February 21, 2024

President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote has regained his position as the richest person in Africa with a net worth of $13.9bn, in the 2024 Forbes list of 20 of Africa’s richest billionaires released yesterday.

A South African business mogul, Johann Rupert had displaced Dangote to the second position according to an earlier Forbes record.

According to the real-time data, Dangote moved down to second place after his wealth decreased from $13.5bn in 2023 to $9.7bn as of January 4, 2024 — indicating a $3.8bn loss.

Forbes stated that “the fortunes of Africa’s wealthiest people rebounded slightly in the past 12 months, reversing the decline in their fortunes from a year ago, though they were still off their all-time highs. The 20 billionaires on the 2024 Forbes list of Africa’s Richest are worth a combined $82.4bn. That’s up $900m from last year’s $81.5 bn.”

The Forbes methodology indicated that the net worths were calculated using stock prices and currency exchange rates from the close of business on January 8, 2024.

“To value privately held businesses, we start with estimates of revenues or profits and apply prevailing price-to-sale or price-to-earnings ratios for similar public companies. Some listed members grow richer or poorer within weeks or days of our measurement date,” the document stated.

The Executive Chairman of Geregu Power Plc, Mr. Femi Otedola, was named among the 20 richest persons in Africa. Otedola was listed as the 19th richest person in Africa with a net worth of $1.1bn.

Otedola, last appeared on the Forbes Africa list in 2017 when he held a controlling stake in fuel distributor Forte Oil.

“Otedola phased out his oil investments during a government push to privatise the country’s energy business in 2013, using a Forte subsidiary to purchase Geregu, a public power generation plant.

“He owned about 90 percent of Geregu when it was listed on the Nigerian exchange’s Main Board in 2022, but has since sold shares to institutional investors, which include Afreximbank’s Fund for Export Development in Africa and the State Grid Corporation of China.

“His 73 percent stake in Geregu is worth more than $850m, about three-quarters of his $1.1bn fortune.

“After taking Otedola’s comeback into account, Africa’s billionaires dipped slightly, but still fared better than the decline of four percent last year, when African markets faded in sync with equity values around the world.

“This year, African equities joined a late-year global rally, with the S&P All Africa index rising 10 percent in the final two months of 2023 but still ended down more than 9 percent in the 12 months through January 8, 2024,” Forbes stated.

Dangote is closely followed by Johann Rupert and Family from South Africa, with a net worth of $10.1bn; another South African businessman, Nicky Oppenheimer and his family, with a net worth of $9.4bn; Nassef Sawiris with a net worth of $8.7bn; Nigeria’s Mike Adenuga with a net worth of $6.9bn and the Chairman of BUA Group, Abdulsamad Rabiu, with a net worth of $5.9bn, in that order.

This year South Africa claimed six spots on the ranking, followed by Egypt with five and Nigeria with four. Algeria, Tanzania and Zimbabwe each have one billionaire on the list, while Morocco has two.

Forbes also noted that Africa, “remains one of the world’s toughest places to build – and hold onto – a billion-dollar fortune, as global investors remain leery of its stock exchanges, businesses struggle against strained economies, poor infrastructure and volatile exchange rates, while changing political winds can make, boost or bust private fortunes.”

It quoted the Head of Macro Strategy at asset manager, FIM Partners, Charles Robertson, to have noted that entrepreneurs often face limited access to capital and populations with little disposable income to invest in new companies or the stock market.

“You’ve got two negatives for investors. Weakening domestic (currencies), which is pushing up inflation, and tax rises, which is hurting the companies they’re investing in,” Robertson added.

”Central banks have been hiking rates as well, so you’ve had big rate hikes and currency weakness and tax rises all at once. And if there was any chance that mix wasn’t going to deter all foreign investors, then throw in multiple coups happening, and it just created a very nasty storm.”

“That environment favours entrenched family fortunes or those with close ties to government that continue to dominate the ranks of Africa’s richest. Nigeria’s Alike Dangote, whose fortune rose $400m to $13.9bn, claimed the ranking’s number one spot for the 13th year in a row, despite the political uncertainty following the February presidential election and a devaluation of the naira in 2023 that offset the rising share price of Dangote Cement.

“The biggest decline on this year’s list belongs to Algerian industrial magnate Issad Rebrab, who was barred by a court in May from exercising any commercial or management duties at his conglomerate Cevital,” he added.

Punch

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