The wild African landscape lingers as one of the last untamed places on Earth. Each year, thousands of visitors flock to various parts of the continent to get a rare glimpse at the wilderness that remains largely untouched by man; though if you wander off too far by yourself, it might be the wilderness that touches you! Africa attracts thrill seekers, nature lovers, families, couples looking for a romantic getaway, and people from all walks of life with its rich culture and scenery. From tours across the wild plains where visitors can get within an arm’s reach of lions and zebras, to sitting outside on a hotel balcony watching the sun dip into the horizon, lighting the swaying fields on fire with delicate light, the ideal of the African plains is unfalteringly romantic.
Although the large continent of Africa certainly rakes in a significant amount of money from tourism there’s a dark side to the beautiful continent. Despite its enviable resources including platinum, gold and diamond, this is the single poorest continent in the world. Marked by violence, corruption, war and ill health, the reality of life in Africa doesn’t match up to the rose-tinted tourist experience.
But alongside the great poverty, there’s also great inequality; and the African continent is home to some elite wealthy families who are sitting pretty as members of the world’s Billionaire club. Some of these lucky folks make enough money to have even the highest paid American A-List celebrity turn completely green with envy; especially when you consider the fact that these guys have beautiful views of the African plains to go along with their bursting bank account. The majority of Africans are just hopeful that new ties with the U.S. and China will help boost the economy of the country in 2014. But for the elite, 2013 was definitely good to some of Africa’s richest and 2014 is expected to be another profitable year for these ten richest men and women of Africa.
10. Othman Benjelloun – $2.8 billion net worth
Othman Benjelloun, the 81 year old Moroccan billionaire, inherited some of his fortune but consolidated his billions through the insurance and banking industries. As CEO of BMCE bank, Benjelloun’s reach extends over 15 countries in Africa and his holding company FinanceCom has companies in Paris, France. Othman wealth is set to grow even further, with FinanceCom planning to extend across Africa in coming years.
9. Mohammed Mansour- $3.1 billion net worth
Egyprian businessman and the country’s former Minister of Transport, Mohammed Mansour saw a significant increase in his net worth in 2013, which was listed as $1.7 billion million in 2012. Having studied in the U.S. Mansour went into the family business the Mansour Group. The business secures distribution for multi-national companies across Africa and Russia, including Marlboro and Caterpillar tractors and equipment. One of the billionaire Mansour brothers, Mohammed’s sibling Yasseen was called out on corruption charges which saw him lose out on a spot in the top 10. Mohammed avoided that controversy and made some wise investments during the year, which helped to increase his personal net worth.
8. Issad Rebrab – $3.2 billion net worth
A self-made billionare and new entry on the billionaire list in 2013, this 70 year old Algerian heads up Cevital. The food production company is the largest family-owned business in Algeria and had a turn-over of over $3 billion between 2012 and 2013. Rebrab is a trained accountant who originally made his fortune through investments in the metal industry, and later used his capital to move into food.
7. Isabel Dos Santos- $3.7 billion net worth
Isabel Dos Santos is the oldest daughter of Angloa president Jose Eduardo Dos Sanots and it is safe to say that daddy has definitely set his daughter up for life. During 2013, her net worth grew from $2.8 billion to $3.7 billion; aside from a tidy inheritance, Isabel’s wealth has been amassed primarily from assets, taking shares of profitable companies. Isabel Dos Santos is not only Africa’s richest female billionaire, but she’s also the youngest. In December, she celebrated her ten year wedding anniversary to Sindika Dokolo and pulled out all of the stops. She jetted her friends in from all over the world to celebrate for 3 days in style.
6. Christofel Hendrick Wiese- $3.8 billion net worth
72 year old South African Christoffel Hendrick Wiese – or Christo, as he’s more fondly known – is in the business of selling. As Executive Director of Shoprite Holdings, Wiese’s empire is in the business of selling groceries and furniture. His stake in Shoprite, along with his interests in discount fashion brand seller Pepkor, make him on the richest men in Africa. His various investments and retail interests have served him well; Wiese’s net worth jumped by $100 million in the last year.
5. Mike Adenuga- $4.6 billion net worth
Nicknamed “the Guru”, Mike Adenuga made his wealth in both oil production and telecommunications. Globacom, his mobile services company, has over 25 million subscribers in Nigeria and the Republic of Benin. He also owns Conoil Producing, which is an indigenous oil exploration company. In 2013, his net worth jumped by $100 million. Adenuga has been cited as one of the richest black men in the world today and was one of only two black men to feature in Africa’s ten richest people in 2013.
4. Nassef Sawiris- $5.9 billion net worth
Egyptian Nassef Sawiris comes from one of the richest families in Africa; the Sawiris family together has an estimated net worth of $36 billion. As the Chief Executive of Orascom Construction Industries, Nassef is a fixture among the highest ranks of Africa’s rich list. 2013 was a good year for Sawiris: In January, his company received commitments for investments of $2 billion ($1 billion of which came from Bill Gates). Sawiris’ reach extends outside of Africa. He heads a fertilizer plant in Brazil, has interests in the construction industry in Texas, and has recently announced plans for an Iowa-based $1.4 billion nitrogen fertilizer plant.
4. Nicky Oppenheimer- $6.6 billion net worth
Nicky Opennheimer’s diamond company, DeBeers, is a household name. Oxford-educated Opennheimer served on the board of DeBeers for almost 40 years before selling 40% of his the business to the mining giant Anglo American. The sale netted him an extraordinary $5.1 billion – in cash. This South African was a fixture on the rich lists before that though; born into money, his family had owned the diamond company for 85 years prior to the sale.
2. Johann Rupert- $7.9 billion net worth
South African Johann Rupert is the Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Compagnie Financiere Richemont – a luxury goods company. He also owns the L’Ormarins wine estate, created the Leopard Creek Golf Club and served as the Chief Executive Officer at Rand Merchant Bank. Needless to say, Johann has made quite the name (and fortune) for himself. Rupert’s net worth reportedly increased by $2 billion between 2012 and 2013, thanks to a huge increase in the value of Richemont on the stock market. Rupert is also an investor himself, with stakes in various holding companies.
1. Aliko Dangote- $22.9 billion net worth
One of the few self-made men on our list takes the top spot this year. Nigerian Aliko Dangote made his fortune through diverse industries including sugar and cement. Born into a relatively wealthy family, this entrepreneur studied Business at university in Egypt and went on to found the Dangote Group in the late 70s. The Group soon went from a small trading group to one of the largest industrial groups in Africa. In recent years, the Dangote Group has increased rapidly in value – due in large part to the increase valuation of the cement sector of the company. The group continues to expand, having recently revealed plans to construct a private oil refinery in Nigeria – set to produce about 400,000 barrels of oil a day. Backed by lots of supporters (and big bucks), we are sure that Dangote will certainly accomplish his goals and add even more lining to his checkbook in 2014.
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