How SA’s rich stack up to the world’s wealthiest

The answer, according to the City Press Wealth Index published today, is that although we may think those on top are superwealthy, they do not compare to their international counterparts.

The City Press Wealth Index measures the gross worth of directors of JSE-listed companies according to the shares they own, and there are many more wealthy South Africans out there.

In contrast, the Forbes Billionaires List 2018 calculates their net worth, which is significantly higher. It reveals how staggeringly rich the world’s wealthiest are, and, much like in South Africa, men dominate this list.

1.  According to Forbes, the world’s richest man is Jeff Bezos, whose net worth stands at $112 billion (more than R1.4 trillion).

Jeff Bezos

Amazon’s co-founder and chief executive, Bezos (54) was born in Albuquerque, New Mexico, and raised in Houston, Texas. He graduated from Princeton University in 1986 with a degree in computer science and worked at a variety of Wall Street firms. In late 1994, he quit his day job, founded Amazon and started selling books online. The company has since expanded to a variety of products and services, including video and audio streaming.

Bill Gates

2. Bill Gates is in the number 2 position, worth $90 billion (more than R1.18 trillion). The principal founder of Microsoft Corporation is one of the most influential people on the planet, particularly in the arena of global healthcare. In 1975, Gates and Paul Allen launched Microsoft, which became the world’s largest PC software company. At just 31, Gates became the world’s youngest billionaire in 1987 after Microsoft went public. Now aged 62, Gates and his wife Melinda chair the world’s largest charity, the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Warren Buffett

3. Third placed Warren Buffett is worth $84 billion (more than R1.1 trillion). Buffet is a business magnate, investor and philanthropist who serves as chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, which owns more than 60 companies. He is often referred to as the “Wizard”, “Oracle”, or “Sage” of Omaha (Nebraska). Buffett, now 87, reportedly displayed an interest in business and investing at a young age. He is a notable philanthropist, having pledged to give away 99% of his fortune to philanthropic causes, primarily via the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

4 Bernard Arnault and family are in fourth position with a net worth of $72 billion (about R950 billion). Arnault oversees an empire of 70 luxury brands, including Louis Vuitton and Sephora. He credits the success of his group to a combination of creativity, vision and organisation. Arnault (69) is the richest person in France and in April also became the richest person in fashion, toppling Zara’s Amancio Ortega.

5. Mark Zuckerberg bags fifth place, worth $71 billion (more than R936 billion). The youngest man on the top 10 list at 34 years old, Zuckerberg is a technology entrepreneur and philanthropist known for co-founding and leading Facebook as its chairman and chief executive. Facebook was founded in his Harvard University dorm room in 2004, but Zuckerberg only took it public in 2012 and still owns 17% of its stock.

6. In sixth position, Amancio Ortega is worth $70 billion (about R923 billion) and is the wealthiest retailer, having co-founded Inditex, known for Zara fashion.

7. Carlos Slim Helú and Family, worth $67.1 billion (about R885 billion), is in seventh place. He is Mexico’s richest man and owner of the mobile telecom firm America Movil.

8. In eighth place is Charles Koch, worth $60 billion (more than R790 billion). He has been owner, chairman and chief executive of Koch Industries since 1967.

9. David Koch, also worth $60 billion, is in ninth place. He is Charles’ brother and shares the majority control of Koch Industries with him.

10. Scraping into the top 10 is Larry Ellison. The man who co-founded software firm Oracle in 1977 is worth $58.5 billion (about R771 billion).


Predictably. perhaps, the world’s wealthiest women are not nearly as rich as the men.

Alice Walton

1. The woman with the most money in the world is Alice Walton (68). With riches totalling $46 billion (about R606 billion), the American heiress to the fortune of
WalMart stores ranks at number 16 on the Forbes Billionaire list 2018.

2. Françoise Bettencourt Meyers (65) and family (worth $42.2 billion, or about R556 billion) also inherited their wealth. Meyers and her family own a 33% stake in the cosmetic giant L’Oreal. Meyers is in the number 18 position on the Forbes Billionaire list.

3. Susanne Klatten ($25 billion or more than R329 billion) is a German heiress who owns a 19.2% stake in car manufacturer BMW. She is Germany’s richest woman and the 32nd-richest person in the world.

4. Jaqueline Mars (worth $23.6 billion or around R311 billion) is an heiress and investor, and owns a third of Mars Incorporated. The 78-year-old is a well-known philanthropist and the 34th-richest person in the world.

5. Yang Huiyan is worth $21.9 billion (about R289 billion). She is a Chinese property developer and majority shareholder (57%) of Country Garden Holdings. Asia’s richest woman is, according to Forbes, the 43rd-richest person in the world. The 37-year-old is a graduate of Ohio State University.


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