Otedola thrown out of Forbes billionaire list as Dangote retains richest black African

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Nigerian cement tycoon, Aliko Dangote, is still the richest black person in the world with a fortune estimated at $12.2 billion, the 2017 FORBES list of the World’s Billionaires has shown.

According to the list released on Monday, Mr. Dangote was followed by Saudi-Ethiopian construction magnate, Mohammed Al-Amoudi, who is worth $8.4 billion.

Of the 2,043 people who made it to the 2017 FORBES list of the World’s Billionaires, 10 of them are black, down from 12 in 2016.

Two black moguls, however, fell off the ranks of the richest black people on earth, and they are both Nigerian – oil tycoon Femi Otedola and cement mogul Abdulsamad Rabiu.

Analysts said Mr. Otedola fell off the list as a result of the plunging share price of his oil company, Forte Oil, while a devaluation of the Nigerian currency, the Naira, was responsible for Mr. Rabiu’s ousting.

Investor and daughter of Angolan president, Isabel dos Santos, American media mogul Oprah Winfrey and Nigerian oil woman, Folorunsho Alakija, are still the only black female billionaires on the FORBES billionaires list.

Winfrey, dubbed the “Queen of All Media”, has been ranked the richest African-American of the 20th century, the greatest black philanthropist in American history, and is currently North America’s first and only multi-billionaire black person.

Mr. Dangote is not only Africa’s richest man, he is also the richest black person in the world. He built his fortune trading in cement, sugar and flour but subsequently ventured into manufacturing these
commodities.

His Dangote Cement is the largest cement producer in Africa. In January he announced plans to establish a $100 million truck manufacturing facility in Lagos in partnership with SINOTRUK, a Chinese firm.

INCREASE IN WORLD BILLIONAIRES

In 2017, the number of billionaires jumped 13% to 2,043 from 1,810 last year, the first time ever that Forbes has pinned down more than 2,000 ten-figure-fortunes.

Their total net worth rose by 18% to $7.67 trillion, also a record.

The change in the number of billionaires, which is up 233 since the 2016 list, was the biggest in the 31 years that Forbes has been tracking billionaires globally. Gainers since last year’s list outnumbered losers by more than three to one.

Bill Gates emerged the number one richest for the fourth year in a row, and the richest person in the world for 18 out of the past 23 years. He has a fortune of $86 billion, up from $75 billion last year.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos had the best year of any person on the planet, adding $27.6 billion to his fortune; now worth $72.8 billion, he moved into the top three in the world for the first time, up from number five a year ago.

Warren Buffett had the second-best year, and the biggest gain since Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016. His $14.8 billion jump in 12 months was enough for him to grab back the number two spot from Amancio Ortega, founder of Spanish clothing chain Zara.

Mr. Ortega’s fortune was up $4.3 billion since last year, but he still fell to fourth in the world, unable to keep up with the outsize gains of others.

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg moved up to number five for the first time, after his fortune rose $11.4 billion in 12 months.

Meanwhile Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, once the world’s richest man, fell to number six, the first time he’s been out of the top five in twelve years.

There were 195 newcomers. Mainland China had the most new ten-figure fortunes with 76.

John Collison, aged 26, emerged the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, just two months younger than Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel.

Altogether there are 227 women on list, including 10 who cofounded or own businesses with a spouse or a brother and thus share the fortune.

The U.S. continues to have more billionaires than any other nation, with a record 565, up from 540 a year ago. China is catching up with 319 while Hong Kong has another 67, and Macau 1.

Seventy-eight people fell off the list, including 33 from China, 7 Americans and 9 who are still super wealthy but share their wealth among extended family members and therefore are not eligible for these ranks.

Additionally, 20 billionaires died in the past year, including Enterprise car rental founder Jack Taylor and Michael Ilitch, who launched Little Caesar’s pizza with his wife, Marian.

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Godwin Okafor is a Financial Journalist, Internet Social Entrepreneur and Founder of Naija247news Media Limited. He has over 16 years experience in financial journalism. His experience cuts across traditional and digital media. He started his journalism career at Business Day, Nigeria and founded Naija247news Media in 2010. Godwin holds a Bachelors degree in Industrial Relations and Personnel Management from the Lagos State University, Ojo, Lagos. He is an alumni of Lagos Business School and a Fellow of the University of Pennsylvania (Wharton Seminar for Business Journalists). Over the years, he has won a number of journalism awards. Godwin is the chairman of Emmerich Resources Limited, the publisher of Naija247news.

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