Foremost Nigerian industrialist, Aliko Dangote, on Monday made history by becoming the first black man to break into the rank of top 25 richest people in the world. His wealth jumped to $25bn from $16.1bn in 2013, according to Forbes magazine’s list of the richest people on earth.
Dangote, who was number 43 in the top 100 world billionaire list last year, moved up 20 spots to retain his position as the richest person in Africa and also number 23rd in the world.
The Chairman, Globacom, Chief Mike Adenuga, was the next Nigerian on the list with a wealth of $4.6bn to maintain the 325th position in the world.
The Executive Vice Chairman, Famfa Oil Limited and fashion icon, Mrs. Folorunsho Alakija, retained her position as the world’s richest black woman and the 687th in the world with a fortune of $2.5bn; while the Chairman/Chief Executive Officer, BUA Group of Companies, Alhaji Abdulsamad Rabiu, was ranked 1372th in the world with $1.2bn.
The former Chairman of Microsoft Corporation, Bill Gates, is back on top after a four-year hiatus, reclaiming the title of the world’s richest person from telecoms mogul, Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, who ranked number one for the past four years.
Gates, whose fortune rose by $9bn in the past year, has held the top spot for 15 of the past 20 years.
Spanish clothing retailer, Amancio Ortega, best known for the Zara fashion chain, retains the No. 3 spot for the second year in a row, extending his lead over Warren Buffett, who is again in the fourth position.
The year’s biggest dollar gainer was the Facebook’s founder, Mark Zuckerberg, whose fortune jumped by $15.2bn to $28.5bn, as shares of his social network soared.
Technology, and more specifically Facebook, helped to propel numerous fortunes lately.
The company’s Chief Operating Officer, Sheryl Sandberg, joins the ranks for the first time, as does the Facebook’s long-time vice-president, Jeff Rothschild.
Also, thanks to a $19bn deal (including restricted stock) with Facebook; WhatsApp founders, Jan Koum and Brian Acton, join the ranks of Silicon Valley’s wealthiest for the first time.
They are four of 26 newcomers whose fortunes come from technology; 10 of whom are American, including Dropbox CEO, Drew Houston, and Workday cofounder, Aneel Bhusri.
The United States once again leads the world with 492 billionaires as a result of the technology boom and strong stock market, followed by China with 152 and Russia with 111. But wealth is spreading to new places.
For the first time in the history of the Forbes rating, billionaires were found in Algeria with Issad Rebrab, who is into food business with $3.2bn worth of fortune; Rostam Azizi from Tanzania with $1bn; and Sudhir Ruparelia from Uganda with $1.1bn.