Only 21 African-born billionaires still live in Africa: African Wealth Report

The report said most of these high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) individuals have relocated to the UK, the USA, Australia, and the UAE. Picture: Independent Newspapers

The report said most of these high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) individuals have relocated to the UK, the USA, Australia, and the UAE. Picture: Independent Newspapers

Published Apr 20, 2024


THERE are currently 54 African-born billionaires in the world, including one of the world’s richest, Elon Musk, but only 21 of them still live on the continent, according to the 2024 Africa Wealth Report.

The report said most of these high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) had relocated to the UK, the US, Australia, and the UAE.

"A significant number have also moved to France, Switzerland, Monaco, Portugal, Canada, New Zealand, and Israel," it said.

The report defines HNWIs as individuals with “liquid, investable wealth” exceeding $1 million (about R19 million at current rates).

The annual report is now in its ninth edition, released by Henley & Partners. The firm tracks the movements of over 150 000 high-net-worth individuals in its in-house database, with a special focus on those with over $30 million in listed company holdings.

The report reveals that there are currently 135 200 (HNWIs) with a liquid investable wealth of $1 million or more living in Africa, along with 342 centi-millionaires worth $100 million or more, and 21 dollar billionaires.

The total investable wealth currently held on the African continent amounts to $2.5 trillion, and its millionaire population is set to rise by 65% over the next 10 years, it said.

It states that Africa’s “Big 5” wealth markets are South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, and Morocco, together account for 56% of the continent’s millionaires and over 90% of its billionaires.

Henley & Partners group head of private clients, Dominic Volek, said wealth growth on the continent had not been without its setbacks.

“Currency depreciation and underperforming stock markets have chipped away at Africa’s wealth compared to global benchmarks. The South African rand fell 43% against the US dollar from 2013–2023, and even though the JSE All Share Index, which makes up well over half of Africa’s listed company holdings, rose in local currency terms, it was down 5% in US dollar terms over that period.

"Currencies in most other African countries also performed poorly compared to the dollar over the past 10 years, with dramatic depreciations of over 75% recorded in Nigeria, Egypt, Angola, and Zambia," he said.

According to the report, despite a tough past decade which saw a 20% decline in its millionaire population, South Africa remains home to over twice as many HNWIs as any other African country, with 37 400 millionaires, 102 centi-millionaires, and five billionaires, followed by Egypt with 15 600 millionaires, 52 centi-millionaires, and seven billionaires.

Nigeria sits in 3rd place with 8 200 HNWIs, followed by Kenya (7 200 millionaires), Morocco (6 800), Mauritius (5 100), Algeria (2 800), Ethiopia (2 700), Ghana (2 700), and Namibia (2 300) all making it into the Top 10 Wealthiest Countries in Africa.

Looking ahead, the report said for the rest of Africa at least, forecasts show that wealth on the continent is set to rise as 11 African nations are set to record the most economic growth in the world. However, this is not the case for South Africa, which is seen as struggling compared to other countries.

“The fly in the ointment is the continent’s four biggest economies — Nigeria (3.2%), South Africa (0.9%), Angola (3.3%), and Egypt (4%), which are being buffeted by numerous structural constraints and are not taking off significantly,” it said.

* Maleke is the content editor of Personal Finance.