Aliko Dangote, the renowned founder and chairman of Dangote Industries Limited, a prominent conglomerate in Africa, has relinquished his long-held position as Africa’s wealthiest individual.
Forbes, the esteemed business magazine, recently released an updated roster of the world’s richest billionaires, unveiling the substantial decline in Dangote’s fortune by a staggering $3.4 billion within a single day. This downturn was primarily attributed to the recent devaluation of the Nigerian naira against the U.S. dollar.
Consequently, Dangote’s descent from his enduring pinnacle on Forbes’ list has paved the way for South African tycoon Johann Rupert, who now claims the throne with an impressive wealth of $12 billion.
Dangote had dominated the title of Africa’s richest person since 2013, solidifying his financial eminence. In 2014, he achieved an extraordinary milestone as the first African entrepreneur to surpass the $20 billion mark in wealth.
Over the past decade, however, Dangote’s net worth has encountered significant setbacks according to Forbes’ records. Initially valued at $25 billion in 2014, his fortune gradually dwindled to $14.2 billion, primarily influenced by the series of currency devaluations that adversely impacted the wealth, income, and purchasing power of Nigerians.
The latest blow to his wealth has resulted in a decline of $3.4 billion, settling at $10.8 billion at the time of this report. This dramatic plunge directly stems from the Nigerian currency hitting a record low, as the central bank auctioned dollars at a rate nearly 30 percent weaker than the tightly controlled official market.
On Wednesday, the official market trading restrictions were lifted, causing the naira to plummet to an all-time low of 750 to the dollar, a significant drop from the previous day’s rate of 477 naira to the dollar.
This devaluation profoundly impacted Dangote’s assets, including his substantial 86 percent stake in Dangote Cement, his holdings in Dangote Sugar Refinery, and his private interests in Dangote Industries.
While Forbes estimates Dangote’s fortune at $10.8 billion due to the recent devaluation, Bloomberg presents a slightly different estimation. According to Bloomberg, Dangote’s net worth stands at $16.8 billion, making him the wealthiest individual on the African continent. Meanwhile, Johann Rupert’s net worth remains steady at $13.3 billion.
Dangote is not the sole Nigerian billionaire on Forbes’ list who has suffered a significant impact on their wealth due to the recent naira devaluation. Other prominent figures, including billionaire industrialist Abdul Samad Rabiu and telecom and oil mogul Mike Adenuga, have also experienced notable declines.
Rabiu’s net worth took a $2 billion hit, plunging from $8.2 billion to $6.2 billion, consequently surrendering his position as the fourth-richest person in Africa to Egyptian billionaire Nassef Sawiris, who presently boasts a net worth of $6.9 billion according to Forbes.