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Meet the 17 Black billionaires in the world in 2021

There are 2,755 billionaires in the world today. Only 17 are Black.

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South African billionaire Patrice Motsepe.

There are 2,755 billionaires in the world today, according to Forbes Magazine. But only 17 are Black.

Of those 17, only two are women.

Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos fell out of both the Forbes and Bloomberg billionaire rankings after her assets in Angola, Portugal and the Netherlands were frozen in the wake of the Luanda Leaks scandal. Nigerian oil baron Folorunsho Alakija also dropped off billionaire rankings, as lower oil prices impacted her net worth.  

Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote is still the wealthiest Black person in the world. U.S. media mogul Oprah Winfrey is the world’s richest Black woman, while Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty is the world’s youngest Black billionaire. 

These are the 17 Black billionaires in 2021: 

#1 Aliko Dangote

Estimated net worth: $12.3 billion 

Aside from being the wealthiest man in Nigeria and Africa, Aliko Dangote is the wealthiest Black person in the world. 

Dangote derives most of his wealth from his 85-percent stake in Dangote Cement Plc, Africa’s largest cement producer. He also also owns stakes in Dangote Sugar Refinery, a leading sugar manufacturer, and the publicly traded salt company NASCON Allied Plc.

He also owns a $12-billion oil refinery, which is currently under construction, as well as a fertilizer refinery in Nigeria that has also yet to commence production.

#2 Mohammed Al-Amoudi

Estimated net worth: $6.94 billion

Al-Amoudi was the richest Black man globally before Nigerian industrialist and cement tycoon Aliko Dangote ousted him in 2013 to claim the richest Black man title. He was born in Ethiopia in 1946 to a Hadhrami father and an Ethiopian mother. The Saudi-Ethiopian tycoon controls a collection of industrial assets in Sweden, Saudi Arabia and Ethiopia, including Sweden’s largest oil refiner Preem, the Svenska Petroleum oil explorer and the Midroc Europe construction and property group.

Al-Amoudi dropped off the Forbes Billionaire List in 2019.

However, the Bloomberg Billionaire Index put his net worth at $6.94 billion.

#3 Mike Adenuga

Estimated net worth: $6.3 billion

Mike Adenuga is a Nigerian billionaire who made his first million in 1979 at age 26, selling lace and soft drinks. He derives the majority of his net worth from the mobile telecom company, Globacom. Globacom is Nigeria’s second-largest telecom operator with a presence in Ghana and Benin. The billionaire also has a majority interest in Conoil Plc, a leading petroleum marketer in Nigeria, and Conoil Producing, an oil exploration company. 

#4 Robert F. Smith 

Estimated net worth: $6 billion

Robert F. Smith is a U.S. businessman and philanthropist who derives the majority of his wealth from Vista Equity Partners, a private equity firm founded in 2000 with investments in software companies. The company has more than $50 billion in assets, with annualized returns of 22 percent since its inception.

#5 Abdul Samad Rabiu

Estimated net worth: $4.5 billion

Abdul Samad Rabiu is the founder and chairman of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate focused on manufacturing, infrastructure and agriculture. The billionaire derives the majority of his wealth from BUA Cement Plc, a leading cement manufacturer. One of Africa’s most generous philanthropists, he has given tens of millions of dollars to support education and healthcare. 

#6 David Steward

Estimated net worth: $3.7 billion 

David Steward is the founder and chairman of one of the largest African-American-owned businesses, World Wide Technology. His company has grown from a reseller of technology equipment in 1990 into a leading technology solutions provider. The company recorded $13.4 billion in revenue in 2020.

#7 Patrice Motsepe

Estimated net worth: $3.1 billion

Patrice Motsepe is a South African billionaire and president of the Confederation of African Football. The founder of African Rainbow Minerals, he became a billionaire in 2008. Aside from his equity position in the company, he has a stake in Sanlam, a Johannesburg Stock Exchange-listed financial services firm. He is also the president and owner of the Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club, a South African professional football club.

