Forbes List: The African Billionaires 2015

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This year, a record 1,826 billionaires made it to FORBES’ annual ranking of the world’s richest people.

There are 29 African billionaires this year, the same number as in 2014. While 2 tycoons – South African mining magnate Desmond Sacco and Moroccan real estate mogul Anas Sefrioui fell off the billionaire rankings this year, Mohammed Dewji of Tanzania makes his debut on the list with a fortune estimated at $1.3 billion. At 39, Dewji is the youngest billionaire in Africa. Dewji’s company, METL Group manufactures textiles and consumer goods and has annual revenues of more than $1.4 billion. Nigerian-born Femi Otedola, 50, rejoins the list of African billionaires after a 5-year hiatus with a $1 billion fortune. He owns a controlling stake in Forte Oil, a publicly-listed energy distribution company in Nigeria. Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria and Isabel dos Santos of Angola are the only two female billionaires on the continent.

Meet the 29 Africans who are worth $1 billion or more:

Aliko Dangote, $15.7 billion

Nigerian, Cement, Flour, Sugar

Falling stock prices and a recent valuation of the Naira might have dented his fortune, causing him to lose roughly $10 billion since last year, but Aliko Dangote is still the richest man in Africa. His Dangote Group is West Africa’s largest industrial conglomerate and has interests in cement production, flour milling, sugar refining and food and beverages.
Johann Rupert & Family, $7.4 billion

South African, Luxury Goods

Rupert is the chairman of publicly-listed Swiss-based luxury goods outfit Compagnie Financiere Richemont , which owns brands including Cartier , Van Cleef & Arpels, Jaeger-LeCoultre and Montblanc. He also owns stakes in investment holding companies Remgro and Reinet. He also owns two of South Africa’s best-known vineyards, Rupert & Rothschild and L’Ormarins as well as the Franschhoek Motor Museum which houses his personal collection of over 200 antique vehicles.

Nicky Oppenheimer & Family, $6.7 billion

South African, Diamonds

Oppenheimer cashed out of the diamond business in July 2012 when he disposed of his family’s 40% stake in his family’s diamond business, De Beers to Anglo American for $5.1 billion in an all-cash deal that marked the end of the Oppenheimer family’s multi-decade control of the diamond company. His E. Oppenheimer & Son entity controls investment arms Stockdale Street Capital and Tana Africa Capital, a joint venture with Singapore government-owned investment firm Temasek. Tana holds minority interests in African food manufacturers Promasidor and Regina Co.

Christoffel Wiese, $6.3 billion

South African, Retail
Wiese, a South African retail mogul, owns a 15% stake in Shoprite Holdings, a chain of low-price supermarkets with a presence across multiple African countries. He also owns a large stake in Pepkor, a private company that owns seven different discount fashion brands. His other assets include Lanzerac Manor & Winery, a five-star hotel and a significant shareholding in Brait, a private equity firm.

Nassef Sawiris, $6.3 billion

Egyptian, Construction

Sawiris, Egypt’s richest man, is the CEO of Orascom Construction Industries (OCI), the country’s most valuable publicly-traded company. He plans to separate OCI’s construction unit from its chemicals and fertilizers business, and list the newly formed Orascom Construction in Egypt and the UAE in the first quarter of 2015. He also sealed a partnership last November with Abu Dhabi’s International Petroleum Investment Co. to develop a coal-based power plant in Egypt.

Mike Adenuga, $4 billion

Nigerian, Telecoms and Oil

The reclusive Nigerian billionaire is the founder of Globacom, Nigeria’s second largest mobile phone network which has about 27 million subscribers. He also owns Conoil Producing, an indigenous oil exploration company which holds the rights to some of Nigeria’s most lucrative oil fields. Notoriously private, Adenuga hardly grants Press interviews and travels around in with a retinue of bodyguards.

Mohamed Mansour, $4 billion

Egyptian, Diversified

Along with his two brothers, Yasseen and Youssef (also on FORBES’ billionaires list), Mohamed runs the Mansour Group which owns the world’s largest GM dealership. The Mansour Group also owns the largest supermarket chain in Egypt, the country’s second largest real estate developer, Palm Hills, and the Philip Morris franchise in Egypt.

