Aliko Dangote has maintained his position as Africa’s richest man despite falling from being the 51st richest person in the world to the 105th in the latest 2017 Forbes billionaires list.
Forbes magazine reports that Dangote’s wealth dropped from $15.4bn (£11.8bn) in 2016 to $12.2bn this year, due to Nigeria’s currency being devalued.
According to Forbes’ real-time ranking, there are 21 African billionaires living in Africa worth a combined $70 billion.
In this story, we bring to you profiles of the top 10 richest Africans that are dominated by South Africa and Egypt.
Shockingly, East Africa isn’t represented on this list considering the fact that its richest man, Tanzania’s Mohammed Dewji is number 16.
Dangote, 60, with a net worth of US$12.1bn is Africa’s richest man. He owns the Dangote Group, which has interests in commodities mainly cement, sugar and flour.
Dangote hails from a very prominent business family that lived in Nigeria for many years. He is the great grandson of Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, the richest African at the time of his death in 1955.
Dangote, an ethnic Hausa Muslim from Kano State, was born on 10 April 1957 into a wealthy Muslim family.
The Dangote Group was established as a small trading firm in 1977, the same year Dangote relocated to Lagos to expand the company.
Today, it is a multi-trillion naira conglomerate with many of its operations spread across Africa. Dangote is married with three children.
South African’s Oppenheimer is the 2nd richest African with a net worh of US$7bn. The diamond magnate ranks 199th in the world.
Born on 8 June 1945, Oppenheimer is not only a businessman, but also a philanthropist of German Jewish descent. He was formerly the Chairman of De Beers diamond mining company and of its subsidiary, the Diamond Trading Company, and former Deputy Chairman of the Anglo American Corporation. He is married with one child.
Adenuga, 64, is the 3rd richest person in Africa. His net worth is US$5.8bn. His business interests are in telecom and oil. His company Globacom is Nigeria’s second-largest telecom operator, and also has a presence in Ghana and Benin. He also owns stakes in the Equitorial Trust Bank and the oil exploration firm Conoil (formerly Consolidated Oil Company). Adenuga is the 2nd richest man in Nigeria after Dangote.
His father, the Oloye Michael Agbolade Adenuga Sr, was a school teacher, his mother Juliana Oyindamola Adenuga, a businesswoman of royal Ijebu descent.
He worked as a taxi driver to help fund his university education. He graduated from Northwestern Oklahoma State University and Pace University, New York with degrees in Business Administration.
In 1990, he received a drilling license and in 1991, his Consolidated Oil struck oil in the shallow waters of Southwestern Ondo State, the first indigenous oil company to do so in commercial quantity. That’s how he joined business.
With a net worth of US$5.5bn, Johann Rupert, 67, is the 4th richest African.
He is the eldest son of South African business tycoon Anton Rupert and his wife Huberte. He is the chairman of the Swiss-based luxury-goods company Richemont as well as of the South Africa-based company Remgro.
Rupert grew up in Stellenbosch, where he attended Paul Roos Gymnasium and the University of Stellenbosch, studying economics and company law. He dropped out of the university to pursue a career in business, however, in 2004, the university awarded him an honorary doctorate in Economics. Adenuga is married and blessed with seven children.
Like Johann Rupert, Christoffel Wiese’s net worth is valued at US$5.5bn.
Born on September 10, 1941, the South African businessman’s source of wealth is consumer retail.
After university, Wiese practised law at the Cape Bar for some years before working as a Director at Pepkor, the discount clothing chain that his parents helped to found.
Under his leadership, Shoprite started out as a chain of eight supermarkets in Cape Town that was purchased for 1 million Rand (equivalent to $122,000 USD) which grew into a multibillion-dollar business due to various acquisitions and expansion strategies made in the first 30 years of operations.
After playing a role in helping Shoprite acquire distributor Senta, Wiese started expanding his business into franchising new locations for Shoprite department stores.
He also purchased the struggling OK Bazaars from South African Breweries for one rand in 1997; inserting 157 supermarkets and 146 furniture stores to the company and adding jobs to the area.
Wiese is married, lives in Cape Town and has three children.
