Africa & WorldBusiness Briefs

Africa’s billionaires: Masiyiwa remains in the top 18 Forbes rich list

AMERICAN business magazine Forbes has released the latest rankings of Africa’s billionaires who are numbering 18 and have a total worth of over $80 billion.

Highlights of the latest list are that Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote tops the list of the wealthiest Africans for the tenth year in a row thanks to a 30% increase in the share price of his Dangote Cement Company. Egyptian Nassef Sawiris, who controls a 6% stake in sportswear, Adidas, emerged second, while Nicky Oppenheimer of South Africa was ranked third.

Three Egyptian brothers are among the richest people in the continent Top on the list is Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, with a networth of $12.1 billion. Nigerian cement tycoon, Abdulsamad Rabiu, was the top gainer in 2021 after shares of his BUA Cement PLC listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange doubled in value. Another key highlight is that Tanzanian mogul Mohammed Dewji was the only East African on the list.

In the list, Zimbabwe’s telecoms baron Strive Masiyiwa, who founded mobile phone network operator Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in 1998, is perched at number 16 for the second year running.

Forbes says the UK-based tycoon is worth $1.2 billion, having dropped from $1.7 billion in June 2019 when the Zimbabwe Government introduced an official local currency thus devaluing his stock in Econet and its subsidies.

The only black person on the Netflix board as of now, Masiyiwa has a long history as a dealmaker – and a troublemaker – in some of Africa’s biggest markets. His family moved to Zambia when he was just a small boy after the minority white government in then Rhodesia declared independence from Britain. He ended up in a Scottish boarding school because his family had Scottish neighbours in Zambia, and he joined their son in Edinburgh.

He moved back to Zimbabwe after he finished school, hoping to join the military fight against minority rule, but was persuaded that the war was basically already won. He returned to the UK and studied engineering at the University of Wales.

He made his first fortune doing work for the Zimbabwean government, then used the money to fight it. Masiyiwa’s first foray into business was an engineering firm, Retrofit, which he founded in 1986 (with a bank loan from Barclays that came with the condition that he get rid of his flashy car). By the time he sold it, 80% of its business was with the Zimbabwean state, by Masiyiwa’s account.

That provided the financial basis for him to launch an epic half-decade legal battle against the government of Zimbabwe, which became a literal case study, for the right to launch a private mobile phone company in that country.

He was Zimbabwe’s first billionaire, and is one of the richest black people in the world. In 2019 – before massive swings in equity values and currencies brought by the pandemic – Masiyiwa was ranked the 9th richest black person in the world, head to head with Patrice Motsepe of South Africa.

Masiyiwa was declared Zimbabwe’s first-ever dollar billionaire by Forbes in 2018. Masiyiwa owns just over 50% of the publicly-traded Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which is one part of his larger Econet Group.

Masiyiwa also owns just over half of private company Liquid Telecom, which provides fiber optic and satellite services to telecom firms across Africa. His other assets include stakes in mobile phone networks in Burundi and Lesotho, and investments in fintech and power distribution firms in Africa.

He and his wife Tsitsi founded the Higherlife Foundation, which supports orphaned and poor children in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burundi and Lesotho.

The wealth of the richest Africans was calculated using net-worths of stock prices and exchange rates.

Full list of 18 richest people in Africa and their sources of income

  1. Aliko Dangote: The Nigerian billionaire business magnate is the wealthiest person in Africa, with an estimated net worth of $12.1 billion. His main source of income comes from cement and sugar sales. Dangote’s wealth rose by $ 2 billion in 2020 after a 30% increase in the share price of his cement company.
  2. Nassef Sawiris: The Egyptian rakes in billions of shillings from construction and investments in diverse sectors. The 60-year-old is the youngest of Onsi Sawiris’ three sons. As of May 2021, his net worth was estimated to be $9.2 billion, an increase from $ 8.5 billion in January. In 2021, he was considered to be the richest Arab as well as the second richest African.
  3. Nicky Oppenheimer: With a net worth of $8 billion, Oppenheimer is the richest South African and third in the continent. He previously served as the chairman of De Beers diamond mining company and its Diamond Trading Company subsidiary. In 2012, however, he sold his family’s 40% stake to mining giant AngloAmerican for KSh 555.5 billion.
  4. Johann Rupert: The 71-year-old South African is among the richest men in Africa. His source of income is mainly luxury goods. He serves as the chairman of the Swiss-based luxury goods company Richemont and the South Africa-based company Remgro.
  5. Mike Adenuga: The Nigerian billionaire owns Globacom, the West African country’s second-largest telecom operator, which has a presence in Ghana and Benin. His fortunes also originate from the multi-billion oil sector. His net worth is estimated at $6.6 billion.
  6. Abdul Samad Rabiu: Abdul Samad is a Nigerian billionaire businessman and philanthropist. His late father, Khalifah Isyaku Rabiu, was one of Nigeria’s foremost industrialists in the 1970s and 1980s. He earns money from cement and sugar sales. His net worth is estimated at $6 billion.
  7. Issad Rebrab: The Algerian billionaire businessman is the chief executive officer of the Cevital industrial group, the largest private company in Algeria, active in steel, food, agribusiness and electronics. His net worth is approximately $5 billion.
  8. Naguib Sawiris: Naguib is the elder brother of Nassef Sawiris. The 67-year-old is the chairman of Weather Investments’ parent company and chairman and CEO of Orascom Telecom Holding.
  9. Patrice Motsepe: Motsepe is a South African mining billionaire businessman with a net worth of $3 billion. He is the founder and executive chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, which deals in gold, ferrous metals, base metals, and platinum.
  10. Koos Bekker: Bekker’s investments in the media industry in South Africa has propelled him to the top 10 richest Africans. He is the chairman of the media group Naspers and has a net worth of $2.8 billion.
  11. Mohamed Mansour: The Egyptian is the chairman of Mansour Group, a conglomerate that is the second-largest company in Egypt by revenue. The Mansour Group is the largest general motors dealer globally and the fifth-largest distributor of Caterpillar Inc. products globally. His wealth is valued at $2.5 billion.
  12. Aziz Akhanouch: The Moroccan businessman who currently heads the agriculture ministry has a net worth of $2 billion. The 60-year-old is the CEO of Akwa Group, a Moroccan conglomerate active in the oil and gas sectors.
  13. Mohammed Dewji: Dewji, 46, who hails from Tanzania, is ranked as the richest East African with a net worth of $1.7 billion. His sources of income are diversified.
  14. Youssef Mansour: The Egyptian billionaire co-owns the Mansour Group. The father of five is estimated to be worth $1.5 billion.
  15. Othman Benjellon: The Moroccan banker billionaire is known for co-founding BMCE Bank and Bank of Africa. He serves as its chairman and chief executive officer. In 2021, his net worth was estimated at $1.4 billion.
  16. Michiel Le Roux: The South African is the founder of Capitec Bank, ranked in 2017 as the second-largest retail bank in South Africa, based on the number of customers.
  17. Strive Masiyiwa: Masiyiwa is a London-based Zimbabwean billionaire businessman and philanthropist. He is the founder and executive chairman of the international technology group Econet Global. He ties with Michiel with wealth valued at $1.2 billion.
  18. Yasseen Mansour: Yasseen is a member of the Mansour family, which owns the Mansour Group. He is also the chairman of Palm Hills Developments, one of Egypt’s largest real estate developers. His net worth is estimated at $1.1 billion. – Zimbabwe Voice and Agencies

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