What does Africa need most?
Richard Branson is a British entrepreneur known for his philanthropic projects and his taste for adventure. He is the founder and chairman of Virgin Group Ltd., a conglomerate of separately run companies which include radio stations, airlines, and mobile phones. The Virgin Group now owns around 200 companies in over 30 countries. Virgin also plans to launch commercial space flights over the next few years in a venture called Virgin Galactic.
Branson was born in 1950 in Surrey, England, and was educated at Stowe School, where he established a national magazine, Student, at the age of 16. He is married with two children and lives in London and Oxfordshire.
Richard Branson: The president of Nigeria contacted me and said, "We’ve got planes that crash in West Africa and we don’t have any safe airlines. Could you please come and set up a safe airline for us?"
Now we never expected to make a lot of money from that, but it’s the right thing to do. So we’ve set up Virgin Nigeria. And now people can fly on a safe airline and know that they can get from A to B safely. And it also will help the economy dramatically.
And then there’s just putting our social skills to the enormous problems of Africa, and generally trying to see whether we can make a real difference there.
And that’s something which we’re spending a lot of time and energy on looking at.
Looking at HIV and trying to see whether there’s a different way of saving the millions of lives that have been lost over time. Looking at malaria, trying to see if there’s different ways of tackling those problems and so on.
Recorded on: July 5, 2007
Branson, on building an airline in Nigeria.
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