Although covid-19 adversely affected several individuals and businesses globally, it had a positive net effect on some others. Media company, Forbes, recently released a list of Africans who still remained billionaires at the end of the year 2020.
Currently, there are altogether 18 people who have a net worth of at least $1 billion on the continent as against 20 in the previous year.
Only 4 people from the tech sector are included in the billionaires’ list while the other people are from other sectors including mining, manufacturing and food.
Here are the 4 tech billionaires.
Mike Adenuga (Telecom, Nigeria)
Mike Adenuga is the second richest African and built his wealth in the telecom and oil sectors. His mobile phone network, Globacom, is the third-largest network operator in Nigeria with 55 million subscribers. As of 2020, his net worth was $7.7 billion, but now it stands at $6.3 billion. Outside Nigeria, Globacom also has a presence in Ghana and Benin Republic.
In the oil sector, Adenuga has an exploration outfit known as Conoil and operates 6 oil blocks in the Niger Delta.
Naguib Sawiris (Telecom, Egypt)
Naguib Sawiris is an Egyptian who also made his wealth in the telecom industry. His family is a prominent one in Egypt and his brother, Nassef Sawiris is equally a billionaire. Naguib founded Orascom Telecom Holdings which he sold in 2011 to Veon (formerly VimpelCom) in a deal that was worth billions of dollars.
Sawiris developed a luxury resort called Silversands on the Caribbean island of Grenada and also owns 88% of Euronews, a pay-TV and video news network that operates across Europe. As of 2020, his net worth was $3 billion but has risen to $3.2 billion currently, according to Forbes.
Koos Bekker (Naspers, South Africa)
Jacobus Petrus ‘Koos’ Bekker is a South African billionaire and chairman of the Naspers Group. Naspers has subsidiaries which include Multichoice, OLX Group and Prosus. Bekker’s group operates in Latin America, China, India, Russia and other countries in Europe, America and Africa.
His 2020 net worth of $2.5 billion has risen to $2.8 billion in 2021, according to Forbes.
Strive Masiyiwa (Telecom, Zimbabwe)
Masiyiwa is a Zimbabwean billionaire. He launched Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in the country in 1998 after protracted opposition from the government at the time. He owns more than 50% of the telco. He also owns more than 50% of Liquid Telecom, a private company that provides fibre optic and satellite services to telecom firms across Africa.
Strive Masiyiwa also has stakes in mobile phone networks in Burundi and Lesotho as well as investments in fintech and power distribution firms in Africa. His net worth was $1.1 billion in 2020 and has increased to $1.2 billion presently.
Africa’s tech billionaires worth a combined $14.3bn
When combined, all four tech billionaires have a total net worth of $14.3 billion. This amounts to 19.37% of the total net worth of billionaires on the continent. All the 18 billionaires in Africa have a combined net worth of $73.8 billion.
This is slightly more than the $73.4 billion that was the total last year when the continent had 20 billionaires.
Of the 4 in the tech sector, only Mike Adenuga’s net worth has decreased while others have witnessed a rise. Adenuga’s worth dropped by $1.4 billion to $6.3 billion. The rise in 3 net worths out of 4 shows that their businesses recorded gains in spite of the covid-19 and its effects.
The combined net worth of the other 14 billionaires is $59.5 billion, amounting to 80.63% of the entire 2020 net worth. The total net worth increased in 2020 even though there were 18 billionaires as against 20 as of 2019.
Former women billionaires, Alakija and Dos Santos failed to make the list
Folorunsho Alakija and Isabel Dos Santos both did not make the 2020 list for different reasons. The fall in oil prices because of the covid-19 pandemic affected Alakija’s oil empire and dropped her net worth to below $1 billion when 2020 ended. Folorunsho Alakija is of Nigerian descent while Dos Santos is an Angolan citizen.
Dos Santos was accused of embezzlement and fraud by the Angolan government and had her assets seized. She is the daughter of the former Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos. According to the allegations raised against her, she gathered stakes in banks and other sectors when her father was president.
The frozen assets were worth $1.6 billion as at 2020 and are currently worth $2.2 billion, however, since they have been taken from Des Santos’ ownership, she currently does not hold the rights to any of them.
The 14 billionaires that are not in the tech sector include Aliko Dangote (Nigeria), Abdulsamad Rabiu (Nigeria), Nassef Sawiris (Egypt), Nicky Oppenheimer (South Africa), Johann Rupert (South Africa), Issad Rebrab (Algeria), Patrice Motsepe (South Africa), Mohamed Mansour (Egypt), Aziz Akhannouch (Morocco), Mohammed Dewji (Tanzania), Youssef Mansour (Egypt), Othman Benjelloun (Morocco), Michiel Le Roux (South Africa), and Yasseen Mansour (Egypt).
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