Home » 10 African billionaires who made their fortune in banking

10 African billionaires who made their fortune in banking

by Mfonobong Nsehe

These 10 African billionaires built their fortunes by founding some of the largest financial services institutions on the continent today.  

Michiel Le Roux

Nationality: South African

Company: Capitec

Michiel Le Roux of South Africa founded Capitec Bank in 2001 and presently owns about 11 percent of the company. The Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed bank targets South Africa’s emerging middle class. He served as Capitec’s chairman of the board from 2007 to 2016, and he remains a board member. Le Roux formerly oversaw Boland Bank, a small regional bank in the Cape Town suburbs.

Othman Benjelloun

Nationality: Moroccan

Company: BMCE Bank of Africa

Othman Benjelloun is a Moroccan businessman and wealthy banker.

He is the chairman and CEO of BMCE Bank and Bank of Africa, which he co-founded. BMCE Bank of Africa operates in more than 20 African countries. Benjelloun’s father was a major shareholder in an insurance firm that he later acquired in 1988. He changed the name to RMA Watanya. Benjelloun expanded his business venture into the banking field after purchasing the insurance company. After purchasing the Mali-based Bank of Africa, his banking company, the BMCE Bank, now has a presence in at least 12 African countries.

Jim Ovia

Nationality: Nigerian

Company: Zenith Bank

Ovia is the founder of Zenith Bank Plc, a Lagos-based banking group and Nigeria’s most profitable financial services company. Ovia directly owns an 11.3-percent stake in the bank.

Tony Elumelu

Nationality: Nigerian

Company: United Bank of Africa

Tony Elumelu took over a distressed Nigerian commercial bank in the late 1990s and transformed it into the UBA Group – one of Africa’s largest financial services providers, spanning 20 African countries with more than $12 billion in assets and over 10,000 employees.

James Mwangi

Nationality: Kenyan

Company: Equity Bank

James Mwangi is the group managing director and CEO of Equity Group Holdings, one of Kenya’s largest financial services companies. He owns a 3.38-percent stake in Equity Group Holdings.

Hitesh Anadkat

Nationality: Malawian

Company: FMB Capital Holdings

Malawian banker Hitesh Anadkat is the founder of FMB Capital Holdings, the Mauritius-based holding company of the FMB Capital Group, which provides various financial services. It is listed on the Malawi Stock Exchange and has banking and finance operations in Zimbabwe, Mozambique, Zambia, Mauritius and Botswana. Anadkat owns a 35.5-percent stake in FMB Capital Holdings.

Paul Fokam

Nationality: Cameroonian

Company: Afriland First Bank 

Paul Fokam Kammogne is the founder of Afriland First Bank, one of the largest commercial banks in Francophone Africa. Afriland has branches in eight African countries and a revenue of $1.1 billion in 2016.

Laurie Dippenaar

Nationality: South African

Company: Capitec 

Laurie Dippenaar, 73, is a co-founder of FirstRand, South Africa’s preeminent banking group. In 1977, he co-founded Rand Consolidated Investing, with partners GT Ferreira and Paul Harris. After a series of mergers and acquisitions, FirstRand was established in the 1990s. FirstRand is active in banking and insurance.

Suresh Bhagwanji R. Shah, MBS

Nationality: Kenyan

Company: I&M Holdings

Suresh Bhagwanji R. Shah is the founder and chairman of I&M Bank, the precursor to I&M Holdings, one of Kenya’s leading banking groups, with additional operations in Tanzania, Rwanda, and Mauritius. He founded the bank in 1974 and over a period of 4.5 decades oversaw the growth of I&M into a tier-one from a tier-three lender. He retired in April this year, but still owns 10.8 percent of the financial services group through holding companies and trusts.

Idrissa Nassa

Nationality: Burkinabe

Company: Coris Holding

The Burkinabe banking tycoon sits at the helm of Coris Holding, one of the largest financial services groups in Francophone Africa. Coris’ subsidiaries are engaged in commercial banking, insurance and wealth management and operate in nine African countries. The crown jewel in Coris Holding’s portolio is Coris Bank International S.A., Burkina Faso’s largest commercial bank, which is listed on the Bourse Regionale des Valeurs Mobilieres SA (BRVM). The bank has a market cap of more than $450 million and Nassa holds more than a 70-percent stake.

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