Africa’s first Black billionaire and the wealthiest Black individual in Southern Africa, Patrice Motsepe, has witnessed a substantial decline in fortune, with his net worth plummeting by a staggering $1 billion since the start of this year.
Motsepe, who made history as Africa’s first Black billionaire in 2008 thanks to the remarkable success of his mining group, African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), has seen his net worth drop $1 billion since the beginning of this year, from $3.2 billion at the start of 2023 to $2.2 billion at the time of drafting this report.
The decline in his wealth is closely linked to the sustained downturn in the market value of his 40.37-percent stake in ARM, a leading South African mining conglomerate involved in various mining projects encompassing iron, coal, copper, gold, platinum, and other precious metals.
The persistent drop in Motsepe’s stake can be attributed to the declining fortunes of the company, which has been adversely affected by bearish investor sentiment amid a slew of issues such as rail logistics problems, reduced production levels, and weaker commodity prices.
Recent financial reports reveal that ARM’s profits have suffered a significant blow, falling by more than 35 percent. At the close of its 2023 fiscal year, the company reported profits of R9.32 billion ($487.3 million), down from R14.36 billion ($750.8 million) at the end of its 2022 fiscal year.
ARM’s headline earnings, the primary profit metric for South African companies, have experienced a 21-percent decrease, declining from R11.34 billion ($592.9 million) to R8.98 billion ($469.5 million).
The Motsepe-led mining group attributes these setbacks to challenges, including rail logistics problems, reduced production levels, and unfavorable commodity prices. These factors have collectively contributed to the decline in ARM’s earnings, which, in turn, have adversely impacted Motsepe’s net worth.
The $1-billion decline in Motsepe’s fortune echoes a broader trend among African billionaires, with several of them witnessing a decline in their net worth by a billion dollars or more since the start of this year.
The challenges facing the continent’s billionaires mirror the shifting economic landscape and various industry-specific factors affecting their fortunes.