Updated: Apr 29, 2018
I'm glad you asked. It's important we know who are the symbols of wealth we should strive to become. This will strike you with the realization only two are billionaires based on entertainment pursuits. TWO. So why does everyone want to ONLY be an entertainer when you can be an entertaining engineer? As a people, Afrikans are the sleeping giants of success the white supremacists just always have to hold down. Why do you think? Because many more of us will become like the 11 men and women on this list. By the way, I'm looking forward to seeing more black FEMALE billionaires in our era.
1. Aliko Dangote ($14.4 billion)
Hailing from Kano, Nigeria, Mr. Dangote formed his Dangote Group trading firm in 1977, after receiving his Bachelors in Business Administration. Today Dangote Group is a multi-trillion dollar conglomerate with operations in Nigeria, Ghana, Benin, and Togo. which include food manufacturing, cement manufacturing, telecommunications and freight. Mr. Dangote also believes in increasing black money circulation as he is quoted saying, "...nothing is going to help Nigeria like Nigerians bringing back their money. If you give me $5 billion today, I will invest everything here in Nigeria." Mr. Dangote has most recently donated $15 million to support new small businesses in Africa as well.
2. Mike Adenuga ($5,5 billion)
The second wealthiest black man in the world, and Nigeria is Mike Adenuga. Mr. Adenuga is cited to had worked as a cab driver in order to fund his education at NYC's Pace University. You could imagine how much time he was putting in during that time to achieve his dreams. Nicknamed "The Guru" in business circles, Adenuga's material wealth has so far come through endeavors in the banking, oil, real estate and telecommunications industries. Adenuga's Globacom is the second largest telecom company in Nigeria, which has over 30 million subscribers.
3. Robert F. Smith ($4.4 billion)
Third on the list is an Afrikan-Amerikan by the name of Robert Smith With a net worth of $4.4 billion, Mr. Smith is the wealthiest black man in the USA. Smith is a former Goldman Sachs exec who, in the year 2000, started his own firm in Austin Texas known as Vista Equity Partners. Today it is one of the more successful hedge funds in the country, with over $30 billion in assets under management.
4. Oprah Winfrey ($ 2.7 billion)
She needs no explanation: Oprah. You know who she is. If for some weird reason you don't here's the story: Oprah Winfrey was an oft rejected TV talk show host, who turned her few earned opportunities into a billion dollar, cash positive business. Included in her empire is a TV network, magazine, film company, and a 10% stake in the Weight Watchers brand. It is rumored she's thinking of a seat in politics in 2020, Time will tell.
5. Isabel Dos Santos ($2.6 billion)
The next woman on the list and the richest woman in Afrika is daughter of former Angolan president Jose Eduard Dos Santos. Ms. Dos Santos' first taste of entrepreneurship began Miami Beach Club, the first nightclub on Angola's Luanda Island. For the next 20 years, she acquired several holdings in TV, banking, oil, and gas to bolster her wealth, which has come under scrutiny due to her father's political tenure. Dos Santos was appointed to run the Angolan state-owned firm, but was swiftly removed from the position upon the election of new president João Lourenço in 2017.
6. Patrice Motsepe ($2.5 billiion)
Mr. Mostepe's rise is documented beginning with his becoming the first black partner at a local law firm in 1994, the same year of Mandela's election. From there he formed his first company, Future Mining. Motsepe had familiarity with the mining industry as his teacher turned small businessman father operated a restaurant heavily frequented by local miners. Today he is the founder and CEO of African Rainbow Minerals for mining operations, and African Rainbow Capital for investments.
7. Folorunsho Alakija ($1.69 billion)
Beginning as a secretary in 1974, Mrs. Alakija worked in the banking industry for a few years before establishing a tailoring company titled Supreme Stitches. It thus became a household name, allowing her to do her part in developing Nigeria's fashion industry. In 1994, Folorunsho applied for and awarded a license for oil prospecting, allowing her to develop her later convert her Famfa Oil's operations into oil mining. Notable partners of Famfa include Chevron and Petrobas. On the philanthropic side, Mrs. Folorunsho's Rose of Sharon Foundation empowers widows and orphans with business grants and scholarships.
8. Michael Jordan ($1.65 billion)
To many, Michael Jordan is the greatest basketball player ever to palm a Spalding. The accolade rich former basketball player stood as one of the greatest influencers of athletic footwear's cultural explosion. His endorsement deals with Nike, Gatorade, and Hanes only stood to propel his material gains. Mr. Jordan also became the first black male athlete to own a major American sports franchise. and is currently the only black owner.
9. Steve Masiyiwa ($1.39 billion)
Mr. Masiyiwa is actually Zimbabwe's first billionaire. He built Econet Group from a small startup only $75, into a telecom conglomerate with investments primarily in telecom, renewable energy, and education. From the philanthropic side, Masiyiwa is apart of The Giving Pledge, and is known as one of the most giving philanthropists, establishing the Capernaum Trust, which provides awards, scholarships, food packs and medical assistance to over 28,000 orphaned children of Zimbabwe.
10. Michael Lee-Chin ($1.2 billion)
The 10th wealthiest black billionaire is a Jamaican-Canadaian, whose wealth grew with a 65% stake investment in National Commercial Bank Jamaica. In 1987 Mr. Lee-Chin acquired a small wealth management firm IAC, when it held under $1 million in assets. IAC reached more than $10 billion in assets in 2002, later to be sold for an undisclosed sum in 2008. Mr. Chin came from humble upbringings, born in Port Antonio, Jamaica, holding his first job on the landscaping team at a hotel.
11. Muhammad Ibrahim ($1.18 billion)
Last but certainly not least on the list, Mr. Ibrahim made his wealth through his telecom company, Celtel. Ibrahim sold Celtel for $3.4 billion, pocketing $1.8 billion from the deal. His Mo Ibrahim Foundation offers scholarships at University of Birmingham, SOAS, and London Business School. These scholarships are on topics of International Development at University of Birmingham, Governance of Development in Africa at SOAS, and an MBA at London Business School. The scholarships are initiated for African students, both master students and postgraduates.
As you probably have already noticed, only two of the 11 billionaires on the list were entertainers. So why are we being led to believe entertainment is the route to success? Also you probably noticed some of the black people we always hear about in the context of wealth are not on the list. I hope this list inspires you and propels you to your own personal success. Whether you aim to be a billionaire or not, the goal is to build black wealth, because when black people have their fair share, the world becomes that much more peaceful.