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Africans dominate Top Ten Black billionaires list

U.S. Black billionaires Winfrey, Jordan, Johnson worth a combined $7.31 billion

Compton Herald | Aliko Dangote
Aliko Dangote is the wealthiest Black person on Earth. Photo: Dangote Group

Africa represented by Nigerian business and construction magnates while media moguls, sports tycoon represent U.S.; Black billionaires list shortened by two from 2016

Nigerian business magnate Aliko Dangote is the richest Black man in the world worth $12.5 billion, while fellow Nigerians Mike Adenuga, and Folorunsho Alakija rank third and eighth, at $6.1 and $2.1 billion, respectively.

Saudi-Ethiopian construction magnate, Mohammed Al-Amoudi, whose worth is $10.9 billion occupies the second position.

Media mogul Oprah Winfrey and sports tycoon Michael Jordan also made the list. Nigerian oil magnate Alakija joins Winfrey, and Angolan businesswoman, Isabel dos Santos, as the only Black females on the Forbes billionaires list.

Aliko Dangote owns the Dangote Group, which has interests in food processing, cement manufacturing, and freight. The Dangote Group also dominates the sugar market in Nigeria and is a major supplier to the country’s soft drink companies, breweries, and confectioners.

Dangote is ranked by Forbes magazine as the 67th richest person in the world and the richest in Africa The company operates in Nigeria and other African countries, including Benin, Ethiopia, Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, Togo, Tanzania, and Zambia. As of February 2017, he had an estimated net worth of $12.5 billion.

An ethnic Hausa Muslim from Kano State, born into a prominent Nigerian business family, Dangote is the great grandson of Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, the richest African at the time of his death in 1955.

Dangote recalls his earliest years possessing an entrepreneurial spirit.

“I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets [sugar boxes] and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time,” he said.

The Dangote Group has moved from being a trading company to be the largest industrial group in Nigeria including Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Cement, and Dangote Flour.

The following represents the world’s next nine Black billionaires:

· Mohammed Al-Amoudi made his fortune in construction and real estate before branching out to buy oil refineries in Sweden and Morocco. He is the largest individual foreign investor in Ethiopia and a major investor in Sweden.

· Mike Adenuga owns Globacom, Nigeria’s second largest telecom operator, and also has a presence in Ghana and Benin. He also owns stakes in the Equitorial Trust Bank and the oil exploration firm Conoil (formerly Consolidated Oil Company). Forbes has estimated his net worth at $6.1 billion as of 2017, which makes him second-wealthiest Nigerian.

· Isabel dos Santos, the richest woman in Africa at $3.1 billion, is Africa’s first female billionaire. She is the daughter of Angolan President José Eduardo dos Santos, who has ruled the country since 1979. Forbes reported dos Santos acquired her wealth by taking stakes in companies doing business in Angola, suggesting that her wealth comes almost entirely from her family’s power and connections.

· Oprah Winfrey blossomed into an international media phenomenon as a talk show host, actress, and producer, after launching her own production company and becoming internationally syndicated. She is best known for her talk show The Oprah Winfrey Show, which was the highest-rated television program of its kind in history and was nationally syndicated from 1986 to 2011 in Chicago, Illinois. Dubbed the “Queen of All Media,” Winfrey has been ranked the richest African-American, the greatest Black philanthropist in American history.

· Entrepreneur, media magnate, and investor Robert Johnson founded Black Entertainment Television in 1980, the first cable television network aimed at African-Americans. BET first turned a profit in 1985 and it became the first Black-controlled company listed on the New York Stock Exchange in 1991. In 1998, Johnson and Liberty Media bought all outstanding shares of the company, which gave Johnson 42 percent. He sold the company to Viacom in 2001 for a reported $3 billion. Johnson also founded RLJ Companies, a holding company that invests in various business sectors, and is the former majority owner of the Charlotte Bobcats of the NBA. Johnson, whose companies have counted among the most prominentAfrican-American businesses in U.S. history, is the first Black-American billionaire.

