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Young, Rich and African: the Cheetah Generation

Matt Wade |   in  · ·
March 10, 2015

Africa has long seemed to have the lion’s share of global problems, but for the entrepreneurial “Cheetah Generation”, it’s a continent of creativity and opportunity.As rags to riches stories go, Dennis Makori’s is a doozy. He didn’t flick a light switch until he was 13 or touch a computer keyboard until his early 20s. But at the age of 34, the self-taught Kenyan programmer is a tech-millionaire. Amid the explosion of mobile-phone use in Africa over the past decade, Makori found ways to deliver services to businesses and consumers via that transformative technology. His company, Onfon Media, now operates in five countries.

The lavish Nairobi hotel where I meet him is a world away from the remote village where he spent his childhood with neither electricity nor running water. He arrives in a new BMW and orders French wine. “My father used to tell me, ‘You have to work hard so you do not live the kind of life I’m living’, ” he says. “My background was a motivating force. I knew I had to break out of the poverty cycle, so I worked very hard.”…


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