South Africa has a new richest man – while the fight is on for the global number one

Forbes reported this week that Amancio Ortega, the Spanish retail mogul who created fashion store Zara, unseated Microsoft co-founder Bill Gates as the world’s richest man.

At the same time in South Africa, diamond magnate Nicky Oppenheimer, passed retail tycoon Christo Wiese as the country’s wealthiest person.

Forbes noted that Ortega’s wealth was boosted after shares in Inditex, parent company to Zara, Massimo Dutti and Pull&Bear, advanced 2.5% Wednesday, lifting Ortega’s net worth to $79.5 billion, while Gates is worth an estimated $78.5 billion.

Ortega’s time at the top was short lived however, as on Friday morning, Gates is back at the summit, albeit by a very slim margin.


In South Africa however, Oppenheimer’s lead is more clear cut, boasting a fortune of $6.6 billion – 174th in the world, versus Wiese’s $5.8 billion – 214th in the world.

Nicky Oppenheimer, former chairman of De Beers diamond mining company, has seen his fortune remain stable over the past year.

Wiese, who founded Shoprite Holdings, and now chairs the company, along with Pepkor Holdings, has been active in the market of late, through Steinhoff International.

Last month, a Wiese backed company also acquired a 47% stake in alluvial diamond miner, Trans Hex.

Read: South Africa’s richest women vs the world

Johann Rupert remains the third richest South African, and is followed by Allan Gray, who founded Cape Town-based investment management firm Allan Gray.

Naspers chairman, and former CEO, Koos Bekker, completes the top five richest South Africans list, while Patrice Motsepe is the only other South African on Forbe’s list, ranked 1,577th in the world.

# Billionaire 2016 2015 Source
174 Nicky Oppenheimer $6.6bn $6.3bn Diamonds
214 Christo Wiese $5.8bn $6.7bn Retail
248 Johann Rupert $5.3bn $7.4bn Luxury goods
1121 Allan Gray $1.6bn $1.6bn Money management
1275 Koos Bekker $1.4bn $2.3bn Media, investments
1577 Patrice Motsepe $1.1bn $2.2bn Mining
1365 Stephen Saad $1.5bn Pharmaceuticals

Microsoft founder and philanthropist Bill Gates holds the position as the world’s richest man, with an estimated net worth at $78.4 billion, followed by Ortega at $78 billion.

Here are the world’s 10 richest people

# Person Source of wealth Net worth (US$)
1 Bill Gates Microsoft $78.4bn
2 Amancio Ortega Zara $78.0bn
3 Jeff Bezos $67.6bn
4 Warren Buffett Berkshire Hathaway $67.3bn
5 Mark Zuckerberg Facebook $56.0bn
6 Larry Ellison Oracle $51.2bn
7 Michael Bloomberg Bloomberg $51.2bn
8 Carlos Slim Helu American Movil $51.1bn
9 Charles Koch Diversified $43.0bn
9 David Koch Diversified $43.0bn

Forbes’ list is based on real time trading data.

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South Africa has a new richest man – while the fight is on for the global number one