Aliko Dangote topped Forbes’ list of the richest Africans for the 11th year in a row after a year in which the wealth of the continent’s billionaires increased by 15%.
The Dangote Cement entrepreneur, who saw his fortune increase by around $1.8bn to $13.9bn this year, according to Forbes, edged out competition from fellow Richest Africans mainstays Johann Rupert, the South African owner of Swiss luxury goods conglomerate Richemont, ($11bn) and Nicky Oppenheimer ($8.7bn), the South African DeBeers scion who sold his stake to Anglo American in 2012 and now has interests in aviation and conservation.
In a sign of how Africa’s richest are confidently bouncing back from the pandemic as growth rates return, the collective net worth of the 18 African billionaires rose 15% to $84.9bn. That is the highest level since 2014, when 29 billionaires were worth $96.5bn.
Share prices soar
Dangote’s wealth mushroomed after a 30% increase in the share price of Dangote Cement, underpinned by housebuilding and government infrastructure projects in Nigeria, said Forbes.
Meanwhile, Zimbabwean telecoms tycoon Strive Masiyiwa recorded the largest wealth boost on this year’s list after shares in his Econet Wireless spiked by 750% in the year until Forbes’ calculation.
Africa’s five richest were rounded out by construction and investment Nassed Sawiris ($8.6bn) – who owns 6% of Adidas and major investments in US sports teams, and Nigeria’s Abdulsamad Rabiu ($7bn), owner of cement, sugar and real estate conglomerate BUA Group. Rabiu recently listed BUA Foods on the Nigerian stock exchange, having taken his cement firm public in early 2020.
South African mining magnate Patrice Motsepe is in ninth place with a fortune valued at $3.1bn. In his capacity as president of the Association of African Football, he expressed his grief last week after eight people died in a crush before a game in the Africa Cup of Nations football tournament currently taking place in Cameroon.
No new names – or women – on list
All of this year’s billionaires are men, and none are new to the list. The oldest is 89 year-old Moroccan Othman Benjelloun CEO of BMCE Bank of Africa, while the youngest is Tanzania’s 46-year old Mohammed Dewji, CEO of textiles and food conglomerate METL. However, Dewji’s fortune fell by an estimated $100m to $1.5bn this year.
The list was confined to African entrepreneurs who reside on the continent or have their primary business there, which excludes the UK-based likes of Sudanese billionaire Mo Ibrahim and Egyptian tycoon Mohamed Al-Fayed.