#8 Oprah Winfrey

Estimated net worth: $2.5 billion

Oprah Winfrey is a U.S. talk show host, TV producer, actress and philanthropist, who is best known for her talk show, “The Oprah Winfrey Show.” 

#9 Alexander Karp

Estimated net worth: $2.2 billion

Born to a Jewish father and an African American mother, Alexander Karp is the co-founder and CEO of Palantir Technologies, a listed U.S. software company, specializing in big data analytics.

#10 Strive Masiyiwa 

Estimated net worth: $1.8 billion

Strive Masiyiwa is a London-based Zimbabwean billionaire. He is the founder of the African mobile telecom giant Econet Group and Liquid Telecom.

#11 Kanye West 

Estimated net worth: $1.8 billion

Hip hop artist turned fashion mogul Kanye West made the majority of his wealth from his “Yeezy” sneaker brand through a fashion collaboration with the German sportswear company, Adidas. In line with the agreement between Adidas and Yeezy, West receives an annual royalty from the German sportswear giant. His Yeezy brand generated a total of $1.7 billion in sales in 2020. In 2020, West also entered a deal with the U.S. clothing and accessories retailer, Gap Inc., to sell a line of “Yeezy” clothing specially designed for Gap.

#12 Robyn “Rihanna” Fenty

Estimated net worth: $1.7 billion 

Rihanna is a Barbados-born musician and entrepreneur. She is the third hip hop artist to become a billionaire. Rihanna is a 50-percent owner in Fenty Beauty, a fast growing cosmetics company that she launched in 2017 as part of a joint venture with the French luxury goods conglomerate, LVMH.

#13 Michael Jordan

Estimated net worth: $1.6 billion

Michael Jordan is a former U.S. professional basketball player and the chairman and principal owner of the Charlotte Hornets, an NBA team in North Carolina. The bulk of his fortune stems from stakes and royalties in lucrative ventures with corporate partners such as Nike, Hanes and Gatorade. 

#14 Michael Lee Chin

Estimated net worth: $1.5 billion

Michael Lee-Chin is an American-Canadian billionaire and the chairman and CEO of Portland Holdings Inc., a privately held investment company in Ontario, Canada.

He made a fortune investing in financial companies such as National Commercial Bank Jamaica and AIC Limited. The majority of his fortune is derived from his 65-percent stake in National Commercial Bank Jamaica.

#15 Shawn “Jay-Z” Carter

Estimated net worth: $1.4 billion

Jay-Z is hip hop’s first billionaire. He founded the entertainment company Rock Nation, and also owns stakes in Armand de Brignac and D’Usse cognac. He recently earned $297 million after selling majority stakes in Tidal, his high-fidelity music streaming platform, to the fintech company, Square. The rapper also sold off a 50-percent stake in the champagne brand Armand de Brignac to LVMH’s Moët Hennessy for $320 million.

#16 Mohammed Ibrahim 

Estimated net worth: $1.1 billion

Mo Ibrahim is a Sudanese-British billionaire businessman. He sold Celtel International to Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Company for $3.4 billion in 2005. He is worth $1.1 billion.

#17 Tyler Perry

Estimated net worth: $1 billion

Tyler Perry is an actor who made a billion-dollar fortune from his craft. 

Perry owns 100 percent of his creative output, including more than 1,200 TV episodes, 22 feature films and at least two dozen stage plays, as well as a 330-acre studio at the edge of Atlanta’s southern limits. A substantial percentage of his $1 billion fortune is derived from his “Madea” franchise, which has grossed more than $660 million.

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Nassef Sawiris’ Orascom Construction adds new projects worth $785 million in Q4 2021

Orascom Construction is a leading global engineering and construction contractor founded by the late Egyptian industrialist Onsi Sawiris.

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Nassef Sawiris.

Egyptian engineering and construction contractor, Orascom Construction Plc, has added new projects worth $785 million to its backlog of active construction works in Q4 2021.

