The list of Africa’s billionaires is an annual ranking by documented net worth of the wealthiest billionaires in Africa, compiled and published by the American business magazine, Forbes. The ranking of world’s richest billionaires was first published in March 1987. The PUNCH highlights the top 10 richest people in Africa, all of whom happen to be men.
For the tenth year in a row, Aliko Dangote is the continent’s richest person, worth $12.1bn, up by $2bn from last year’s list, thanks to a roughly 30 per cent increase in the share price of Dangote Cement, which is by far his most valuable asset.
Aliko Dangote is no stranger to Nigerians. He founded and chairs Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer, and owns 85 per cent of publicly-traded shares of the cement company through a holding company ― Dangote Group.
Dangote Group, which employs more than 30,000 people annually, was founded in 1981 as a trading enterprise, importing sugar, cement, rice, fisheries, and other consumer goods for distribution in Nigeria.
The group moved into manufacturing in the 1990s, starting with textiles, moving onto flour milling, salt processing, and sugar refining by the end of the decade. The company next moved into cement production, growing rapidly and moving into other African countries. The group now owns and operates over 18 subsidiaries, operating in ten African countries.
Dangote Cement, which is the most performing of the business entities, is listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, with its market capitalisation accounting for almost 20 per cent of the total capitalisation of the NSE.
Dangote Refinery has been under construction since 2016 and is expected to be one of the world’s largest oil refineries once complete.
Nassef Sawiris of Egypt is the second richest person in Africa with a net worth of $8.5bn.
Sawiris, the youngest of Onsi Sawiris sons ― Naguib and Samih ― moved up from the fourth spot in 2019 to the second spot in 2021 with a 13.3 per cent increase in his wealth.
The 60-year old’s largest asset is a nearly six per cent stake in sportswear maker, Adidas.
Sawiris is an investor and a scion of Egypt’s wealthiest family. In December 2020, he acquired a five per cent stake in New York-listed firm ― Madison Square Garden Sports ― owner of the NBA Knicks and the NHL Rangers teams.
He runs OCI, one of the world’s largest nitrogen fertilizer producers, with plants in Texas and Iowa; it trades on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange.
He joined the Orascom group in 1982 and oversaw the construction activities of Orascom Construction, following the transfer of management control from his father, Onsi Sawiris, in 1995.
He became CEO of Orascom Construction Industries following the company’s incorporation in 1998 and served on the board of Besix, following OCI SAE acquiring a 50 per cent stake in the company in 2004, and a member of the enumeration and nominations committee until 2017.
Sawiris was on the board of directors of the Cairo and Alexandria Stock Exchanges from 2004 to 2007, and was also a board director at the Dubai International Financial Exchange from July 2008 to June 2010.
His holdings include stakes in cement giant, Lafarge Holcim, and Adidas; he sits on the supervisory board of Adidas.
Nicky Oppenheimer of South Africa is the third richest person in Africa with a net worth of $8bn.
The 75-years-old inherited a stake in diamond firm, DeBeers, and ran the company until 2012, when he sold his family’s 40 per cent stake in DeBeers to mining giant AngloAmerican for $5.1bn.
For 85 years until 2012, the Oppenheimer family occupied a controlling spot in the world’s diamond trade.
In 2014, Oppenheimer started Fireblade Aviation in Johannesburg, which operates chartered flights with its fleet of 3 planes and 2 helicopters.
He owns at least 720 square miles of conservation land across South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.
Fourth on the list of the richest men in the African continent is Johann Rupert from South Africa. His real time net worth is $7.4B.
He is the chairman of Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont.
The company is best known for the brands Cartier and Montblanc.
It was formed in 1998 through a spinoff of assets owned by Rembrandt Group Limited (now Remgro Limited), which his father Anton formed in the 1940s.
He owns a 7% stake in diversified investment firm Remgro, which he chairs, as well as 25% of Reinet, an investment holding co. based in Luxembourg.
In recent years, Rupert has been a vocal opponent of plans to allow fracking in the Karoo, a region of South Africa where he owns land.
Mike Adenuga is the fifth richest man in Africa and the second richest man in Nigeria with his net worth valued at $6.3bn. He built his fortune in telecoms and oil production.
His mobile phone network, Globacom, is the third largest operator in Nigeria, with 55 million subscribers.
His oil exploration outfit, Conoil Producing, operates 6 oil blocks in the Niger Delta.
Adenuga got an MBA at Pace University in New York, supporting himself as a student by working as a taxi driver.
According to Forbes, he made his first million at age 26 selling lace and distributing soft drinks.
With a net worth of $5.4bn, Rabiu sits in the position of the sixth richest man in Africa and third in Nigeria. According to Forbes list, Abdulsamad Rabiu is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate active in cement production, sugar refining and real estate.
In early January 2020, Rabiu merged his privately-owned Obu Cement company with listed firm Cement Co. of Northern Nigeria, which he controlled.
The combined firm, called BUA Cement Plc, trades on the Nigerian stock exchange; Rabiu owns 98.5% of it.
Rabiu, who is the son of a businessman, inherited land from his father. He set up his own business in 1988 importing iron, steel and chemicals.
Issad Rebrab & family
Issad Rebrab is the founder and CEO of Cevital, Algeria’s biggest privately-held company. With $4.8bn, he is the seventh richest man in Africa, Forbes list states. Cevital owns one of the largest sugar refineries in the world, with the capacity to produce 2 million tons a year.
Cevital owns European companies, including French home appliances maker Groupe Brandt, an Italian steel mill and a German water purification company.
After serving 8 months in jail on charges of corruption, Rebrab was released on January 1, 2020. He denies any wrongdoing.
Naguib Sawiris is a scion of Egypt’s wealthiest family and has a net worth of $3.2bn. Forbes list reports that his brother Nassef is also a billionaire.
He built a fortune in telecom, selling Orascom Telecom in 2011 to Russian telecom firm VimpelCom (now Veon) in a multibillion-dollar transaction.
He’s chairman of Orascom TMT Investments, which has stakes in an asset manager in Egypt and Italian internet company Italiaonline, among others.
Through his Media Globe Holdings, Sawiris owns 88% of pan-European pay TV and video news network Euronews.
He also developed a luxury resort called Silversands on the Caribbean island of Grenada.
South Africa’s Patrice Motsepe, is the founder and chairman of African Rainbow Minerals. He became a billionaire in 2008 – the first black African on the Forbes list. He is currently worth, $3bn.
In 2016, he launched a new private equity firm, African Rainbow Capital, focused on investing in Africa.
Motsepe also has a stake in Sanlam, a listed financial services firm, and is the president and owner of the Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club.
In 1994, he became the first black partner at law firm Bowman Gilfillan in Johannesburg, and then started a mining services contracting business.
In 1997, he bought low-producing gold mine shafts and later turned them profitable.
Koos Bekker is the 10th richest man in Africa with a net worth of $2.8bn.
He is revered for transforming South African newspaper publisher Naspers into an ecommerce investor and cable TV powerhouse.
He led Naspers to invest in Chinese Internet and media firm Tencent in 2001 — by far the most profitable of the bets he made on companies elsewhere.
In 2019, Naspers put some assets into two publicly-traded companies, entertainment firm MultiChoice Group and Prosus, which contains the Tencent stake
It sold a 2% stake in Tencent in March 2018, its first time reducing its holding, but stated at the time it would not sell again for 3 years.
Bekker, who retired as the CEO of Naspers in March 2014, returned as chairman in April 2015.