His son Jacob Wiese works for Pepkor and will take over from him when Wiese retires.
Egypt’s richest businessman, Nassef Sawiris, is among the top 10 richest Africans. He runs OCI, one of the largest nitrogen fertilizer producers in the world. It has plants in Texas, and is building facilities in Iowa. His net worth is valued at US$5.3bn.
Originally Orascom Construction Industries, Sawiris, 56, split the company into two entities in 2015.
Orascom Construction now trades on Egypt’s exchange and Nasdaq Dubai, while OCI, the fertilizer and chemicals business, trades on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange.
Sawiris also owns nearly 5% of cement giant LafargeHolcim, and 7% of Adidas.
A University of Chicago graduate, he donated $20 million to the school in 2015 to establish a scholarship program named after his father, Onsi. The funds benefit Egyptian students. Nassef Sawiris is married and blessed with four children.
Valued at US$3.7bn, Naguib Sawiris, 63, captured world headlines in 2015, when he offered to buy an island from Greece or Italy to settle refugees fleeing the war in Syria.
Sawiris, who built his fortune in telecom, announced in December 2016 he was stepping down as CEO of Cairo-based Orascom Telecom Media & Technology (OTMT).
The company’s efforts to acquire an investment bank in March 2016 were stymied by Egypt’s financial regulators, who accused OTMT of breaches pertaining to a five-year-old demerger of telecom assets. OTMT claims that the government has as a result hampered its ability to grow. In 2015, it exited the cell phone business in Egypt when it sold its stake in Mobinil to France’s Orange. In North Korea, OTMT operates Koryolink, the country’s only 3G mobile telecom firm, but lost financial control over the operator due to the government’s maneuvers. Since 2013, Sawiris has built major stakes in gold mining companies that operate in Canada, Australia and Africa. He is also married with four children.
Isabel dos Santos
Africa’s richest woman, Isabel dos Santos is the oldest daughter of Angola’s longtime president. Though her representatives deny that her holdings have any connection to her father, President Jose Eduardo dos Santos, FORBES research found that he transferred stakes in several Angolan companies to her. Isabel dos Santos, 44, is valued at US$3.2bn. Dos Santos’ assets in Angola include 25% of Unitel, the country’s largest mobile phone network, and 42% of a bank, Banco BIC.
In Portugal, she owns nearly 6% of oil and gas firm Galp Energia (alongside Portuguese billionaire Americo Amorim), and nearly 19% of Banco BPI, the country’s fourth-largest bank.
She is also a controlling shareholder of Portuguese cable TV and telecom firm Nos SGPS (formerly called Zon). In October 2015, four members of the European Parliament publicly called for an investigation into her investments in Portugal, questioning their legality. She is married with three children.
Valued at US$3.1bn, Issad Ewbrab, 73, is the 9th richest African.
He founded Algeria’s biggest privately held conglomerate, Cevital. It owns one of the largest sugar refineries in the world, with an annual output of 1.6 million tons; it also produces vegetable oil and margarine.
Rebrab has been diversifying by buying European companies in distress. In 2014, he acquired Groupe Brandt, a large French-based maker of appliances that had filed for bankruptcy protection.
Cevital has invested more than $200 million to build a Brandt plant in Algeria. Rebrab was reportedly a customer of Panamanian law firm Mossack Fonseca, which helped him set up offshore firms to register a Swiss bank account, in defiance of Algerian laws. Rebrab, whose five children work at the company, is the son of militants who fought for Algeria’s independence from France.
Mohamed Mansour, 69, with his net worth of US$2.7bn completes the list of the top 10 richest Africans. He oversees conglomerate Mansour Group, which has the sole distribution rights in Egypt for GM vehicles and Caterpillar equipment; it also has the McDonald’s franchise.
However, the group generates the bulk of its revenues from outside the country. Mansour and his brothers Yasseen and Youssef, all billionaires, have the exclusive rights to Caterpillar sales in Russia and six African countries.
Through its private equity arm, it also has more than $500 million in investments in such places as Dubai, Africa and the U.S., where they own a logistics company in California. Mohamed has real estate in Missouri. Son Loutfy oversees the family’s private equity investments. He is married with two children.