· Patrice Tlhopane Motsepe is a South African mining magnate and founder of African Rainbow Minerals, which has interests in gold, ferrous metals, base metals, and platinum. He also sits on several company boards including non-executive chairman of Harmony Gold, the 12th largest gold mining company in the world. In 2012, Motsepe was named South Africa’s richest man, topping the Sunday Times’ annual with an estimated fortune of $2.4 billion. Motsepe founded a company called Future Mining, which provided contract mining services that included the cleaning of gold dust from inside mine shafts, for the Vaal Reefs Gold mine, implementing a system of worker remuneration that combined a low base salary with a profit-sharing bonus. In 1997, with gold prices at a low, he purchased marginal gold mines from AngloGold under favorable financial terms. AngloGold sold Motsepe six gold mine shafts for $7,7million allowing him to repay the debt out of the future earnings of the company now known as African Rainbow Minerals. This was repeated in a string of deals and Motsepe established a firm to buy the operating mines that would become the source of his wealth. In 1999 he teamed up with two of his associates to form Greene and Partners Investments. The Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) laws introduced after the 1994 elections have been instrumental in cementing Motsepe’s position in the mining industry in South Africa.

· Folorunso Alakija is a Nigerian business tycoon involved in the fashion, oil, and printingindustries. She is the group managing director of The Rose of Sharon Group which consists of The Rose of Sharon Prints & Promotions Limited and Digital Reality Prints Limited. As national president and lifelong trustee of the Fashion Designers Association of Nigeria (FADAN), she left an indelible mark, promoting Nigerian culture through fashion and style. As executive vice-chairman of Famfa Oil Limited, Alakija successfully applied for the allocation of an oil prospecting license (OPL) to explore for oil on a 617,000-acre block—now referred to as OPL 216, in May 1993. The block is located approximately 220 miles south east of Lagos and 70 miles offshore of Nigeria in the Agbami Field of the centralNiger Delta. In September 1996, she entered into a joint venture agreement with Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited (a wholly owned subsidiary of Texaco) and appointed the company as a technical adviser for the exploration of the license, transferring 40 percent of her 100 percent stake to Star Deep. Subsequently, Star Deep sold off 8 percent of its stake in OPL 216 to Petrobras, a Brazilian company.

· Mohammed “Mo” Ibrahim is a Sudanese-British mobile communications entrepreneur and billionaire whose net worth is $1.8 billion. He worked for several other telecommunications companies before founding Celtel, which when sold had over 24 million mobile phone subscribers in 14 African countries. After selling Celtel in 2005 for $3.4 billion, he established the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to encourage better governance in Africa, as well as creating the Mo Ibrahim Index, to evaluate nations’ performance. He is also a member of the Africa Regional Advisory Board of London Business School. In 2007 he initiated the Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership, which awards a $5 million initial payment, and a $200,000 annual payment for life to African heads of state who deliver security, health, education and economic development to their constituents and democratically transfer power to their successors.

· Pro basketball Hall of Famer Michael Jordan needs no introduction. The retired professional basketball player, businessman, and principal owner and chairman of the Charlotte Hornets played 15 seasons in the National Basketball Association (NBA) for the Chicago Bulls and Washington Wizards. His biography on the NBA website states: “By acclamation, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player of all time.” Jordan was one of the most effectively marketed athletes of his generation and was considered instrumental in popularizing the NBA around the world in the 1980s and 1990s. His accumulated athletic prowess, business acumen, and marketability have yielded a net worth of $1.31 billion.

World’s Top 10 Black billionaires

1. Dangote $12.5 billion (Nigeria)

2.  Mohammed Al-Amoudi, $10.9 billion (Ethiopia)

3.  Mike Adenuga, $6.1 billion (Nigeria)

4.  Isabel Dos Santos, $3.1 billion (Angola)

5.  Oprah Winfrey, $3.0 billion (U.S.)

6.  Robert Johnson, $3.0 billion (U.S.)

7.  Patrice Motsepe, $2.4 billion (South Africa)

8.  Folorunsho Alakija, $2.1 billion (Nigeria)

9.  Mohammed Ibrahim, $1.8 billion (U.K.)

10.  Michael Jordan, $1.31 billion (U.S.)

 Top 10 List courtesy Forbes

Jarrette Fellows, Jr. is Publisher and Editor of Compton Herald. He attended junior and senior high school in Compton, and is an alumnus of California State University, Los Angeles.


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