Bloomberg has updated its Billionaires Index for March 2019.
Unsurprisingly the list is dominated by Americans, with Amazon’s Jeff Bezos ($138 billion), Microsoft’s Bill Gates ($98.5 billion) and Berkshire Hathaway’s Warren Buffet ($83.6 billion) named as the three wealthiest people in the world right now.
In comparison, there are just six Africans ranked among the world’s 500 richest people, while China which has a population that rivals the African continent, boasts 44 billionaires on the list.
Aliko Dangote’s $17 billion net worth makes the Nigerian the richest person in Africa.
Dangote is among just a few Nigerian billionaires, most of whom accrued their wealth by coming into possession of lucrative oil blocks or, in the case of telecom magnate Mike Adenuga, providing services to a fast-growing population.
Egyptian brothers Nassef and Naguib Sawiris also feature on the list with a net worth of $6.79 billion and $5.04 billion respectively.
South African billionaires
The remaining three African billionaires that feature on the list are all South African.
The country’s three wealthiest citizens – De Beers heir Nicky Oppenheimer, luxury tycoon Johann Rupert and property and wholesaling mogul Natie Kirsh – are worth a combined $20 billion.
All three have extensive holdings outside Africa.
Nicky Oppenheimer – $7.05 billion (R100.4 billion)
- World ranking: 218th
- South African ranking: 1st
Oppenheimer sold his family’s 40% stake in De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer, to mining company Anglo American in 2012 for $5.2 billion in cash.
He maintains private equity investments in Africa, Asia, the US and Europe through London-based Stockdale Street and Johannesburg-based Tana Africa Capital.
Johann Rupert – $6.91 billion (R98.4 billion)
- World ranking: 224th
- South African ranking: 2nd
Rupert controls the world’s largest luxury watchmaker, Cie. Financiere Richemont, through a family trust.
The Bellevue, Switzerland-based company’s brands include Jaeger-LeCoultre and Cartier.
His other holdings include Remgro, a Stellenbosch, South Africa-based investment vehicle with stakes in more than 30 companies.
Natie Kirsh – $6.03 billion (R85,9 billion)
- World ranking: 263rd
- South African ranking: 3rd
Kirsh controls Kirsh Group, a closely held conglomerate with a 75% stake in food supply business Jetro Holdings.
The College Point, New York-based business has Jetro Cash and Carry and Restaurant Depot stores across more than 30 states in the US. He also has private equity investments and property on four continents.