Forbes Magazine, the chronicler of the world’s richest people and where their fortunes come from, has for the first time published a list of the 40 richest Africans and two Kenyans have made it into the rich list’s upper echelons.
In the past we’ve been used to gawping at the annual release of who earns and owns what and wondering what Oprah Winfrey does with earnings of $712,000 a day (she’s down to her last $2.7 billion poor dear), or how actor Will Smith spends the $20 million he receives per film (it’s a tough job but someone’s got to do it). Now ‘those that have’ nearer to home have been revealed to ‘those that have not’ (and with things the way they are no doubt ‘even that which they have will be taken away’).
How many of us would have known that Nigerian Aliko Dangote was the richest man in Africa with an estimated fortune of $10.1 billion all made from the proceeds of cement making, flour milling, sugar refining and salt processing?
No surprise really to see the name Oppenheimer on the list. Diamonds aren’t just a girl’s best friend you know. So in at Number 2 on the list is 66 year-old Nicky Oppenheimer, the ‘South African diamond magnate’, worth a cool $6.5 billion.
The Oppenheimer’s are of course ‘old money’ from South Africa. At Number 36 on the list the ‘new’ South African rich are represented by former anti-apartheid campaigner and ANC activist Cyril Ramaphosa, now estimated to be worth $275 million (my word, hasn’t he done well, ‘Black empowerment’ certainly worked for Cyril).
TWO KENYANS IN RICHEST TOP 40
So to the Kenyan representatives on the Forbes list of the richest people in Africa.
At Number 31 ‘Mr Kenya’ himself, real estate, manufacturing and investments’ entrepreneur Chris Kirubi, gets by with just $300 million.
Kenyan entrepreneur Chris Kirubi – $300 million
Since the 1970’s when he began a small property business, Mr Kirubi (now 70 years old) has gone on to own, or have a sizeable stake in, Capital FM (where he is also a DJ on occasions), Nairobi’s International House, Haco Tiger Industries, and the private equity firm Centum Investments which is listed on the Kenya and Uganda stock markets.
Chris Kirubi has worked his way up. Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first President, Jomo Kenyatta, started at the top (well it does save time that way) and according to Forbes is now worth $500 million, that’s Sh47.5 billion to you and me, securing him the Number 26 slot in the list of the top 40 richest Africans.
Deputy Prime Minister Uhuru Kenyatta – $500 million
Of course the Kenyatta’s weren’t always wealthy. Oh no, they’ve had to struggle in the past. When Jomo Kenyatta was imprisoned by the British colonial power in 1953, his land was also confiscated – all 34 acres of it. Nearly 60 years later the Kenyatta family is estimated to ‘own’ land amounting to some 2.4 million acres, about the same size as Nyanza province.
Thank goodness Uhuru Kenyatta is in charge of Kenya’s finances, he obviously comes from a family that was very good at saving a Shilling here and a Shilling there, 10 million Shillings here, 10 million Shillings there, a thousand acres here, a thousand acres there… Eventually it all up mounts up you know.