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The Forbes Billionaires List: Africa’s Richest People 2022

Published 4 months ago
By Forbes

The continent’s billionaires are collectively 15% richer than a year ago, thanks mostly to soaring stocks.

BY KERRY A. DOLAN

AFRICA’S BILLIONAIRES ARE RICHER than they have been in years. As a group, the continent’s 18 billionaires are worth an estimated $84.9 billion – a 15% increase from 12 months ago and the largest tally since at least 2015. Soaring stock prices from Nigeria to Zimbabwe lifted the fortunes of these tycoons, as demand for products and services from telecom to luxury goods ticked up.

For the 11th year in a row, Alike Dangote of Nigeria is the continent’s richest person, worth an estimated $13.9 billion, up from $12.1 billion last year following a 30% increase in the stock price of Dangote Cement, his most valuable asset. Jumping into the No. 2 spot – up from No. 4 last year – is luxury goods magnate Johann Rupert of South Africa.

A more than 60% surge in the share price of his luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont – maker of Cartier watches and Montblanc pens – pushed his fortune to $11 billion, up from $7.2 billion a year ago, making him the biggest gainer on the list. South African Nicky Oppenheimer, who formerly ran diamond mining firm DeBeers before selling it to mining firm Anglo American a decade ago, ranks No. 3, worth an estimated $8.7 billion.

The biggest gainer in percentage terms – up 125% – is Strive Masiyiwa of Zimbabwe, worth $2.7 billion (up from $1.2 billion last year). Shares of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which he founded, rose more than 750% in the past year, helping to drive up the size of his fortune.

Nigerian cement tycoon Abdulsamad Rabiu is $1.5 billion richer after taking yet another of his companies public, following the listing of BUA Cement in January 2020. In early January 2022, Rabiu listed his sugar and food firm BUA Foods on the Nigerian stock exchange with a market capitalization of nearly $2.8 billion. He and his son retained a 96% stake in the company. (Forbes discounts the values of stakes when the public float is less than 5%.)

Only two of the 18 billionaires have net worths that are lower than last year: Koos Bekker of South Africa, who dropped to $2.7 billion from $2.8 billion, and Mohammed Dewji of Tanzania, whose fortune fell to $1.5 billion from $1.6 billion a year ago. The 18 billionaires from Africa hail from seven different countries. South Africa and Egypt each have five billionaires, followed by Nigeria with three and Morocco with two.

All of the continent’s billionaires are men; Isabel dos Santos of Angola fell off the Forbes list in January 2021.

Africa’s billionaires are richer than they have been in years. As a group, the continent’s 18 billionaires are worth an estimated $84.9 billion – a 15% increase from 12 months ago and the largest tally since at least 2015.

Methodology

Our list tracks the wealth of African billionaires who reside in Africa or have their primary business there, thus excluding Sudanese-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim, who is a U.K. citizen, and billionaire London resident Mohamed Al-Fayed, an Egyptian citizen. Strive Masiyiwa, a citizen of Zimbabwe and a London resident, appears on the list due to his telecom holdings in Africa.

Net worths were calculated using stock prices and currency exchange rates from the close of business on Wednesday, January 19, 2022. To value privately-held businesses, we start with estimates of revenues or profits and apply prevailing price-to-sale or price-to-earnings ratios for similar public companies.

Some list members grow richer or poorer within weeks or days of our measurement date.

1. ALIKO DANGOTE

Net worth: $13.9 billion
Rank in 2021: 1
Net worth in 2021: $12.1 billion
Self-made
Origin of wealth: Cement, sugar
Industry:Manufacturing
Age: 64
Country: Nigeria
Residence: Lagos

Photographer: Wei Leng Tay/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person, founded and chairs Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer.
  • He owns 85% of publicly-traded Dangote Cement through a holding company.
  • Dangote Cement produces 45.6 million metric tons annually and has operations in 10 countries across Africa.
  • After many years in development, Dangote’s fertilizer plant in Nigeria began operations in mid-2021.
  • Dangote Refinery has been under construction since 2016 and is expected to be one of the world’s largest oil refineries once complete.

