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Mo Ibrahim profile

  • Story Highlights
  • Born and educated in Africa, Ibrahim is interested in developing the continent
  • Worked for state run Sudan Telecom and the UK's British Telecom
  • Left BT to found MSI, which later became Celtel, an African mobile phone company
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(CNN) -- Mohamed Ibrahim is the founder of Celtel, one of Africa's leading mobile telephone companies, with networks in 15 countries on the continent.

Ibrahim was born in Sudan in 1946 and received a BSc in electrical engineering at the University of Alexandria in Egypt.

After a brief stint working for the state run Sudan Telecom, he moved to the UK to continue his studying. While there he was hired by British Telecom (BT) to work as a technical director for Cellnet, its in-car telephony company.

In 1989 Ibrahim left a successful career at BT to start his own telecommunications consultancy company, called MSI Cellular Investments, based in Africa and meant to be a specifically African operation.

As part of his hiring and bonus scheme at MSI, Ibrahim awarded shares to his employees, which, although they were officially worthless since the company was not listed, were given a nominal value of £0.14 ($0.28) per share. When the company was acquired by Mobile Telecommunications Company KSC (MTC), the shares were sold at £14 ($27.76) each.

When MTC bought Celtel, in 2005, Ibrahim sold his part in the company, for a share in the total buyout sum of $3.4 billion.

Since leaving Celtel, he has founded the Mo Ibrahim Foundation which awards funding to African heads of state and governments that have demonstrated excellence in African leadership.

This is a part of a $100 million fund that Ibrahim has set aside for investment in Africa, to encourage business and development in the continent.

As well as his BSc in electrical engineering, Ibrahim holds an MSc in electronics and electrical engineering from the University of Bradford, and a PhD in mobile communications from the University of Birmingham. He is a member of the Africa Regional Advisory Board of London Business School. E-mail to a friend E-mail to a friend

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