These are the wealthiest cities in Africa, which thousands of dollar millionaires call home

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The report defines the "total wealth" of a city as the private wealth held by all the individuals living in it.
The report defines the "total wealth" of a city as the private wealth held by all the individuals living in it.
Allan Baxter
  • The Africa Wealth Report 2021 ranks the wealthiest cities in Africa in terms of private wealth held.
  • Johannesburg is in first place, followed by Cape Town.
  • About 15 100 dollar millionaires and two dollar billionaires call the city of gold home.

The city of gold, Johannesburg, is the wealthiest city in Africa and home to 15 100 dollar millionaires (about R14 million or more) and two dollar billionaires (about R14 billion or more), according to the Africa Wealth Report 2021 by New World Wealth for Mauritius-based AfrAsia Bank.

The report defines the "total wealth" of a city as the private wealth held by all the individuals living in it. It includes all their assets (property, cash, equities, business interests) less any liabilities. Government funds are excluded from the calculation. The data is for December 2020 and, therefore, take into account the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.

Most of Johannesburg’s wealth is concentrated in Sandton, which is home to the JSE (the largest stock market in Africa) and to the head offices of most of Africa's largest banks and corporates. Major sectors in the city include financial services like banks and professional services like law firms and consultancies.

Cape Town is the second wealthiest city on the continent and home to 6 500 dollar millionaires and one dollar billionaire. It boasts Africa's most exclusive suburbs including Clifton, Bantry Bay, Fresnaye, Llandudno, Camps Bay, Bishopscourt and Constantia. The Mother City is also home to a number of top-end lifestyle estates including Steenberg, Atlantic Beach and Silverhurst Estate. Major sectors include real estate and fund management.

Third on the list is Cairo in Egypt followed by Lagos in Nigeria with another South African city, Durban in fifth place. The report includes the wealth held in Umhlanga, La Lucia and Ballito as part of Durban. It found Umhlanga and Ballito to be two of the fastest growing towns in South Africa, in terms of wealth growth over the past decade, with apartments on Lagoon Drive in Umhlanga being some of the most exclusive in the country. Durban is home to 3 400 dollar millionaires.

Nairobi in Kenya is the sixtht wealthiest city in the continent and in seventh place the report lists the three neighbouring Cape Winelands towns of Paarl, Franschhoek and Stellenbosch. Together, the three towns are home to 2 800 dollar millionaires and two dollar billionaires. They also combine to form one of the fastest growing areas in SA for so-called high-net worth individuals (HNWIs) - those with wealth of R14 million or more.

A large number of retired HNWIs have moved to these towns over the past decade. There are also several exclusive residential estates in the area that have attracted HNWIs including Val de Vie and De Zalze.

The top ten wealthiest cities in Africa list is rounded off by Pretoria (home to 2 400 dollar millionaires), Casablanca in Morocco and Accra in Ghana. The bottom three cities are Maputo in Mozambique, Lusaka in Zambia and Mombasa in Kenya.

Coronavirus impact

The report has found that the coronavirus pandemic has also caused many super rich in Africa to change their spending habits. Recent trends include a move away from commercial airliners and towards private jet travel. Furthermore, many super rich have chosen to work remotely and live in smaller towns like Hermanus and Franschhoek. Many of them now prefer outdoor hobbies or sports that allow for easy social distancing, such as golf, hiking, fishing, cycling and bird watching.

According to the report, collectables are a growing segment in Africa. They include any luxury item that holds its value reasonably well over time. Prominent examples include art, classic cars, top-end watches, jewellery, fine wine and stamps. Collectables do not include yachts, private jets and new cars.

As for art collection, some of the best-known local artists include South African artists Gerard Sekoto, Maggie Laubser and Irma Stern as well as Ben Enwonwu (Nigeria) and El Anatsui (Ghana). Irma Stern is currently the most valuable local artist. Her paintings can fetch up to US$3 million each, with an average price of around US$250 000 per painting.

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