African Billionaires Worth $143 Billion

There are 55 African business people are now the world’s first black billionaires, including a Nigerian who has become the richest black woman in the world. Most of them are worth more than $143 billion because of the changing world economy.

“Move over, Oprah!” Ventures Africa says in its latest edition published this week. Editor-in-chief Uzodinma Iweala said Tuesday the magazine’s estimates are “on the conservative side.” The report predictably identifies Nigerian manufacturer Aliko Dangote as the richest African worth $20.2 billion, among 20 Nigerians listed.

Africa Ventures put the average net worth of Africa’s billionaires at $2.6 billion and their average age at 65. The oldest billionaires are Kenyan industrialist Manu Chandaria and Egyptian property tycoon Mohammed Al-Fayed, both aged 84. The youngest billionaires are Mohammed Dewji of Tanzania and Nigerian oil trader Igho Sanomi, both 38 years old.

Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt had the highest numbers of the richest Africans, with nine in South Africa and eight in Egypt. It said Algeria, Angola, Zimbabwe and Swaziland only have one billionaire each. It identified billionaires in only 10 of Africa’s 53 countries.

The magazine’s survey surprised by identifying oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija as the richest black woman in the world, saying that she is worth $7.3 billion.

Forbes magazine in its respected list had estimated Alakija’s fortune at $600 million and Oprah Winfrey’s worth at $2.9 billion.

The Forbes list of Africa’s 40 Richest has only 16 billionaires including two Nigerians.

Last month, Forbes published a story describing Angolan President Jose Eduardo dos Santos’ daughter, Isabel, as Africa’s only female billionaire worth about $3 billion.

“I think being more rigorous and being closer to the ground makes it easier to figure out on a continent where information is not as readily available and things are not as transparent,” Iweala explained in a telephone interview.

He said the Lagos-based magazine, which boasts it “champions African capitalism by celebrating African success, free enterprise and the entrepreneurial spirit,” regularly collects information about rich Africans and dedicated three months to research spread across the continent.

Iweala said he was excited to find several Africans who have become wealthy through manufacturing and financial services showing “we’re moving away from a continent that is just resource-based.”

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