Just like Forbes recorded a decrease in the number of world billionaires, there has also been a reduction in African billionaires in the previous years. Against the 28 billionaires the continent had in 2015, the number of African billionaires dropped to 24 in 2016. However, 2017 saw the addition of yet another billionaire, raising the number to 25 but in 2020, Forbes released 20 richest billionaires in the continent.

Nevertheless, Aliko Dangote is still Africa’s richest man. Although the past two years have seen him decline from a net worth of $16.6 billion in 2015 to $14.4 billion in 2016, and now $10.1 billion, Dangote remains the richest black person in the world. Mike Adenuga also joins the top earners despite falling from number two in the previous years to number three.

Angolan Isabella Dos Santos was the last woman standing in the last top 10 counts with a $3.1 billion net worth. However, in 2020, she still remained among the only two women among the richest African billionaires but now at number 13 with a net worth of $2.2 billion. The only other woman on the list is Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria.

Full List Of The Richest African Billionaires

1. Aliko Dangote – $10.1 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 10th April 1957
  • Country: Nigeria
  • Residence: Lagos
  • Education: Al-Azhar University, Bachelor of Arts/Science
  • Source of Wealth: Cement, Sugar

African Billionaires

A renowned Nigerian billionaire, Aliko Dangote Dangote has been Africa’s richest man for several years, all thanks to his cement company, Dangote Cement which is known to be the biggest in the continent. The company produces 45.6 million metric tons yearly and works in about 10 countries in Africa.

He is also known to be a big producer of salt, flour, and sugar through his other manufacturing companies. In 2016, he started the construction of the Dangote refinery which is expected to be the biggest oil refineries when the project is completed.

Did You Know?

1. For many years, the billionaire has won a number of awards for his influence. He has been named for six consecutive years, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016,2017, and 2018 on Forbes list as the ‘Most Powerful Man in Africa’.

2. Apart from his business endeavors, Dangote is also a renowned philanthropist and is the founder of the Aliko Dangote Foundation. In 2014, he contributed a whooping $1.25 billion to the foundation to increase its work in education, health, and economic empowerment.

2. Nassef Sawiris – $8 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 1961
  • Country: Egypt
  • Residence: Cairo
  • Education: University of Chicago
  • Source of Wealth: Chemicals, Construction

Nassef Sawiris is from the richest family in Egypt but his wealth, however, came from his construction company which is one of the largest nitrogen fertilizer producers in the world. The company has plants in Texas and Iowa. It also trades on the Euronext Amsterdam exchange, Cairo exchange, and Nasdaq Dubai.

Did You Know?

1. Nassef Sawiris has stakes in cement giant Lafarge Holcim and Adidas and holds a supervisory role in the board of Adidas.

2. He has held different high positions in various organizations, including being the chairman of Aston Villa F.C.

3. Mike Adenuga – $7.7 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 29th April 1953
  • Country: Nigeria
  • Residence: Lagos
  • Education: Ibadan Grammar School, Northwestern Oklahoma State University, Pace University
  • Source of Wealth: telecom, oil

Forbes Black Billionaires

Mike Adenuga, a Nigerian businessman, is the third richest billionaire in Africa. He dropped to the third position from the second spot after becoming the top gainer in 2016. Despite the fall in his net worth, Adenuga remains Nigeria’s second-largest telecom operator. His telecom company has branches in Ghana and Benin.

Beyond telecom, the Nigerian billionaire also made his wealth from, oil, and real estate. He has stakes in oil firm Conoil, which was a consolidated oil company and the Equitorial Trust Bank.

Did You Know?

1. Mike comes from a poor home. His father was a school teacher while his mom was into business.

2. In 1979, at age 26, he made his first million from distributing soft drinks and selling lace. His breakthrough came in 1990 when he gained a drilling license.

4. Nicky Oppenheimer – $7.6 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 8th June 1945
  • Country: South Africa
  • Residence: Johannesburg
  • Education: Harrow School Christ Church, Oxford
  • Source of Wealth: Diamonds

Oppenheimer is the heir to his family’s fortune and the third generation of his family to run DeBeers, a diamond firm founded by his grandfather, Ernest Oppenheimer in 1929. Nicky Oppenheimer took over the business after his father Harry Oppenheimer and made it private in 2001.

In 2012, he sold his 40 percent stake in the business to a mining group for a cash of $5. 1 billion. Prior to the sales in 2012, the family maintained a controlling spot in the global diamond business for over 8 decades. In 2014, Nicky Oppenheimer launched a Fireblade Aviation in Johannesburg, which operates chartered flights. The billionaire also owns at least 720 square miles of conservation land across South Africa, Botswana, and Zimbabwe.

