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Founded December 2006
Founder Christopher Chandler
Headquarters Dubai, United Arab Emirates
Key people
  • Mark Stoleson, CEO
  • Alan McCormick, Managing Director
  • Philip Vassiliou, Chief Investment Officer
Website www.legatum.com

Legatum Limited, also known as Legatum, is a private investment firm headquartered in Dubai, United Arab Emirates. With a long-term perspective, Legatum invests proprietary capital in global capital markets.[1][2]


Legatum was founded in December 2006 in the United Arab Emirates by Christopher Chandler. Previously, Chandler was the president of Sovereign Global, or Sovereign, which he co-founded with his brother Richard Chandler in 1986. Sovereign invested capital in companies located in Asia, Africa, Latin America and Eastern Europe, and in industries including telecommunications, electric utilities, steel, oil and gas, banking and oil refining. The Chandler brothers embarked on separate ventures following the de-merger of Sovereign in 2006.[3] Christopher Chandler established Legatum the following December.[4] Legatum's name originates from the Latin noun meaning "legacy" or "gift."[5]

In 2007, Legatum established The Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship at MIT to promote a movement centered on free markets and entrepreneurship as the catalyst for economic and social change.[6] The Center hosted its first annual conference around issues of development and entrepreneurship, which brought together five Nobel laureates in economics including Lawrence Klein, Robert C. Merton, Eric Maskin, Edmund S. Phelps, and Paul Samuelson.[7]

Also in 2007, Legatum established the Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship to recognize leaders in Africa's entrepreneurial industry as role models in innovation, business excellence, and profitability.[8]

The Legatum Institute Foundation was established in 2007 as an independent non-partisan charitable public policy think-tank that seeks to understand what drives and restrains national success and individual flourishing. 2007 also saw the Institute launch its annual Legatum Prosperity Index, an international report measures national prosperity based on both wealth and well-being.[9][10]

In 2008, Legatum partnered with Fortune magazine to announce the Legatum Fortune Technology Prize, a $1 million award intended to reward for-profit businesses who provide products and services to the needy through the use of technology.[4]

In 2012, the Legatum Foundation launched the END Fund, an investment platform allowing philanthropists and social investors to contribute funds to end neglected tropical diseases (NTDs).[11]

In the same year, Legatum purchased a nine-storey, 128,000 square foot building in the Dubai International Financial Centre for its global headquarters. The building was renamed Legatum Plaza, and the company moved its global operations into two floors of the newly renovated building the following year.[12]

In 2013, the Legatum Foundation co-founded the Freedom Fund which aims to raise $100 million to help abolish modern-day slavery for 30 million people.[11][13] Additionally, the Legatum Institute Foundation partnered with serial entrepreneur Luke Johnson to launch the Centre for Entrepreneurs, a non-profit joint venture that promotes the role of entrepreneurs in creating economic growth and social well-being.[14]

In partnership with philanthropic adviser Geneva Global, the Legatum Foundation became the anchor donor in the Ebola Crisis Fund during the 2014 Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa. The fund set out to raise a $4 million in an effort to help stop the spread of Ebola.[15]

In 2015, Legatum established the Speed School Fund, a private donor philanthropic fund designed to develop and scale initiatives which help out-of-school children get back to school.[16]


Legatum is a private investment firm based in Dubai investing only proprietary capital with a long-term perspective.[17] Legatum holds a highly concentrated portfolio and has a global mandate, open to invest in any sector or country. The firm's investment activities are opportunity-driven and tend to focus on businesses with durable competitive advantages, markets in transition or distressed situations.[18][3]

Legatum was one of the first foreign commercial investors to identify the need to provide critical equity capital to for-profit microfinance organizations in India, investing $25 million for a majority stake in SHARE Microfinance, India's leading microfinance institution.[19]

Legatum's Prosperity Ladder graphically demonstrates the Group's approach to capital allocation at all levels of the economic and social scale.[20]


Legatum focuses on three core areas of philanthropic investment: development, entrepreneurship, and policy innovation.


The Legatum Foundation is the development arm of Legatum and invests in community-based organizations and projects around the world to help the poorest and most marginalized people in society. The Foundation focuses on the sectors of Health, Education, Economic Empowerment, Human Liberty, Disaster Recovery and the Environment.[21]

For over a decade, the Legatum Foundation has financed over 1,400 projects across the developing world and has impacted over 100 million lives. The Foundation has launched several philanthropic investment funds that tackle global challenges. In 2012 the Legatum Foundation established the END Fund, a private philanthropic initiative to combat neglected tropical diseases in sub-Saharan Africa.[21][11] The Foundation also co-founded the Freedom Fund in 2013, an organization which aims to raise $100 million to help abolish modern-day slavery for 30 million people.[13] In 2014, it became the anchor donor of the Ebola Crisis Fund, a fund established to help prevent the spread of the deadly Ebola virus epidemic in West Africa.[22] In 2015, the Foundation established the Speed School Fund, a private donor philanthropic fund designed to develop and scale initiatives which help out-of-school children get back to school.[23]


