10. Mohamed Mansour
Egypt’s Mohamed Mansour runs the transportation empire Mansour Group, which is spread over numerous countries and carries brands such as General Motors and Caterpillar. It represents nine of the top 500 companies in Egypt and employs over 40,000 people. Mansour has also been Egypt’s minister of transportation, and his group handles the area distribution for several major technology brands. Mansour himself sits on many corporate boards and is the chairman of Credit Agricole bank.
09. Naguib Sawiris
Naguib Sawiris has been less involved with business since the revolution that changed his country, Egypt. Instead the billionaire, who made his fortune in telecoms, formed the Free Egyptian Party and is a staunch critic and opponent to the ruling Muslim Brotherhood. But Sawiris has not hung up his corporate suit yet - it appears as if he is aggressively moving back into the European telecoms market by trying to buy a stake in Telecom Italia.
08. Patrice Motsepe
As one of South Africa’s richest people, Patrice Motsepe shares a similar source of wealth with many of the country’s elites: mining. A self-made billionaire, he began his career as a lawyer, but soon found a lucrative business buying underperforming gold shafts and making them turn a profit. Motsepe started young, helping his father in their liquor business. After he became a lawyer, he soon was made partner in a large law firm. But Motsepe had bigger goals and today he is chairman of the African Rainbow Minerals mining conglomerate.
07. Othman Benjelloun
The Moroccan banking and insurance tycoon Othman Benjelloun could be said to have had a good start in life: his father held shares in a small insurance company, which Benjelloun later took over. But the billionaire grew the company into a giant and used it to enter the banking world. Today his company BMCE owns a large share of African Bank and Benjelloun is also chairman of the Moroccan Banking Association. His banking group has a presence in over 20 African countries, as well as states abroad.
06. Christo Wiese
The main shareholder of retail chain Shoprite, Christo Wiese recently landed in hot water with South Africa’s tax authorities, which claim he owes around $220 million (R2 billion). But that amount will not send Wiese into the poor house. Other than Shoprite he also owns a large stake in the Pepkor Group, which includes retailers such as Pep and Ackermans. Wiese has investments in numerous companies, pushing his value up even more.
05. Mike Adenuga
The first of Nigeria’s billionaires to appear on this list, Mike Adenuga hit success at a young age: in his twenties netting a government contract to build army barracks. Said to have worked as a security guard and cab driver while studying in the U.S., he was already a millionaire by age 26. But his real fortune would appear after he founded Globacom, a leading telecoms firms in West Africa. Adenuga also established Conoil Producing, one of the largest independent oil producers in Nigeria.
04. Nassef Sawiris
All three of the Sawiris brothers appear on Forbes’ longer list, but the richest of them all is Nassef Sawiris, a construction tycoon and head of Egypt’s most valuable publicly-traded company, Orascom Construction Industries. Cement is a large part of his business, but Sawiris is also expanding into the fertilizer business. He is the largest stakeholder of technology firm Texas Instruments and can lay claim to being Egypt’s richest man.
03. Johann Rupert & family
An avid sportsman - particularly golf - South Africa’s Johann Rupert’s father started his empire by manufacturing cigarettes in his garage. Today Anton Rupert’s son heads the Remgro and Richemont groups, the latter owning luxury brands such as Cartier and Dunhill. He also founded Rand Merchant Bank and has expanded successfully into the wine industry.
02. Nicky Oppenheimer & family
If you had to name South Africa’s equivalent of the Rockefellers, the Oppenheimer family is the obvious choice. But unlike the U.S. dynasty, which made its fortune in oil, the Oppenheimers and particularly Nicky Oppenheimer found wealth in diamonds. Until recently the family owned De Beers, which Nicky ran, but its stake had been sold to Anglo American. Still, to show the reach and wealth of this family in South Africa, consider that Anglo was founded by Nicky’s grandfather, Ernest Oppenheimer
01. Aliko Dangote
Before 2008 Nigeria had no billionaires on this list. Then arrived Aliko Dangote, a man with a value nearly doubled that of Africa’s second-richest man. His cement company alone apparently makes up a third of the Nigerian stock market’s value. Dangote hails from a prosperous family - his grandfather was said to be the richest man in West Africa half a century ago. But he has taken it much further, trading in commodities such as flour and sugar.
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