Dangote remains Africa’s wealthiest


The leadership of the rich men in Africa is not about to change hand. The king remains Dangote Group President Alhaji Aliko Dangote. Forbes magazine, in its annual ranking of the world’s billionaires released yesterday, showed that Dangote is retaining the slot for the ninth consecutive year, with an estimated net worth of $10.1billion.

The continent’s 20 billionaires are worth a combined $73.4 billion, up from $68.7 billion a year ago.

The ranking by the American global media company indicated that Dangote’s present worth is down from his estimate of $10.3 billion last year. It attributed the drop to a slightly lower stock price for his Dangote Cement.

According to Forbes, only eight of Africa’s 54 nations have billionaires. South Africa and Egypt dominate the list with five billionaires each. Nigeria has four billionaires.

Egypt’s Nassef Sawiris is the new number two. He is worth $8 billion. He had $6.3 billion last year. His most valuable asset is a stake in Adidas, which is worth $4 billion.

As a result of the increase in Adidas’ share price, he made nearly $1.5 billion to his fortune in January. His significant stake in fertiliser producer OCI N.V and United Kingdom Premier League team Aston Villa Football Club have also contributed to his ranking.

Globacom chief Mike Adenuga is number three with $7.7 billion. GloMobile, Conoil and his extensive real estate holdings contribute to his massive wealth.

Adenuga shares the third place with South African Nicky Oppenheimer, who also has $7.7 billion. He is heir to his family’s fortune. He sold his 40 per cent stake in diamond firm DeBeers to mining group Anglo American for $5.1 billion in 2012.

Johann Rupert is the fifth richest African. The chairman of Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont is best known for the brands Cartier and Montblanc.

BUA Group chief Abdulsamad Rabiu is on the number eight position. His company is a conglomerate active in cement production, sugar refining and real estate.

In January, Rabiu merged his Obu Cement Company with listed firm Cement Company of Northern Nigeria, which he controlled. The combined firm, called BUA Cement Plc, trades on the stock exchange and Rabiu owns 98.5% of it.

Angola’s Isabel dos Santos is one of the two women in the top 20 African billionaires. She is 13th with a net worth of $2.2 billion. The 46-year-old Dos Santos is the oldest daughter of Angola’s former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who stepped down in 2017.

Dos Santos’ fortune declined to an estimated $2.2 billion, down $100 million from last year. In late December, an Angola court issued an order to freeze the assets that Isabel dos Santos and her husband, Sindika Dokolo, own in Angola.

Those include her stake in telecom firm Unitel and stakes in two Angolan banks; Forbes estimates those assets are worth hundreds of millions of dollars.

A statement issued by Isabel dos Santos said the judgment contained “a number of untruths” and that she would fight the decision “by using all the instruments of Angolan and international law at my disposal.”

Econet chief Strive Masiyiwa is in the 19th position with a net worth of $1.1billion. The 58-year-old overcame a rotracted government opposition to launch mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in 1998.

He owns over 50% of the publicly-traded Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which is a part of Econet Group.

He was worth 50% less than a year ago. Due primarily to the introduction of a new (weaker) currency in Zimbabwe, Masiyiwa’s fortune fell to $1.1 billion from $2.3 billion in January 2019.

Zimbabwe, which has battled with hyperinflation, had been using the U.S. dollar as its currency, but in 2019 it switched to its own currency, initially called the RTGS.

When converted into U.S. dollars, the values of Masiyiwa’s stakes in Zimbabwe-listed mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe and Cassava Smartech fell dramatically in dollar terms.

Closing the 20 top African billionaire bracket is Folorunso Alakija with a net worth of $1billion. The 69-year-old Alakija is vice chair of Famfa Oil, an oil exploration company with a stake in Agbami Oilfield.

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