South Africa leads the African continent in names appearing on Forbes list of Africa’s 50 Richest. With 14 individuals on the list, the country trumps both Nigeria (11 fortunes) and Egypt (9 fortunes). South Africa’s 14 richest have a combined net worth of $28.79 billion, and an average net worth of $2.06 billion.
Johann Rupert, whose fortune – comprised largely in shares of luxury goods maker Richemont — grew 39% to $7.9 billion, allowing him to leapfrog Oppenheimer to become South Africa’s richest man. South Africa’s largest fortunes have seen slow growth in the past year, weighed down by meager gains in the resources and mining sectors. Nicky Oppenheimer ($6.6 billion), who recently sold diamond mining firm De Beers to mining giant Anglo American for $5.1 billion; African Rainbow Minerals chairman Patrice Motsepe ($2.7 billion) and Assore chairman Desmond Sacco ($1.4 billion) barely saw their fortunes move compared to a year ago.
The real standout success story in South Africa this year is Stephen Saad and his drug company Aspen Pharmacare. His fortune is up more than 50% from a year ago to $1.5 billion. The stock surge also introduced a newcomer to the richest Africans list: Saad’s deputy and Aspen’s cofounder, Gus Attridge. He debuts on the list with a fortune of $525 million.
Troubling trends continue. Only two of South Africa’s 14 richest are black – and most of the remaining fortunes have roots in Apartheid-era South Africa (still better, it should be noted, than America’s 1-in-400 figure; Oprah Winfrey is the US’s only black billionaire). None of the country’s richest are women.
But there’s reason for hope. In December 2012, investor-entrepreneur Cyril Ramaphosa ($700 million) was elected Deputy President of the country’s ruling African National Congress party.