Eighteen names are on this year’s list of African billionaires published by Forbes, down from 20 in 2020. Aliko Dangote is the richest person in Africa for the tenth year in a row. No women feature on the list this year.
How did the Covid-19 pandemic affect Africa’s billionaires, or did it at all?
Every year in January, Forbes publishes the list of African billionaires, and this year too, the list, published on Friday, January 23, features gainers and losers, and no newcomers.
According to Forbes, the continent has 18 billionaires this year, down from 20 in 2020. Together, they are worth $73.8 billion, slightly more than the $73.4 billion aggregate worth of the 20 billionaires last year.
Aliko Dangote of Nigeria is the richest person in Africa for the tenth year in a row, worth $12.1 billion. He is richer by $2 billion from last year’s list “thanks to a roughly 30% rise in the share price of Dangote Cement, by far his most valuable asset”. The self-made 63-year-old Lagos-based tycoon founded and chairs Dangote Cement, the African continent’s largest cement producer.
The biggest gainer this year is another Nigerian cement tycoon, Abdulsamad Rabiu, 60, who is now worth $5.5 billion, up from $3.1 billion last year. In 2019, his net worth was recorded at $1.6 billion.
The only two women billionaires from Africa recorded in previous years’ lists, have both fallen off. They are Folorunsho Alakija and Isabel dos Santos.
Kerry A Dolan of Forbes writes: “Forbes calculates that the fortune of Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria, who owns an oil exploration company, dropped below $1 billion due to lower oil prices. And Isabel dos Santos, who since 2013 has been the richest woman in Africa, was knocked from her perch by a series of court decisions freezing her assets in both Angola and Portugal. In January 2020, the attorney general of Angola charged Dos Santos with embezzlement and money laundering. The Angolan court claimed that actions taken by Dos Santos, her husband Sindika Dokolo (who died in October 2020, reportedly in a scuba diving accident) and one other associate caused the Angolan government losses of at least $1.14 billion. Forbes now values Dos Santos’ frozen assets at zero. Through a spokesperson, Dos Santos declined to comment.”
Of Africa’s 54 nations, only seven countries have billionaires.
South Africa and Egypt each have five billionaires, followed by Nigeria with three and Morocco with two. South African mining magnate Patrice Motsepe is ranked at No. 9 on the list, with a net worth of $3 billion. Africa’s youngest billionaire, Mohammed Dewji of Tanzania and CEO of MeTL, is at $1.6 billion. Zimbabwe’s self-made billionaire Strive Masiyiwa, who was recently in the news for being appointed to the board of Netflix, has had his telecom fortune grow from $1.1 billion last year to $1.2 billion in 2021.