South Africa expected to see a big jump in wealthy people over next 5 years: analysts

Global property consultancy group Knight Frank has published its 2021 Wealth Report, showing how wealth is set to grow in countries around the world over the next five years.

The group’s model predicts that the global population of ultra-high-net-worth individuals (UHNWIs) – someone with a net worth of over $30 million (R447 million)  – will grow by 27% over the next five years.

The group also forecasts that the number of high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) – someone with a net worth of over $1 million (R14.9 million) – will rise by 41%.

This reverses the trend seen in 2020 when HNWI numbers actually contracted against modest growth in the worldwide population, the group said.

Asia tops the group’s five-year UHNWI growth forecast with 39%, led by Indonesia on 67% and India on 63%.

This would see Asia’s proportion of global UHNWIs rise from 22% to 24%. Europe will retain its crown as the second-largest wealth hub with an expected growth of 23%, bringing the total number of UHNWIs to 185,860.

The biggest rises are forecast in Poland with 61%, and Sweden with 59%.

Africa is expected to see the second-biggest regional five-year UHNWI growth rate – 33% – led by Zambia and South Africa.

Despite the forecasts for growth, the most recent data shows that South Africa, and a number of other countries, saw a drop in millionaires last year  spurred by the Covid-19 pandemic.

As of December 2020 there are 44,605 dollar millionaires living in the South Africa, down from 52,109 recorded in 2019. By 2025, this is expected to increase to 63,400.

In terms of multi-millionaires – individuals with a net worth of over $30 million (R436 million) – South Africa has also seen a decline, with Knight Frank recording 742 individuals at the end of 2020, down from 768 the year before.

The group forecasts that to be a top 1% earner in South Africa, you need to earn $180,000 (R2.6 million) a year.


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South Africa expected to see a big jump in wealthy people over next 5 years: analysts