Have you ever wondered which African country houses the majority of richest Africans? We know we have because it is not especially easy to become rich in Africa and to maintain that wealth. The truth is that with the way most African nations are struggling economically, ranks among the richest Africans are continually declining.
The year 2015 was especially tough for the wealthy in Africa. By the end of 2016, there were approximately only 145,000 people with net assets worth $1 million or more living in Africa. The number had gone down 2% from the previous year, according to a report by AfrAsia Bank.
Why the Richest Africans are found in certain Countries
As we always point out, however, Africa is not a country and different realities exist in different places on the continent. As such, some parts of Africa support wealth more than other parts. Enterprising Africans and even foreigners find it easier to collaborate and do business in some countries on the continent more than in others. This is one of the reasons why you would find more rich people in one country than in others.
The small island nation, Mauritius, for instance, managed to not only survive the downward swing in 2015 but actually showed an increase in millionaires. The number of millionaires in Mauritius grew by 20% in 2016, to 3,800, more than in much larger countries like Ethiopia and Ghana.
Mauritius has really become a case study for making the most of the scenic white beaches and turquoise oceans that it is known for. With a modest economic growth that saw GDP rise by almost 3.8% in 2017, up from 3.5% in 2016, the island focuses on attracting existing millionaires from elsewhere instead of creating new ones.
With that plan, the number of millionaires in Mauritius (population 1.3 million) has more than tripled in the past decade, compared with an average growth of 19% across the continent.
According to World Bank, it is considered the easiest African nation to do business in. With low tax rates that are very attractive to outsiders, the country has structured its economy to make sure that it is as attractive to investors as tourists.
For instance, people living in Mauritius are allowed to invest abroad with no exchange controls. Mauritius further threw open its borders to foreigners in 2002, allowing them to purchase properties outright. When they buy a property worth $500,000, they move a step closer to an automatic permanent residence.
Wealthy South Africans have been especially attracted to Mauritius; 280 South African millionaires have moved to the island since 2006. The success of Mauritius’diversification cannot be contested, the influx of wealthy residents has increased the average per-capita wealth of the country but there are some worries about rising inequality.
Now that we are done gushing about the impressive economic growth of Mauritius, here are some stats about where the richest Africans live.
Countries with the Highest number of Richest Africans
Countries in Africa that have the highest number of wealthy Africans (worth $1 million or more);
- South Africa – 40,400
South Africa has been at the top of the list for years now. Despite constant changes in its economy under the leadership of former President Jacob Zuma, the country’s richest have continued to hold their own. This may be due partly to the fact that the country remains an attractive investment destination (more so now that the highly distrusted President Zuma is gone) and also that rich South Africans conduct a lot of business across the continent.
- Egypt – 18.100
The total wealth held in the Cairo, Egypt alone is said to be up to $140bn. The city is home to over 480 multi-millionaires and 5 billionaires. Major sectors in the city include real estate and construction, financial services and basic materials.
- Nigeria – 12,300
The richest man in Africa is a Nigerian but he is not the only high net worth individual in the country. Despite the famed difficulty of doing business in Nigeria, high net worth individuals continue to exist in the country.
- Kenya – 9400
The 9400 high net worth individuals in Kenya are said to hold as much as two-thirds of the country’s economy. Many of the richest Kenyans have stakes in the manufacturing and horticulture industries.
- Angola – 6100
Angola’s richest mostly resulted from the oil boom and the country is the home of Isabel dos Santos, the richest woman in Africa.
- Morocco – 4600
Morocco should also have tourism to thank for the increase in high net worth individuals. The bustling tourist centre Marrakesh is said to be the ninth place with 15 residents worth over $30 million.
- Algeria – 4500
Algeria’s richest have a main focus; hydrocarbons and natural gas. Hydrocarbons account for over 95 percent of export earnings and the country is also the sixth-largest gas exporter in the world.
- Mauritius – 3800
A booming tourism industry and a status as a tax haven have given the country some pretty rich individuals.
- Namibia – 3300
The World Bank has said that Namibia’s income distribution is one of the worst in the world but the economy which has diamonds as its most important export commodity favours 3300 high net worth individuals.
- Ethiopia – 3100
A late joiner to the list, Ethiopia’s increased high net worth individuals have been helped by the relative political stability which has led to increased foreign investments since 2003.
Countries with fastest growing percentage of Richest Africans
Countries in Africa with a jump in wealthy Africans from 2006-2016;
- Mauritius – 230%
- Ethiopia – 219%
- Rwanda – 107%
- Uganda – 97%
- Kenya – 93%
- DRC – 85%
- Angola – 82%
- Tanzania – 82%
- Ghana – 49%
- Cote d’Ivoire – 45%
South Africa and Egypt still have the highest number of wealthy Africans but considering the size of Mauritius, their position is laudable. They have also seen the highest percentage jump in richest Africans as we pointed out earlier.