a company that has now installed more than 6,000 small rooftop solar systems in his country and four other East African countries – Kenya, Uganda, Rwanda and Burundi. Many of these systems are installed in the same communities he sold his mobile phones (which had no access to the electric power grid).
The success of his company – whose revenues are expected to exceed $7 million by the end of 2013 – proves that Africa’s market and demand for solar energy is indeed lucrative. This astounding success has also attracted a lot of media attention Patrick’s way. In early 2013, he was featured by Forbes as one of the 10 Young African Millionaires to watch in 2013. His company was also ranked at the top of KPMG’s East Africa’s Survey of Top 100 Mid-Sized Companies in Tanzania in 2012.
3. Mark Ndesandjo – Shenzhen, China originally from Kenya
Barack Obama’s half-brother, born c. 1965, son of Barack Obama, Sr. and his third wife Ruth Baker. Mark Ndesandjo runs an Internet company called WorldNexus that advises Chinese corporations how best to reach international customers. Mark was educated in the US, graduating from Brown University; he studied physics at Stanford University, and received an MBA degree from Emory University.
He has lived in Shenzhen, China, since 2002. Through his mother, he is Jewish. He is married to Liu Xuehua (also spelled Liu Zue Hua in some reports), a Chinese woman from Henan Province. He is an accomplished pianist and has performed in concert.
In 2009, Mark Ndesandjo published a semi-autobiographical novel, Nairobi to Shenzhen: A Novel of Love in the East. He published a memoir in 2013, entitled, Cultures: My Odyssey of Self-Discovery.[
4. Vimbayi Kajese – Beijing, China originally from Zimbabwe
She is a Zimbabwean journalist who first came to international attention as a news presenter for China Central Television‘s CCTV-9 from 2009-1011. She was the first African anchorwoman in the station’s history, and her success helped pave the way for the network’s expanded presence on the continent, and eventual launch of programs like Africa Live from its Nairobi Bureau which was established in 2012. Kajese first visited China in 2004, and decided to move to Beijing in 2006. She became one of CCTV-9’s early morning news presenters three years later. She also went to North Park Primary School in Mt. Pleasant, Harare. She left CCTV in October 2011, and later began organizing conferences and events aimed at promoting international friendship between various African and Chinese communities, including entrepreneurs and students
5. Zumahoun Rufin – Stayed in Japan originally from Benin
Zomahoun was born in Dassa-Zoumé, Dahomey (the old name of Benin until 1975). He attended National University of Benin and Beijing Language and Culture University in Beijing, China. Since 1996, he has been a student at Sophia University in Tokyo, where he is completing a Ph.D. in sociology. He can speak Yoruba, Fon, French, English, Mandarin, and Japanese.
In 1998, Zomahoun was “discovered” by a TBS executive and became a cast member on the TV show Koko ga Hen da yo Nihonjin. In a pool of 100 foreigners voicing their displeasure about certain aspects of Japanese society, he was usually picked due to his hyperactive Japanese speech, causing him to trip over his words and prompting the celebrity panel to yell at him to speak more slowly. He was one of the show’s leading stars until its end in 2002. With the help of host Takeshi Kitano, Zomahoun built four schools in Benin, two of which are named after Kitano (Takeshi Elementary School and Takeshi Japanese School). Additionally, he won a People’s Honor Award in Benin in 2002.
In December 2011, the Cabinet of Benin accredited him as Ambassador to Japan
6. Sam Okyere from Ghana lives in South Korea