5 South Africans on Forbes’ list of the richest people in the world

Forbes has published its annual Rich List for 2019, listing five South Africans among the ranks of the world’s wealthiest people.

In its 2019 ranking, Amazon founder and CEO, Jeff Bezos, has retained his position as the wealthiest man in the world, amassing a fortune of $131 billion – $19 billion more than a year ago.

Bezos was the first person in the world to have a 12-digit net-worth on Forbes’ ranking, off the back of his shareholding in Amazon.com, which hit record highs in 2018.

However, Forbes noted that questions linger whether Bezos will remain the richest man in the world following his separation from his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, who may be entitled to as much as half his fortune.

Should this happen, Bezos would be pushed down to 5th in the ranking, along with MacKenzie, who would become the richest woman in the world. The current richest woman in the world is L’Oréal heiress, Francoise Bettencourt Meyers, whose net worth is at $49.3 billion in 2019.

Below Bezos, former richest man, Bill Gates, is closing in on the 12-digit net worth at $96.5 billion. He is followed by investor Warren Buffett ($82.5 billion), Bernard Arnault ($76 million) and Carlos Slim Helu ($64 billion).

Forbes  counted 2,153 billionaires in 2019, 55 fewer than a year ago. Of those, 46%, are poorer than they were last year.

In total, the ultra-rich are worth $8.7 trillion, down $400 billion from 2018. Altogether 11% of last year’s list members, or 247 people, dropped out of the ranks, the most since 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.

These are the 10 richest people in the world:

# Billionaire 2019 Net Worth (US$bn) 2018 Net Worth (US$bn) Change (%)
1 Jeff Bezos 131.0 112.0 +17.0%
2 Bill Gates 96.5 90.0 +7.2%
3 Warren Buffet 82.5 84.0 -1.8%
4 Bernard Arnault 76.0 72.0 +5.6%
5 Carlos Slim Helu 64.0 67.1 -4.6%
6 Amancio Ortega 62.7 70.0 -10.4%
7 Larry Ellison 62.5 57.5 +8.7%
8 Mark Zuckerberg 62.3 71.0 -12.3%
9 Michael Bloomberg 55.5 53.4 +3.9%
10 Larry Page 50.8 54.1 -6.1%

South African billionaires

Five South African billionaires made the cut for the 2019 Forbes ranking – four of which have been familiar inclusions for years.

However, all the South African billionaires have seen a drop in the fortunes from the 2018 list. Diamond magnate Nicky Oppenheimer saw his net worth drop from $7.7 billion to $7.3 billion.

Billionaire Johann Rupert took a big knock, seeing his fortune decline from $7 billion in 2018, to $5.5 billion in 2019.

Patrice Motsepe and Koos Bekker are at similar levels ($2.4 billion and $2.3 billion, respectively), while 2018’s Forbes List newcomer, Michiel le Roux saw his net worth stable, at $1.2 billion.

South Africa saw three names drop off the billionaire’s list in 2018, with Aspen Pharmacare founder Stephen Saad, Assor Group’s Desmond Sacco, and Shoprite and Steinhoff investor Christoffel Wiese all losing their dollar billionaire status, using Forbes’ methodology.

These are the richest people in South Africa according to Forbes:

# Billionaire 2019 Net Worth (US$bn) 2018 Net Worth (US$bn) Change (%)
200 Nicky Oppenheimer 7.3 7.7 -5.2%
317 Johann Rupert 5.5 7.0 -21.4%
962 Patrice Motsepe 2.4 2.6 -7.7%
1008 Koos Bekker 2.3 2.4 -4.2%
1818 Michiel le Roux 1.2 1.2

Read: 3 South Africans among the world’s 300 richest people

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5 South Africans on Forbes’ list of the richest people in the world