Nathan Kirsh, $3.9 billion

Swaziland. Real Estate

Nathan Kirsh, a Swazi national is the founder of Jetro Holdings, a cash and carry wholesaler of perishable and non-perishable food products, household goods, equipment, supplies and related goods for grocery retailers. Kirsch made his first fortune in Swaziland several decades ago when he founded a corn milling business in 1958. He subsequently expanded into wholesale food distribution in apartheid South Africa and commercial property development.

Isabel Dos Santos, $3.1 billion

Angolan, Investments

The oldest daughter of Angola’s president owns substantial stakes in a number of blue-chip Angolan and Portuguese companies such as Angolan mobile phone company Unitel , Angolan bank Banco BIC SA, Portuguese media giant ZON Optimus and Banco BPI. She is believed to hold many of these assets in trust for her father.

Issad Rebrab, $3.1 billion

Algerian, Diversified

Algeria’s richest man owns a controlling stake in Cevital, Algeria’s biggest family-owned conglomerate. Cevital owns one of the largest sugar refineries in the world with an annual output of 1.5 million tons. The group also has interests in sugar refining, port terminals, auto distribution, mining and agriculture.

Naguib Sawiris, $3.1 billion

Egyptian, Telecoms

Naguib Sawiris is the CEO of Orascom Telecom Media and Technology (OTMT). The company owns a 75% stake in Koryolink, North Korea’s only cell network. He is looking to acquire a 53% stake in French media company Euronews Television.

Youssef Mansour, $2.9 billion

Egyptian, Diversified

Youssef Mansour is a part owner of Mansour Group which owns Caterpillar dealerships in 8 African countries and General Motors dealerships in Egypt and Iraq, as well as supermarkets, McDonald’s and Philip Morris distribution. He maintains a lower profile than his billionaire brothers Mohamed and Yasseen.

Koos Bekker, $2.3 billion

South African, Media

Koos Bekker who has run Cape Town-based media conglomerate Naspers since 1997 will be stepping down as CEO in April this year, and will be taking a year off to travel the world and explore new business opportunities for the company. He is expected to take over as chairman of the company from next year. Over a 17 year period, Bekker transformed the storied publisher into a new media powerhouse, with investments in China (Tencent), Russia (, Brazil (Abril) and other countries in Eastern Europe, Latin America and Africa. Refusing to take a salary, Bekker has traditionally been compensated via stock option grants that vest over time.

Othman Benjelloun, $2.3 billion

Moroccan, Banking

Othman Benjelloun is the CEO of BMCE Bank, one of the largest commercial banks in Morocco, with operations in at least 15 African countries. He is also the chairman of holding company FinanceCom which has interests in banking, insurance, and telecom in Morocco.

Yasseen Mansour, $2.3 billion

Egyptian, Diversified

Yasseen Mansour and his brothers Youssef and Mohammed run Mansour Group, a large Egyptian conglomerate which owns Caterpillar and General Motor dealerships, supermarkets, restaurant franchises, and Philip Morris distribution in Egypt.

Patrice Motsepe, $2.1 billion

South African, Mining

South Africa’s first and only black billionaire is the founder and chairman of publicly traded mining conglomerate, African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) which has interests in platinum, nickel, chrome, iron, manganese, coal, copper and gold. He also holds a stake in Sanlam, a publicly traded financial services company.

Stephen Saad, $2.1 billion

South African, Pharmaceuticals

Along with business partner Gus Attridge, Stephen Saad founded Aspen Pharmacare in 1997. It is now the largest publicly-traded drug manufacturer on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange. Aspen is a supplier of branded and generic pharmaceuticals in more than 150 countries and of consumer and nutritional products in selected territories. The company has a market capitalization of $11 billion. Saad is the company’s largest shareholder.

Mohamed Al Fayed, $2 billion

Egyptian, Property

In 2010 Mohammed Al-Fayed sold his Harrod’s department store in London to Qatar Holding for a reported $2.4 billion and last July, he sold Fulham Football Club, which he acquired in 1997 to American billionaire Shahid Khan for a reported $300 million. He now owns the famed Hotel Ritz in Paris which he closed in August 2012 to start construction on what will be the hotel’s biggest redo since it was built in 1898 and also owns Cocosa, a U.K.-based discount fashion website.

Folorunsho Alakija, $1.9 billion

Nigerian, Oil

Nigeria’s first female billionaire built her fortune on oil. Nigeria’s former President Ibrahim Babangida awarded her company, Famfa Oil a lucrative oil prospecting license in 1996 – now OML 127, which is one of Nigeria’s most prolific oil blocks and produces as much as 200,000 barrels of oil per day on good days. Famfa Oil, which Alakija controls fully, owns a 60% stake in OML 127.

