• Jim Ovia is one of Nigeria’s most successful and wealthiest businessmen.
  • He is the founder of Zenith Bank Plc, Nigeria's tier-1 bank and one of the most profitable financial institutions in Nigeria.
  • Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) looks at how he spends his billions.

Jim Ovia is one of Nigeria’s most successful and wealthiest businessmen who started Zenith Bank with only N20 million in 1990.

Now, the financial institution has a market cap of N810 billion, according to the latest figure on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

As of 2015, he had an estimated net worth of $550 million, the last official public record.

Business Insider Sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) looks at the personal finance and spending lifestyle of one of Nigeria's finest bankers:

Zenith Bank's Chairman, Jim Ovia
Zenith Bank's Chairman, Jim Ovia

How he makes his billions

  • Zenith Bank: Ovia is the largest individual shareholder with the tier-1 bank and gets bulk of his money from the bank. On Tuesday, the bank released its 2018 financial report with a profit of N193.15 billion. An analysis of the company's dividend by Nairametrics shows that he may earn more than N8.8 billion from his holdings in the bank.
Jim Ovia
Jim Ovia
  • Quantum Luxury Properties: Ovia’s impressive real estate portfolio is said to consist of properties in wealthy neighbourhoods like Victoria Island, Lagos. His real estate company, Quantum Luxury Properties, is reportedly responsible for the construction of the Civic Towers, an event and office space along Ozumba Mbadiwe Street in Victoria Island, Lagos state.
  • Books: In 2018, the Zenith bank founder released his autobiography, ‘Africa Rise and Shine.’ During the launching, he said he had a memoir in the works. He is expected to cash in millions from the sale of the book as a copy goes for $16.50 on Amazon. It was also placed on Jumia and Konga for local buyers.
Ambode, Tinubu and Osinbajo at Jim Ovia's book launch
Ambode, Tinubu and Osinbajo at Jim Ovia's book launch
  • Visafone: While serving as the CEO of Zenith, Ovia founded a Nigerian mobile telecommunications provider called Visafone. It was worth at least $400 million according to Ventures Africa before it was sold to MTN.

ALSO READ: How the stylish banker Tony Elumelu makes and spends his money

How he spends his money

  • Philanthropy

Ovia, who has been dubbed the ‘Godfather of Banking’ by Forbes Africa does a lot of humanitarian work through the Jim Ovia Foundation.

His mission — “to invest in the Nigerian youths’ unlimited and untapped potential.” One of the foundation’s numerous accomplishments includes building the James Hope College in his hometown of Agbor, Delta State which offers scholarships to over 50% of its pupils.

Jim Ovia Foundation
Jim Ovia Foundation

He also founded the Mankind United to Support Total Education and the Youth Empowerment/ICT Foundation. Apart from providing help through his foundations, he also donated an estimated total of $6.6 million in 2013 to assist the Nigerian government in the rehabilitation of flood disaster victims.

  • Family

Known for keeping his private life shielded from the public, Ovia also spends his billions on family and relations.