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Faith Nyasuguta

Aliko Dangote remains a towering figure in Africa’s economic landscape, retaining his status as the continent’s wealthiest individual with a current net worth of $13.4 billion. 

His financial empire is anchored by Dangote Industries, a conglomerate headquartered in Lagos, Nigeria, which serves as the cornerstone of his vast wealth. The 38th Annual World’s Billionaires List, recently released by Forbes, the esteemed U.S. business magazine, reaffirms Dangote’s prominence in the global wealth hierarchy.

Forbes meticulously compiled its latest roster of billionaires utilizing stock prices and exchange rates as of March 8, 2024. At 66 years old, Dangote commands the majority of his fortune through his commanding 86 per cent stake in the publicly traded Dangote Cement

This year, the company achieved a monumental milestone by reaching a market capitalization of N10 trillion, making history as the first Nigerian firm to attain such heights.

The unveiling of the 38th Annual World’s Billionaires List by Forbes revealed an unprecedented surge in global billionaire numbers, totaling 2,781 individuals. This figure represents an increase of 141 billionaires from the previous year and surpasses the previous record, set in 2021, by 26 individuals. 

Notably, the collective wealth of these ultra-affluent individuals surged to an astounding $14.2 trillion, marking a staggering $2 trillion increment from the previous year and surpassing the previous record by $1.1 trillion, also set in 2021.

The African billionaire landscape mirrors the global trend, witnessing significant shifts in wealth distribution, with some individuals ascending in rank, others experiencing declines, newcomers entering the fray, and some departing altogether. 

At the onset of 2024, Johann Rupert & Family held the coveted title of Africa’s wealthiest, boasting a net worth of $10.3 billion, closely trailed by Aliko Dangote with $9.5 billion to his name.

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However, the dynamics have since evolved, with Dangote’s fortune surging to $13.4 billion, relegating Rupert & Family to a trailing position with $12.2 billion. Nicky Oppenheimer & Family, renowned for their involvement in South Africa’s diamond industry, secured the 249th position on the list with a substantial net worth of $9.5 billion.

From Egypt, Nassef Sawiris clinches the 287th spot with an impressive fortune of $8.8 billion.

Nathan Kirsh, hailing from Eswatini (formerly Swaziland), secures the 373rd position with a notable net worth of $7.2 billion. Nigeria’s Mike Adenuga follows closely, ranking 409th with an impressive wealth accumulation of $6.7 billion. 

Another prominent Nigerian figure, Abdulsamad Rabiu, occupies the 581st spot, amassing a significant fortune of $5.2 billion primarily from his ventures in cement and sugar industries.

Egyptian businessman Naguib Sawiris secures the 835th rank with a formidable net worth of $3.8 billion. Mohamed Mansour, with diversified business interests spanning various sectors in Egypt, stands at the 991st place, commanding a considerable wealth of $3.3 billion. 

Koos Bekker, initially absent from the top 10 richest list at the commencement of 2024, now emerges at the 1256th position, boasting a net worth of $2.6 billion.

The evolution of Africa’s billionaire landscape reflects the continent’s dynamic economic environment, characterized by emerging industries, shifting market dynamics, and evolving entrepreneurial endeavors. 

Aliko Dangote’s enduring reign as Africa’s wealthiest individual symbolizes the continent’s economic resilience and the potential for continued growth and prosperity in the years to come. 

As the global billionaire ranks continue to swell and fortunes fluctuate, Africa’s billionaires remain integral players in shaping the continent’s economic trajectory and fostering sustainable development across diverse industries and sectors.


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Faith Nyasuguta

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