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December 6, 2012


Who are the richest people in Africa in 2012? Forbes has released its rich list of the wealthiest people in the world.

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Africa’s richest: Forbes announces 2012 rich list

Africa’s richest: Forbes announces 2012 rich list

If you haven’t got at least a billion dollars (Sh82 billion) don’t look for your name on the list below of richest men and women in Africa as compiled by Forbes Magazine for their ‘2012 Africa’s 40 Richest’ list.

The list includes 11 Nigerians, eight Egyptians, five Moroccans, a couple of South Africans and Kenya’s very own Naushad Merali.


Africa’s top 10 richest people are all men:

1. ALIKO DANGOTE(Nigeria): estimated to be worth $12 billion, Mr Dangote runs the Dangote Group of companies. You name they’re in it – cement manufacturing (Dangote owns the largest cement company in Africa), textiles, oil, gas, farming, real estate, sugar, flour milling and more.

2. NICKY OPPENHEIMER (South Africa): estimated to be worth $6.5 billion but when you own the world’s largest diamond mining company and the largest game reserve in South Africa, that’s not surprising.

3. NASSEF SAWIRIS (Egypt): estimated to be worth $4.75 billion. Mr Sawaris inherited some wealth and then built on that (almost literally) by growing his Orascom Construction company. There is a Kenya link – Sawaris is the biggest shareholder in Bamburi cement, Kenya’s largest cement company.

4. JOHANN RUPERT (South Africa): estimated to be worth $4.7 billion. Mr Rupert is another lucky man who inherited money but then made more through a luxury goods company. You own a Cartier watch? Rupert owns Cartier!

5. MIKE ADENUGA (Nigeria): estimated to be worth $4.3 billion. Mr Adenuga made his money in oil exploration and runs Conoil (unfortunate name!), Nigeria’s biggest oil exploration company, and he also owns the country’s second biggest mobile phone operator.

6. MILOUD CHAABI (Morocco): estimated to be worth $3bn. Mr Chaabi has been around a while (he’s 82) and made his money in real estate. A few hotels here, a few supermarkets there, it soon adds up.

7. NAGUIB SAWIRIS (Egypt): estimated to be worth $2.9 billion. Recognise the name? That’s it, Mr Sawiris is the brother of Nassef Sawaris (above, No. 3) but poor by comparison. It’s a wonder he can get by on Sh2.4 Trillion but when you own a telecoms company with over 60 million subscribers (Orascom Telecom) it helps.

8. CHRISTOFFEL WIESSE (South Africa): estimated to be worth $2.7 billion. Mr Wiesse runs a supermarket. Late nights stacking shelves? Not really. He heads Shoprite, Africa’s biggest low-price supermarket chain.

9. ONSI SAWIRIS (Egypt): estimated to be worth $2.6 billion. Surely not another member of the Sawiris family in the top 10? Yes it is (seems a bit unfair though). Mr Sawiris Snr is the patriarch of the family (aged 81) and founded Orascom which has interests in construction, telecommunications and tourism.

10. PATRICE MOTSEPE (South Africa): estimated to be worth $2.5 billion. Mr Motsepe, would you believe, was South Africa’s first black billionaire (there’s hope for us all!) and made his money in mining – a bit of gold, a bit of platinum, nickel, coal, iron…


So, no Kenyan’s in the top 10 richest men in Africa but we are represented in East Africa’s rich list. The top three are:

1. SUDHAR RUPARELIA (Uganda): estimated to be worth $900 million. Mr Ruparelia is 18th in the list of Africa’s Top 40 Richest and made his money in real estate although denies owning half of Kamapala (but he does own over 300 houses and commercial properties!)

2. SAID SALIM BAKHRESA (Tanzania): estimated to be worth $520 million. Mr Bakhresa runs the Bakhresa Group with diverse interests in grain milling, petroleum, drinks, ice creams and ferry services.

3. NAUSHAD MERALI (Kenya): estimated to be worth $410 million (only $410 million – how does he get by?) At last, a Kenyan in the Top 40 Richest Africans (coming in at No. 39). Mr Merali runs Sameer Africa, a group of 15 companies covering construction, banking (useful), motor sales, telecoms and transport and much more. Have you been to Ryce Motors? That’s his.


Forbes’s top 40 Richest Africans list is not an exclusively male-dominated group. Two women made it onto the list for 2012.

1. FOLORUNSHA ALAKIJA (Nigeria): estimated to be worth $600 million. Ms Alakija is the 24th richest person in Africa. Some of it was made in fashion design but you can’t help but feel that owning an oil company (Famfa Oil) helped just a little bit.

2. ISABELA DOS SANTOS (Angola): estimated to be worth a mere $500 million and listed as the 31st richest person in Africa. Ms Dos Santos made her money in investments. Name ring a bell? The fact that she is the daughter of Angola’s president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos has absolutely nothing to do with it.


Just for record, the world’s top four richest men (yes, they are all men again) are Carlos slim Helu (Mexico) worth $69 billion; Bill Gates, the software king (USA) worth $61 billion; Warren Buffet (USA) worth $44 billion and Bernard Arnault (France), worth a mere $41 billion.


After all that are you feeling dollar-green with envy, or inspired to succeed?


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