2. JOHANN RUPERT & FAMILY

Net worth: $11 billion
Rank in 2021: 4
Net worth in 2021: $7.2 billion
Origin of wealth: Luxury goods
Industry:Fashion and Retail
Age: 71
Country: South Africa
Residence: Cape Town

Photographer: Chris Ratcliffe/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Johann Rupert is chairman of Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont.
  • The company is best known for the brands Cartier and Montblanc.
  • It was formed in 1998 through a spinoff of assets owned by Rembrandt Group Limited (now Remgro Limited), which his father Anton formed in the 1940s.
  • He owns 7% of diversified investment firm Remgro, which he chairs, as well as 25% of Reinet, an investment holding company based in Luxembourg.
  • In recent years, Rupert has been a vocal opponent of plans to allow fracking in the Karoo, a region of South Africa where he owns land.

3. NICKY OPPENHEIMER & FAMILY

Net worth: $8.7 billion
Rank in 2021: 3
Net worth in 2021: $8 billion
Origin of wealth: Diamonds
Industry: Metals and mining
Age: 76
Country: South Africa
Residence: Johannesburg

  • Nicky Oppenheimer, heir to the DeBeers diamond fortune, sold his 40% of the firm to mining group Anglo American for $5.1 billion in cash in 2012.
  • For 85 years until 2012, the Oppenheimer family occupied a controlling spot in the world’s diamond trade.
  • He was the third generation of his family to run DeBeers, and took the company private in 2001.
  • In 2014, Oppenheimer started Fireblade Aviation in Johannesburg, which operates chartered flights.
  • He owns at least 720 square miles of conservation land across South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

4. NASSEF SAWIRIS

Net worth: $8.6 billion
Rank in 2021: 2
Net worth in 2021: $8.5 billion
Origin of wealth: Construction and Investments
Industry: Construction and engineering
Age: 61
Country: Egypt
Residence: Cairo

Photographer: Stephen Yang/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Nassef Sawiris is an investor and a scion of Egypt’s wealthiest family.His most valuable asset is a nearly 6% stake in sportswear maker Adidas.
  • In December 2020, he acquired a 5% stake in New York-listed firm Madison Square Garden Sports, owner of NBA Nicks and the NHL Rangers teams.
  • He runs OCI, one of the world’s largest nitrogen fertilizer producers, with plants in Texas and Iowa; it trades on the Euronext Amsterdam Exchange.
  • Orascom Construction, an engineering and building firm, trades on the Cairo exchange and Nasdaq Dubai.
  • His holdings include stakes in cement giant Lafarge Holcim and Adidas; he sits on the supervisory board of Adidas.

5. ABDULSAMAD RABIU

Net worth: $7 billion
Rank in 2021: 6
Net worth in 2021: $5.5 billion
Origin of wealth: Cement,
sugar
Industry: Diversified
Age: 61
Country: Nigeria
Residence: Lagos

  • Abdulsamad Rabiu is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate active in cement production, sugar refining and real estate.
  • In early January 2020, Rabiu merged his privately-owned Obu Cement company with listed firm Cement Co. of Northern Nigeria, which he controlled.
  • The combined firm, called BUA Cement Plc, trades on the Nigerian stock exchange; Rabiu owns 98.5% of it.
  • Rabiu, the son of a businessman, inherited land from his father.
  • He set up his own business in 1988 importing iron, steel and chemicals.

6. MIKE ADENUGA

Net worth: $6.7 billion
Rank in 2021: 5
Net worth in 2021: $6.3 billion
Self-made
Origin of wealth: Telecom, oil
Industry: Diversified
Age: 68
Country: Nigeria
Residence: Lagos

  • Adenuga, Nigeria’s second richest man, built his fortune in telecom and oil production.
  • His mobile phone network, Globacom, is the third largest operator in Nigeria, with 55 million subscribers.
  • His oil exploration outfit, Conoil Producing, operates six oil blocks in the Niger Delta.
  • Adenuga got an MBA at Pace University in New York, supporting himself as a student by working as a taxi driver.
  • He made his first million at age 26 selling lace and distributing soft drinks.

7. ISSAD REBRAB & FAMILY

Net worth: $5.1 billion
Rank in 2021: 7
Net worth in 2021: $4.8 billion
Self-made
Origin of wealth: Food
Industry: Food and Beverage
Age: 78
Country: Algeria
Residence: Algiers

(Photo credit should read ISSOUF SANOGO/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Issad Rebrab is the founder and CEO of Cevital, Algeria’s biggest privately-held company.
  • Cevital owns one of the largest sugar refineries in the world, with the capacity to produce 2 million tons a year.
  • Cevital owns European companies, including French home appliances maker Groupe Brandt, an Italian steel mill and a German water purification company.
  • After serving 8 months in jail on charges of corruption, Rebrab was released on January 1, 2020. He denies any wrongdoing.

8. NAGUIB SAWIRIS

Net worth: $3.4 billion
Rank in 2021: 8
Net worth in 2021: $3.2 billion
Origin of wealth: Telecom
Industry: Telecom
Age: 67
Country: Egypt
Residence: Cairo

(Photo by Jonathan Rashad/Getty Images)
  • Naguib Sawiris is a scion of Egypt’s wealthiest family.
  • His brother Nassef is also a billionaire.
  • He built a fortune in telecom, selling Orascom Telecom in 2011 to Russian telecom firm VimpelCom (now Veon) in a multibillion-dollar transaction.
  • He is chairman of Orascom TMT Investments, which has stakes in an asset manager in Egypt and Italian internet company Italiaonline, among others.
  • Through his Media Globe Holdings, Sawiris owns 88% of pan-European pay TV and video news network Euronews.
  • He also developed a luxury resort called Silversands on the Caribbean island of Grenada.

9. PATRICE MOTSEPE

Net worth:$3.1 billion
Rank in 2021: 9
Net worth in 2021: $3 billion
Self-made
Origin of wealth: Mining
Industry: Metals and mining
Age: 59
Country: South Africa
Residence: Johannesburg

. Photographer: Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Patrice Motsepe, the founder and chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, became a billionaire in 2008 – the first black African on the Forbes list.
  • In 2016, he launched a private equity firm, African Rainbow Capital, focused on investing in Africa.
  • Motsepe also has a stake in Sanlam, a listed financial services firm, and is the president and owner of the Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club.
  • In March 2021, Motsepe was elected president of the Confederation of African Football, the sport’s governing body on the continent.
  • In 1994, he became the first black partner at law firm Bowman Gilfillan in Johannesburg, and then started a mining services contracting business.
  • In 1997, he bought low-producing gold mine shafts and later turned them profitable.

10. KOOS BEKKER

Net worth: $2.7 billion
Rank in 2021: 10
Net worth in 2021: $2.8 billion
Self-made
Origin of wealth: Media, investments
Industry: Media and entertainment
Age: 69
Country: South Africa
Residence: Cape Town

Photographer: Halden Krog/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Koos Bekker is revered for transforming South African newspaper publisher Naspers into an e-commerce investor and cable TV powerhouse.
  • He led Naspers to pay a reported $34 million for a third of Chinese Internet firm Tencent Holdings in 2001 – perhaps the greatest venture investment ever.
  • In 2019, Naspers put some assets into two publicly-traded companies, entertainment firm MultiChoice Group and Prosus, which contains the Tencent stake.
  • Naspers sold a 2% stake in Tencent in 2018; in April 2021 Prosus sold nearly $15 billion worth of Tencent, taking its stake to 29%.
  • Bekker, who retired as the CEO of Naspers in March 2014, returned as chairman in April 2015.

10. STRIVE MASIYIWA

Net worth: $2.7 billion
Rank in 2020: 16
Net worth in 2021: $1.2 billion
Self-made
Origin of wealth: Telecom
Industry:Telecom
Age: 60
Country: Zimbabwe
Residence: London

Strive Masiyiwa, Chiarman of Econet Wireless (Photo supplied)
  • Strive Masiyiwa overcame protracted government opposition to launch mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in his country of birth in 1998.
  • He 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.

12. MOHAMED MANSOUR

Net worth: $2.5 billion
Rank in 2021: 11
Net worth in 2021: $2.5 billion
Self-made
Origin of wealth: Diversified
Industry: Diversified
Age: 74
Country: Egypt
Residence: Cairo

Photographer: Simon Dawson/Bloomberg via Getty Images
  • Mohamed Mansour oversees family conglomerate Mansour Group, which was founded by his father Loutfy (D.1976) in 1952 and has 60,000 employees.
  • Mansour established General Motors dealerships in Egypt in 1975, later becoming one of GM’s biggest distributors worldwide.
  • Mansour Group also has exclusive distribution rights for Caterpillar equipment in Egypt and seven other African countries.
  • He served as Egypt’s Minister of Transportation from 2006 to 2009 under the Hosni Mubarak regime.
  • His brothers Yasseen and Youssef, who share ownership in the family group, are also billionaires; his son Loutfy heads private equity arm Man Capital.

