By Olushola Bello
For the seventh year in a row, president and chief executive of Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote was adjudged as the richest man in the continent of Africa with a net worth that Forbes pegged at $12.2 billion.
In a release sent to LEADERSHIP, Forbes said this was an increase of $100 million from a year ago. Bill Gates maintained his position as the richest in the world with a net worth of $86 billion, while Warren Buffet and Jeff Bezos were second and third consecutively with a net worth of $75.6 billion and $72.8 billion.
Forbes stated that “Dangote is looking beyond cement, his most valuable asset and has been investing in a fertilizer production company and a large oil refinery. Dangote Fertiliser is expected to start operations in the second quarter this year.”
It would be recalled that Dangote was also recently the only African selected among Bloomberg’s world 50 best persons in the year 2017
While names of notable Nigerians were dropped from the billionaires lists, Globacom Chairman, Mike Adenuga, with a net worth of $5.3 billion was adjudged the fifth richest man in Africa and Folorunsho Alakija, also a Nigerian, whose estimated $1.6 billion fortune lies in oil exploration firm was adjudged as the 15th richest person in Africa.
Number two on the list of African richest people is diamond mining heir Nicky Oppenheimer of South Africa, with a net worth of $7.7 billion, up $700 million from last year. Oppenheimer is one of eight South Africans on the list, making it the African country with the most billionaires.
Last year, South Africa and Egypt tied with six billionaires each. Boosting the South African ranks this year, Michiel Le Roux, the founder and former chairman of Johannesburg-listed Capitec Bank Holdings, whose stock has climbed more than 50 per cent in the past year, making Le Roux a new billionaire worth $1.2 billion. South African mining tycoon Desmond Sacco, chairman of listed Assore Group, returns to the list following a stock price surge of some 60 per cent in the past 12 months.
Zimbabwe gets its first billionaire this year, telecom magnate Strive Masiyiwa, who chairs the Econet Group. Shares of Zimbabwe-listed mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe have surged in value over the past year.
Just two of the 23 list members are women, unchanged from last year. Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s longtime former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is worth an estimated $2.7 billion this year, down from $3.2 billion a year ago. Her net worth dropped in part due to a lower value for Banco BCI, an Angolan bank; its book value plunged in 2016 amid a tough year for the oil producing country