How Rupert edged out Dangote in Billionaire Duel at New Year

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In a significant turn of financial events, South African tycoon Johann Rupert has claimed the title of Africa’s wealthiest individual for the year 2024, dethroning Nigerian business magnate Aliko Dangote from his 12-year reign atop the continent’s billionaire hierarchy.

Accordingly, Dangote, the founder of the Dangote Group conglomerate, experienced a notable decline in wealth, plummeting from $13.5 billion in 2023 to $9.7 billion by early January, 2024, marking a staggering $3.8 billion loss.

Simultaneously, Johann Rupert, chairman of the Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont, saw a dip in his net worth, reducing from $10.7 billion in 2023 to $10 billion in the same period in 2024. Rupert’s noteworthy holdings include a 7% stake in diversified investment firm Remgro, which he chairs, and a 26% ownership in Reinet, an investment holding company headquartered in Luxembourg.

Rupert’s influential career trajectory spans a journey from his apprenticeship in New York City to establishing Rand Merchant Bank and eventually joining his father’s enterprise, the Rembrandt Group. Notably, he founded Compagnie Financiere Richemont in 1988, boasting iconic brands such as Cartier and Montblanc, solidifying his foothold in the luxury goods sector.

His entrepreneurial prowess is matched by his commitment to philanthropy and environmental conservation. Rupert’s founding of the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation and his involvement in the Peace Parks Foundation underscore his dedication to social causes. Additionally, his stewardship of the L’Ormarins wine estate and his extensive involvement in conservation efforts in the Graaff Reinet area highlight his multifaceted contributions beyond business.

The financial shift isn’t exclusive to Dangote and Rupert. The rankings also revealed fluctuations in the fortunes of other notable billionaires such as Adenuga and Rabiu, reflecting the volatile nature of global wealth distribution.


The updated list of Africa’s top 10 billionaires for 2024, is as follows:

  1. Johann Rupert & family — $10 billion
  2. Aliko Dangote — $9.7 billion
  3. Nicky Oppenheimer & family — $8.3 billion
  4. Nassef Sawiris — $7.3 billion
  5. Nathan Kirsh — $5.8 billion
  6. Abdulsamad Rabiu — $5.7 billion
  7. Issad Rebrab & Family — $4.6 billion
  8. Mohamed Mansour — $3.6 billion
  9. Naguib Sawiris — $3.3 billion
  10. Mike Adenuga — $3.1 billion

This updated ranking not only highlights the dynamic nature of wealth distribution but also underscores the significant impact of economic fluctuations on personal fortunes. Johann Rupert’s rise to the summit signifies not just a milestone in his entrepreneurial journey but also reaffirms his commitment to philanthropic endeavours and environmental conservation, defining a distinct narrative within Africa’s economic panorama.

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