by Chi Ibe
Forbes today released the 2013 list of the 50 richest people in Africa. Remarkably, the number of billionaires has surged up to 27, up two-thirds from 2012 and from just 2 people in 2003.
“There’s no doubt about it: Africa’s richest are getting richer,” said the Forbes report. “The main reasons: Rising stock prices, new business deals, and new moguls and assets discovered as a result of FORBES reporters’ research.”
Aliko Dangote of Nigeria tops the list for the third year in a row, with a fortune of $20.8 billion – $8.8 billion more than in November 2012, making him the biggest gainer in dollar terms. About 90% of his net worth lies in his shares of publicly traded Dangote Cement, which has operations in a host of African countries and plans to expand.
Nine newcomers join the list of Richest Africans, including Issad Rebrab of Algeria–the first Algerian in the ranks and the country’s first billionaire. Rebrab’s private Cevital Group, which had $3.5 billion in revenues last year, produces sugar, oil, and margarine. His success is unusual in a country with socialist policies that have typically been difficult for entrepreneurs. Three newcomers also join from Tanzania, two from Nigeria and one each from Kenya, Morocco and South Africa.
Who are the 11 new billionaires on the list? Four of them are newcomers: Algeria’s Rebrab, Vimal Shah & family of Kenya, Rostam Azizi of Tanzania and Aziz Akhannouch of Morocco. But the rest were on last year’s Africa list and crossed over into billionaire territory within the past year. Stephen Saad of South Africa rode a rocketing share price at pharmaceutical firm Aspen Pharmacare, which took him to a net worth of $1.5 billion, up from $975 million a year ago. (Aspen Pharmacare manufactures drugs in 17 factories spread across five continents.) Koos Bekker, the CEO of South African media and investment firm Naspers, joined the billionaires’ ranks as the value of his options and exercised shares rose.
See the list below: