Billionaires all right, but less well-off. Their wealth, which represented $4.4 trillion in 2007, decreased by almost 50% at the end of last year. Africans have not escaped from the consequences of the global economic meltdown. According the Forbes Magazine top 100 billonnaire rich-list, published last Wednesday, Naguib Sawiris is no more the richest man in Africa. The Egyptian gave way to the South African Nicky Oppenheimer and his family.
Still rich, but somewhat impoverished, the global economic meltdown obliges, at least that is what the Forbes Magazine top 100 billonnaire rich-list, published last Wednesday, indicated. Nicky Oppenheimer, custodian of the multinational De Beers heirloom, is now the first among African billionaires at the 98th spot. In first place is the co-founder of Microsoft, Bill Gates, with a fortune estimated at $ 40 billion in 2008.
Like other billionaires around the world, the wealth of Africans has been significantly reduced. Nicky Oppenheimer, with his $ 5 billion, succeeds the Egyptian, Naguib Sawiris, who had $12.7 billon to his name in 2007.
Naguib Sawiris, now left with only $3 billion, is third on the African billionaire list. His brother, Nassef Sawiris, (with $3.1 billion) is in second place, while their father, Onsi Sawiris, patriach of the Sawiris dynasty who made his fortune through telecommunications, is still part of the list, although he lost nearly eight billion dollars in 2008. Onsi Sawiris’ third son, Samih, was less fortunate as he joined the clan of deposed billionaires.
Among a total of eight Africans to appear on the Forbes list is 42 year old Nigerian newcomer, Femi Otedola. An oil entrepreneur, Mr. Otedola holds majority shares in the African Petroleum Company where he is also president and CEO. Femi Otedola is among 38 new billionaires to enter the increasingly restricted club. The number of members plunged to 793 in 2008 from 1 125 the previous year. The sum of their riches also dropped from $4.4 trillion in 2007 to $2.4 trillion in 2008.
The second Nigerian billionaire on the Forbes list is Aliko Dangote ($1.2 billion), a newcomer to the select group of the world’s richest men. He plans to create the largest oil group on the continent by merging his two companies; the Dangote group and Zenon.
Notwithstanding the fact that the financial madness was triggered on Wall Street, dealing a heavy blow to the American economy, New York has still managed to send Moscow into oblivion as it is crowned the international capital of billionaires.
List of African Billionaires in 2008
|98||Nicky Oppenheimer and familly||5,0||63||South-African||South Africa|
|559||Patrice Motsepe||1,3||47||South-African||South Africa|
|601||Johann Rupert and family||1,2||58||South African||South Africa|
Source : Forbes 2009
List of African Billionaires in 2007
|173||Nicky Oppenheimer and family||5,7||62||South-African||South Africa|
|284||Johann Rupert and family||3,8||57||South African||South Africa|
|503||Patrice Motsepe||2,4||46||South African||South Africa|
|605||Donald Gordon||2,0||77||South African||Great Britain|
Source : Forbes 2008