23rd January, 2021
By Taiwo Okanlawon
Aliko Dangote of Nigeria has maintained his position as Africa’s richest person for 10 consecutive years, according to the 2021 Forbes’ Africa Billionaires List released on Friday.
Also, the Chairman of telecommunications giant Globacom Mike Adenuga has been placed fifth position, while Abdulsamad Rabiu of BUA Group ranked sixth richest person in Africa.
Nigeria had three persons on the list while South Africa and Egypt each had five billionaires, followed by Morocco with two.
Forbes stated that the continent’s 18 billionaires were worth an average $4.1bn, 12 per cent more than a year ago, driven in part by Nigeria’s surging stock market.
“For the tenth year in a row, Aliko Dangote of Nigeria is the continent’s richest person, worth $12.1bn, up by $2bn from last year’s list, thanks to a roughly 30 per cent rise in the share price of Dangote Cement, by far his most valuable asset,” Forbes stated in its report.
The list named the second richest person in Africa as Nassef Sawiris of Egypt, whose largest asset was a nearly six per cent stake in sportswear maker Adidas.
At number three was Nicky Oppenheimer of South Africa, who inherited a stake in diamond firm DeBeers and ran the company until 2012, when he sold his family’s 40 per cent stake in DeBeers to mining giant AngloAmerican for $5.1bn.
It said the biggest gainer this year was Rabiu.
“Remarkably, shares of his BUA Cement Plc, which listed on the Nigeria Stock Exchange in January 2020, have doubled in value in the past year,” the report stated.
That pushed Rabiu’s fortune up by an extraordinary 77 per cent, to $5.5bn, adding that Rabiu and his son together own about 97 per cent of the company, giving the company a tiny public float.
It stated Nigerian Stock Exchange required that either 20 per cent or more of a company’s shares should be floated to the public, or that the floated shares were worth at least N20bn, about $50m, describing it as a paltry sum, to be sure.
“A spokesman for the Nigerian Stock Exchange told Forbes that BUA Cement meets the second requirement,” the report stated.
It added that while some got richer by the billions, two from the 2020 list of Africa’s richest dropped below the $1bn mark.
In fact, the only two women billionaires from Africa had both fallen off the list.
Forbes calculated that the fortune of Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria, who owns an oil exploration company, dropped below $1bn due to lower oil prices.
It said Isabel dos Santos, who since 2013 had been the richest woman in Africa, was knocked from her perch by a series of court decisions freezing her assets in both Angola and Portugal.
Altogether they were worth $73.8bn, slightly more than the $73.4bn aggregate worth of the 20 billionaires on last year’s list of Africa’s richest people.