July 14, 2024

American business magazine, Forbes, has ranked the Chairman of Geregu Power, Femi Otedola, as the 20th richest in Africa with a fortune of $1.1bn. 

In a publication on Monday, Forbes said Aliko Dangote retained the top spot as Africa’s richest with a fortune of $13.9bn.

The magazine said 20 billionaires on the 2024 Forbes list of Africa’s Richest are worth a combined $82.4 billion. That’s up $900 million from last year’s $81.5 billion.

“The fortunes of Africa’s wealthiest people have rebounded slightly in the past 12 months, reversing the decline in their fortunes from a year ago, though they are still off their all-time highs,” the publication said.

Forbes attributed the gain to the return of Otedola, who last appeared on the Forbes Africa list in 2017 when he held a controlling stake in fuel distributor Forte Oil.

Otedola had phased out his oil investments during a government push to privatise the country’s energy business in 2013, using a Forte subsidiary to purchase Geregu, a public power generation plant.

“He owned about 90% of Geregu when it was listed on the Nigerian exchange’s Main Board in 2022, but has since sold shares to institutional investors, which include Afreximbank’s Fund for Export Development in Africa and the State Grid Corporation of China.

“His 73% stake in Geregu is worth more than $850 million, about three-quarters of his $1.1 billion fortune, which puts him at No. 20 on the list.”

Forbes said after taking Otedola’s comeback into account, Africa’s billionaires dipped slightly but still fared better than the decline of 4% last year, when African markets faded in sync with equity values around the world.

Dangote, whose fortune rose $400 million to $13.9 billion, claimed the ranking’s No. 1 spot for the 13th year in a row, despite the political uncertainty following the February presidential election and a devaluation of the naira in 2023 that offset the rising share price of Dangote Cement.

South African luxury goods magnate Johann Rupert held onto the No. 2 spot with $10.1 billion, down from $10.7 billion in 2023 as shares of his Compagnie Financiere Richemont–maker of Cartier watches and Montblanc pens – slid.

South African Nicky Oppenheimer, who formerly ran diamond mining firm DeBeers before selling it to mining firm Anglo American a decade ago, ranks No. 3, with $9.4 billion, up $1 billion from 2023 . Thirteen of the billionaires added to their fortunes this year, while seven saw their net worth decline.

On the methodology used, Forbes said, “Our list tracks the wealth of African billionaires who reside in Africa or have their primary business there, thus excluding Sudanese-born billionaire Mo Ibrahim, who is a U.K. citizen and South African Nathan Kirsh, who operates out of London. Strive Masiyiwa, a citizen of Zimbabwe and a London resident, appears on the list due to his telecom holdings in Africa.

“Net worths were calculated using stock prices and currency exchange rates from the close of business on Jan. 8, 2024. To value privately held businesses, we start with estimates of revenues or profits and apply prevailing price-to-sale or price-to-earnings ratios for similar public companies. Some list members grow richer or poorer within weeks-or days-of our measurement date.

List of 20 richest people in Africa:

1. Aliko Dangote — $13.9bn (Manufacturing)
2. Johann Rupert & family — $10.1bn (Fashion & Retail)
3. Nicky Oppenheimer & family — $9.4bn (Metals & Mining)
4. Nassef Sawiris — $8.7bn (Construction & Engineering)
5. Mike Adenuga — $6.9bn (Diversified)
6. Abdulsamad Rabiu — $5.9bn (Diversified)
7. Naguib Sawiris — $3.8bn (Telecom)
8. Mohamed Mansour — $3.2bn (Diversified)
9. Koos Bekker — $2.7bn (Media & Entertainment)
10. Patrice Motsepe — $2.7bn (Metals & Mining)
11. Issad Rebrab & family — $2.5bn (Food & Beverage)
12. Mohammed Dewji – $1.8bn (Diversified)
13. Strive Masiyiwa — $1.8bn (Telecom)
14. Aziz Akhannouch & family — $1.7bn (Diversified)
15. Othman Benjelloun & family — $1.4bn (Finance & Investments)
16. Youssef Mansour — $1.3bn (Diversified)
17. Yasseen Mansour — $1.2bn (Diversified)
18. Christoffel Wiese — $1.2bn (Fashion & Retail)
19. Michiel Le Roux — $1.1bn (Finance & Investments)
20. Femi Otedola — $1.1bn (Energy)

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