Did You Know?

1. Nicky’s aviation business operates with about 3 planes and 2 helicopters.

2. In collaboration with his son, the South African businessman founded the Brenthurst Foundation, which focuses on economic development and sustainability in Africa.

5. Johann Rupert – $5.5 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 1st June 1950
  • Country: South Africa
  • Residence: Cape Town
  • Education: Paul Roos Gymnasium, Stellenbosch University
  • Source of Wealth: Luxury Goods
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Johann Rupert, a South African business tycoon, is the chairman of Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont. The company is widely known for brands Cartier and Montblanc. The business was established in 1998 as part of the assets of the company Rembrandt Group Limited which his father established in the 1940s.

His journey in the business world began in the 1970s when he served as a business apprenticeship in New York for five years before returning to South Africa to settle down.

Did You Know?

1. Rupert’s biggest mistake was missing the opportunity of buying half of Gucci when it was given to him for $175 million.

2. In New York, Rupert worked for Chase Manhattan for two years and for Lazard Freres for three years. He then returned to South Africa in 1979 and founded Rand Merchant Bank of which he was CEO.

6. Issad Rebrab – $6.5 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 27th May 1944
  • Country: Algeria
  • Residence: Algeria
  • Education: N/A
  • Source of Wealth: Luxury Goods
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African Billionaires

Issad Rebrab is a self-made man even as his parents were militants who fought for the freedom of the country. He owns the biggest privately-held company, Cevital. The company has one of the biggest sugar refineries in the world with the capacity to produce 2 million tons a year.

It also runs some European companies that deal in an Italian steel mill, a German water purification company, and a manufacturer of Groupe Brandt.

Did You Know?

1. Issad was once a school teacher and taught as an accounting and commercial law educator before opening his own accounting firm.

2. He served 8 months in jail after he was charged with corruption, although he denied doing anything wrong.

7. Mohamed Mansour – $3.3 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 1948
  • Country: Egyptian
  • Residence: Cairo
  • Education: North Carolina State University Auburn University
  • Source of Wealth: Diversified

Born into a prominent family, Mansour is the head of the Mansour Group which was started by his father. The same business also placed two of his brothers among the richest billionaires in Africa. Running one of the second biggest companies in Egypt, Mansour takes 6th spot on this list with a net worth of $3.3 billion.

Did You Know?

1. Mansour had to forfeit his position and responsibilities in 2006 to serve as Egypt’s minister of transport.

2. He resigned as a minister after a fatal train crash.

8. Abdulsamad Rabiu – $3.3 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 4th August 1960
  • Country: Nigeria
  • Residence: Lagos
  • Education: North Carolina State University Auburn University
  • Source of Wealth: cement, sugar
Africa's top 10 billionaires
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Born and raised in the Nothern part of Nigeria, Abdul is a Nigerian billionaire widely known as the founder of BUA Group, a cement company. Similar to the company of fellow Nigerian billionaire, Aliko Dangote, his company also deals in sugar refining. The firm equally invests in real estate.

Did You Know

1. Abdul inherited land from his father.

2. The billionaire owns a foundation through which he gives back to society. One example is the building of the pediatric ward in Kano Teaching Hospital. He also sponsored the constriction of the Center for Islamic Studies at Bayero University Kano.

9. Naguib Sawiris – $3 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 15 June 1954
  • Country: Egypt
  • Residence: Cairo
  • Education: Musik an der ETH und UZH, Deutsche Evangelische Oberschule Kairo
  • Source of Wealth: cement, sugar

Also from the richest family in Egypt, Sawiris made his wealth from telecommunication. His net worth hiked after he sold Orascom Telecom to a Russian telecom firm. His brother, Onsi and Nassef, are also billionaires.

Did You Know?

1. Sawiris is a majority owner in Euronews

2. He also helped in launching The Free Egyptians in 2011 which is a liberal party at the beginning of Egyptian Uprisings.

10. Patrice Motsepe – $2.6 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 28 January 1962
  • Country: South Africa
  • Residence: Johannesburg
  • Education: University of Swaziland University of the Witwatersrand
  • Source of Wealth: Mining

Forbes Black Billionaires

Like many other earlier rich men in South Africa, one of the things that have brought wealth to Motsepe is his mining business. What makes his story even more interesting is the fact that he is the first black African on Forbes’ list when he became a billionaire in 2008.

Beyond mining, Patrice also has many other investments, including a stake in Sanlam, a listed financial services firm. He also launched a new private equity firm, African Rainbow Capital, with a basic interest in investing in Africa.

