Rihanna, Jay-Z And Other American Stars Who Have Invested In Businesses in Africa

BY JO Mensah November 23, 2023 4:55 PM EDT
Jay-Z and Serena Williams
Jay-Z and Serena Williams

In recent years, Black Americans have been giving more focus to their roots in Africa with many visiting and exploring business opportunities on the continent.

The urge to do business has not only been limited to the everyday American but has also caught on with celebrities.

Exploring the dynamic intersection of talent, entrepreneurship, and global impact, we shine a spotlight on Jay-Z, Rihanna, and other Black American stars who have extended their influence to the African continent through strategic investments.

Beyond their achievements in the entertainment industry, these prominent figures have leveraged their success to contribute to economic development.

1. Rihanna

The singer and beauty entrepreneur has been involved in various business ventures, with her Fenty Beauty and her lingerie line Savage X Fenty being the most successful.

In 2022, the Barbadian singer who was born Robyn Rihanna Fenty, made her presence felt in Africa. She launched her Fenty Beauty line in eight countries including Ghana, Nigeria, and South Africa.

Rihanna’s Fenty Beauty is available in eight countries in Africa Photo source: Instagram/badgalriri

2. Jay-Z

Rapper and entrepreneur, Jay-Z, born Shawn Carter, is a consistent investor in Africa with a special focus on tech startups, especially those concerned with cryptocurrency and blockchain management.

In 2021, Jay-Z’s Marcy Venture Partners invested in spatial LABS (sLABS), a tech incubator founded by Ghanaian tech brain, Iddris Sandu.

More recently, Btrust, the bitcoin non-profit that Block CEO Jack Dorsey and rapper Jay-Z formed to support Bitcoin development in Africa and India, acquired Qala, an organization that trains African Bitcoin and Lightning engineers.

In addition, Tidal, a music streaming service Jay-Z helped to grow, has a big presence in Africa.

Jay-Z has an impressive investment portfolio Photo source: Twitter/@jay_z_daily

3. Akon

Of the many black American entertainers, Akon is the closest to Africa with his roots in Senegal.

The singer’s first investments had to do with his Konvict Muzik record label signing some notable African musicians like Ghana’s Sarkodie and Nigeria’s Wizkid and P-Square.

In 2014, he started Akon Lighting with Samba Bathily and Thione Niang, with the aim to provide electricity by solar energy in Africa.

Akon commenced the construction of a $6bn futuristic city named Akon City in 2019. The project located in Senegal’s capital of Dakar is expected to be completed in 2026.

Akon’s investments in Africa are impressive Photo source: Instagram/@akon

4. Serena Williams

The tennis star has invested in a number of African businesses. Many of her investments have been in the area of tech startups.

In 2022,  Serena Williams, and other investors put in a $3.3m into Stears, a data insights firm based in Lagos, Nigeria.

The 23-time grand slam winner’s venture capital firm, Serena Ventures, also led a $12.3m seed funding round for Ugandan fintech business, Numida.

Serena Williams
Serena Williams has been investing in tech startups in Africa Photo source: Instagram/@serenawilliams