Obinna Chima with agency report
Buoyed by rising stocks and commodity prices, Africa’s richest man and President of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has seen his net worth rise to $12.2 billion, the list of Africa’s billionaires compiled by Forbes magazine which was released Thursday has shown.
The latest list indicated that Dangote’s net worth increased by $100 million, compared to $12.1 billion a year ago.
Based on his net worth, the cement and commodities tycoon has maintained the position of Africa’s richest man for the seventh year in a row.
According to Forbes, Dangote is looking beyond cement – his most valuable asset – and has been investing in a fertiliser production company and a large oil refinery.
The Dangote Fertiliser plant is expected to start operations in the second quarter of this year.
Also, Forbes, in the ranking, stated that Africa’s billionaires were collectively wealthier than a year ago as a result of the rebound in commodity prices and rising stock prices on the continent.
The 23 billionaires on the continent – up from 21 billionaires last year — were worth a combined $75.4 billion, compared to $70 billion in January 2017.
Number two on the list was diamond mining heir Nicky Oppenheimer of South Africa, with a net worth of $7.7 billion, up $700 million from last year. Oppenheimer is one of eight South Africans on the list, making it the African country with the most billionaires.
Last year, South Africa and Egypt tied with six billionaires a piece.
Boosting the South African ranks this year was newcomer — Michiel Le Roux — who is the founder and former chairman of Johannesburg-listed Capitec Bank Holdings, whose stock has climbed more than 50 per cent in the past year, making Le Roux a new billionaire worth $1.2 billion.
South African mining tycoon, Desmond Sacco, who is the chairman of listed Assore Group, returned to the list following a stock price surge of some 60 per cent in the past 12 months. Sacco last appeared as a billionaire on the Africa’s Richest List in 2012 with a $1.4 billion fortune.
He also appeared on the 2014 Forbes list of the World’s Billionaires, worth $1.3 billion.
“One South African list member wouldn’t have made the cut a month ago. In December 2017, the share price of retailer Steinhoff International plunged after the company divulged accounting irregularities. That pushed the net worth of Steinhoff’s then-chairman Christoffel Wiese below $1 billion on December 7. (Wiese resigned as chairman in December.)
“In early January, the company said it would restate its financial results as far back as 2015 and the share price rebounded enough to put Wiese back in billionaire territory, at least for the moment,” said the magazine.
Forbes calculated his net worth on January 5 (the day all the billionaires’ fortunes were measure) at $1.1 billion, down substantially from $5.5 billion a year ago. (As of January 10, Steinhoff stock dropped again, knocking Wiese’s net worth below $1 billion.), it explained.
Zimbabwe got its first billionaire this year – telecoms magnate – Strive Masiyiwa, who chairs the Econet Group. According to the Forbes report, shares of the Zimbabwe-listed mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe have surged in value over the past year – Masiyiwa owns more than half of that company.
He also has a majority stake in fiber optic firm Liquid Telecom, which raised $700 million in a bond offering in July 2017. Forbes estimates Masiyiwa’s net worth at $1.7 billion.
However, the report stated that just two of the members of the list were women, unchanged from last year.
“Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s longtime former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is worth an estimated $2.7 billion this year, down from $3.2 billion a year ago. Her net worth dropped in part due to a lower value for Banco BCI, an Angolan bank; its book value plunged in 2016 amid a tough year for the oil producing country.
“The other woman is Nigeria’s Folorunsho Alakija, whose estimated $1.6 billion fortune lies in oil exploration firm Famfa Oil, which is partnered with Chevron and Petrobras in a lucrative offshore oil field,” it said.
Also, Mohammed Dewji of Tanzania was the youngest on the list, at age 42. He was said to have inherited a textile and edible oils group from his father and has expanded its operations. Forbes put his net worth at $1.5 billion.
The oldest list member was Onsi Sawiris of Egypt, age 88. He started Orascom Construction in 1950. It was nationalised by the government of Abdel Nasser and Sawiris created another construction firm from scratch.
Two of his three sons are also billionaires, including Nassef Sawiris, who at $6.8 billion is Egypt’s richest man.
That’s an increase from $5.3 billion a year ago thanks to upticks in the share price of several of his holdings: shoemaker Adidas, cement giant LaFargeHolcim, and fertilizer maker OCI.
“One person dropped off since last year’s list: Anas Sefrioui of Morocco. The share price of his homebuilder, Douja Promotion Groupe Addoha, fell about 30 per cent in the past year, pushing his net worth down to $950 million.
“Fortunes rose since last year for 13 of the 23 list members, fell for four people and stayed the same for three people. The list members hail from a total of eight countries: Eight from South Africa, six from Egypt, three from Nigeria, two from Morocco and one list member each from Algeria, Angola, Tanzania and Zimbabwe,” it added.
The other Nigerian on the list was oil and telecoms magnate, Chief Michael Adenuga, with an estimated net worth of $5.3 billion. He was number five on the Forbes Africa’s Billionaires List for 2018.