Despite reduced number of billionaires in Africa and size of their fortunes, Tanzanian’s richest man, Mohammed Dewji, has continued retaining his status– emerging the youngest billionaire in the continent.
Mr Dewji (41), having a $1.4bn wealth, outshines the other 20 billionaires in 6 countries: South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco (which have three billionaires each), and Algeria (1 billionaire), Angola (1) as the youngest billionaire, well below the average age of 63 years, according to Forbes magazine.
“I plan to donate well above half my net worth to various organizations and individuals for philanthropic purposes, similar to what I have done thus far,” said Mr Dewji as he commented on this year’s ranking of Africa’s billionaires.
He continued: “If there’s only one thing we’re certain about is that life ends. All these material comforts that surround us are temporary accessories and this is why I decided a long time ago that I do not need any more personal wealth.”
The Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the METL Group said he would ensure that all the current and future projects supported by his Mo Dewji Foundation would be aligned to his philanthropic vision of facilitating the development of a poverty-free Tanzania and a future where the possibilities, opportunities and dreams of Tanzanians are limitless.
He hopes that others will follow in his footsteps. “By signing this pledge, I hope to inspire my peers, fellow Africans and citizens of the world to take a close look at the funds they truly need to maintain their families versus their ability to give,” Dewji wrote in his Pledge letter, adding: “I’ll leave you with a few words I share with many of my comrades: ‘When God blesses you financially, don’t raise your standard of living. Raise your standard of GIVING.”
The Forbes reports that this year the number of billionaires in the continent and the size of their fortunes continues to drop as it only lists those living in Africa, unlike previously that it included Africa’s 50 richest people.
There are 21 billionaires on this year’s list, worth a combined $70 billion. On the November 2015 Africa Rich List, there were 23 African billionaires worth a combined $79.8 billion. That in turn was down from 28 African billionaires in 2014. Nigerian cement tycoon Aliko Dangote remains Africa’s richest person for the sixth year running with a $12.1 billion fortune, despite a nearly $5 billion drop in his net worth for the second year in a row.
Dangote is joined by just two other Nigerian billionaires on this year’s list — telecom tycoon Mike Adenuga, who is Africa’s third richest person with an estimated $5.8 billion fortune, and oil billionaire Folorunsho Alakija, who has an estimated net worth of $1.6 billion.
Two Nigerians dropped off the Billionaires List this year–oil marketer Femi Otedola, whose net worth dropped from $1.6 billion in November 2015 to just $330 million today, and sugar billionaire Abdulsamad Rabiu, whose net worth dropped below $1 billion in the wake of a weakened Nigerian currency.
South Africa retains its dominance on the Africa List. While the country is tied with Egypt for the largest number of individual billionaires, South Africa’s six billionaires are worth a combined $22.7 billion — $7 billion more than Egypt’s six billionaires.
The richest South African billionaire and the continent’s second richest person is diamond magnate Nicky Oppenheimer, who has maintained a low profile since selling his family’s stake in diamond giant DeBeers to Anglo American for $5.1 billion in cash in 2012. Luxury goods tycoon Johann Rupert and retail magnate Christoffel Wiese are tied as South Africa’s second richest and Africa’s fourth richest billionaires, each with a $5.5 billion fortune.
Wiese’s fortune has dropped $1 billion since the November 2015 Africa list, while Rupert’s net worth is down $800 million. Egypt’s richest billionaire is Nassef Sawiris, whose $5.3 billion fortune is up $400 million since November 2015. Sawiris runs OCI, one of the world’s largest nitrogen fertilizers. The country’s next richest person is his brother Naguib Sawiris, who was Egypt’s biggest gainer on the list. His net worth increased $700 million to $3.7 billion.
In December 2016, Naguib Sawiris announced that he would be stepping down as CEO of his telecom company, Orasom Telecom Media & Technology.
The list names two female billionaires in Africa: Angola’s Isabel dos Santos -Africa’s richest woman with a $3.2 billion fortune, and Nigeria’s Alakija. Dos Santos is the daughter of Angola’s president, who appointed her as head of Angola’s state oil firm Sonangol in June 2016.