13. AZIZ AKHANNOUCH & FAMILY

Net worth: $2.2 billion
Rank in 2021: 12
Net worth in 2021: $2 billion
Origin of wealth: Petroleum, diversified
Age: 61
Country: Morocco
Residence: Casablanca

(Photo by LUDOVIC MARIN/POOL/AFP via Getty Images)
  • Aziz Akhannouch is the majority owner of Akwa Group, a multibillion-dollar conglomerate founded by his father and a partner, Ahmed Wakrim, in 1932.
  • It has interests in petroleum, gas and chemicals through publicly-traded Afriquia Gaz and Maghreb Oxygene.
  • Akhannouch was appointed prime minister of Morocco in September 2021.

14. MICHIEL LE ROUX

Net worth:$1.7 billion
Rank in 2021: 16
Net worth in 2021: $1.2 billion
Self-made
Origin of wealth: Banking
Industry: Finance and investments
Age: 72
Country: South Africa
Residence: Stellenbosch

  • Michiel Le Roux of South Africa founded Capitec Bank in 2001 and owns about an 11% stake.
  • The bank, which trades on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, targets South Africa’s emerging middle class.
  • He served as chairman of the board of Capitec from 2007 to 2016 and has continued on as a board member.
  • Le Roux previously ran Boland Bank, a small regional bank in Cape Town’s hinterland.

15. OTHMAN BENJELLOUN & FAMILY

Net worth: $1.5 billion
Rank in 2021: 15
Net worth in 2021: $1.3 billion
Origin of wealth: Banking, insurance
Industry: Finance and investments
Age: 89
Country: Morocco
Residence: Casablanca

(Photo credit should read STEPHANE DE SAKUTIN/AFP/Getty Images)
  • Othman Benjelloun is CEO of BMCE Bank of Africa, which has a presence in more than 20 African countries.
  • His father was a shareholder in RMA, a Moroccan insurance company; Benjelloun built it into a leading insurer.
  • Through his holding company FinanceCom, he has a stake in the Moroccan arm of French telecom firm Orange.
  • He inaugurated in 2014 a $500 million plan to build the 55-story Mohammed VI Tower in Rabat. It will be one of the tallest buildings in Africa.
  • FinanceCom is part of a project to develop a multibillion-dollar tech city in Tangiers that is expected to host 200 Chinese companies.

15. MOHAMMED DEWJI

Net worth: $1.5 billion
Rank in 2021: 13
Net worth in 2021: $1.6 billion
Origin of wealth: Diversified
Industry: Diversified
Age: 46
Country: Tanzania
Residence: Dar es Salaam

  • Mohammed Dewji is the CEO of MeTL, a Tanzanian conglomerate founded by his father in the 1970s.
  • METL is active in textile manufacturing, flour milling, beverages and edible oils in eastern,
    southern and central Africa.
  • METL operates in at least six African countries and has ambitions to expand to several more.
  • Dewji, Tanzania’s only billionaire, signed the Giving Pledge in 2016, promising to donate at least half his fortune to philanthropic causes.
  • Dewji was reportedly kidnapped at gunpoint in Dar es Salaam, Tanzania in October 2018 and released after nine days.

15. YOUSSEF MANSOUR

Net worth: $1.5 billion
Rank in 2021: 14
Net worth in 2021: $1.5 billion
Self-made
Origin of wealth: Diversified
Industry: Diversified
Age: 76
Country: Egypt
Residence: Cairo

  • Youssef Mansour is chairman of family-owned conglomerate Mansour Group, which was founded by his father Loutfy (d.1976) in 1952.
  • Mansour Group is the exclusive distributor of GM vehicles and Caterpillar equipment in Egypt
    and several other countries.
  • He oversees the consumer goods division, which includes supermarket chain Metro, and sole distribution rights for L’Oreal in Egypt.
  • Younger brothers Mohamed and Yasseen are also billionaires and part owners of Mansour Group.

18. YASSEEN MANSOUR

Net worth: $1.1 billion
Rank in 2021: 18
Net worth in 2021: $1.1 billion
Self-made
Origin of wealth: Diversified
Industry: Diversified
Age:
60
Country: Egypt
Residence: Cairo

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