The Biggest Winners: 5 African Billionaires Who Didn’t Lose Money In 2015


Of Africa’s 21 billionaires tracked by Forbes, most saw their net worth go down rather than up in 2015.

Excluding King Mohammed VI of Morocco, only five of got richer between Dec. 31, 2014 and Dec. 31, 2015, according to Forbes estimates.

One of the notable losers was Africa’s richest man, Nigerian Aliko Dangote. Despite losing $5 billion when the prices dropped on Dangote Cement shares, he’s still Africa’s richest man for the fifth year in a row, according to Vanguard.

The No. 1 African billionaire winner on this list by percentages is Nigeria’s Femi Otedola. He saw his net worth increase 75 percent in 2015. He made his money from oil.

The sharp drop in international oil prices since mid-2014 has had varying effects on African economies. It isn’t all bad, according to Amsterdam-based KPMG, one of the Big Four auditors. About nine countries are severely negatively affected. Many others benefited from the drop in oil prices, which boosted consumer purchasing power and reduced fuel subsidy costs for governments that still provide subsidies.





Check out Forbes’ list of the biggest dollar gainers in Africa, measured from Dec. 31, 2014 to Dec. 30, 2015.

Issad Rebrab. Photo: AfricanBusinessMagazine

Issad Rebrab, Algeria

Net Worth: $3.2 billion

Up: $181 million (6.6%)

How he makes his money:

He’s the chairman of Algeria’s largest privately-owned conglomerate, Cevital, which deals in food and agriculture. The company owns one of the world’s largest sugar refineries and has been on an acquisition spree in Europe, snapping up distressed assets in France, Spain and Italy. In sub-Saharan Africa, where competitive markets for consumer goods and basic commodities are opening up for competition, Cevital agreed to invest $3 billion to develop agricultural production of sugar cane in Sudan.

Isabel dos Santos. Photo: MakaAngola.org

Isabel dos Santos, Angola

Net Worth: $3.6 billion

Up: $335 million (12.5%)

How she makes  her money:

That’s controversial. She’s is the daughter of Angola’s long-running President José Eduardo and critics say that’s how she got rich. Most of her money comes from investments in oil, banking and telecom companies in Angola and Portugal. Dos Santos denies using her position to benefit herself. “Most rumors you’ve heard are not true,” she told the Financial Times.





 

Christo Wiese. Photo: Halden Krog/financialmail.co.za

Christo Wiese, South Africa

Net Worth: $6.2 billion

Up: $841 million (15%)

How he made his money:

Christo Wiese was the biggest beneficiary of a February 2015 deal in which Steinhoff, a furniture and home goods retailer he owned stakes in, acquired Pepkor, a clothing and footwear seller, for $5.7 billion in cash and stock. Wiese now owns an estimated 17 percent in Steinhoff, as well as 15 percent of publicly listed Shoprite Holdings, one of Africa’s largest retailers, as well as a stake in private equity firm Brait. Wiese’s $841 million gain in 2015 made him the biggest African billionaire winner in dollar terms.

Mohammed Dewji. Photo: africanindy.com

Mohammed Dewji, Tanzania

Net Worth: $1.11 billion
Up: $308 million (38.7%)





 

How he made his money:

Dewji is president and CEO of Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Limited (MeTL), a diversified conglomerate of 31 industries with a presence in Dubai and eight African countries including Tanzania, Uganda, Rwanda, Burundi, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Malawi, Zambia and Mozambique.

He employs 5 percent of Tanzania’s formal employees — more than 24,000 – and contributes more than 3 percent to Tanzania’s GDP. He is also the country’s largest private landowner with “entrepreneurial interests” occupying 40,000 hectares (almost 100,000 acres or 156 square miles).

At age 29, Dewji was one of the youngest Tanzanians to become a member of parliament. At age of 40, he is the 31st richest African.

Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola and his famous daughter DJ Cuppy. Photo: bellanaija.com

Femi Otedola, Nigeria

Net Worth: $1.8 billion

Up: $778 million (75%)

How he made his money:

Otedola owns more than 70 percent of Forte Oil, Africa’s largest oil marketing company by retail network, according to Forbes. His net worth grew by more than 75 percent as Forte Oil’s stock price reached record heights thanks to new investments in power generation. Shareholders were rewarded with bonus shares in 2014. In 2015, the government-owned Nigerian National Petroleum Corporation named Forte Oil one of 21 local and international companies to be awarded a lucrative crude oil lifting contract.

 

 


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