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What’s it Like to Be a Billionaire in Africa?

The rise of billionaires in Africa is largely due to the economic growth on the continent. 

Most of these billionaires in Africa like Aliko Dangote, Nicky Oppenheimer, and Nassef Sawiris, among others, have amassed wealth by funding huge infrastructure initiatives, oil reserves, and profitable diamond mines.

However, their gain of excessive wealth is frequently at the expense of the lower classes. More money is in the hands of Africa’s top 3 richest people than any of its 650 million citizens.

The number of billionaires in Africa has increased dramatically since 2000. It is currently down from a peak of 23 billionaires in 2018.

At the start of the century, there were no billionaires in Africa. The 18 billionaires in Africa collectively have $84.9 billion in wealth. Let’s see what it is like to be a billionaire in Africa.

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1. Aliko Dangote, Nigeria

Since 2007, Aliko Dangote has maintained a consistent upward trajectory in increasing his billions. A $20 billion projected net worth places Dangote as the richest individual in Africa as of June 2022.

Despite never coming forward to compete for any office, the founder and current chairman of the Dangote Group has left his mark on politics in Nigeria.

He contributed more than N200 million to President Olusegun Obasanjo’s reelection campaign in 2003, playing a significant role in its funding.

Despite having billions, Dangote is consistently looking for new opportunities to increase his wealth. By 2023, his refinery is scheduled to begin producing 650,000 barrels per day.

The Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation (NNPC) plans to acquire 20% equity in Dangote’s refinery. Could Nigeria be privatising Dangote’s control over its primary revenue source?

2. Nicky Oppenheimer and family, South Africa

The DeBeers diamond riches heir Nicky Oppenheimer sold his 40% stake in the company to the mining company Anglo American in 2012 for $5.1 billion in cash.

In 2001, he turned DeBeers private, making him the third generation of his family to oversee the business.

The Oppenheimer family held a dominant position in the diamond trade for 85 years, until 2012.

Oppenheimer founded Fireblade Aviation in 2014, a company that flies charters out of Johannesburg.

He owns at least 720 square miles of protected territory in Zimbabwe, Botswana, and South Africa.

3. Johann Rupert and family, South Africa

The billionaire businessman Johann Rupert, a famous South African entrepreneur and philanthropist, founded Compagnie Financière Richemont, also known as Richemont, in 1988.

Several well-known luxury brands are managed by the luxury goods company, including Cartier, Dunhill, Piaget, Montblanc, and Van Cleef & Arpels, among others.

According to Deloitte’s 2019 study on Global Powers of Luxury Goods, Rupert’s company is the third-largest luxury goods company in the world, after industry titans LVMH and Estée Lauder.

4. Nassef Sawiris

Nassef Sawiris is an investor and a member of the richest family in Egypt. His almost 6% share in sportswear manufacturer Adidas is his most significant asset.

In December 2020, he bought a 5% ownership in the New York-listed company Madison Square Garden Sports, which owns the NBA’s Knicks and the NHL’s Rangers.

He is the owner of OCI, one of the biggest nitrogen fertiliser manufacturers in the world, which has facilities in Texas and Iowa and is traded on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange.

Engineering and construction company Orascom Construction trades on the Cairo Exchange and Nasdaq Dubai.

He holds shares in both Adidas and the world’s largest cement company, Lafarge Holcim; he also serves on Adidas’ supervisory board.

Together with Wes Edens of Fortress Investment Group, Nassef Sawiris bought the Premier League franchisor Aston Villa.

5. Abdulsamad Rabiu 

Abdulsamad Rabiu inherited land from his father, a renowned businessman, Isyaku Rabiu and founded BUA Group where he serves as CEO of the import company.

The business is involved in everything, including the production of cement, real estate, logistics, and port operations.

According to Forbes, Rabiu has an Aston Martin, a Bentley, a Gulfstream G550 with eight seats that costs $44.9 million and is powered by a Rolls-Royce BR710 turbofan engine, and a Legacy 600 that costs $18 million.

In addition, he owns homes from Eaton Square to Avenue Road, also known as Millionaires’ Row, which is situated in Manhattan, New York City, and is worth nearly $16 million.

He also owns additional properties in Britain worth $62 million, a penthouse at The One & Only Hotel in Cape Town, worth $12.6 million, and other homes in South Africa, worth another $19 million.

This Day reported in April 2018 that the billionaire had just finished building his mansion in Banana Island, one of the priciest neighbourhoods in Lagos State, Nigeria.

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