- Many of Africa's 18 dollar billionaires have seen their riches increase in the past year.
- These include South Africans Johann Rupert, Koos Bekker and Nicky Oppenheimer.
- The biggest gainer in percentage terms was Zimbabwean Strive Masiyiwa.
The net worth of Zimbabwe's telecoms tycoon Strive Masiyiwa, who has recently been appointed to the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation board, has surged 125% to $2.7 billion (~R41.3 billion), Forbes said in a new report on Africa's 18 billionaires, including Johann Rupert, the second-richest person on the continent.
Koos Bekker, the South African business person who has made a fortune in media and e-commerce, is also on the list. His net worth dropped to $2.7 billion from $2.8 billion last year "as the share prices of consumer Internet firms Naspers and Prosus fell more than 20% each".
Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote sits on top of the list with a fortune estimated at nearly $14 billion, helping drive up the total worth of Africa's 18 billionaires by 15% to $84.9 billion for 2022.
The increase in Rupert's net worth has seen him jump from the fourth-richest African in 2021 to become the second-richest this year. Rupert's net worth has shot up to $11 billion, attributable to a massive increase in the share price of companies in which he has interests.
"Jumping into the number two spot - up from number four last year - is luxury goods magnate [Rupert]. A more than 60% surge in the share price of his Compagnie Financiere Richemont - maker of Cartier watches and Montblanc pens - pushed his fortune to $11 billion, up from $7.2 billion a year ago, making him the biggest dollar gainer on the list," notes the report by Forbes magazine.
In third position is fellow South African, Nicky Oppenheimer, "who formerly ran diamond mining firm De Beers before selling it to ... Anglo American a decade ago" and is now worth an estimated $8.7 billion.
Other billionaires on the Forbes list include five from Egypt, while Morocco has two. The number of African billionaires has remained at 18 and there is no female billionaire after the fall from grace of Angola's Isabel dos Santos last year.
However, the biggest gainer in percentage terms was Zimbabwean Strive Masiyiwa, the telecoms magnate who founded Econet Wireless and also has interests in other companies such as Liquid Intelligent Technologies and Africa Data Centers - among others.
Masiyiwa's net worth as calculated by Forbes strengthened by as much as 125% to $2.7 billion, thanks to a surge in the value of shares in Zimbabwe's Econet Wireless on the Harare-based stock exchange.
"Shares of Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which he founded, rose more than 750% in the past year, helping to drive up the size of his fortune."
Masiyiwa, who sits on the board of Netflix, was on Wednesday appointed to the Gates Foundation board. His appointment came a day after the appointment of fellow Zimbabwean, James Manyika, to head up Google's technology and society division.
"Over the last 20 years I have worked with the Gates Foundation, beginning with efforts to improve agricultural production for more than 400 million smallholder farmers in Africa, to improving livelihoods for the poorest people across Africa and the world," said Masiyiwa.