How the richest of the rich are faring, including Africa’s top billionaires

Sunday May 19 2019

Aliko Dangote

President and Chief Executive Officer of the Dangote Group Aliko Dangote. He is the owner of the continent’s largest cement producer, and is worth $10.3 billion. PHOTO | AFP 

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Most of us could never dream of being on it, but the annual Sunday Times Rich List, comprising the 1,000 wealthiest people in the UK, is scrutinised and pored over by millions of hopefuls.

Plus, beyond these islands, there’s another league table of interest – an annual listing of Africa’s top billionaires, put together by the American magazine, Forbes.


The 2019 British list is headed by the brothers Sri and Gopi Hinduja, with estimated assets of £22 billion. The brothers, aged 83 and 79 respectively, are British citizens, though the group was founded in Mumbai, India, in 1914. It has interests around the world in oil and gas, banking, IT and property.

The Sunday Times says its list is based on identifiable wealth, including land, property and company shares, but it does not include the amount in people’s bank accounts.

Two other brothers take the number two spot – David and Simon Reuben, who made their £18.7 billion fortune in property, carpets and scrap metal. Third is Sir James Radcliffe, whose chemical firm is worth £18.2 billion.

Roman Abramovich, the Russian owner of Chelsea Football Club, is at ninth place, worth £11.2 billion.

The first black female entrepreneur ever to make the list is named as Zimbabwe-born Valerie Moran, ranking joint 970th place alongside her husband, Noel. The couple’s combined fortune in financial technology is estimated at £122 million.

You don’t always have to be businessmen to make the list. The richest sports star aged 30 or under was named as the Northern Irish golfer, Rory McIlroy, with £138 million, while top of the Music Rich List in the UK, which includes writers and performers, is Andrew Lloyd Webber with a fortune of £820 million.


Grime artist Stormzy made his debut on the rich list of young musicians with £16 million.

As for the African tycoons, 20 are listed by Forbes, with five coming from South Africa, five from Egypt, four from Nigeria, two from Morocco and one each from Algeria, Angola, Tanzania and Zimbabwe.

The richest person in Africa is named as Aliko Dangote of Nigeria, owner of the continent’s largest cement producer, and worth $10.3 billion. He is followed by another Nigerian, Mike Adenuga, a telecoms magnate worth $9.2 billion, with the South African diamond heir, Nicky Oppenheimer, third with $7.3 billion.

Two women are named in the top 20. They are Isabel dos Santos of Angola, daughter of former President Dos Santos, worth £2.3 billion, and Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria, whose $1.1 billion comes from fashions, oil and printing.

The magazine reported that Alakija briefly unseated the American TV star Oprah Winfrey as the richest woman of African descent in the world.

Tanzania’s Mohammed Dewji is placed 14th on the Africa list, with a fortune estimated at $1.9 billion. A former MP for Singida (2005-2015), Dewji is owner of the MeTL group, a conglomerate started by his father in 1970.

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Here they call them “daft bets,” wagers that are so improbable the bookmakers have to hide their grins when they accept the money.

For instance, who, seeing a child play snooker at age eight years, would be silly enough to predict he would become world champion one day? That is what Neil Morrice did after he watched little Judd Trump in action back in 1989.

He wagered £10 and the bookmaker Coral gave him odds of 1,000 to 1. Last week, Neil picked up £10,000 when Trump, now 29, became world champion, trouncing John Higgins by 18 frames to nine.

Some bets are arguably dafter than that. In 2005, Adrian Hayward dreamed that Xabi Alonso of Liverpool FC scored a goal from his own half. He promptly bet £200 at odds of 125-1 that Alonso would do exactly that before the season ended.

In January 2006, the dream came true and the bettor took home £25,000.

Bookmaker Paddy Power said at the time, “When he placed the bet we thought it was the easiest £200 we had ever made. But fair play to him. It’s great when these unusual bets pay out and it shows that dreams do come true.”


Talking of betting…

A punter bet on his favourite horse to come in at 10 to 1. And so it did. Problem was all the others came in at 12.30.  

The owner was proud of his new horse. “It’s got excellent breeding,” he boasted. And so it had – after the horse left the starting gate, it stopped and closed the gate behind it.


A jockey was leading a horse towards the course when a sceptical punter approached. “What are you going to do with that nag?” he asked. “Why, race him, of course,” said the jockey. “In that case,” retorted the punter, “you will probably win.” 


How do you make a small fortune on horse racing? Start with a large one.