Dangote is also seen as a stabilising force within the economies of several countries across the continent.
By Alike Ejiofor
For the ninth year in a row, the President of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has been declared as the wealthiest person in Africa, with an estimated net worth of $10.1billion.
In the latest ranking of the world’s billionaires by Forbes, the American global media company, focusing on business, investment, technology, entrepreneurship and leadership, Dangote’s present worth is down from his estimate of $10.3 billion a year ago; largely due to a slightly lower stock price for his flagship company, Dangote Cement.
Africa has 54 nations, but only eight countries have billionaires according to Forbes, with South Africa and Egypt dominating not only the top 10 richest people in Africa list, but in the rankings overall with five billionaires each.
Nigeria comes second with four billionaires, including Dangote.
Dangote founded and chairs Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer. He owns nearly 85 per cent of publicly-traded Dangote Cement through a holding company.
Dangote Cement produces 45.6 million metric tonnes annually and has operations in 10 countries across Africa. Dangote also owns stakes in publicly-traded salt, sugar and flour manufacturing companies. Dangote Refinery has been under construction for three years and is expected to be one of the world’s largest oil refineries once completed.
The largest employer in Africa’s most populous economy, Dangote is also seen as a stabilising force within the economies of several countries across the continent.
Through the Aliko Dangote Foundation, which has the objective of reducing the number of lives lost to malnutrition and disease as well as combating Severe Acute Malnutrition (SAM) in children, thousands of children have been saved from death.
Just two of the 20 billionaires are women: Isabel dos Santos, the eldest daughter of Angola’s former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos; and Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria. Dos Santos’ fortune has declined to an estimated $2.2 billion, down $100 million from a year ago.
Nassef Sawiris of Egypt is the new number two richest in Africa, with a net worth of $8 billion, up from $6.3 billion last year.
Number three on the list is Nigeria’s Mike Adenuga, worth $7.7 billion.
Sharing the third position with Mike Adenuga with $7.7billion worth is a South African, Nicky Oppenheimer.
Johann Rupert is the fifth richest African. He is the chairman of Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont.
Nigeria’s Abdulsamad Rabiu is in number eight position among the top 20 African billionaires. Rabiu is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate active in cement production, sugar refining and real estate.
Isabel dos Santos is one of the two women in the top 20 African billionaires coming in 13th position with a net worth of $2.2 billion. Aged 46, Dos Santos is the oldest daughter of Angola’s longtime former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, who stepped down in 2017.
In the 19th position is Strive Masiyiwa with a net worth of $1.1billion.
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Following the introduction of a weaker currency in Zimbabwe, Masiyiwa’s fortune fell to $1.1 billion from $2.3 billion in January 2019.
Masiyiwa, 58, overcame protracted government opposition to launch mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in his country of birth in 1998. He owns just over 50 per cent of the publicly-traded Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which is one part of his larger Econet Group.
Closing the 20 top African billionaire bracket is Nigeria’s Folorunso Alakija with a net worth of $1billion.
Country rankings are unchanged from a year ago: Egypt and South Africa are tied with five billionaires each, followed by Nigeria with four and Morocco with two. Forbes found one billionaire each from Algeria, Angola, Tanzania and Zimbabwe. That’s the same as last year but a better representation than nine years ago, when only four African nations were home to ten-figure fortunes.