Africa’s Billionaires List, 2016

  • Dangote : Africa's richest Person

    Dangote : Africa’s richest Person

    Africa’s richest have a combined $80.96 billion, a drop of $13.04 billion from $94 billion in 2015

  • This year’s Africa’s Billionaires list is dominated by Egyptians, who have a combined net worth of $15.71 billion, just $1.31 billion above the net worth of Nigerian billionaire, Aliko Dangote.

    Dangote continues to soar high according to The African Billionaires 2016 March list released by Forbes, though his net worth took a $1.3 billion compared to end of 2015.

    While this is a positive outlook for Dangote and other wealthy men and women in the list, there were only 24 African billionaires this year, which is a drop by five, compared to 29 the previous year.

    Africa’s richest have a combined $80.96 billion, a drop of $13.04 billion from $94 billion in 2015. The wealthiest group are South Africans with a combined net worth of $22.21 billion. From the 54 African countries, only eight are represented in the list and only two are women.

    A close look of the Top Ten African billionaires

    1. Aliko Dangote

    Source of wealth: Cement, Flour, Sugar, Salt

    Aliko Dangote comes from a family with a strong business background; his great uncle, Alhaji Alhassan Dantata was dubbed the richest African at the time of his death in 1955. Perhaps it is no surprise that Aliko had interests in business from an early age, he apparently started selling sweets while in primary school just to make money. The Nigerian businessman founded Dangote Group in 1981 and thereafter transformed it into a conglomerate comprised of Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Flour and Dangote Cement. Dangote Cement is the biggest cement producers in Africa with capacity of over 20 million metric tones per annum while Dangote Sugar Refinery boosts being the largest Sugar producers in Africa and third in the world, producing an estimated 800 thousand tons of sugar annually. Dangote has expanded his reach beyond Nigeria, to West Africa and across sub Sahara with major presence in Nigeria, Ghana, and Togo. Forbes estimates his current worth to be $16.4 billion. He has been Africa’s richest person since 2013 when he surpassed Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi.

    2. Michael “Mike” Adenuga

    Source of wealth: Telecom, Oil, Real Estate

    Mike grew up in the Lagos, Nigeria. Born in 1953, Mike worked as a taxi driver to help fund his MBA at Pace University in New York. He started by making his fortune in trading lace and Coca-Cola. In 1991, Mike then founded Conoil (formerly Consolidated Oil Company), the company operates 6 oil blocks in the Niger Delta. The company has three major operating sectors, White products (Industrial and Aviation Fuel), Lubricants and Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG), it mainly engages in the manufacture and marketing various petroleum products. He also owns Globacom, the second largest telecommunications company in Nigeria; it also has operations in Ghana and the Republic of Benin. Globacom has an estimated 32 million subscribers in Nigeria. The second richest Nigerian has an estimated net worth of $10.3 billion.

    3. Nicholas “Nicky” Oppenheimer

    Source of wealth: Diamonds

    Nicky Oppenheimer is the richest person from South Africa. His grandfather Ernest Oppenheimer who founded the Anglo American, a multinational mining company and the current world’s largest producer of platinum. Nicky joined Anglo American as the Personal Assistant to the Chairman in 1968 and quickly moved up the ranks to deputy Chairman in 1983. While he amassed some of his wealth from Anglo American, the major source of his wealth is his inheritance of De Beers, one of the leaders in the diamond industry and Tswalu Kalahari Reserve the largest private game reserve in South Africa. Nicholas succeeded his forefathers as the Chairman of De Beers in 1998 in what is sometimes referred to as the Oppenheimer dynasty thus inheriting the family business. He stepped down in 2012 and liquidated 40% of his DeBeers shares to familiar face of Anglo American for $5.1 billion in cash. The 57 year old has an estimated net worth of $6.6 billion.

