African billionaires on the rise


Africa has 18 people on the Forbes billionaire list for 2018, out of a record 2 208 billionaires worldwide.

South Africans who made the list this year are: Nicky Oppenheimer ($7.7bn, about R91.7bn), Johann Rupert ($7bn), Koos Bekker ($2.6bn), Patrice Motsepe ($2.4bn) and Stephen Saad ($1.2bn).

Egypt has six people on the list.

Nigeria has three: Aliko Dangote ($14.1bn), Mike Adenuga ($5.3bn) and Folorunsho Alakija ($1.5 bn). Alakija is one of the world’s richest black women. Angola’s Isabel dos Santos, the daughter of the country’s former president, appears on the list with wealth of $2.6bn.

Also on the list from Africa are Swaziland’s retail and property businessman Nathan Kirsh ($4.3bn), Tanzania’s Mohammed Dewji ($1.5bn) and Zimbabwean telecommunications mogul Strive Masiyiwa ($1.4bn).

South African billionaire Christo Wiese fell off the billionaires’ list.

Forbes said Wiese’s net worth was $5.6bn last year, when he was South Africa’s third-wealthiest person. This year, his net worth dropped to $600 million following the collapse of retailer Steinhoff’s share price in December. Prior to the revelations about the so-called accounting irregularities at the company, Wiese had a 21% stake in Steinhoff International. By last month, he had cut that position to 6%.

On its 2018 list, Forbes has 2 208 billionaires from 72 countries and territories with a total net worth of $9.1 trillion, up 18% since last year. Their average net worth is a record $4.1bn.

Americans lead the way with 585 billionaires, followed by mainland China with 373.

Centi-billionaire Jeff Bezos secures the list’s top spot for the first time, becoming the only person to appear in Forbes’ ranks with a 12-figure fortune.

His fortune increased by more than $39bn, the list’s biggest one-year gain ever. He moves ahead of Bill Gates, who is now number two. It is the biggest gap between first and second place since 2001.

There are 259 newcomers, including the first cryptocurrency billionaires.

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