AFRICA'S 40 RICHEST
Reported by Caleb Melby, Zina Moukheiber and Mfonobong Nsehe
Amid grim news about the global economy, Africa continues to shine. Forbes’ second annual list of Africa’s 40 Richest reflects growth across much of the continent. The moguls’ combined net worth, now $72.9 billion, is up 12% over last year. Ten newcomers join the ranks, including, for the first time, two women.
See complete coverage and the full list of Africa’s richest at www.forbes.com/africa-billionaires
Aliko Dangote of Nigeria tops the list for the second year running, with a net worth of $12 billion, up from $10.1 billion in November 2011. Most of his net worth lies in publicly traded Dangote Cement, which operates in 14 African countries. Nicky Oppenheimer of South Africa comes in once again as the second richest, with a $6.4 billion fortune—down $100 million from a year ago. Oppenheimer decided in late 2011 to sell his family’s 40% stake in diamond producer DeBeers to mining company Anglo American for $5.1 billion. The deal got final regulatory approval in July 2012, marking the end of 85 years of Oppenheimer family control of DeBeers.
Notable newcomers include the list’s first two women: Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria, whose joins due to her stake in the prolific Agbami oil field; and Isabel dos Santos of Angola, an entrepreneur, investor and daughter of that country’s president. South Africa’s Desmond Sacco debuts as a billionaire thanks to his shares in mining concern Assore, which he chairs. Another South African newcomer: Koos Bekker, who since 1997 has turned media group Naspers into a true multinational firm, taking neither a salary nor a bonus along the way. His $450 million net worth lies mostly in vested Naspers options.
South Africa, the continent’s economic giant, is home to 12 of Africa’s 40 richest, followed by Nigeria, with 11. Egypt comes next, with 8 list members, and Morocco with 5. It is perhaps no surprise that the overwhelming majority of Africa’s 40 Richest come from the countries with the largest stock exchanges.
The wealthiest hail from 8 countries –up from six last year. The two new countries represented are Angola (Isabel dos Santos) and Tanzania (Said Salim Bakhresa). Cairo is home to more of Africa’s 40 Richest than any other city – with 8 list members. Thirty-two fortunes are self-made; 19 people have net worths higher than a year ago, while 10 have fortunes that dropped in value. The average age is 63 –up from an average of 61 last year. The minimum net worth required to make the list of richest Africans was $400 million, up from $250 million in 2011.
Africa is perhaps best known for its abundant natural resources, but its 40 richest operate in an array of industries, bolstered by a growing consumer sector. Just 4 of the 40 draw their net worth from oil. Ten, by contrast, have diversified fortunes, either through ownership of a conglomerate (like Egypt’s Mansours) or ownership of assets in diverse realms, like Kenya’s Naushad Merali. Six built their wealth in the financial industry.
Our list tracks the wealth of African citizens who reside on the continent, thus excluding Sudanese-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim, who is a U.K. citizen, and billionaire London resident Mohamed Al-Fayed, an Egyptian citizen. We calculated net worths using stock prices and exchange rates from the clost of business on Friday, November 9. To value privately-held businesses we couple estimates of revenues or profits with prevailing price-to-sales or price-to-earnings ratios for similar public companies.
We have purposely excluded dispersed family fortunes such as the Chandaria family of Kenya and the Madhvanis of Uganda, because the wealth is believed to be held by dozens of family members. We do include wealth belonging to a member’s immediate relatives if the wealth can be traced to one living individual; in that case, you’ll see “& family” on our list as an indication.
We would like to thank the following people and institutions for their valuable guidance with our research:
Julie Gichuru, Citizen TV, Kenya
A.R Kalan, Managing Director, Crane Bank, Uganda, Proshare Nigeria, Ventures Africa