Of Africa’s 20 Billionaires, 7 Are Black

Written by Peter Pedroncelli
Richest billionaires Aliko Dangote phosphate project
Africa’s 20 billionaires are worth a combined $73.4B, up from $68.7B a year ago. Nigerian Aliko Dangote’s $10.1B fortune makes him the wealthiest African. In this photo taken, Monday, Oct. 8, 2012, Nigerian billionaire businessman Aliko Dangote attends a global business environment meeting in Lagos, Nigeria. Image: Ap Photo/Sunday Alamba, file

Nigerian entrepreneur Aliko Dangote has emerged as the wealthiest African and one of only 20 billionaires in Africa.

Africa’s 20 billionaires are worth a combined $73.4 billion, up from $68.7 billion a year ago, according to the Forbes billionaires list. Of those 20 billionaires, only seven are Black and only two are women.

The 13 other African billionaires are from South Africa, Egypt, Morocco, Algeria, and Tanzania, including the three Mansour brothers and two Sawiris brothers in Egypt.

For the ninth consecutive year, Dangote is the richest person in Africa, worth an estimated $10.1 billion.

Dangote, however, saw his net worth dip in 2020, down from $10.3 billion in 2019 to $10.1 billion due to a slightly lower stock price for his largest holding, Dangote Cement.

His immense wealth is put into perspective when considering that around half of Nigeria’s 191 million people survive on less than $1.90 a day.

Dangote’s business interests include agricultural commodities, real estate, oil and gas, with a mega oil refinery that Dangote is building in Nigeria expected to be completed in 2021.

Dangote is followed on the African billionaires’ list by Egyptian construction magnate Nassef Sawiris ($8 billion) before fellow Nigerian Mike Adenuga in third with an estimated net worth of $7.7 billion.

Adenuga owns telecommunications firm Globacom, the second-largest mobile operator in Nigeria with 50 million subscribers, as well as oil producer Conoil and extensive real estate holdings.

The eighth richest person in Africa is 59-year-old Nigerian Abdulsamad Rabiu. As the founder of the Nigerian conglomerate BUA Group, he can thank the cement and sugar industries for his $3.1 billion fortune.

South African mining magnate Patrice Motsepe is 10th on the African billionaires’ list with a $2.6 billion net worth.

Motsepe is South Africa’s first Black billionaire. He founded African Rainbow Minerals, which mines and processes iron, manganese, chrome, platinum, copper, nickel, coal and gold. He also has a stake in financial service provider and insurance firm Sanlam.

Just two of the 20 billionaires are women. Angola’s Isabel dos Santos, Africa’s richest woman and the 13th richest African overall, is worth an estimated $2.2 billion. The eldest daughter of Angola’s former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, recently had her assets frozen as part of a corruption investigation.

She owns a stake in Angolan telecommunications firm Unitel, cement company Cimangola, and bank Fomento de Angola, The New York Times reports. Dos Santos also has shares in Portuguese cable television firm Nos SGPS.

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Nigerian Folorunsho Alakija is the vice-chair of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil exploration company with a stake in the prolific Agbami Oilfield, a prolific offshore asset. She is worth $1 billion, leaving her 20th on the list of Africa’s 20 billionaires.

Zimbabwean media mogul Strive Masiyiwa‘s fortune has more than halved since a year ago — but he still qualifies as a billionaire and Africa’s 19th richest individual.

His net worth fell to $1.1 billion from $2.3 billion in January 2019 due to the introduction of a new weaker currency in Zimbabwe.