Aliko Dangote, President and Chief Executive of Dangote Industries Limited has been adjudged as the richest man in Africa with a net worth that Forbes pegged at $12.2bn (N4.3trillion naira) for 2017 making the cement and commodities tycoon the richest African, for the seventh year in a row.
Dangote’s new net worth is more than half Nigeria’s 2017 budget N7.298 trillion and is five times the 2017 budget of Lagos state, which was N813billion.
Buoyed by rising stock markets and commodity prices, Africa’s billionaires are collectively wealthier than a year ago. The 23 billionaires that Forbes found in Africa up from 21 billionaires last year are worth a combined $75.4 billion, compared to $70 billion in January 2017.
Dangote, Africa’s richest man, founded and chairs Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer. Dangote Cement produces 44 million metric tons annually and plans to increase its output 33% by 2020.
Dangote also owns stakes in publicly-traded salt, sugar and flour manufacturing companies.
“Dangote is looking beyond cement his most valuable asset and has been investing in a fertiliser production company and a large oil refinery. Dangote fertiliser is expected to start operations in the second quarter of this year,” forbes stated.
Number two on the list of Africa’s richest people is diamond mining heir, Nicky Oppenheimer of South Africa, with a net worth of $7.7bn, up $700m from last year. Oppenheimer is one of eight South Africans on the list, making it the country with the most billionaires in Africa. Nigeria has three.
While the names of notable Nigerians were dropped from the billionaires’ list, Globacom Chairman, Mike Adenuga, with a net worth of $5.8bn, was adjudged the fifth richest man in Africa.
Zimbabwe gets its first billionaire in 2017 as telecom magnate, Strive Masiyiwa, who chairs the Econet Group, got on the list. Shares of Zimbabwe-listed mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe have surged in value over the past year; Masiyiwa owns more than half of that company. He also has a majority stake in fibre optic firm, Liquid Telecom, which raised $700m in a bond offering in July 2017. Forbes estimates Masiyiwa’s net worth at $1.7bn.
Only 2 of the 23 list members are women, unchanged from last year. Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of Angola’s longtime former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, is worth an estimated $2.7 billion this year.
The other woman is Nigeria’s Folorunsho Alakija, whose estimated $1.6 billion fortune lies in oil exploration firm Famfa Oil, which is partnered with Chevron and Petrobras on a lucrative offshore oil field. She was adjudged as the 15th richest person on the continent.