According to a press statement issued by the leading construction group, the new projects raised the total number of awards linked to the group by 22 percent to $3.5 billion in 2021.

A breakdown of the figure revealed that projects in the Middle East comprised 55 percent of the new awards for the period., including transportation and power projects in Egypt and water projects in Egypt and Tunisia.

Outside the Middle East, new awards in the United States accounted for 45 percent of the total additions in the quarter, and this was driven by new projects in the commercial sector.

As of Dec. 30, 2021, the estimated consolidated backlog stood at $6.1 billion. This is $100-million higher than its figure for Q3 2021.

The new projects added in Q4 2021 lagged behind the volume of new awards added in Q3 2021, which amounted to $962.4 million thanks to Orascom signing a deal to build Egypt’s first high-speed rail system, as well as sizeable contracts in the student housing sector in the United States.

Orascom Construction is a leading global engineering and construction contractor founded by the late Egyptian industrialist Onsi Sawiris, who died on June 29 at 91.

The billionaire Sawiris family holds a 51.8-percent stake in the Egypt-based contractor through OS Private Trust Company, while Egypt’s wealthiest man Nassef Sawiris owns a 28.97-percent stake in the group, amounting to 33,825,323 ordinary shares.

As of press time, Jan. 18, shares in the group were trading at EGP76 ($4.829) per share. This is 1.23-percent higher than their opening price on the Egyptian Stock Exchange this morning.

At this price, the company’s market capitalization is EGP8.87 billion ($563.9 million).

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Led by Uganda-based Kaivan Sattar, Asaak raises $30 million to deepen operations in Africa

Mzabi, who started ARTES with his brothers Mzoughi and Sadok, holds a substantial 24.8-percent stake in the company. 

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Kaivan Sattar.

Ugandan fintech startup, Asaak, has raised $30 million in a pre-Series-A funding round to deepen operations, as it prepares to enter new markets on the continent in line with its strategic expansion plans.

Asaak is a Ugandan startup co-founded by Kaivan Sattar, Anthony Leontiev, Edward Egwalu and Dylan Terrill in 2016.

It operates as a financial services provider to unbanked Ugandan entrepreneurs, providing financing for motorcycle operators who are locked out by formal banking institutions.

Since it commenced operations about six years ago, the startup has financed the purchase of 5,000 motorcycles and started offering smartphones and fuel financing to operators.

Its pre-Series-A funding round, which is a mix of equity and debt financing, was led by Resolute Ventures, Social Capital, HOF Capital, Founders Factory Africa, End Poverty Make Trillions, Decentralized VC and a number of angel investors.

The startup noted that the $30-million capital injection will be used to support the acquisition of motorbikes for operators and also the adoption of smartphones by taxi operators.

It also revealed plans to enter six new markets in Africa in the near future.

Dylan Terrill, co-founder and chief business officer of Asaak, said: “Asaak is unlocking mobility-based work, which literally moves the economy forward and creates upward mobility for these individuals. Bodaboda riders are the lifeblood of Africa, moving people and cargo from home to school to work. They just need access to motorcycles which leads them to better income opportunities and makes them able to provide for their families.”

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African billionaire heirs are making their mark in philanthropy

The progeny of some of Africas’s wealthiest people are putting in more of their time to giving and impacting.

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Tsitsi Mutendi, co-founder of African Family Firms.

For many years philanthropy and Africa have been marred by the images of poor African children, starvation and refugees fleeing war-torn zones. However, if you live on the continent, you will know that it’s a vibrant and colorful place that has its challenges like all geographic locations. Some of the images that have plagued Africa have been real, but they do not tell the holistic story.

As the world has evolved, so has Africa. With a lot more homegrown wealth and an increase in millionaires and billionaires on the continent, we have seen the introduction of African foundations created and led by African families, African family offices and African family businesses. Africa has one of the fastest-growing markets of high net-worth individuals, and many of these individuals are becoming entrenched in sustainable philanthropy.

