PRETORIA, Even though his present worth is down from an estimated $10.3 billion, Aliko Dangote, for the ninth year in a row has been declared the wealthiest person in Africa, with an estimated net worth of $10.1 billion.

In the latest ranking of the world’s billionaires by Forbes, the American global media company, focusing on business, investment, technology, entrepreneurship and leadership,the 62-year-old Nigerian businessman and Africa’s most prominent industrialist continues to grow on the back of investments in cement, flour and sugar.

Dangote was born into a wealthy Muslim family of traders in the north. He incorporated his own business selling cement at 21. He shifted to manufacturing the building material in the 1990s, helped by government policies that encouraged ways to reduce the need for imports.

His critics still accuse him of taking advantage of his closeness to the government to gain an unfair market advantage, a claim he has repeatedly dismissed.

Africa has 54 nations, but only eight countries have billionaires according to Forbes, with South Africa and Egypt dominating not only the top 10 richest people in Africa list, but in the rankings overall with five billionaires each. Nigeria comes second with four billionaires.

A Nigerian publication, The Nation reported on Wednesday that Egypt’s Nassef Sawiris is the new number two. He is worth $8 billion, he had $6.3 billion last year, and his most valuable asset is a stake in Adidas, which is worth $4 billion.

The publication said the third position was shared by Mike Adenuga with $7.7billion worth and South African, Nicky Oppenheimer, an heir to his family’s fortune. Oppenheimer sold his 40% stake in diamond firm DeBeers to mining group Anglo American for $5.1 billion in cash in 2012.

He was the third generation of his family to run DeBeers and took the company private in 2001. For 85 years until 2012, the Oppenheimer family occupied a controlling spot in the world’s diamond trade.

In 2014, Oppenheimer started Fireblade Aviation in Johannesburg, which operates chartered flights with its fleet of three planes and two helicopters. He owns at least 720 square miles of conservation land across South Africa, Botswana and Zimbabwe.

Johann Rupert is the fifth richest African. He is the chairperson of Swiss luxury goods firm Compagnie Financiere Richemont. The company is best known for the brands Cartier and Montblanc.

Source: African News Agency