Mohammed Ibrahim (businessman)

Dr Mohamed Ibrahim

Ibrahim at the 2007 World Economic Forum on Africa in Cape Town

1946 (age 6970)


Residence Monte Carlo, Monaco/Mayfair, London, United Kingdom
Citizenship United Kingdom[1]
Alma mater Alexandria University, University of Bradford, University of Birmingham
Occupation Businessman, engineer
Net worth US$1.1 billion[1]

Dr Mohammed "Mo" Ibrahim (Arabic: محمد إبراهيم; born 1946) is a Sudanese-British mobile communications entrepreneur and billionaire. He worked for several other telecommunications companies before founding Celtel, which when sold had over 24 million mobile phone subscribers in 14 African countries. After selling Celtel in 2005 for $3.4 billion, he set up the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to encourage better governance in Africa, as well as creating the Mo Ibrahim Index, to evaluate nations' performance. He is also a member of the Africa Regional Advisory Board of London Business School.

In 2007 he initiated the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, which awards a $5 million initial payment, and a $200,000 annual payment for life to African heads of state who deliver security, health, education and economic development to their constituents and democratically transfer power to their successors. Dr Ibrahim has pledged to give at least half of his wealth to charity by joining The Giving Pledge.

According to the Forbes 2011 Billionaire List,[2] Mo Ibrahim is worth $1.8 billion, making him the 692nd richest person in the world. Mo Ibrahim was also selected for the TIME "Top 100" list in 2008.

Early life and education

Born in Sudan,[3] of Nubian descent, and his family moved to Egypt when he was young. Ibrahim earned a Bachelor of Science from Alexandria University in Electrical Engineering. He returned to Sudan and started working for the telephone company, Sudan Telecom.[4] He started working in England and earned a master's degree from the University of Bradford in Electronics and Electrical Engineering, and a PhD from the University of Birmingham in Mobile Communications.[5]

In 2007 Ibrahim was awarded an Honorary Doctorate in Economics by the University of London's School of Oriental and African Studies,[6] and in 2011 an Honorary Doctor of Laws Degree from the University of Pennsylvania.[7]

A respected international philanthropist, Mo Ibrahim is credited with "transforming a continent" and is thought to be the "most powerful black man in Britain".[3]


Ibrahim was employed by British Telecom for a time, and later worked as the technical director for Cellnet, a subsidiary of British Telecom.

During the early 1980s Ibrahim taught undergraduate telecommunication courses at Thames Polytechnic later to become University of Greenwich.

In 1989 he founded MSI, a consultancy and software company, which in 2000 was bought by the Marconi Company. MSI had 800 employees, who owned approximately 30% of the stock at the point of its sale; Ibrahim says he gave employees stock as a form of bonus.[8]

In 1998, MSI spun off MSI-Cellular Investments, later renamed Celtel, as a mobile phone operator in Africa.

Since 2010, Ibrahim has lent his support to the Broadband Commission for Digital Development, a UN initiative which aims to spread the full benefits of broadband services to unconnected peoples.[9]

Mo Ibrahim Foundation

Main article: Mo Ibrahim Foundation

In 2006 Ibrahim created the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, founded in London.[5] In 2007, the Foundation inaugurated the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, with the first recipient former president Joaquim Chissano of Mozambique.[10]

The Foundation publishes the Ibrahim Index of African Governance, ranking the performance of all 54 African countries. Until 2009, the Index took into account only the 48 countries in Sub-Saharan Africa.

The Foundation offers scholarships at University of Birmingham, SOAS, and London Business School. These scholarships are on topics of International Development at University of Birmingham, Governance of Development in Africa at SOAS, and an MBA at London Business School. The scholarships are initiated for African students, both master students and postgraduates.[11]

Marriage and family

Ibrahim has a daughter Hadeel Ibrahim, who is Executive Director of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, vice chair of the Africa Centre in New York, and board member of the Clinton Foundation; and two sons Hosh and Sami Ibrahim. He resides in Monaco.


  1. 1 2 "Mohammed Ibrahim – Forbes". Forbes. Retrieved 16 April 2014.
  2. "Mohammed Ibrahim". Forbes. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  3. 1 2 Geraldine Bedell, "The man giving Africa a brighter future", The Observer, 1 February 2009, accessed 7 October 2012
  4. Southwood, Russell (2009). Less Walk, More Talk: How Celtel and the Mobile Phone Changed Africa. Wiley. pp. 18–25.
  5. 1 2 "The Mo Ibrahim Foundation Board". Mo Ibrahim Foundation. Archived from the original on 8 November 2007. Retrieved 29 September 2007.
  6. "SOAS Honorary Fellows". SOAS. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  7. "Penn News | Award-Winning Actor Denzel Washington Delivers Penn's 255th Commencement Address". 2011-05-16. Retrieved 2015-12-02.
  8. "Interview with Mo Ibrahim, founder and former Chairman of Celtel". Jeune Afrique, via Groupe Jeune Afrique. Archived from the original on 21 October 2007. Retrieved 29 September 2007.
  9. Archived 14 May 2010 at the Wayback Machine.
  10. "Mozambique ex-leader wins prize". BBC News. 22 October 2007. Retrieved 22 October 2007.
  11. "Ibrahim Scholarships". Mo Ibrahim Foundation. 2016-12-04.

External links

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