How This Algerian Teacher Built A Business Worth Over $4 Billion US Dollars
In Africa, millions of people live below live in hardship, unable to afford the necessities of life. Most of them struggle day in and day out, without the belief that they would ever break out of their social class.
Successful people all have one thing in common, and that is courage. Courage lends them the ability to leave their comfort zones and drive towards uniqueness and success.
This is the success story of Issad Rebrab, one of the first Algerians to venture into entrepreneurship after their country’s independence. He was a man who made up his mind to leave his comfort zone and risk failure all in a bid to seize an opportunity. He had the determination to succeed. And his drive and willingness to change the course of his life made him one of Africa’s wealthiest men.
His Early Days
Issad Rebrab was born on the 27th of May, 1944 to the Rebrab family of Taguemount-Azouz in Kabylia, Northern Algeria. His Muslim family were by no means wealthy but could afford to send him to school where he eventually got a degree in business management and accountancy from a professional teacher’s college in Algeria.
Issad Rebrab also earned a degree from the Institute of Management and Planning, Algeria.
Issad Rebrab spent his early twenties teaching accounting and business law courses. But being a teacher was not good enough for him. He had a different goal in mind. His entrepreneurial mind and spirit made him quit teaching to pursue his dreams.
After quitting his teaching job, Issad Rebrab took his career further by starting up a certified public accountancy firm in 1968. However, his years as an accountant were short-lived. For in about two years, his life would change, drastically.
Man Of Steel
Issad Rebrab’s success story began with a calculated risk. During one of his consultations, a patron of his pitched an idea that would change his life. He was advised by this client to buy up shares in a metallurgical company.
In 1971, the former management teacher/accountant took a calculated risk and bought up 20% shares in a steel company named Sotecom.
He led his company into acquiring more steel companies, Prifilor in 1975 and the Metal Sider steel company in 1988. By 1995, Issad Rebrab had become an influential tycoon in Algeria’s metallurgical industry, for he had accomplished what most people with his background could not even envision.
Then life took a turn for the worse;
The same year, a terrorist attack destroyed three of his largest enterprises worth about 1.1 billion dinars in assets. These terrorists damaged his businesses and then threatened his life.
Choosing instead to fight another day, Issad Rebrab fled the country with his family.
Issad Rebrab did not stop planning. He never gave up on the belief that he could rise again. And when the time came, he was prepared. Right after Algeria’s independence, Issad Rebrab returned to his country ready to build again.
In 1998, Rebrab launched the group, Cevital. This group was the vehicle through which he diversified his holdings. He worked hard, made the best decisions he could, and took risks setting up this company. His goal was to create a conglomerate that would dominate Algeria’s markets and beyond while creating jobs and contributing positively to the national economy.
Today, Cevital group is actively involved in agribusiness, steel production, technology, and agriculture. It is the first and largest private conglomerate in Algeria with 26 subsidiaries under four principal sectors.
Cevital owns one of the largest sugar refineries in the world and dominates over 60% of Algeria’s sugar market shares. Every year, Cevital sugar refinery produces at least 1.5 million tons of sugar. The group also processes margarine and vegetable oil.
He is committed to the promotion of an Algeria that is free from oil-dependence and poverty. Issad Rebrab and companies like MAN Solar Millennium, SIEMENS, ABENGOA solar, HSH Nordbank, and MUNICH Re have contributed to the development of renewable energy sources in Algeria.
Furthermore, Issad Rebrab is involved in a 20 billion dollar project called Cap 2015 in Cap Djenet, Boumerdes. This megaproject focuses on the integration of various industrial sectors including seawater desalination, power generation, and automobile production.
Issad Rebrab is at the forefront of the movement to make Algeria welcoming and suitable for private investments and entrepreneurship. He has always been an active participant in moving his country away from its socialist, oil-focused state.
His other holdings include the Algerian-based Hyundai Motors and a French newspaper, Liberte. Issad Rebrab also added El Khabar media group to his media holdings in a 45 million dollars buyout. El Khabar newspaper is one of Algeria’s top distributed newspapers. It also owns a printing press, a distribution company, and a television channel.
Issad Rebrab also secured a partnership with Samsung. Currently, he is the Samsung’s executive representative in his country. He has an automobile subsidiary, a car rental called Europcar.
Through pure grit, passion, and courage, Issad Rebrab has established a diverse group that meets the varied and vital needs of Algeria and Africa.
Issad Rebrab’s success story all comes down to his will to step outside his comfort zone and take risks. Today, he is one of Algeria’s industrial titans and one of the richest people in Africa. He is the largest private employer in his country, employing 18,000 Algerians.
One of the characteristics of really successful men is the belief in nation-building. Issad Rebrab has more plans that are all geared toward full participation in the economic diversification of Algeria. He plans to buy up French companies that would introduce technological development in the country and increase employment.
He has also contributed to the development of his country through his participation in projects such as the Desertec project. This scheme focuses on solar energy production in the Algerian deserts. In turn, this would reduce Algerian’s dependence on its oil to operate machines and generate power.
From being a former teacher, Issad Rebrab has gone on to build a fortune worth over $4 billion US dollars, thereby creating thousands of job opportunities in diverse sectors. His spectacular achievement proves that anyone willing to step outside their comfort zone and seize opportunities that seem ellusive to many can someday reach great heights of success.
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