Daily Trust (Abuja)

23 November 2012

Africa: With U.S.$12 Billion Worth, Dangote Tops Africa's Billionaires - Forbes

Photo: Facebook
Aliko Dangote

Aliko Dangote tops the Africa's billionaires list for the second year running, with a net worth of $12 billion, up from $10.1 billion in November last year, according to Forbes World's Billionaires 2012.

Most of his net worth lies in publicly traded Dangote Cement, which operates in 14 African countries, the Magazine said in its latest world billionaires list.

"Africa is no longer big enough for Aliko Dangote, the continent's richest man," Forbes said in its release.

The Magazine said that Dangote's flagship company, Dangote Cement, is Africa's largest cement manufacturer, with operations in 14 African countries.

In September, Dangote revealed plans to open cement plants in Myanmar and Iraq. In October, he sold his controlling stake in Dangote Flour Mills to South African consumer goods firm Tiger Brands for $190 million.

Dangote started trading commodities more than three decades ago after receiving a business loan from his uncle. He then built the Dangote Group, which in addition to cement owns sugar refineries, flour milling and salt processing facilities. His philanthropic efforts include giving tens of millions of dollars to support education, health and poverty eradication.

Nicky Oppenheimer of South Africa comes in once again as the second richest, with a $6.4 billion fortune - down $100 million from a year ago. Oppenheimer decided in late 2011 to sell his family's 40 percent stake in diamond producer DeBeers to mining company Anglo American for $5.1 billion.

The deal got final regulatory approval in July 2012, marking the end of 85 years of Oppenheimer family control of DeBeers.

Notable newcomers include the list's first two women: Folorunsho Alakija of Nigeria, whose joins due to her stake in the prolific Agbami oil field; and Isabel dos Santos of Angola, an entrepreneur, investor and daughter of that country's president.

South Africa's Desmond Sacco debuts as a billionaire thanks to his shares in mining concern Assore, which he chairs. Another South African newcomer: Koos Bekker, who since 1997 has turned media group Naspers into a true multinational firm, taking neither a salary nor a bonus along the way. His $450 million net worth lies mostly in vested Naspers options.

South Africa, the continent's economic giant, is home to 12 of Africa's 40 richest, followed by Nigeria, with 11. Egypt comes next, with 8 list members, and Morocco with 5. It is perhaps no surprise that the overwhelming majority of Africa's 40 Richest come from the countries with the largest stock exchanges.

The wealthiest hail from 8 countries - up from six last year. The two new countries represented are Angola (Isabel dos Santos) and Tanzania (Said Salim Bakhresa). Cairo is home to more of Africa's 40 Richest than any other city - with 8 list members.

Thirty-two fortunes are self-made; 19 people have net worths higher than a year ago, while 10 have fortunes that dropped in value. The average age is 63 -up from an average of 61 last year. The minimum net worth required to make the list of richest Africans was $400 million, up from $250 million in 2011.

Africa is perhaps best known for its abundant natural resources, but its 40 richest operate in an array of industries, bolstered by a growing consumer sector. Just 4 of the 40 draw their net worth from oil.

Ten, by contrast, have diversified fortunes, either through ownership of a conglomerate (like Egypt's Mansours) or ownership of assets in diverse realms, like Kenya's Naushad Merali. Six built their wealth in the financial industry.

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