    4. Christoffel Wiese

    Source of wealth: Retailing

    Christoffel Wiese grew up in Upington, Northern Cape in South Africa. A lawyer by profession, Christoffer left the Cape bar to join a family business as a Director of Pepkor, which originated as the discount clothing retail chain Pep Stores. His Pepkor group currently operates more than 4000 retails with major operations in South Africa, Australia and Poland. Wiese took brief break from Pepkor to venture into diamond mining and politics. In 1980, he returned to Pepkor as Chairman, Pepkor has recently acquired Shoprite Holdings, which he turned into the largest food retailer in Africa. Shoprite operates 1825 corporates and 363 franchise outlets in 15 countries across Africa employing over 136 000 people. In February 2015, Steinhoff purchased Pepkor for $5.7 billion in cash and stock a deal that resulted with Christoffel owning 17% of Steinhoff. This South African has an estimated net worth of $7.3 billion.

    5. Johann Rupert

    Source of wealth: Luxury Goods

    Johann Rupert grew up in Stellenbosch South Africa. Born in 1950, Johann is the eldest son of Anton Rupert who founded Voorbrand, a tobacco company that was later renamed Rembrandt. The Rembrandt group founded Richemont a holdings Swiss company for leading luxury goods companies and Remgro an investment company with particular interests in food, liquor and home care, financial, and industrial companies. Johann Rupert currently chairs both companies. Rupert has a strong interest in sports, a former cricketer himself, he developed Leopard Creek Golf Club in Mpumalanga South Africa which is constantly ranked in the top three of best golf courses in South Africa and he owns part of Saracens a first division English rugby team. The South African has an estimated net worth of $5.4 billion with luxury goods as his main source of wealth.

    6. Nassef Sawiris

    Source of wealth: Construction, Chemicals

    Nassef Sawiris is the richest person from Egypt. He is the son of Onsi Sawiris a businessman who founded Orascom a conglomerate with primary focus on infrastructure, industrial and high-end commercial projects. Nassef joined his father’s venture in 1982, in 2015 Orascom split into Orascom construction that Nassef serves as its non-executive Chairman and Orascom Construction Industries where he serves as a Chief Executive Officer. Sawiris emerged as the largest individual shareholder of Adidas in October; he holds 6% of Adidas shares, which is approximated to worth about $1 billion. Sawiris recently founded Nile Holdings Investment, a private equity fund that invests in different industries with a major focus in Egypt’s health care sector. The 55 years old graduate of University of Chicago has an estimated net worth of $4.4 billion.

    7. Nathan Kirsh

    Source of wealth: Retail, Real Estate, Self Made

    Nathan Kirsh was born in Potchefstroom, South Africa. He later became a permanent citizen of Swaziland in 1986. Kirsh made his first mark into the business arena when he founded Swaziland Mills, a Swaziland corn-milling company. He later expanded the reach of this milling company to become a dominant food retailer in South Africa. The company overextended its reach by committing to building two-dozen malls; unfortunately South Africa was at the edge to extending increasing its international sanctions, a result of which cost Kirsh most of his fortune. Currently Kirsh’s fortune comes from Jetro Holdings, Inc, which operates Jetro Cash and Carry, one of the leading wholesale cash and carry stores in USA and Restaurant Depots in New York City. The Kirsh Holdings Group owns 50% of Swazi Plaza Properties, which is makes up his biggest investment in Swaziland. Kirsh has an estimated $4 billion net worth.

    8. Isabel dos Santos

    Source of wealth: Investments

    Isabel dos Santos is the richest woman in Africa. She is the eldest daughter of long time Angola President Jose Eduardo dos Santos. Isabel started her venture into the business world as a project manager for Urbana 2000 a subsidiary of Jembas that was contracted for cleaning and disinfecting of Luanda. She later set up a truck business company, this coupled with establishment of the walkie-talkie system paved way for her to move into the telecommunications industry. In 1997, Isabel started Miami Beach Club, her first business and one of the first night clubs beach restaurants in Luanda Island. The Electrical Engineering graduate of King’s College owns a number of assets in Angola, including 25% of Unitel, the largest mobile phone company in Angola. Among her diverse investment portfolio is 19% of Banco BPI, Angola’s largest bank and 7% of Galp Energia, an oil and gas company. The 42-year-old Angolan has an estimated net worth of $3.2 billion.

