They are considered to be the most brilliant and enterprising people in Africa who are able to come out with ideal and fast ways to make some billions.
It’s true that some of them might have certain advantages such as being born into a rich family or a country with proper education. Nevertheless, they strive on their own to strike it big.
As scores of young people have interest in starting their own businesses and growing their wealth, it wouldn’t be bad to look at how some of these wealthy Africans made their money to take a cue from them.
Egypt’s second-richest man recently said that he had put half of his $5.7bn net worth into gold with the belief that gold prices will rally further, reaching $1,800 per ounce from just above $1,300 now.
Coming from Egypt’s wealthiest family, his father, Onsi and brother Naguib are also billionaires. In 2015, Sawiris split Orascom Construction Industries into two entities: OCI and Orascom Construction. He runs OCI, one of the world’s largest nitrogen fertilizer producers, with plants in Texas and Iowa.
Sawiris whose net worth is $6.8 billion has made a name for himself, by investing in the telecom sector in Egypt and in other markets in Bangladesh, Iraq, Pakistan, North Korea.
The 67-year-old was born into a wealthy, polygamous Nigerian family. After being a secretary at the International Merchant Bank of Nigeria, she subsequently quit her job in the early 80s and proceeded to study Fashion design in England.
When she returned to Nigeria, she started Supreme Stitches, a Nigerian fashion label which had customers including the wife of former Nigerian president Ibrahim Babangida.
With her closeness to power, Alakija acquired an oil prospecting license, which has been the foundation of her wealth today.
Africa’s second richest woman, who often urges women not to take no for an answer while pursuing their dreams, recently shared how she got the oil bloc.
“The oil block allocated and licensed to us was not wanted by any oil company; we accepted it by faith and it has become the chief cornerstone in West African and Africa as a whole. The Government came back to “take” 50% out of our 60%, but after a 12-year battle in court, all was restored to the glory of God.
Today, Alakija, with a net worth of $1.6 billion is the vice chair of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil exploration company with a stake in Agbami oil field, a prolific offshore asset. Famfa Oil’s partners include Chevron and Petrobras.
Nigeria’s second richest man has built a fortune in telecom and oil production. He launched Globacom mobile phone network in 2006, which has reached about 37 million subscribers and continues to expand to other West African countries.
After studying in the UK, he returned to Nigeria at the age of 26, and that is where he made his first fortune. He began taking charge of his mother’s sawmill business and distributed lace and other materials.
Through that, he made friends with people in the Nigerian military, whom he cornered to help him get state construction contracts. Ibrahim Babangida, Nigeria’s former president awarded Adenuga an oil prospecting license.
Adenuga used that to build Conoil, becoming the first Nigerian to strike oil in commercial quantities. In 1999, he was issued a conditional GSM license in 1999. It was revoked but he later received the second one when the government held another auction in 2003.
Currently, Adenuga’s Conoil Producing operates six oil blocks in the Niger Delta. His net worth is $5.3 billion.
The South African billionaire sold his family’s 40 per cent stake in De Beers, the world’s biggest diamond producer, to mining company Anglo American in 2012 for $5.2 billion in cash.
He now owns an estimated 1% stake in Anglo American, which his grandfather founded in 1917.
Oppenheimer maintains private equity investments in Africa, Asia, the U.S. and Europe through London-based Stockdale Street and Johannesburg-based Tana Africa Capital, according to Bloomberg. The 72-year-old whose net worth is $7.7 billion is already searching for new investments.
Isabel dos Santos
She is Africa’s richest woman and the oldest daughter of Angola’s former president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos. She has built a vast empire in the country’s capital, Luanda with businesses ranging from banks, telecommunications, to sports and satellite TV.
With a net worth of $2.7 billion, Africa’s richest woman also owns Candando, the country’s first supermarket and has stakes in BIC and BFA banks and in the cement company Nova Cimangola.
Her father made her head of Sonangol, Angola’s state oil firm, in June 2016, but Angola’s new president removed her from that role in November 2017.
The origin of her fortune has over the years been investigated by Angolan journalist Rafael Marques who said that her father, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, played a critical role in the construction of her empire.
“Her interest in Luanda, as in other [businesses] related to the Angolan state, is to find easy ways to give her financial responsibility over big contracts through presidential decrees”, Marques recently told DW’s Portuguese for Africa service.
Isabel has since denied such claims, insisting that she is an independent businesswoman and a private investor representing solely her own interests.
When he was young, he bought sweets, gave them to others to sell, and he kept the profits.
Africa’s richest man, with a net worth pegged at $12.2 billion started his business in 1978 with 500,000 Naira ($1,400) borrowed from his grandfather. His business flourished and hence was able to pay back the loan in about six months.
From the scratch, Dangote focused on importing soft commodities, like rice, sugar, frozen fish, and baby food into Nigeria. Now, he has expanded into the local production of cement, salt, flour as well as petroleum refining.
With investments in other African countries like Ghana, South Africa, Benin, Zambia, Togo and Tanzania, the cement and commodities tycoon may simply remain Africa’s richest man in subsequent years.