Africa is a continent that stands at such a crossroads when it comes to its wealth. On one hand, the continent is so lush with natural resources that industries that utilize them are extremely profitable, while on the other hand exploitive labour sometimes tarnishes these resources. Furthermore, while the continent fights to make headway in the technology sectors in an attempt to catch up with the west, it also sees itself mired in civil war after civil war, effectively tearing countries apart in the process. So, as always it seems, Africa is a continent of disparate parts, sometimes moving in unison, other times creating a dichotomy that may not be so easy to overcome. That is not to say that the financial outlook in Africa is altogether bleak however, as there are at least ten men who top the billion dollar net worth list on the continent. For the first time, Africa has a female billionaire, Isabel Dos Santos, daughter to Angolan President Jose Eduardo Dos Santos, proving that at least in some small way Africa has made some headway on woman’s freedoms as well. While she doesn’t have a place on this list, as those spots are reserved for men, it does show that Africa is catching up, however gradually to the west, at least financially, which is the way all parties involved would undoubtedly most prefer it.
10. Mohamed Mansour — Net Worth: $2.2 Billion
Egyptian businessman Mohamed Mansour has his hands in many ventures via his company the Mansour Group. The company has stakes in the automotive industry, manufacturing and retail, among others. Furthermore the group has a stake in McDonalds and Philip Morris in Egypt, and also owns the massive supermarket chain Metro, making Mohamed Mansour the 10th richest man in Africa, and the 3rd richest man in Egypt.
9. Naguib Sawiris — Net Worth: $2.5 Billion
Another extremely savvy, extremely wealthy Egyptian businessman, Naguib Sawiris established the Orascom Group, Egypt’s largest privately traded company on the stock exchange, and began building a telecommunications empire that has stretched from media to mining and weather, and now, since 2011, politics as well.
8. Patrice Motsepe — Net Worth: $2.9 Billion
Patrice Motsepe highlights what is still a problem on the African continent; systemic racism. Motsepe is the only black billionaire in South Africa, a nation made up predominantly of black people but sees the majority of its wealth lay in the hands of whites. Through his company, African Rainbow Minerals, Motsepe has become a self-made mining magnate, with interests in many different minerals helping to build his wealth, which has expanded into financial service companies and an ownership in a football club. Not bad for South Africa’s first and only black billionaire.
7. Othman Benjelloun — Net Worth: $3.1 Billion
First relying on and then surpassing his father’s business acumen, Moroccan Othman Benjelloun took over his father’s insurance business and built himself a banking and investment empire. Benjelloun now owns a major stake in the Bank of Africa, while his holding firm has interests tied up in aviation, telecommunications and technology, making him one of the more powerful businessmen in Africa.
6. Christoffel Wiese — Net Worth: $3.5 Billion
The first of three white South Africans that round out this list, Christoffel Wiese has made his fortune all over the place. He owns extremely lucrative retail outlets that net him a massive profit every year, among them the supermarket chain Shoprite, and the discount store Pepkor. Christoffel Wiese has also seen his investments in other companies pay off as well, with his investments in 7 companies seeing a $500 million return last year. Finally, Wiese’s biggest claim to fame may be turning the former national farm estate into a five star hotel and winery. Quite the achievement.
5. Mike Adenuga — Net Worth: $4.7 Billion
As the second richest man in Nigeria, Mike Adenuga has carved a massive fortune for himself out of the oil and mobile telecommunications industries. A self made man, Adenuga made his first seven figures by distributing Coca-Cola in Nigeria while in his twenties. He now owns Glo, Nigeria’s second largest mobile network with roughly 25 million users, and Conoil Producing. Not without his scandals, Adenuga has fled Nigeria in exile in the past, lost companies and has also been tied to former military President Ibrahim Babangida as an investor, but that hasn’t stopped him from becoming one of the richest black men in not only Africa, but the world.
4. Nassef Sawiris — Net Worth: $6.5 Billion
Another Egyptian on this list, Nassef Sawiris has made the bulk of his fortune running Egypt’s largest public company, Orascom Construction, as well as by having significant interests in Lafarge cement. Furthermore, Sawiris has added to his wealth by sitting on various financial boards from NASDAQ Dubai, to others in European countries like Belgium and Luxembourg.
3. Nicky Oppenheimer — Net Worth: $6.5 Billion
A controversial African if ever, Nicky Oppenheimer is another white South African who made his fortune in a predominantly black country. Furthermore, the majority of said fortune was procured when he sold his share of the DeBeers Diamonds, a company not without controversy itself. Oppenheimer also makes money through his ownership of Tswalu Kalahari Reserve, South Africa’s largest private game reserve.
2. Johann Rupert — Net Worth: $7.9 Billion
Johann Rupert has seen his place on this list climb exponentially in the past year, as his fortune has grown by nearly thirty percent in the past year. Yet another South African on this list, Rupert caters to the wealthy as his fortune is largely comprised of money made through Compagnie Financière Richemont, a luxury item producer that sells expensive watches, jewellery and fine leather goods, among other things. He also owns two vineyards in South Africa, and is the Chancellor of the University of Stellenbosch, his Alma matter named after the town in which he was born.
1. Aliko Dangote — Net Worth: $25 Billion
The richest man in Africa is also the richest black man in the world. Aliko Dangote is also the 23rd richest man in the world, period. Born into wealth in Nigeria, Dangote remembers being interested at a young age when he would “go and buy cartons of sweets and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time.” Clearly, that business acumen followed Dangote into adulthood when he began trading in cement, sugar, flour and other commodities, eventually founding the Dangote Group, one of Africa’s largest publicly listed companies. The Dangote Group now produces its own sugar, salt and cement and owns manufacturing plants for these goods across Africa.