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Who Are The World's Richest Africans?

By Zaina Adamu

The US may be home to more billionaires than China, Germany, and Russia combined, but you’ll also find people from African countires on the Forbe’s list of the world’s richest people. According to Forbes, the 20 richest Africans are worth an estimated $68 billion, and of them, the average net worth of each rose to $3.4 billion from $3.3 billion last year.

So which Africans are bringing in the most cash? We’ve compiled a list of some of these billionaires you need to know.

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Aliko Dangote

Nigerian business magnate Aliko Dangote holds the title as the continent’s richest man. He has an estimated net worth of $11.1 billion from his business, Dangote Cement, Africa’s largest cement producer. Eighty-five percent of the publicly-traded cement is under his ownership, which many attribute to his success.

“You have to dream big to be able to be big and that’s what we’re doing,” Dangote told Forbes Africa in 2018.

The self-made billionaire is currently spearheading a $14 billion oil refinery project, which he hopes will make a lasting impact on the continent.

Dangote Cement operates in 10 African countries and produces 45.6 million metric tons every year. Dangote also owns stakes in salt, sugar and flour manufacturing plants in countries across the continent.

Joseph Agyepong Siaw

As one of 17 children, Joseph Siaw Agyepong was forced to look for work early, sometimes walking up to 30 miles for work.

“I was schooling barefooted, going to the farm to work before going to school,” Agyepong told Forbes Africa in 2017. “I had no money.”

Now Agyepong, a Ghanaian, is one of the continent’s richest Africans, employing approximately a quarter million people under his business, Jospong Group of Companies, a franchise with specialties in banking, information technology, automobile, communications – and its most lucrative sector: waste management.

“Whenever you asked someone to come into the waste management space, they would not do it because they thought that it was a filthy job and it was a low-grade job. So I thought of bringing in a dignified way of doing it.”

In addition to Africa, the multi-billionaire also operates the business in Asia and the Middle East.

Mike Adenuga

Mike Adenuga made his first million at the age of 26 by distributing soft drinks. The Nigerian-born is now the country’s second richest man due to his mobile phone network, Globacom, a company boasting 43 million subscribers.

But before he became one of the world’s richest Africans, he began as a taxi driver while he studied for his MBA at Pace University in New York. When he returned to Nigeria after graduation, he invested in his family’s sawmill and began using it to make fabric and beer. Shortly after, he took out a $180-million-dollar loan and founded Globacom, which now has a revenue of over $1 billion.

In addition to the telecommunications giant, Adenuga also owns Cobblestone Properties and Estates, a property development company, Conoil PLC, a petroleum marketing company, and Conoil Producing, a crude exploration and production company. He has this piece of advice for anyone who wants to succeed in the entrepreneurial space:

“Whatever business you’re in you must know the business very well,” he said. “And of course pray to God and ask for His blessings.”

Strive Masiyiwa

Strive Masiyiwa, Zimbabwe’s richest man, began his career investing $75 in his own telephone company. Today, he is the chief executive at Econet Wireless, an international telecommunications company operating in 20 African countries.

Earlier this year, Strive pledged $100 million to the “Masiyiwa Rural Challenge Fund,” a donation to invest in entrepreneurs in his home country.

“My wife and I have decided to set up a special fund of $100 million over 5 years for ReImagine Rural in Zimbabwe. We have also challenged our friends in the philanthropy community to join us to expand it across Africa,” he said in a press statement at the time of the announcement.

Masiyiwa – worth $2.3 billion – was named one of Fortune Magazine’s most influential business people in the world. He serves on the boards of the US Council on Foreign Relations, Morehouse College and The Rockefeller Foundation.

 Abdulsamad Rabiu

A strategic move to merge two of Nigeria’s leading cement companies caused Nigerian-born Abdulsamad Rabiu to join the billionaires club earlier this year, making him easliy one of the richest Africans alive.

Last June, he predicted that merging Kalambaina Cement Company and the Cement Company of Northern Nigeria (where he is the CEO) would position his company for a competitive boost. On the last day of 2018, the Nigerian Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) approved the merger, causing his company to become the second largest cement supplier in the country – following Aliko Dangote’s Dangote Cement.

“It is a good feeling to be on the rich list,” Rabiu told Forbes Africa earlier this year. “The most important thing is not about how much money you make, but the impact you make.”

However, Rabiu admitted that failure was an inevitable part of his journey. As he reflected on setbacks earlier in his career, he said, “I never thought I was going to quit. If you don’t fight back or if you are weak, you will never survive. You have to understand that this is not personal but business and you have to keep fighting.”

Mohamed Mansour

Former politician Mohamed Mansour ranks eighth on Forbes’s Africa’s Billionaires list with an estimated net worth of $2.3 billion. He currently oversees the Mansour Group, a global conglomerate with 60,000 and revenues exceeding $6 billion.

In 1975, Mansour established General Motors dealerships throughout Egypt, making it one of GM’s biggest distributors in the world. Prior to becoming Mansour Group’s CEO, he served as Egypt’s Transportation Minister under President Hosni Mubarak.

The Mansour Group, a family-owned business, has been one of Africa’s leading businesses since 1933. Every person on its board is a member of the Mansour family.

“Families are key. It’s very important,” Mansour told Arabian Business in 2015. “This bonding and learning from them [is important] because they’re people that love you and tell you the truth.”

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