Over the years, many African billionaires have built their fortunes by investing heavily in the gold industry. Traditionally dominated by South Africa, Africa’s gold mining industry has become a hub for investments as several African entrepreneurs are making their mark in the gold market.
With their wealth and influence reaching far beyond the continent, these billionaires are also driving economic growth and development in their respective countries. As we proceed, we will look at three African billionaires who have remarkable investments in the gold industry.
Egyptian billionaire, Naguib Sawiris is an African entrepreneur with a huge investment in gold. Naguib who believes that ‘Gold is a good investment at a time when the world is concerned about inflation” in 2018 noted that he has put half of his $5.7 billion net worth into gold. Naguib used his investment vehicle La Mancha to acquire a 19 per cent stake in Endeavour Mining, the largest gold producer in West Africa.
In 2021, the chairman and CEO of Orascom Investment Holdings set up a $1.4 billion gold mining fund to hold his gold mining investments and pursue new opportunities in the sector. Newsmen reported that the fund will hold Sawiris’ stakes in Endeavour Mining, as well as Golden Star, and Altus Strategies. Also, it will look to buy “significant stakes” in junior mining companies.
Speaking about how gold can act as a buffer to risks in the market, Sawiris said, “Let’s say the inflation comes in and there is a crash in the stock market for any reason or the other, you know, then you will be very happy that … you have a position in gold.” He also said, “I want to go sleep at night not affected by a crash in the stock market or a pandemic.”
Described as a mining magnate, the South African billionaire controls African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), a company involved in the mining of gold, platinum, coal, ferrous and base metals. Over the years, Motsepe’s company has become a fully-fledged diversified mining company with operations in South Africa, Zambia, and Canada.
In 1997, Motsepe approached veteran mining executive Bobby Godsell with the intention of buying Anglo Gold’s loss-making mines believing that he would make them profitable. AngloGold sold Motsepe six gold mine shafts for $7.7 million allowing him to repay the debt out of the future earnings of the company now known as African Rainbow Minerals. Years later, he merged his gold mining company African Rainbow Minerals Gold and another prominent gold mining company called Harmony Gold.
Africa’s second richest person, Johann Rupert made a huge part of his fortune from Compagnie Financiere Richemont, a company that produces Swiss Luxury goods. The South African entrepreneur also controls the world’s largest luxury watchmaker, Cie Financiere Richemont, through a family trust. According to 2018 MiningGlobal data, South Africa was estimated to possess 6,000 metric tonnes (second-largest in the world).
Reports say Johann Rupert and his family’s net worth is the relative value of 124 million barrels of oil, 6.3 million ounces of gold, 0.0050% GDP of the United States of America, 0.496% of existing homes in the United States, $170,240 times the median U.S household income, and 182% of the top 200 U.S executives total awarded compensation.
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