Home » Femi Otedola returns to world’s billionaires list as global billionaire wealth hits $14.2 trillion

Femi Otedola returns to world’s billionaires list as global billionaire wealth hits $14.2 trillion

Super-rich reach new wealth zenith

by Omokolade Ajayi
Femi Otedola

U.S. business magazine Forbes has unveiled its 38th Annual World’s Billionaires List, spotlighting Africa’s standout billionaires. Christo Wiese of South Africa took the spotlight last year, marking his return to the Forbes Richest list after a four-year absence due to the Steinhoff accounting scandal. This year, Nigerian billionaire Femi Otedola steals the show for the continent, making a notable comeback to the global billionaires club.

Otedola, chairman of Geregu Power, a leading power generation company, and Nigeria’s most valuable lender, First Bank of Nigeria Holdings Plc (FBN Holdings), returns after a seven-year break. During his hiatus, he strategically reshaped his portfolio, beginning with the sale of his shares in Forte Oil, the successor of African Petroleum, to pivot into the energy sector. This spurred the growth of Geregu Power, making it Nigeria’s first publicly-traded utility company.

Otedola makes billionaire comeback

His diverse asset portfolio, comprising offshore cash, extensive international real estate, and stakes in Nigeria’s leading banks — FBN Holdings and Zenith Bank — along with recent investments in Dangote Cement, Africa’s largest cement maker, have propelled his wealth to $1.7 billion. This secures his spot among Africa’s richest individuals and earns him a coveted place on Forbes’ annual billionaire list.

With Otedola’s return to the billionaire ranks, Africa now boasts 20 billionaires, up from 19 in 2023 and 18 in 2022. Globally, Forbes has identified an unprecedented 2,781 billionaires this year, marking a notable increase of 141 from last year and surpassing the previous record set in 2021 by 26 billionaires.

Super-rich reach new wealth Zenith

The ranks of the world’s ultra-wealthy continue to swell, with their combined net worth hitting a record $14.2 trillion. This marks a $2 trillion increase from last year and surpasses the previous record of $13.1 trillion set in 2021.

On the African continent, Aliko Dangote remains the undisputed heavyweight.  His $14.3-billion fortune stems primarily from his 86 percent stake in Dangote Cement, a company that recently welcomed Femi Otedola as a new shareholder. 

Globally, Bernard Arnault retains his crown as the richest person for the second consecutive year. The French luxury goods magnate’s net worth has climbed to an estimated $233 billion, a $22-billion increase fueled by another banner year for LVMH, his conglomerate that houses powerhouse brands like Louis Vuitton, Tiffany & Co., and Sephora.

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