Data from Forbes’ real-time ranking of billionaires shows that South Africa’s richestpeople continued to grow their wealth in 2019, although not at the same pace as their global counterparts.
Nicky Oppenheimer, Johann Rupert and Michiel le Roux all saw their wealth grow – while Patrice Motsepe and Koos Bekker also saw moderate gains.
Despite these improvements, the local economy has clearly had an impact on their fortunes as a number of billionaires slipped down the rankings.
The two exceptions are Johann Rupert, who rose from 313th from 317th and Michiel le Roux who rose to 1,809th from 1,818th on the billionaire list.
The below table shows where South Africa’s billionaires’ fortunes sit at the end of 2019 compared to the March 2019 Forbes ranking.
|Mar||Dec||Billionaire||March 2019||December 2019||Change (%)|
|200||241||Nicky Oppenheimer||$7.3 billion||$7.7 billion||+5.5%|
|317||313||Johann Rupert||$5.5 billion||$6.5 billion||+18.2%|
|962||975||Patrice Motsepe||$2.4 billion||$2.6 billion||+8.3%|
|1008||1040||Koos Bekker||$2.3 billion||$2.5 billion||+8.7%|
|1818||1809||Michiel le Roux||$1.2 billion||$1.3 billion||+8.3%|
Africa’s richest man
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, meanwhile, became $4.3 billion richer in 2019 as his fortune continued to grow on the back of investments in cement, flour and sugar.
The 62-year-old Nigerian businessman and Africa’s most prominent industrialist ended the decade with a net worth of almost $15 billion, making him the 96th wealthiest man in the world, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index.
Born into a wealthy Muslim family of traders in the north, Dangote incorporated his own business selling cement at 21. He shifted to manufacturing the building material in the 1990s, helped by government policies that encouraged ways to reduce the need for imports. His critics still accuse him of taking advantage of his closeness to the government to gain an unfair market advantage, a claim he has repeatedly dismissed.
His conglomerate, Dangote Industries, includes the biggest cement company on the continent, the Lagos-listed Dangote Cement Plc. That’s one of four publicly traded companies under the Dangote umbrella that account for more than a fifth of the value of the Nigerian stock exchange.
The year 2020 could be a significant one for the billionaire, who is close to completing one of the world’s largest oil refineries in Nigeria. The plant has the capacity to meet more than Nigeria’s entire fuel consumption and could transform an economy that currently imports all its refined product needs. Dangote is also constructing a fertilizer factory on the same site.
With further reporting from Bloomberg.