Did You Know?

1. The South  African businessman is also the president and owner of the Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club.

11. Koos Bekker – $2.5 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 14th December 1952
  • Country: South Africa
  • Residence: Cape Town
  • Education: University of the Witwatersrand, South Africa, Columbia University, United States
  • Source of Wealth: Media
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Bekker is another South African self-made billionaire who was able to make much wealth from the media after revolutionizing the country’s media. He also has many other investments that have added to make him one of the richest billionaires on the continent and in the world.

Did You Know?

1. Bekker owns a Babylonstoren estate, nearly 600 acres in South Africa’s Western Cape region that boasts historical architecture dating back to 1690. The estate comprises of a farm, orchard, vineyard, and more.

2. He and his friend found the first two pay-TV services outside the US (Mnet and Multichoice).

12. Yasseen Mansour – $2.3 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 1961/1962
  • Country: Egypt
  • Residence: Cairo
  • Education: George Washington University
  • Source of Wealth: Diversified
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Yasseen got a large chunk of his wealth through his father Loutfy who passed in 1976. The same goes for two of his brothers on the list. He is into real estate development among other investments and runs one of the biggest real estate developers firm known as Palm Hills Developments alongside his brothers.

Did You Know?

1. His family’s business enjoys the exclusive right of distributing GM vehicles and Caterpillar equipment in Egypt and other countries.

2. Additionally, the company is also the sole franchisee of McDonald’s in Egypt, as well as the distributor of Gauloises cigarettes.

13. Isabel dos Santos – $2.2 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 1st April 1973
  • Country: Angola
  • Residence: Luanda
  • Education: King’s College London
  • Source of Wealth: Financial investments

A self-proclaimed serious investor, this woman is the oldest daughter of Angola’s Jose Eduardo dos Santos who ruled the country until 2017. She made her wealth with the help of her father who was said to have transferred stakes to her from some of the country’s companies.

She served as the head of Sonangol, Angola’s state oil company in 2016. However, she was removed in 2017 when the country elected a new president.

Did You Know?

1. Angolan authorities charged her for mismanaging public funds and money laundering in 2020. According to reports, she gained access to lucrative deals involving land, oil, diamonds, and telecoms during her father’s tenure as Angolan president.

2. She is popular called “Princess” in Angola.

14. Youssef Mansour, Egyptian – $1.9 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 1944/1945
  • Country: Egypt
  • Residence: Cairo
  • Education: Auburn University, North Carolina State University
  • Source of Wealth: Diversified

With other brothers who are also on the list, Youssef heads the Mansour Group, which his father Loutfy started. He is the chairman of Palm Hills. Mansour Group is the exclusive distributor of GM vehicles and Caterpillar equipment in Egypt and several other countries.

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His brothers Mohamed and Youssef are also billionaires and part owners of Mansour Group. He also plays a prominent role in Palm Hills Developments, one of Egypt’s biggest real estate developers.

Did You Know?

1. As a result of his father’s influence, he was able to get Former Egypt President Gamal Abdel Nasser to nationalize his original cotton trading business.

2. Mansour is also among the people that ushered in the American Egyptian Chamber of Commerce.

15. Aziz Akhannouch – $1.7 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 1961
  • Country: Morroco
  • Residence: Casablanca
  • Education: Université de Sherbrooke
  • Source of Wealth: Petroleum, Diversified
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With a significant stake in a company that is owned by Akwa Group, which was founded by his father, Aziz Akhannouch is also another billionaire to reckon with in the continent.

Apart from being a prominent person in Akwa Group, the billionaire also has other significant investments that add up to make him one of the richest billionaires on the African continent and in the world.

Did You Know?

1. Aziz has political aspirations and has served as a regional council for Souss-Massa-Drâa, a region in Morocco.

2. His wife Salwa Idrissi is also a successful businesswoman. She is the CEO of a company active in malls and holds Moroccan franchises for brands such as Zara, Lafayette, Gap, Gucci, Ralph Lauren, etc.

16. Mohammed Dewji – $1.6 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 8th May 1975
  • Country: Tanzania
  • Residence: Dar es Salaam
  • Education: Saddle Brook High School, Georgetown University, International School Of Tanganyika, Trinity Preparatory School
  • Source of Wealth: Diversified

Dewji is one of the youngest billionaires in Africa. He earned his wealth through a Tanzanian conglomerate METL which his father began as far back as the 1970s. The company deals in textile manufacturing, beverages, edible oils, and flour mining in different parts of the continent, including eastern, southern, and central Africa. The firm has branches in at least six countries and is looking forward to spreading throughout the continent and beyond.