In 2007, Legatum established The Legatum Center for Entrepreneurship at MIT with the aim to create a generation of business leaders in developing countries by providing them with the skills needed to succeed as entrepreneurs.[3] Fellowships are granted to students who show entrepreneurial ambition and an interest in making a lasting and positive economic impact on low-income countries.[24]

By 2014, the Center had launched over 20 enterprises across 40 countries. The Legatum fellows have pursued businesses that tackle social issues such as improving sanitation by converting waste products into fertilizer in Kenya, establishing plastic recycling businesses in Nigeria, and improving the apparel industry's conditions in Tanzania.[5]

Legatum established the annual Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship program which recognizes and rewards business leaders who serve as role models to Africa's aspiring entrepreneurs. The program has been in operation since 2007 and is now run by the African Leadership Network, with Legatum still involved as a lead sponsor.[25]

In partnership with serial entrepreneur, Luke Johnson, Legatum launched the Centre for Entrepreneurs in London. The Centre promotes entrepreneurship and the role of entrepreneurs in creating economic growth and social well-being.[1] It has no political affiliation and encourages participation from all main political parties in the United Kingdom, as well as lobby groups and other think tanks.[2][26]

Policy innovation[edit]

Legatum is a sponsor of the Legatum Institute Foundation, an independent non-partisan policy, advisory and advocacy organization based in London.[1] The Institute researches and promotes the principles that drive the creation of global prosperity and the expansion of human liberty. The Institute undertakes original and collaborative research and publishes case studies and ancillary literature. The Legatum Institute also publishes the annual Legatum Prosperity Index,[2] which measures prosperity across countries by applying a combination of material wealth and life satisfaction factors. The report has been in continuous publication since its launch in 2007 and has expanded its coverage from 50 countries to 142.[27][28]


  1. ^ a b c "About LI". Legatum Institute. Retrieved 2012-11-04. 
  2. ^ a b c "The 2012 Legatum Prosperity Index". Legatum Institute. Retrieved 2012-10-14. 
  3. ^ a b c Clark, Andrew (21 May 2008). "School aims to seed the world with business sense". The Guardian. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  4. ^ a b Kirkpatrick, David (25 July 2015). "From Brainstorm: Our new $1 million prize, and more". Fortune Magazine. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  5. ^ a b Springer, Jon (26 February 2014). "MIT's Legatum Center Unleashes Entrepreneurs, Alters Thinking About Developing Countries". Forbes. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  6. ^ Dugger, Celia W. (18 September 2007). "Dubai: M.I.T. Center for Developing Countries". New York Times. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  7. ^ Katz, Rob (8 October 2008). "Legatum Center for Development and Entrepreneurship Launches". NextBillion. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  8. ^ "2013 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship". AWP Network. 18 June 2013. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  9. ^ Springer, Jon (14 November 2014). "Legatum's 2014 Prosperity Index: Asia Positives For Entrepreneurship, Indonesia, Mongolia". Forbes. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  10. ^ Fox, Justin (February 2012). "The Economics of Well-Being". Harvard Business Review. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  11. ^ a b c Doust, Andrew (22 September 2014). "Two billion reasons to invest in slums". Philanthropy Age. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  12. ^ Cronin, Sean (11 April 2012). "Legatum buys DIFC's Precinct Building 6". The National. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  13. ^ a b Lee, Yoolim; Ismail, Netty (19 June 2014). "Singapore Billionaire Bets Big on Energy in Africa, Asia". Bloomberg. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  14. ^ Dunsby, Megan (20 November 2013). "Centre for Entrepreneurs launches to support and promote UK entrepreneurs". Startups. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  15. ^ "Ebola Crisis Fund Launches Round 2". Geneva Global. 26 January 2015. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  16. ^ Barasa, Louise Makau (19 August 2015). "Programs That Stay The Same, Fail The Same". Geneva Global. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  17. ^ Smith Alexander, George (9 October 2007). "India offers opportunities for long-term investors". The Economic Times. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  18. ^ Falconer, Tim (28 January 2014). "Principles Before Profit: Q&A With Legatum Group CEO Mark Stoleson". Wall Street Journal. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  19. ^ Banerjee, Gargi (16 May 2007). "Dubai's Legatum invests Rs125 cr in Share Microfin, picks 51% stake". LiveMint. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  20. ^ Whittle, Davis (24 July 2009). "Bullets, Ladders, and Circles". Huffington Post. Retrieved 10 November 2015. 
  21. ^ a b Khaleel, Zenifer (1 July 2011). "Legatum Foundation helping community-based organisations thrive". Gulf News. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  22. ^ "Dubai-based foundation injects $150,000 into new Ebola Crisis Fund". Philanthropy Age. 7 September 2014. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  23. ^ Conway, Cameron (1 September 2015). "Of Stones & Schools". Huffington Post. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  24. ^ "Legatum Fellowship". Legatum. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  25. ^ "2013 Africa Awards for Entrepreneurship". OFA. 7 September 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  26. ^ "Entrepreneurs unite to form think tank". Business Quarter. 7 October 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  27. ^ "List of thinktanks in the UK". The Guardian. 30 September 2013. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 
  28. ^ Kohli, Sonali (6 November 2014). "How the US stacks up to the world’s most prosperous country". Quartz. Retrieved 11 November 2015. 

External links[edit]