    9. Issad Rebrab

    Source of wealth: Food

    Issad Rebrab is the richest man in Algeria. His industrial career apparently started in 1971, when one his clients suggested he take shares in metallurgical construction company. Issad, a teacher by profession said he took a calculated risk, and in the worst case he knew he could always return to teaching. He joined the industry by acquiring 20% shares of Sotecom, a metallurgical construction business. Issad stands out as one of the few African billionaires who come from modest families, his parents were revolutionaries who struggled for the independence of Algeria. His major installations where destroyed in 1995 by terrorist attack, costing him an estimated $1.1 billion. He came back stronger in 1998 with the foundation of Cevital, one of the largest Algerian private enterprise, with subsidies in agribusiness, distribution, glass industry and real estate. Issad has an estimated net worth of $3.3 billion.

    10. Naguib Sawiris

    Source of wealth: Telecom

    Naguib Sawiris is the eldest of three Onsi Sawiris’ sons. Naguib joined the family business Orascom in 1979. He played an integral role in the growth and diverse portfolio of the company turning it into one of the largest private sector firms. Sawiris, a Masters graduate of ETH Zurich particularly helped establish the railway, information technology and telecommunications, the success of these sectors led to the split of Orascom into Orascom Telecom Holding, Orascom Construction Industries, Orascom Hotels & Development and Orascom Technology Systems. He owns the liberal Egypt TV station ONTV. Perhaps he is most recently known for his desire to buy an Island between to give 100 000 to 200 000 refugees a home, this was after he saw a picture of a three year old Syrian boy who drowned trying to find refuge. The Egyptian has an estimated net worth of $3 billion.

    Global overview

    Even with a slight decline of $1.8 billion from last year’s Forbes Billionaire list, Microsoft’s co-founder Bill Gates retains his position as the world’s wealthiest man with a net worth of $77.4 billion. A position he holds for the 17th time in the last 22 years.

    Gates is closely followed by Spaniard Amancio Ortega, who is the brains behind Inditex fashion group, which owns Zara clothing and accessories retail shops

    With $48.9 billion, Facebook’s co-founder Mark Zuckerberg has moved up ten spots making him among the ten wealthiest people in the world. Zuckerberg holds the sixth position with his net worth increasing by $15.5 billion from $33.4 billion in 2015.

     Here is a complete list of the African billionaires

    Rank Name Net Worth $ Source of Wealth Citizenship Age
    1 Aliko Dangote 14.4 bn Cement, Flour, Sugar, Salt Nigeria 58
    2 Mike Adenuga 10 bn Telecom, Oil, Real Estate Nigeria 62
    3 Nicky Oppenheimer 6.6 bn Diamonds South Africa 70
    4 Christoffel Wiese 6.2 bn Retailing South Africa 74
    5 Johann Rupert 5.3 bn Luxury Goods South Africa 65
    6 Nassef Sawiris 4.1 bn Construction, Chemicals Egypt 55
    7 Nathan Kirsch 3.7 bn Retail Swaziland 84
    8 Isabel dos Santos 3.1 bn Investments Angola 42
    9 Issad Rebrab 3.1 bn Food Algeria 71
    10 Naguib Sawiris 3 bn Telecom Egypt 61
    11 Mohamed Mansour 2.5 bn Diversified Egypt 68
    12 Othman Benjelloun 1.9 bn Banking, Insurance Morocco 83
    13 Mohamed Al Fayed 1.9 bn Retailing Egypt 87
    14 Femi Otedola 1.85 bn Gas Stations Nigeria 53
    15 Youssef Mansour 1.73 bn Diversified Egypt 70
    16 Folorunsho Alakija 1.55 bn Oil Nigeria 65
    17 Allan Gray 1.49 bn Money Management South Africa 78
    18 Koos Bekker 1.47 bn Media, Investment South Africa 63
    19 Yassen Mansour 1.39 bn Diversified Egypt 54
    20 Aziz Akhannouch 1.25 bn Petroleum, Diversified Morocco 55
    21 Patrice Motsepe 1.15 bn Mining South Africa 54
    22 Abdulsamad Rabiu 1.1 bn Diversified Nigeria 55
    23 Onsi Sawiris 1.09 bn Construction, Telecom Egypt 86
    24 Mohammed Dewji 1.09 bn Diversified Tanzania 40


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