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Africa’s Top 10 Billionaires’ Education Qualifications Revealed

Does education matter in business success? This is a question many prospective entrepreneurs ask themselves.

While it can be important for business owners and entrepreneurs to attain qualifications related to the running of their businesses, it’s not imperative. Some of the business world’s biggest names have only a few qualifications, but have gone on to start up hugely successful companies.

In this article, we reveal the education qualifications of Africa’s top 10 richest people.  Read on!

Aliko Dangote

The Nigerian billionaire has been Africa’s richest person for seven years in a row. Forbes early this year put his net worth at $12.2 billion, but has since soared to over $13bn.

Dangote, 61, is the CEO and Chairman of CEO, Dangote Group the producer of Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer.

He also owns stakes in publicly-traded salt, sugar and flour manufacturing companies.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts/Science from Al-Azhar University, Cairo.

He has succeeded in business with minimum basic education, thanks to determination, honesty and perseverance.

Nicky Oppenheimer

Nicky Oppenheimer of South Africa was ranked the 2nd richest person in Africa by Forbes in January this year. His net worth was put at $7.7 billion, up $700 million from last year. His source of wealth is diamonds.

Oppenheimer, 71 and heir to his family’s fortune sold his 40% stake in diamond firm DeBeers to mining group Anglo American for $5.1 billion in cash in 2012.  He was the third generation of his family to run DeBeers, and took the company private in 2001.

For 85 years until 2012, the Oppenheimer family had occupied a controlling spot in the world’s diamond trade.

Oppenheimer now owns an estimated 1% stake in Anglo American, which his grandfather founded in 1917.  He holds Bachelor of Arts/Science from Oxford U Christ Church and Master of Arts from the same University.

Johann Rupert

With his net worth valued at $7.2 billion, Rupert deals in luxury goods. The South African tycoon is chairman of Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont. The company is best known for the brands Cartier and Montblanc.

Rupert , 67, attempted to study economics and company law at  University of Stellenbosch, but dropped out of the university to pursue a career in business, however, in 2004, the university awarded him an honorary doctorate in Economics.

In 2008, he was awarded an honorary doctorate in Commerce from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University.

Nassef Sawiris

Forbes valued Sawiris’ net worth at $6.8bn early this year. The 57 year old deals in chemicals and construction.  Sawiris split Orascom Construction Industries into two entities in 2015: OCI and Orascom Construction. OCI is 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 holds Bachelor of Arts/Science from University of Chicago.

Mike Adeenuga

Mike Adenuga’s net worth was valued at $5.2bn by Forbes early this year.

Adenuga, Nigeria’s second richest man, built his fortune in telecom and oil production.  His mobile phone network, Globacom, is the second largest operator in Nigeria, with 37 million subscribers.

His oil exploration outfit, Conoil Producing, operates 6 oil blocks in the Niger Delta.

Adenuga, 64, got an MBA at Pace University in New York, supporting himself as a student by working as a taxi driver.

Issad Rebrab

Issad Rebrab’s net worth is estimated at $4.1bn.

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 has been buying European companies in distress, such as Groupe Brandt, a French maker of home appliances, and an Italian steel mill.

His education background is scanty but reports indicate that after graduating from a professional school, Rebrab taught accounting and commercial law. He soon left teaching, and started his own accounting firm.

Naguib Sawiris


Valued at $4bn as of January 2018, Sawiris is a scion of Egypt’s wealthiest family. His father Onsi and brother Nassef are also billionaires. He built a fortune in telecom, but in 2017 stepped down as CEO of Orascom Telecom Media & Technology (OTMT).  In 2011, Sawiris sold Orascom Telecom to Russian telecom firm VimpelCom in a multi-billion dollar stock and cash transaction.  Sawiris acquired a nearly 20% stake in Australia-listed gold mining firm Evolution Mining.

He also owns nearly 20% of Toronto-listed Endeavour Mining, which operates gold mines in West Africa.

He holds a Bachelor of Arts/Science, Swiss Federal Polytechnical Institute; Master of Science, Swiss Federal Polytechnical Institute.

Koos Bekker

His net worth was estimated at $2.6bn in early 2018.

The 65 South African tycoon is revered for transforming South African newspaper publisher Naspers into an ecommerce investor & cable TV powerhouse.

He led Naspers to invest in Chinese Internet and media firm Tencent in 2001 — by far the most profitable of the bets he made on companies elsewhere.

Bekker, who retired as the CEO of Naspers in March 2014, returned as chairman in April 2015. He holds LLB, University of Witwatersrand and Master of Business Administration, Columbia Business School.

Isabel dos Santos

Isabel dos Santos is the only woman on the top 10 African billionaires.

Her net worth was put at $2.7bn by Forbes early this year. She is the oldest daughter of Angola’s longtime former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who stepped down in fall 2017.

She purchased shares of Portuguese companies, including telecom and cable TV firm Nos SGPS.

Isabel dos Santos, 45, holds Bachelor of Arts/Science, King’s College London.

Mohamed Mansour

Mohamed Mansour’s net worth is estimated at $2.7bn.   He oversees family conglomerate Mansour Group, which was founded by his father Loutfy. Mansour established General Motors dealerships in Egypt, becoming one of GM’s biggest distributors in the world.

Mansour Group also has exclusive distribution rights for Caterpillar equipment.  He was Minister of Transportation under the Hosni Mubarak regime. His brothers, Yasseen and Youssef, are also billionaires.

The 70 year old holds Master of Business Administration, Auburn University.



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Taddewo William Senyonyi
William is a seasoned business and finance journalist. He is also an agripreneur and a coffee enthusiast.

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