This year, nine individuals join the ranks of Forbes’ third annual ranking of the richest people in Africa on account of rising stock prices, new oil deals and high-profile M&As, among other reasons. Tanzania takes the lead as the country with the most newcomers: three.
The wealthiest newcomer to Forbes’ list of Africa’s 50 Richest is Algerian-born food tycoon Issad Rebrab, who debuts with a fortune estimated at $3.2 billion. Rebrab is the founder of Cevital, a majority family-owned company that produces sugar, vegetable oil and margarine. Cevital also owns steel manufacturing and distribution assets.
Kenyan mogul and East Africa’s richest man, Vimal Shah joins the list with a net worth of $1.6 billion. Shah, his father and his brother together control Bidco Oil Refineries, the dominant manufacturer of edible oils in East and Central Africa. The company’s annual revenues exceed $500 million. Bidco also manufactures baking powder and beauty soaps and distributes in 14 African countries. He is also an investor in Tatu City, a new $3 billion ultra-modern satellite city to be built on Nairobi’s outskirts.
Morocco’s Aziz Akhannouch is worth $1.4 billion based on his ownership and control of Akwa Group, a conglomerate which his father founded and which now owns publicly traded Afriquia Gas and Maghreb Oxygene as well as media, real estate development and hotels. Akhannouch is now Morocco’s Minister of Agriculture and Fisheries. His wife, Salwa Idrissi, owns a luxury property development company that develops malls and holds the Moroccan franchise for fashion brands like Gap GPS +0.46% and Zara .
Rostam Azizi, a fifth generation Tanzanian of Persian origin, is the richest man in Tanzania with a fortune that Forbes pegs at $1 billion. Key assets include a 35% stake in Vodacom Tanzania, the largest mobile phone company in Tanzania, with over 9.5 million subscribers; Caspian Mining, a contract-mining outfit; and a minority interest in a Tanzanian container terminal controlled by Hutchison Whampoa (which is in turn controlled by Hong Kong tycoon Li Ka-shing). Azizi also owns real estate in Dubai and Oman. Reginald Mengi, also from Tanzania, is Africa’s second richest media mogul after South Africa’s Koos Bekker. Mengi’s privately held IPP Group owns 11 prominent national newspapers, three television stations and ten radio stations.
Other assets include gold mines, several mining concessions and a Coca-Cola bottling plant. He is worth $550 million by FORBES estimates. Aspen Pharmacare’s cofounder Gus Attridge of South Africa joins the list with a net worth estimated at $525 million, thanks largely to the company’s ballooning stock, which is up 75% over the past year. Aspen Pharmacare manufactures drugs in 17 factories including in several African countries, Australia, Mexico, Brazil and Germany. Tanzanian-born Mohammed ‘Mo’ Dewji is one of Africa’s most successful young businessmen. He is the CEO of METL, a large Tanzanian conglomerate with activities in distribution, textiles, manufacturing, agriculture and real estate.
His father, Gulam Dewji, started it as a commodities trading business. After Mo finished studying business at Georgetown University, he returned home and took the reins of the business, transforming it into a manufacturing player. He is also a Member of Tanzania’s parliament and has a net worth estimated at $500 million. Femi Otedola, a Nigerian energy mogul, debuted on the Forbes billionaires list in 2009, but dropped off the ranks very shortly afterwards. He’s made a comeback. An astounding 1100% increase in the share price of his petroleum distribution company, Forte Oil, over the past year has fueled his fortune to an estimated $410 million.
The company recently purchased a power plant, which reports have cited along with rising profits as a cause for some of the stock increase. Otedola also controls Zenon Petroleum, a leading distributor of energy products in Nigeria. Tunde Folawiyo is one of the two new Nigerian members to the list. He is the managing director of the Yinka Folawiyo Group, a conglomerate his late father, Wahab Folawiyo, founded in 1957. The group’s interests span shipping, banking, construction, agriculture, energy trading and power.