For the seventh year in a row, President and Chief Executive of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote was adjudged as the richest man in the continent of Africa with a net worth that Forbes pegged at $12.2 billion. That was an increase of $100 million from a year ago.
Bill Gates maintained his position as the richest in the world with a net worth of $86 billion, while Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos were second and third consecutively with a net worth of $75.6 billion and $72.8 billion.
Forbes further stated that “Dangote is looking beyond cement –his most valuable asset – and has been investing in a fertilizer production company and a large oil refinery. Dangote Fertilizer is expected to start operations in the second quarter this year.”
It would be recalled that Dangote was also recently the only African selected among Bloomberg’s world 50 best persons in the year 2017
While names of notable Nigerians were dropped from the billionaires lists, Globacom Chairman, Mike Adenuga, with a net worth of $5.3 billion was adjudged the 5th richest man in Africa and Folorunsho Alakija, also a Nigerian, whose estimated $1.6 billion fortune lies in oil exploration firm was adjudged as the 15th richest person in Africa.
Number two on the list of African richest people is diamond mining heir Nicky Oppenheimer of South Africa, with a net worth of $7.7 billion, up $700 million from last year. Oppenheimer is one of 8 South Africans on the list, making it the African country with the most billionaires. Nigeria has just 3.
Last year, South Africa and Egypt tied with 6 billionaires each. Boosting the South African ranks this year: newcomer Michiel Le Roux, the founder and former chairman of Johannesburg-listed Capitec Bank Holdings, whose stock has climbed more than 50 per cent in the past year, making Le Roux a new billionaire worth $1.2 billion. South African mining tycoon Desmond Sacco, chairman of listed Assore Group, returns to the list following a stock price surge of some 60 per cent in the past 12 months. Sacco last appeared as a billionaire on the Africa’s Richest list in 2012 with a $1.4 billion fortune. (He also appeared on the 2014 Forbes list of the World’s Billionaires, worth $1.3 billion.)
One South African list member wouldn’t have made the cut a month ago. In December 2017, the share price of retailer Steinhoff International plunged after the company divulged accounting irregularities. That pushed the net worth of Steinhoff’s then-chairman Christoffel Wiese below $1 billion on December 7. (Wiese resigned as chairman in December.) In early January the company said it would restate its financial results as far back as 2015 and the share price rebounded enough to put Wiese back in billionaire territory, at least for the moment. Forbes calculated his net worth on January 5 at $1.1 billion, down substantially from $5.5 billion a year ago.
Zimbabwe gets its first billionaire this year: telecom magnate Strive Masiyiwa, who chairs the Econet Group. Shares of Zimbabwe-listed mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe have surged in value over the past year; Masiyiwa owns more than half of that company. He also has a majority stake in fiber optic firm Liquid Telecom, which raised $700 million in a bond offering in July 2017. Forbes estimates Masiyiwa’s net worth at $1.7 billion.
Just 2 of the 23 list members are women, unchanged from last year. Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s longtime former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is worth an estimated $2.7 billion this year, down from $3.2 billion a year ago. Her net worth dropped in part due to a lower value for Banco BCI, an Angolan bank; its book value plunged in 2016 amid a tough year for the oil producing country.