Did You Know?

1. Dewji is Tanzania’s only known billionaire to be on the Forbes list. He was also a member of parliament in the country.

2. In 2016, the billionaire signed the Giving Pledge, promising to donate at least half his fortune to philanthropic causes.

17. Othman Benjelloun – $1.4 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 1931
  • Country: Morrocco
  • Residence: Casablanca
  • Education: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland
  • Source of Wealth: Banking, insurance

Benjelloun made his wealth from the banking and finance industry. He is the CEO of BMCE Bank of Africa which has branches in about 20 African countries. He also has investments in telecom and a stake in his country’s arm of French telecom firm Orange.

Did You Know?

1. He launched a $500 million plan to construct a 55-story Mohammed VI tower in Rabat. When completed, the building is expected to join the list of tallest buildings on the continent.

2. He is one of the owners of Ranch Adarouch, which is among the biggest cattle breeders in Africa.

18. Michiel Le Roux – $1.3 Billion

  • Date of Birth: May 20, 1949
  • Country: South Africa
  • Residence: Stellenbosch
  • Education: École Polytechnique Fédérale de Lausanne in Switzerland
  • Source of Wealth: Banking

A renowned South African business tycoon, Michiel is a Chairman of Capitec Bank Holdings Limited. He is known to be the brain behind the firm which first launched in 2001 and served as the CEO of the bank until 2004.

He also served as chairman of the board of Capitec from 2007 to 2016. He currently still sits as a board member of the firm. He owns around 11 percent stake.

Did You Know?

1. Michiel serves as Director of Zeder Investments. He was formerly a Managing Director of Distillers Corporation from 1979 to 1993, and from 1995 to 1998.

2. He had also worked as the Managing Director of Boland PKS, NBS Boland, and BoE Bank, hence his wealth of experience and continual success in the banking field.

19. Strive Masiyiwa – $1.1 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 1961
  • Country: Zimbabwe
  • Residence: London, United Kingdom
  • Education: University of Wales
  • Source of Wealth: Telecom

The first Zimbabwean on the list, Strive Masiyiwa is a self-made billionaire who made his wealth through mobile phone network Econet Wireless in Zimbabwe. He superseded the government’s opposition to launch a mobile phone network.

He owns about fifty percent of the network which is part of Econet Group. In addition to this, the Zimbabwean has control of more than half of the private company Liquid Telecom that provides fiber optic and satellite services to different telecom firms in Africa.

Did You Know?

1. He owns a charitable foundation named Higherlife Foundation with his wife Tsitsi. The main goal of the organization is to cater to children who are orphaned, as well as underprivileged in Zimbabwe.

2. Before he became a success, Strive worked in the Zimbabwean phone company (ZPTC). He later left to start an engineering service firm. At some point, he abandoned the firm, sold it and established Econet Wireless Zimbabwe.

20. Folorunsho Alakija – $1 Billion

  • Date of Birth: 15th July 1951
  • Country: Nigeria
  • Residence: Lagos
  • Education: Our Ladies of Apostles, Lagos, Dinorben School for Girls in Hafodunos Hall in Llangernyw, Wales, Muslim High School, Pitman’s Central College, London
  • Source of Wealth: Oil

Women Entrepreneurs

Alakija made her net worth through the oil business as she is the vice-chair of Famfa Oil. But she started with a fashion label with the wife of the former Nigerian president, Ibrahim Babangida as one of her customers.

In 1993, she obtained an oil prospecting license which later became an oil mining lease. Her company has been in operation since 2008 and will likely operate through 2024. The company partners with top oil firms like Petrobras and Chevron.

Did You Know?

1. Alakija is one of the only 2 African women who are billionaires.

2.  Her Rose of Sharon Foundation focuses on helping vulnerable people in society.

Summary

Here’s a quick recap of the 20 richest billionaires in Africa:

  • Aliko Dangote
  • Nassef Sawiris
  • Mike Adenuga
  • Nicky Oppenheimer
  • Johann Rupert
  • Issad Rebrab
  • Mohamed Mansour
  • Abdulsamad Rabiu
  • Naguib Sawiris
  • Patrice Motsepe
  • Koos Bekker
  • Yasseen Mansour
  • Isabel dos Santos
  • Youssef Mansour
  • Aziz Akhannouch
  • Mohammed Dewji
  • Othman Benjelloun
  • Michiel Le Roux
  • Strive Masiyiwa
  • Folorunsho Alakija
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