Ivor Ichikowitz is a South African-born industrialist, social entrepreneur, and philanthropist. He began his career during South Africa’s political transition in the early 1990s, working to support Nelson Mandela’s programme of democratisation, national reconciliation, economic and industrial normalisation and integration into the African Continent and the global economy.

For more than two decades he has built a number of successful businesses on four continents in oil and gas, aviation, mining, agriculture, retail, tourism, ICT, aerospace and defence manufacturing; and via his family foundation he has invested substantially in environmental and wildlife conservation, education initiatives, responsible citizenship, and charitable activities.

In keeping with his diversified business empire, Ichikowitz has a portfolio of mining interests, prospecting for concessions in Tantalite, Cassiterite (tin), Wolframite, Gold, Tungsten, Niobium, Phosphate and Graphite, processing and trading. Hand in glove with this, is his interest in renewable energy and mid-stream oil, sourcing and supplying large volumes of crude and refined petroleum in selected African sites, including being Malawi’s largest private petroleum importer, while in Kenya, Ichikowitz has invested in an ethanol plant that produces both biofuel and the highest quality potable alcohol and industrial ethanol, which can be used in beverage, medical and industrial applications. In Gabon, his green economy project has funded renewable energy projects to sustain his other indigenous corporate interests.

Finance plays a major role both in sustaining this and in investing elsewhere in Africa, and to facilitate this Ichikowitz is executive chair of TransAfrica Capital (Pty) Ltd, which actively funds scientific research and development projects in a bid to find innovative solutions for the continent, while incubating new businesses and reinvigorating legacy operations as well as developing infrastructure in the continent.

His passion for development and technology has meant that his companies have become industry leaders in the development and application of fourth industrial revolution technologies in digital design, digital prototyping, 3D printing and robotics. Ichikowitz has also made strategic investments into the development of wireless web access products and services as well as the development of a uniquely African search engine.

A proud son of Africa, Ichikowitz is a believer not just in the inherent ability of African engineers and craftsmen, but in the creativity and innovation of Africans and their ability to work together as well as the power of defence industries to create stable and safe societies and provide sustainable employment.

One of the keys to his global aerospace and technology business, Paramount Group, success has been its strategic partnerships with companies like Singapore’s ST Engineering, Leonardo in Italy, Boeing, Airbus, Bae Systems, Augusta Westland Helicopters, Spirit AeroSystems, Turkey’s Aselsan and the UK’s Qinetiq. The other has been its portable manufacturing model which has helped industrialise client countries, providing brand new jobs and laying the foundations for sustainable indigenous defence manufacturing sectors notably in South East Asia, Kazakhstan, the United Arab Emirates and soon several African countries too.

Aerosud, which Paramount has a major stake in, has become an internationally acclaimed aviation business, manufacturing vital high-tech components for Boeing and Airbus, Augusta Westland Helicopters, BAE Systems and Spirit AeroSystems.

The group is also the majority shareholder in Nautic Africa providing unique complete naval and maritime solutions particularly in the fields of anti-piracy and sovereign fishing management through its strategic partnerships with international shipyards.

Ichikowitz also has a diversified real estate portfolio in Africa’s commercial capital, Johannesburg; from light industrial sites to upmarket residential properties in some of the most sought-after suburbs and high-end office space in Sandton, the city of gold’s financial centre as well as prime residential and office developments in the UK, Cyprus and Australia.

He also owns a number of retail chains in South Africa and Australia specialising in homeware and children’s toys as well as numerous private equity investments across energy, banking, forestry, viticulture and art. His media interests include the ownership of sports marketing and media management agency, Frontier Sport and Entertainment, as well as the full house, platform agnostic content creation agency Kaelo Engage.

Ichikowitz also owns Molori Safari Lodge in the Madikwe Game Reserve bordering Botswana, dubbed the Camp David of Africa because of its popularity among statesmen and A-list celebrities alike, as well as the ultra-exclusive cliff top Moledi Gorge retreat in the Magaliesberg. He has also invested heavily in creating a green economy in Gabon – a first for Africa – on a 700 000-hectare site strategically placed in the Congo basin, which includes eco-tourism, sustainable forestry, and agri-business in partnership with land management company SFM Africa, which will create a carbon offset market for Gabon.

Ichikowitz’s business interests exist both to create jobs and wealth for Africans in Africa, transforming formerly race based economies to include those who were once excluded, while providing perfect partnering opportunities for foreign domiciled investors and manufacturers looking for African partners with a proven track record.