Here are the 5 Richest African Monarchs
Traditionally, African monarchs have little or no formal political power, but they have spiritual and ceremonial obligations to their subjects.
It may be debatable to say the richest African monarchs are just five in a continent with a ton of traditional rulers who have amassed exceeding wealth, either legitimately or otherwise.
However, this article highlights the five most celebrated African monarchs over the last few years. Although there are only three constitutional monarchies in Africa — Morocco, Swaziland, and Lesotho – there are hundreds of traditional monarchs.
Traditionally, African monarchs have little or no formal political power, but they have spiritual and ceremonial obligations to their subjects. Many of them rely on the goodwill and generosity of their people to supplement their statutory income.
But that has since changed. Because of how influential these monarchs are in their communities, politicians and business people leverage it to curry favours in exchange for money, automobiles, properties and other benefits. Over the years, African monarchs who were synonymous with spiritual powers are now more known for their wealth and political influence.
Consequently, some of these richest African monarchs now serve on corporate boards. For example, Obi Nnaemeka Achebe, the Obi of Onitsha, a mid-sized commercial town in Nigeria’s southeastern area, is the Non-Executive Chairman of Unilever Nigeria, a publicly-listed consumer goods producer, and was previously Chairman of Diamond Bank, a leading Nigerian commercial bank.
The Alake of Egbaland, a Yoruba-speaking clan in Nigeria, Oba Adedotun Gbadebo is the Chairman of Oando, a big Nigerian energy corporation.
It is also fair to state that some of the richest African monarchs built their fortune from the ground up. They’ve built successful businesses and invested wisely, while others received inheritances from their forefathers.
Here are 5 of the richest African monarchs.
King Mohammed VI
Morocco’s Majesty King Mohammed VI is Africa’s richest monarch with an estimated net worth of $ 2 billion. His source of wealth is investments. His fortune stems from his ownership of Société Nationale d’Investissement (SNI), a big Moroccan investment holding company with over $10 billion in assets.
In addition, the King owns a significant portion of the world’s phosphate reserves. King Mohammed VI, the Alaouite dynasty’s 27th king, rose to the throne in July 1999 and immediately began a series of socio-political and economic reforms that made the Kingdom more free and rich than during his father’s reign, King Hassan II.
The King approved new family legislation in 2014 that gave women legal equality with men in crucial areas. His economic policy has resulted in the construction of new industrial zones, which has increased the number of major industrial corporations in Morocco. He has passed many constitutional reforms, including modifications to the country’s constitution that have deprived him of some of his political powers.
Oba Obateru Akinrutan
Oba Obateru Akinrutan is the Olugbo (traditional King) of Ugbo land, a small oil-rich village in Nigeria’s southwestern area, Ondo state. His net worth is estimated at $300 million, with oil being his primary source of wealth.
Oba Akinrutan, who came to power in 2009, is Obat Oil’s founder, one of Nigeria’s largest privately-held oil trading enterprises. He started the business in 1981 with a single petrol station to serve his family and the surrounding community.
Obat Oil today operates over 50 gas stations across Nigeria and one of Africa’s largest tank farms, a sophisticated storage facility with a 65 million litre capacity for petroleum products. In addition to the historic Febson Hotels and Mall in Abuja’s Central Business District, he has an extensive portfolio of outstanding commercial and residential real estate in London and Nigeria.
Swaziland’s King Mswati III
Africa’s last absolute King is better known for his colourful parties and connections with women. He had at least 15 marriages at the final count.
The King is one of the wealthiest royals in Africa. Based on the annual $50 million payment he receives from the government, his personal net worth is at least $50 million, with the source being investments.
He also owns Tibiyo TakaNgwane, an investment holding company that owns Ubombo Sugar and Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation (RSSC) and dairy company Parmalat Swaziland spirits producer Swaziland Beverages, and hotel chain Swazi Spa Holdings. The corporation is valued at more than $140 million, but he holds it in trust for the Swazi people.
Ashanti, Ghana’s Otumfuo Osei Tutu II
Osei Tutu II is the King of Ghana’s gold-rich Ashanti Kingdom, home to the country’s largest ethnic group, the Asantes. He ascended the throne in 1999 and is the Asante people’s political and spiritual leader.
Following his studies in the United Kingdom, Osei Tutu II worked for a short time in both private and public organisations in the United Kingdom and Canada before returning to Ghana in 1989 to found Transpomech Ghana. This $12 million sales company supplies mining equipment to several large industrial companies in Ghana. The King also has vast real estate holdings in Ghana and South Africa and a valuable gold crown jewels collection. His net worth is estimated to be $10 million.
Ile-Ife, Nigeria’s Oba Okunade Sijuwade
Late Oba Okunade Sijuwade, Olubuse II, was the traditional King (Ooni) of Ile-Ife’, a historic city in Osun State, Nigeria’s southwest. Ile-Ife is widely regarded as the Yoruba civilization’s traditional home.
Oba Sijuwade ascended the throne in 1980 and died in 2015. He was a successful businessman. Before his death, his net worth was estimated to be $75 million, with his source of wealth from construction, property, and oil.
He began his career in business by working in his father’s trading company before moving to the United Kingdom to pursue a degree in business. When he returned to Nigeria, he worked for the Leventis Group as a manager and National Motor as a sales professional.
In 1964, he founded WAATECO, an automotive distribution company that imported vehicles and parts from the Soviet Union for sale in Nigeria. He went on to construct the Motel Royal hotel and many other residential and commercial facilities.
He established the Sijuwade Group in 1975, a Nigerian conglomerate with interests in oil and gas, construction, property development, and hospitality. His family still runs the business. The company has stakes in two onshore oil blocks in partnership with London-listed energy giant Centrica PLC and a construction company that specialises in large-scale road construction projects in Nigeria.
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