3 South Africans among the world’s 300 richest people

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)

Nathan Kirsh

  • 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.


Read: How much you should be earning in your 40s in South Africa

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3 South Africans among the world’s 300 richest people