Nigerian Cement Tycoon Aliko Dangote Loses Top Spot as Africa’s Richest

Aliko Dangote, who held the title of Africa’s richest person for the past twelve years, has been dethroned from the top position as revealed by Forbes. According to the magazine’s calculations it is revealed that Johann Rupert of South Africa has taken over as the continent’s new wealthiest individual. Rupert, known for his success in luxury goods and other industries, surpassed Dangote on June 15th, with an estimated net worth of $11.7 billion as per the Real-Time Billionaires ranking as of June 21st, 10 a.m. ET. Dangote, aged 66, now stands in second place behind the 73-year-old Rupert among African billionaires, with an estimated fortune of $10.4 billion. This marks a significant decline of $3.7 billion from Dangote’s net worth of $14.1 billion just a day earlier on June 14th.

The drop in Dangote’s wealth can be attributed to the recent decision by the Central Bank of Nigeria to float the country’s currency, the naira, on June 14th, abandoning the fixed exchange rate with the U.S. dollar. Following this move, the naira experienced a sharp decline against the U.S. dollar, plummeting approximately 40% on June 16th and reaching a low of N690 to the U.S. dollar on June 20th.

Dangote’s fortune primarily stems from his 85% ownership of Dangote Cement, the largest cement producer in Africa, which is a publicly listed company. Although the value of Dangote Cement shares has slightly increased since the currency floatation, the substantial depreciation of the naira outweighed this positive development, resulting in the decline of Dangote’s overall wealth.

Johann Rupert, now Africa’s new number one, serves as the chairman of Compagnie Financière Richemont, a luxury goods conglomerate listed in Switzerland. Richemont boasts renowned brands such as Cartier, Montblanc, and Van Cleef & Arpels. Rupert founded Richemont in 1988 by separating the international assets from The Rembrandt Group, his father’s conglomerate formed in the 1940s. In addition to his role at Richemont, Rupert is also the chairman of Remgro, a South African investment holding company with diverse interests in banking, healthcare, and media. He owns a stake in the Saracens English rugby team and has expressed regret for not purchasing a 50% share of Gucci when he had the opportunity decades ago, which was priced at a mere $175 million.

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Rupert’s net worth has seen substantial growth, increasing by nearly $3 billion since early 2022 and more than doubling since early 2020, when Forbes estimated it at $4.6 billion. However, Dangote’s decline from the top position cannot be solely attributed to Rupert’s success.

The Nigerian Central Bank’s decision to float the naira is part of President Bola Tinubu’s broader efforts to attract investments into Nigeria and prevent black market operators from profiting from the disparity between official and unofficial financial markets. Tinubu assumed office in May and has initiated comprehensive economic reforms in Nigeria, including the abolishment of fuel subsidies, a longstanding incentive in place since the 1970s.

According to Nimi Wariboko, a former investment banker and strategic consultant at Nigeria’s Central Bank, Dangote may be able to leverage Tinubu’s elimination of state fuel subsidies to his advantage through his company’s recent launch of a new oil refinery in Lagos. The refinery, constructed at a reported cost of $19 billion, aims to address Nigeria’s fuel shortages by refining domestically extracted oil. Wariboko suggests that this venture could potentially enable Dang

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