Onsi Sawiris, $1.8 billion

Egyptian, Diversified

Onsi Sawiris is the patriarch of Egypt’s wealthiest family, and founder of the eponymous Orascom conglomerate, which is involved in construction, telecoms and hotels. The companies are all run by his three sons- Naguib, Samih and Nassef, all billionaires.

Aziz Akhannouch, $1.7 billion

Moroccan, Diversified

Aziz Akhannouch is the largest shareholder in Akwa Group, a multi-billion dollar Moroccan conglomerate with interests in petroleum, gas and chemicals through publicly-traded Afriquia Gas and Maghreb Oxygene, as well as media, real estate development and hotels. His wife, Salwa Idrissi, runs a successful real estate development company in Morocco, and holds the Moroccan franchise for Gap, Zara, and Galeries Lafayette, among other fashion brands.

Allan Gray, $1.6 billion

South African, Investments

Moneyman Allan Gray founded Cape Town-based investment management firm, Allan Gray Limited in 1973, after earning his MBA from Harvard and spending eight years at Fidelity in the US. The company manages $34 billion, making it the largest privately owned asset manager in South Africa. He also owns Orbis Investment Management in Bermuda which manages $30 billion. Venerable philanthropist funds the Allan Gray Orbis Foundation which awards higher education grants to students in Southern Africa.

Miloud Chaabi, $1.3 billion

Moroccan, Diversified

Miloud Chaabi got his start in 1948 developing housing, then expanded through his privately owned Ynna Holding into hotels, supermarkets and renewable energy. Chaabi has committed to building a university in Casablanca in partnership with Indiana State University.

Mohammed Dewji, $1.3 billion

Tanzanian, Diversified

Mohammed Dewji turned a trading house founded by his father into industrial conglomerate MeTL Group. He acquired government-owned manufacturing plants in the textiles and edible oils industries on the cheap and transformed them into profitable businesses using lean management style. He owns 75% of the group.

Samih Sawiris, $1.1 billion

Egyptian, Property Development

Samih Sawiris is the youngest son of Egyptian construction magnate Onsi Sawiris. His company, Orascom Development develops integrated towns and operates resorts in Egypt. He also owns a minority stake in construction company, OCI N.V., which was founded by his father Onsi and is now run by his brother Nassef.

Sudhir Ruparelia, $1.1 billion

Ugandan, Property, Banking

East Africa’s richest man is the founder of the Ruparelia Group, Uganda’s largest conglomerate with interests in property, banking, education, insurance and agriculture. It owns a chain of hotels, hundreds of commercial and residential property in Kampala, a country club, a chain of forex bureaus, two Highbrow secondary schools and Crane Bank, one of the Uganda’s top 3 commercial banks.

Femi Otedola, $1 billion

Nigerian, Gas Stations

Nigeria’s Femi Otedola returns to Forbes’ list of billionaires for the first time since 2009 following a sharp rise in the share price of petroleum marketing company Forte Oil, despite the drop in oil prices in 2014. Otedola is the controlling shareholder of Forte Oil, with a 78% stake. The company owns gas stations and fuel storage depots and manufactures its own line of engine oils.

Abdulsamad Rabiu, $1 billion

Nigerian, Diversified

Rabiu, 55, is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate with interests in sugar refining, cement production, real estate, steel, port concessions, manufacturing, oil gas and shipping. Rabiu used to work for his father, legendary Kano-based businessman, Isyaku Rabiu, before striking out on his own in 1988, importing rice, sugar, edible oils as well as steel and iron rods.

Rostam Azizi, $1 billion

Tanzanian, Telecoms

Tanzania’s second richest man owes the bulk of his fortune to his 35% stake in Vodacom Tanzania, the country’s largest mobile phone company with more than 10 million subscribers. He also owns Caspian Mining, a contract mining company that provides mining services to giants like BHP Billiton and Barrick Gold. Caspian Mining also owns several mining concessions for gold, copper and Iron ore in Tanzania. Other assets include a stake in Dar es Salaam Port in which he is a partner with Hutchison Whampoa and extensive real estate in Tanzania, Dubai, Oman and Lebanon.

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