How Africa’s Super Rich Spend Their Billions

Written by Kevin Mwanza

Africa’s high growth rate is building up a crop of super wealth billionaires across the continent. With these new found wealth the continent is seeing new tastes expensive tastes in consumption across real estate, automotive, food and clothing.

For a number of years African billionaires have been associated with resource plunder by dictatorial leaders who have used their position to benefit themselves and people around them. Most of this ill found wealth has been invested in foreign countries mostly in Europe.

But that trend is slowly changing as investment avenues abroad dry up in tandem with the lethargic financial crisis that has over the recent years plagued the west.

According to the March 2014 issue of Ventures Africa, some of the continent’s super-rich have no problem buying a private jet worth $45 billion or spending more than $120,000 on a small family burial site, The Standard Digital reported.

“Like their international brethren, despite the struggles of their poor neighbors, the region’s rich have no compunction about flashing their fancy cars, fleets of private jets, tickets to outer space, lavish weddings and exclusive and extravagant real estate,” Ventures Africa said.

This is not surprising considering that in its 2014 Wealth Report, Knight Frank stated that the continent’s ultra high net worth individuals would rise by 53 per cent in the next decade.

Nigeria, the country that dislodged South Africa as the continent’s economic giant, has the most extravagant spenders. The super-rich in the capital Abuja will not wince twice while buying a four-bedroom duplex for more than $4 million.

“Ferraris, McLarens and Lamborghinis have been seen on its (Abuja’s) roads, with local bloggers also claiming to have spotted a Bugatti Veyron, the world’s most expensive car at $2.4 million apiece,” Ventures Africa indicated.

Nigeria boosts of hosting Africa’s richest man and the 43rd richest billionaire in the world, Aliko Dangote,  with a net worth of $21 billion in 2013 according to Forbes.

African Women Billionaires

A latest entry to the Nigeria’s billionaire list is Mike Adenunga, a peculiar real estate investor,  who purchased a $120,000 worth of family burial site in the Vaults and Gardens cemetery in Ikoyi, Lagos. He also owns seven homes in the high end Banana Island.

Africa’s women billionaires, despite their small number – three out of 55, also know how to make their money work for them.

Folorunsho Alakija, another Nigerian, is known to have invested in one of the most expensive real estate address in the United Kingdom, at One Hyde Park, London. Alakija, a former office secretary, also owns a private jet worth $45 million.

The list would not be complete without the mention of Isabel Dos Santos, daughter of Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos and the richest woman in Africa, whose net worth is estimated to be over $3 billion.

Isabel has built expensive apartments in Luanda that are let out to top foreign businesses executives that frequent the oil rich country to cut deals with government technocrats.