Africa’s 55 Billionaires

Africa’s 55 Billionaires


There are billionaires roaming across Africa, and well, they are African.  55 was the number recently reported in the Telegraph and Ventures Africa, with Nigeria claiming the majority of about 20 billionaires, and 9 in South Africa.  The list compares with Latin America’s 51 billionaires, UK’s 84, and Asia’s 399 billionaires.

These African men and women have their hands in their pocket, however, they have earned the right to do so, especially since they themselves placed their own wealth in it.  Through hard work, business acumen, and  the opportunity that presents itself with luck and determination, each of these billionaires have proven that wealth can be generated in Africa in an unconventional way after all.

Take Aliko Dangote of Nigeria who happens to be the richest African on the continent, his wealth is generated from the production of cement, sugar, and flour; not oil nor diamonds neither war.   Soweto native, Patrice Motsepe, the eighth richest African, according to Forbes, has pledged half of his wealth to charity.   In doing so, he is the only African to join American philanthropists, Bill Gates and Warren Buffet who both made the same pledge to Giving Pledge.

The intriguing thing about this isn’t the fact that there are billionaires in Africa, it is in the reality that they aren’t much different from other billionaires across the world.  They work hard, like 38-year-old Tanzanian, Mohammed Dewji, one of the two youngest African billionaires, who’s textile company employs over 24,000 people.  They are pacesetters, such as Nigerian oil tycoon, Folorunsho Alakija, the wealthiest woman in Africa, replacing Oprah Winfrey as the wealthiest black woman in the world by about 500 million.  They were not all born with a silver spoon, such as Kenyan billionaire, Manu Chandaria, who lived in a home with three other families during his childhood.

While many of the industries listed among these billionaires are common, such as mining and mineral resources, other industries are gaining ground as strong emerging industries that reflects the changing landscape of socioeconomic development in Africa.  Africa isn’t all politics any longer, it is becoming largely industrial.  Africa is producing its own Rockefellers and Carnegies, manufacturers and industrialists.   Its refreshing to know, at the least, that an African does not need to invest in the typical agricultural and mineral industries, nor the politics of empty hands in filled pockets, to be super wealthy.

The principles to wealth creation did not change for the African when billionaires emerged from it. There was no special case for Africa, no global “make an African billionaire” movement, sponsored by international organizations and financed by donations.  The principles remain the same throughout the world, as it does in Africa.  If you aspire to be a billionaire in Africa, an African billionaire, work hard, maintain strong work ethics, demonstrate exemplary leadership, and of course, have a billionaire product or service.  To learn more about the 55 Billionaires list by Venture Africa, click here.