Nelson Mandela embraced free markets, but thought that "with great wealth comes great responsibility," Sir Richard Branson reflected Friday, as the world remembered the anti-apartheid icon's struggles and triumphs, which serve as enduring symbols of freedom and equality.
Mandela died Thursday at age 95.
(Read more: Nelson Mandela: A man and a country)
Branson, the billionaire founder of the Virgin Group, told CNBC's "Squawk Box" he met Mandela shortly after the anti-apartheid leader was released from prison. Branson said he and Mandela worked together on a number of projects over the years, and that Mandela was always trying to get wealthy individuals to help the poor.