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Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Africa’s top 10 billionaires in 2024 

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Africa is widely recognized as one of the most challenging environments globally to establish and sustain a billion-dollar fortune.

Global investors remain cautious about its stock exchanges, while businesses grapple with economic strains, inadequate infrastructure, and fluctuating exchange rates. 

 Despite these challenges, Africa has produced billionaires (about 20) whose collective net worth exceeds $80 billion as of April 2024 according to Forbes estimates. Femi Otedola, for example, has seen his fortune rise to $1.8 billion, reflecting a trend of notable rebounds. However, some argue that entrenched family wealth or close government ties still dominate Africa’s richest ranks. 

 Take, for instance, Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, whose fortune surged by $2.2 billion to reach $16.1 billion between January 22, 2024, and April 12, 2024, despite the naira’s devaluation in 2023 and other adversities. 

 Undoubtedly, Africa presents challenges for businesses. Nevertheless, the continent’s top 10 billionaires are forging ahead, undeterred by the obstacles they face. 

10. Koos Bekker 

Networth-$2.7 billion 

Koos Bekker is South African billionaire who led Naspers, a publisher in 2001, acquiring a significant stake in the Chinese Internet giant Tencent Holdings for a reported $34 million—an investment widely regarded as one of the most lucrative venture decisions in history. 

 By 2019, Naspers restructured its portfolio, allocating assets to two publicly traded entities: entertainment firm MultiChoice Group and Prosus, which houses the valuable Tencent stake. Bekker retired as CEO of Naspers in March 2014, but returned to the company as chairman in April 2015. 

9. Mohammed Mansour 

Networth-$3.2 billion 

Mohamed Mansour leads Mansour Group, which traces its roots back to its establishment by his father, Loutfy, in 1952. Mansour’s influence expanded significantly when he introduced General Motors dealerships to Egypt in 1975, subsequently becoming one of GM’s major distributors globally. Additionally, Mansour Group holds exclusive distribution rights for Caterpillar equipment in Egypt and seven other African nations. 

Beyond his business endeavors, Mansour has played a role in Egyptian politics, serving as the country’s minister of transportation from 2006 to 2009 during the tenure of President Hosni Mubarak.  

8. Naguib Sawiris 

Networth-$3.8 billion 

Naguib Sawiris, is from Egypt’s most affluent families. Notably, he engineered a lucrative deal by selling Orascom Telecom to Russian telecom giant VimpelCom (now Veon) in a multibillion-dollar transaction back in 2011.  Currently serving as the chairman of Orascom TMT Investments, Sawiris oversees the conglomerate’s diverse portfolio, which includes stakes in various ventures such as an asset manager in Egypt and the renowned Italian internet company, Italiaonline.   

Beyond his telecom businesses, Sawiris has diversified his interests into the hospitality sector. Notably, he spearheaded the development of Silversands, a luxurious resort located on the Caribbean island of Grenada.  

7. Nathan Kirsh 

Networth-$6.8 billion 

Nathan “Natie” Kirsh’s wealth is primarily derived from his ownership stake in U.S.-based Jetro Holdings, a company that encompasses popular restaurant supply stores like Jetro Cash and Carry and Restaurant Depot. Holding a commanding 70% share in the business, Kirsh oversees its operations, which revolve around supplying wholesale goods to various establishments, including bodegas, small stores, and restaurants across the United States. 

Kirsh’s entrepreneurial journey traces back to his roots in Swaziland, where he laid the foundation for his fortune by establishing a corn milling business in 1958. Building on this initial success, he ventured into wholesale food distribution in apartheid-era South Africa.  

6. Mike Adenuga 

Networth-$7.0 billion 

Mike Adenuga is one of Nigeria’s esteemed entrepreneurs with businesses in telecoms and oil production. Notably, his brainchild, Globacom, is part of the country’s largest mobile phone network. He’s enterprise, Conoil Producing, oversees operations across six oil blocks situated in the Niger Delta, contributing significantly to the nation’s energy sector. 

  Globacom spearheaded the development of Glo-1, an expansive 6,100-mile-long submarine Internet cable linking Nigeria to the United Kingdom via Ghana and Portugal, thereby enhancing connectivity and digital infrastructure in the region. Additionally, Adenuga holds an ownership stake of 74% in the publicly traded gasoline firm Conoil, further solidifying his influence in Nigeria’s energy landscape.  

 5. Abdul Samad Rabiu 

Networth-$7.0 billion 

Abdulsamad Rabiu is the chairman of BUA Group, a leading Nigerian conglomerate renowned for its activities in cement production, sugar refining, and real estate, has been making notable strides in the business landscape. In a significant move in early January 2020, Rabiu orchestrated the merger of his privately-owned Obu Cement company with the publicly listed firm Cement Co. of Northern Nigeria, of which he held controlling interest.

This led to the creation of BUA Cement Plc, a powerhouse entity now trading on the Nigerian stock exchange, with a substantial 98.2% ownership stake. Furthermore, Rabiu holds a 95% ownership share in BUA Foods, a prominent publicly traded food conglomerate. 

 

4. Nassef Sawiris 

Networth-$8.6 billion 

Nassef Sawiris, an investor and Egypt’s richest man, made headlines in December 2020 when he acquired a notable 5% stake in New York-listed firm Madison Square Garden Sports, which boasts ownership of the NBA Knicks and the NHL Rangers teams. Sawiris leads OCI, a prominent nitrogen fertilizer producer with facilities located in Texas and Iowa, trading on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange.

Additionally, Orascom Construction, an engineering and building firm under his purview, is listed on both the Cairo exchange and Nasdaq Dubai. Notably, his portfolio includes a substantial nearly 6% holding in the renowned German sportswear giant Adidas. Sawiris further made waves in the sports world by partnering with Fortress Investment Group’s Wes Edens to acquire the Premier League’s Aston Villa Football Club. 

3. Nicky Oppenheimer 

Networth-$9.5 billion 

Nicky Oppenheimer, 78-year-old inheritor of the De Beers diamond legacy, made headlines in 2012 by selling his 40% stake in the company to mining conglomerate Anglo American for a staggering $5.1 billion in cash. As the third generation to helm De Beers, Oppenheimer orchestrated its transition to private ownership in 2001.

For an impressive 85 years until 2012, the Oppenheimer family wielded significant influence in the global diamond industry. Beyond diamonds, Oppenheimer ventured into aviation, founding Fireblade Aviation in Johannesburg in 2014, specializing in chartered flights.  

2. Johan Rupert 

Networth $10.5 billion 

Johann Rupert is the man behind, lifestyle brand Compagnie Financiere Richemont, a renowned Swiss luxury goods company recognized for brands like Cartier and Montblanc. Established in 1998, Richemont emerged from a spinoff of assets previously held by Rembrandt Group Limited, founded by his father Anton in the 1940s. Rupert holds a 7% stake in Remgro, a diversified investment firm where he also holds the position of chairman. Additionally, he owns 27% of Reinet, an investment holding company based in Luxembourg.  

1. Aliko Dangote 

 Networth-$16.1 billion 

Aliko Dangote, the wealthiest individual in Africa for the 13 years, established and currently leads Dangote Cement, the largest cement manufacturer on the continent. Through a holding company, he possesses an 85% stake in the publicly traded Dangote Cement. With a production capacity of 48.6 million metric tons annually, Dangote Cement operates in 10 African countries. In March 2022, Dangote’s fertilizer plant in Nigeria commenced operations after years of development. Additionally, construction of the Dangote Refinery has been completed. 

 


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