The Writer: Mfonobong Nsehe
Date first published: 7 March 2018
Of the 2,043 people who made it to the 2018 FORBES list of the World’s Billionaires, 11 of them are black.
The Nigerians take the lead. Cement tycoon Aliko Dangote retains his position as the richest black person in the world, with a fortune estimated at $14.1 billion. He is followed by Nigerian oil and telecoms mogul Mike Adenuga who is the second richest black man in the world with a fortune FORBES currently estimates at $5.3 billion.
This year, Saudi-Ethiopian construction magnate Mohammed Al-Amoudi who was worth $8.4 billion lst year fell off the ranking as FORBES decided to leave all Saudis off the billionaires list this year. Zimbabwean telecom tycoon and philanthropist Strive Masiyiwa joins the black billionaires club and becomes the first person from the Southern African country to lay claim to a ten-figure fortune. Angolan investor Isabel dos Santos, American media mogul Oprah Winfrey and Nigerian oil woman Folorunsho Alakija are still the only black female billionaires on the FORBES billionaires list.
Aliko Dangote, $14.1 billion
Nigerian, Sugar, Cement, Flour
Aliko Dangote is the richest black person in the world and Africa’s richest person. He founded and chairs Dangote Cement, Africa’s largest cement manufacturer. He also owns sugar, salt and four milling businesses that are all listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. Dangote is making an audacious foray into oil. His Dangote Group is constructing an integrated refinery and petrochemical complex in the Lekki Free Zone near Lagos, Nigeria. Upon completion in 2019, the refinery is expected to be the world’s biggest single-train facility, and will cost an estimated $9bn.
Mike Adenuga, $5.3 billion
The ‘Guru’ as he is referred to in Nigerian business and social circles built his fortune on oil, telecoms, real estate and banking. His mobile telecom company, Globacom, is the second largest operator after MTN in Nigeria with more than 30 million subscribers today. His Conoil Producing is one of the largest indigenous oil exploration and producing companies in Nigeria today. Adenuga is also the largest individual owner of property in Nigeria and Ghana, and he owns a significant stake in construction giant, Julius Berger.
Robert Smith, $4.4 billion
The former Goldman Sachs executive started an Austin, Texas-based private equity and venture capital firm Vista Equity Partners in 2000. It now has over $30 billion in assets under management, and is one of the world’s most successful hedge funds. In 2016 he pledged $50 million to Cornell University, his alma mater.
Oprah Winfrey, $2.7 billion
Oprah is no longer the richest African American. The former queen of daytime TV will begin work as a special contributor on 60 Minutes in the fall of 2017. Her once struggling cable channel, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) is now cash flow positive and is enjoying soaring ratings on the back of a series of successful sitcom and drama collaborations. She owns a 10% stake in Weight Watchers and acts as a brand ambassador.
Isabel Dos Santos, $2.6 billion
Africa’s richest woman has had better days: Her father was President and she was Chairperson of Sonangol, the state-owned oil company. In November last year, Angola’s new President João Lourenço removed her from the role. Angolan authorities are now probing her tenure as chief of the oil giant and alleging financial impropriety. She denies the allegations. Isabel dos Santos owns a lucrative stake in Unitel, the country’s largest mobile phone network, and a stake in Banco BIC. Outside Angola, she owns nearly 6% of oil and gas firm Galp Energia (alongside Portuguese billionaire Americo Amorim), and nearly 19% of Banco BPI, the country’s fourth-largest bank. She is also a controlling shareholder of Portuguese cable TV and telecom firm Nos SGPS (formerly called Zon).
Patrice Motsepe, $2.5 billion
South African, Mining
Patrice Motsepe is the founder and CEO of African Rainbow Minerals, a listed mining company that owns ferrous and base metals, platinum and coal operations in South Africa. He is also the founder of African Rainbow Capital, an investment firm that acquires stakes in financial services companies. He owns the Mamelodi Sundowns Soccer club.
Folorunsho Alakija, $1.7 billion
Nigeria’s richest woman is vice chair of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil exploration company than owns a stake in Agbami oil field, a prolific offshore asset. Alakija started off as a secretary in a Nigerian merchant bank in the 1970s, then quit her job to study fashion design in England. Upon her return, she founded a Nigerian fashion label that catered to upscale clientele, including Maryam Babangida, wife to Nigeria’s former military president Ibrahim Babangida.
Michael Jordan, $1.65 billion
Basketball’s greatest player is the majority shareholder of Charlotte Bobcats and enjoys lucrative deals with the likes of Gatorade, Hanes and Upper Deck. His biggest pile comes from Brand Jordan, a $1 billion (sales) sportswear partnership with Nike.
Strive Masiyiwa, $1.39 billion
Telecom tycoon Strive Masiyiwa is Zimbabwe’s first billionaire. Masiyiwa, 57, is the founder of Econet Group, a Zimbabwe-listed mobile phone company that also has investments in financial services, insurance, e-commerce, renewable energy, education, Coca-Cola bottling, hospitality and payment gateway solutions. Econet also has a Pay television outfit, Kwesé TV, which is already competing favorably across Africa with Naspers’ DSTV.
Michael Lee-Chin, $1.19 billion
Lee-Chin, a Canadian of Jamaican origin, owns a 65% stake in National Commercial Bank Jamaica.
Mohammed Ibrahim, $1.18 billion
British, Mobile Telecoms, Investments
Mo Ibrahim, 71, made his initial fortune as the founder of Celtel, an African mobile phone company, which he sold to MTC of Kuwait for $3.4 billion in 2005. He pocketed $1.4 billion. He now reinvests through Satya Capital, a U.K-based, African focused private equity firm.