You may ask, “Where is this money coming from?”

According to a report authored by AfrAsia bank in 2021, the total private wealth held in Africa was standing at $2 trillion as of December 2020. In addition to this homegrown wealth, according to the World Bank, Africa diaspora remittances being sent home were about $48 billion in 2020.

With all this money being found on the continent in its various forms, we are beginning to see African giving becoming the norm and pushed forward by the spirit of Ubuntu.

Ubuntu (Zulu pronunciation: [ùɓúntʼù]) is a Nguni Bantu term meaning, “humanity.” It is sometimes translated as, “I am because we are.” Ubuntu is essentially about togetherness and how all of our actions impact others and society.

In Africa, this culture and way of life permeates to everyday gestures in the course of life. In the past, it applied to family, friends and community members, but now we are seeing it expand to a broader audience and in various ways. African philanthropists are looking towards impact and addressing issues they experienced or their communities experience in a way that changes the narrative and creates opportunities for their recipients.

Most notable about the giving is that the conversation is not only being led by the African founders or matriarchs and patriarchs, but next-gens are also equally putting in their weight and names to giving and impacting. Some of the notable next-gen givers are:

  • Florence “Cuppy” Otedola, and the Cuppy Foundation. Cuppy is the daughter of billionaire Femi Otedola. The Cuppy Foundation tackles child protection and education issues for girls and persons with disabilities (minorities). Cuppy has spearheaded several initiatives, such as her “Cuppy Takes Africa” tour in 2015 in partnership with Guarantee Trust Bank and the Dangote Foundation. She has also personally paid for multiple students to go to university in Nigeria and worked with various organisations such as the Global Citizen, Royal Commonwealth Society, and the Save The Children Initiative, where she raised over $13 million.
  • Elizabeth Tanya Masiyiwa, the daughter of Strive and Tsitsi Masiyiwa, is an executive director at Delta Philanthropies. Delta Philanthropies is a UK-registered charity founded by the Masiyiwa family and governed under the UK Charity Commission. Its strategic pillars include education, health, rural transformation and sustainable livelihoods, disaster relief and preparedness. Its impact has seen millions of dollars being put into creating a difference, and according to their website, it has impacted over 15 million people and counting.
  • Halima Aliko Dangote is a trustee for the Dangote Foundation. The foundation has become the largest private foundation in Sub-Saharan Africa, with the largest endowment by a single African donor. The foundation is interested in health, education, empowerment and humanitarian relief.
  • Naguib, Samih and Nassef Sawiris all sit on the Sawiris Foundation for Social Development board, a charity that provides microcredit to Egyptian entrepreneurs and grants scholarships to outstanding Egyptian students in tertiary institutions. 
  • A most notable next-gen founder and philanthropist is Mohammed Dewji. The Tanzanian billionaire joined the Giving Pledge, promising to give away at least half of his wealth to philanthropic causes. Dewji’s Mo Dewji Foundation focuses on three areas: health, education, and community development. Over five years, the Mo Dewji Foundation has spent more than $3 million in grants and other forms of funding for community service projects, supporting schools, hospitals and wells.

As we can now see, philanthropy is no longer just a buzzword. The global pandemic has highlighted why philanthropy is essential, especially when people are left marginalised. And Africa’s families have heeded the call and put their charitable giving to use. Next-gens being the key to continued giving, when they actively participate and lead the charge, they start exploring sustainable solutions in regions they are familiar with and communities they live amongst. It’s well worth seeing how the next-gens will drive the philanthropic future of the continent.

Through this work, we will see the values and vision of the various financial leaders of the continent and the future stewards of their wealth.

Tsitsi Mutendi is a co-founder of African Family Firms, an organization that aims to facilitate the continuity of African family businesses across generations. She is also the lead consultant at Nhaka Legacy Planning and the host of the Enterprising Families Podcast.

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