Of The World’s 11 Black Billionaires, 9 Are African

April 1, 2015

Of the 1,826 people who made it to the 2015 Forbes list of the world’s billionaires, 11 are black, and nine are African by birth or by where they made their fortunes.

That’s an increase from nine black billionaires a year ago, Forbes reports.

Three of the 11 black Forbes List billionaires are women, and two of the three women are African. The third is a U.S. citizen with heavy interests in South Africa.

This year, two new billionaires joined the ranks of the richest black people on Earth — one U.S. citizen and one Nigerian.

Nigeria is the clear standout when it comes to billionaires. Almost half the wealthiest blacks on the planet are Nigerian.

Check out our list. Of the world’s 11 black billionaires, 9 are African.

Abdulsamad Rabiu


11. Abdulsamad Rabiu, $1billion

Nigerian, Cement, Sugar

Rabiu founded BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate of shipping, manufacturing, oil and gas, sugar refineries, cement production, real estate, steel and port concessions. The group has annual revenues in excess of $2 billion. Abdulsamad started out working for his father, Isyaku Rabiu, a successful businessman in Northern Nigeria before striking out on his own. In 1988, he started importing steel and iron, edible oils, sugar and rice.




Femi Otedola


10. Femi Otedola, $1 billion

Nigerian, Gas stations

Otedola, 50, got rich with power generation and gas station ownership. He’s controlling shareholder of Forte Oil, one of West Africa’s largest downstream oil companies, with a market capitalization of $1 billion. The company manufactures its own line of engine oils, and owns fuel storage depots and gas stations. He’s new to the Forbes list this year.



Michael Jordan Photo: NESN.com

9. Michael Jordan, $1 billion

U.S., Basketball

Known for his competitive personality on the court and off, Michael Jordan is an entrepreneur who shoots way beyond basketball. The sport’s greatest player, he’s also majority shareholder of the Charlotte Hornets, a pro basketball team based in North Carolina that plays in the NBA.. His biggest source of income is from Brand Jordan, a sportswear partnership with Nike that does $1 billion in sales. He’s new to the list this year.



8. Mo Ibrahim, $1.1 billion

Sudanese/British, Mobile Telecoms, Investments

Sudanese-born Mo Ibrahim founded Celtel, an African mobile phone company, which he sold to Kuwait’s MTC for $3.4 billion in 2005. He is the founder of the Mo Ibrahim Foundation which promotes good governance in Africa and awards the annual Mo Ibrahim Prize for Achievement in African Leadership – a lifetime award of $5 million given over 10 years to retired African presidents who were transparent and served terms set by their countries’ constitutions. Nelson Mandela was an honorary recipient. Here’s what Ibrahim said about presidents who just won’t go away: “Power is very seductive. If you control a country for some time, then there comes a point where you feel indispensable.”



7. Folorunsho Alakija, $1.9 billion

Nigerian, Oil

Nigeria’s only female billionaire started out as a secretary in a Nigerian bank in the 1970s, then quit her job to study fashion design in England. She founded a Nigerian fashion label catering to wealthy clients including first ladies. She founded Famfa Oil, a Nigerian company with a substantial ownership interest in OML 127, an oil block on the Agbami deep water oilfield in Nigeria.

Here’s some wisdom from Alakija in an AfricaTopSuccess story: “Money has nothing to do with love. Love comes from inside. Money is something that we acquire over time. Love is all that unites us from the beginning … it is 40 years since my husband and I have known each other.”


Patrice Motsepe Photo: africanseer.com

6. Patrice Motsepe, $2.1 billion

South African, Mining

South Africa’s first black billionaire, Patrice Motsepe founded African Rainbow Minerals, a publicly traded firm that mines and processes gold, platinum, coal,  iron, manganese, chrome, copper and nickel. Motsepe is also president and owner of the Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club, and owns a stake in Sanlam, a listed financial services firm.

His entrepreneurial spirit emerged as a child when he would wake early to sell alcohol to mine workers at his father’s shop, according to BlackEntrepreneur. “I must have been about 8 when my dad said one day, ‘We make so much money when you’re behind the counter you should take over the business when you grow up.’” He clearly over reached.


Oprah Winfrey Photo: showbiz411.com

5. Oprah Winfrey, $2.9 billion

U.S., TV

Oprah, once the queen of daytime TV, is the richest African-American in the world. Her once-struggling cable channel,OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) is now cash-flow positive. Ratings are soaring following a series of successful sitcom and dram collaborations with director Tyler Perry.

After filming a Christmas program in South Africa, she established the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls near Johannesburg. Her generosity included celebrating the start of her 20th season on national TV by giving everyone in the studio audience a new Pontiac automobile, according to Achievement.org.

Isabel dos Santos Photo: Millennium Excellence Foundation, YouTube, BusinessInsider

4. Isabel Dos Santos, $3.3 billion

Angolan, Investments

The oldest daughter of Angola’s president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, she’s the world’s richest black woman. Her connections to power helped her accumulate stakes in blue-chip Angolan companies, according to Forbes. In Portugal she also owns nearly 7 percent of oil and gas firm Galp Energia along with Portuguese billionaire Americo Amorim. Her assets include a stake in Banco BIC, and 25-percent of Unitel, the largest mobile phone network in Angola.

Here’s what dos Santos said in a FinancialTimes interview: “I don’t do politics. I do business and I’m not a politician. I’ve had business sense since I was very young. I sold chicken eggs when I was 6.”


Mike Aduenga Photo: Informationng.com

3. Mike Adenuga, $4 billion

Nigerian, Oil

Maker of many fortunes, Adenuga made his first fortune selling Coca-Cola and lace after returning from studying in the U.S. He made friends with Nigerian military leaders and landed government contracts. His mobile telecommunications company, Globacom, is the Nigeria’s second largest after South Africa’s MTN. He owns Conoil,  one of Nigeria’s largest indigenous oil exploration companies.


Mohamed al-Amoudi Photo:

2. Mohammed Al-Amoudi, $10.9 billion

Ethiopian/Saudi Arabian, Oil

Son of a Saudi father and Ethiopian mother, Al-Amoudi was born in Ethiopia in 1946. He made his first fortune in construction in Saudi Arabia. He owns a significant stake in the National Oil Company of Ethiopia. In Ethiopia he also invested in gold mining, agriculture and cement production. Outside Ethiopia, he owns oil fields off the West African coast and oil refineries in Sweden and Morocco.


Aliko Dangote Photo: Getty Images

1. Aliko Dangote, $15.7 billion

Nigerian, Sugar, Cement, Flour

Still the richest black person in the world, Dangote has lost close to $10 billion since March 2014. Devaluation of the naira and falling stock prices hurt his four publicly-listed companies, but not his ranking on this list. Dangote, 57, made his first fortune selling cement, sugar and flour, and his second manufacturing them. Dangote Cement is Africa’s largest cement manufacturer, and is worth $15 billion. Dangote is building an oil refinery, due for completion in 2016 with a 400,000-barrels-a-day capacity. He hopes to reduce Nigeria’s dependence on oil imports.


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