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African billionaire fortunes decline on new Forbes list
January 29, 2017, 12:41 pm
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The number of billionaires in Africa— and the size of their fortunes — continues to drop. On this year's list, Forbes is only including African billionaires living in Africa, instead of featuring Africa's 50 richest people. There are 21 billionaires on this year’s list, worth a combined $70 billion. On the November 2015 Africa Rich List, there were 23 African billionaires worth a combined $79.8 billion. That in turn was down from 28 African billionaires in 2014.

Nigerian cement tycoon Aliko Dangote remains Africa’s richest person for the sixth year running with a $12.1 billion fortune, despite a nearly $5 billion drop in his net worth for the second year in a row. Dangote is joined by just two other Nigerian billionaires on this year’s list — telecom tycoon Mike Adenuga, who is Africa’s third richest person with an estimated $5.8 billion fortune, and oil billionaire Folorunsho Alakija, who has an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion. Two Nigerians dropped off the Billionaires List this year — oil marketer Femi Otedola, whose net worth dropped from $1.6 billion in November 2015 to just $330 million today, and sugar billionaire Abdulsamad Rabiu, whose net worth dropped below $1 billion in the wake of a weakened Nigerian currency.

South Africa retains its dominance on the Africa List. While the country is tied with Egypt for the largest number of individual billionaires, South Africa’s six billionaires are worth a combined $22.7 billion — $7 billion more than Egypt’s six billionaires. The richest South African billionaire and the continent’s second richest person is diamond magnate Nicky Oppenheimer, who has maintained a low profile since selling his family’s stake in diamond giant DeBeers to Anglo American for $5.1 billion in cash in 2012. Luxury goods tycoon Johann Rupert and retail magnate Christoffel Wiese are tied as South Africa’s second richest and Africa’s fourth richest billionaires, each with a $5.5 billion fortune. Wiese’s fortune has dropped $1 billion since the November 2015 Africa list, while Rupert’s net worth is down $800 million.

Forbes counts only two female billionaires in Africa: Angola's  Isabel dos Santos  — Africa’s richest woman with a $3.2 billion fortune, and Nigeria’s Alakija. Dos Santos is the daughter of Angola’s president, who appointed her as head of Angola’s state oil firm Sonangol in June 2016. Alakija is the vice chair of Nigerian oil exploration company, Famfa Oil.

 

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