How Africa’s richest made their money
Posted Tuesday, December 4 2012 at 02:00
The usual suspects dominate Forbes’ 2012 list of the world’s richest. Mexican Carlos Slim Helu sits pretty at the top, followed by America’s Bill Gates and Warren Buffet, who once said he never “had doubt in my mind that I would rich”.
Completing the top five are France’s Bernard Arnault and Spain’s Amancio Ortega.
To make it on the annual list, one must make at least a billion dollars (Sh85 billion) in quantifiable, legal, traceable and verifiable investments. Of the 1,226 richest, only 16 are from Africa.
The majority of the world’s richest coined their fortunes in many ways: beer, banking, brakes, ball bearings, chocolate, cars, candy, casinos, cement, coal, commodities, coffee, construction, electronics and ethanol.
Then there were those who foundered theirs from metal, media, mining and manufacturing. Still others spilled fortunes from oil, palm oil, pipes, pipelines, plastics, the Internet, shipping, steel, software, sports, sugar and, in the case of Phil Knight of Nike, shoes.
Money was made too from food, tobacco, transport, retailing, real estate, paper, packaging and in the curious case of one American lawyer, lawsuits.
To recognise the emerging role of Africa in global business, Forbes Magazine, which has been tracking the wealth of the richest for 25 years, launched the African version last year.
The 2012 Africa’s 40 Richest includes 11 Nigerians, eight Egyptians and five Moroccans. Here are the top 10 of Africa’s 40 Richest, 32 of them self-made:
Aliko Dangote, 54
Net worth: $12bn (Sh1 trillion)
Source: Cement, sugar, flour, diversified, self-made
Runs Dangote Group of companies which has interests in sugar, flour milling, salt processing, cement manufacturing, textiles, real estate, oil, gas and large-scale millet farming.
Dangote Sugar Refinery — the world’s third largest — is the most capitalised company at the Nigeria Stock Exchange, while his Obajana Cement is Africa’s largest cement company.
Dangote is 76th richest in the world.
Nicky Oppenheimerand family, 66
Net worth: $6.5bn (Sh552bn)