These ten businessmen didn’t make the cut for our inaugural list of the 40 Richest Africans, but some of them may be strong contenders for future membership. Each of them is incredibly wealthy in their own right.
Source: Sameer Group
The Asian-Kenyan tycoon is one of East Africa’s most venerable dealmakers. In 2000, along with French Media giant Vivendi, he launched Kencell, a Kenyan mobile phone service provider. In one of Kenya’s most fabled boardroom coups, in 2004 he convinced Vivendi to sell him its 60% stake in the company for $230 million. An hour later, he flipped it to Celtel for $250 million- earning a quick $20 million profit. He now owns a 5% stake in Bharti Airtel‘s Kenyan wireless phone operations but spends most of his time steering the affairs of the eponymous Sameer Group, a 15-company Kenyan conglomerate with activities in financial services, construction, agriculture, energy and power and information technology. Three of his companies are listed on the Nairobi Stock Exchange. Forbes estimates Merali’s net worth is roughly $210 million, using Nov. 2, 2011 stock prices.
Nationality: South African
Source: MTN, Worldwide Africa Investment Holdings
Earlier this year Nhleko stepped down as Group Chief Executive of MTN, Africa’s largest telecoms company. But he still serves as non-executive chairman of MTN International, and remains one of the company’s largest individual shareholders. (His 3.3 million shares were recently worth roughly $58 million.) He now devotes his time towards managing Worldwide African Investment Holdings (WAIH), a South African Investment firm he founded in 1994. WAIH owns substantial interests in mining, oil exploration and ICT. Currently sits on the board of BP and mining giant Anglo American.
Source: Comcraft Group
The Kenyan industrialist is the chairman of Comcraft group, a $2.5 billion industrial conglomerate his father founded over 80 years ago. The group produces steel, plastics, and aluminum products from its manufacturing facilities in 16 African countries and employs a workforce of over 40,000 people in 45 countries on five continents. The reputable philanthropist has given millions to education and health causes in Kenya. Recently, he funded the creation of the Chandaria Business Innovation and Incubation Center at Kenyatta University to provide seed funding and mentorship to student entrepreneurs at the institution. The shareholding of the Comcraft group is believed to be spread through dozens of family members, which is why Manu Chandaria did not make our list this year and is unlikely to do so in the future.
Nationality: South African
Source: Mvelaphanda Group
South Africa’s Minister of Human Settlements is the founder and major shareholder of Mvelaphanda Group, a listed Black Economic Empowerment (BEE) Investment firm with significant interests in blue chips like media giant Avusa, Absa Group, Group Five and Life Healthcare. In 2005 Sexwale hosted the South African version of the reality game show, The Apprentice.
Source: Pupkewitz Holdings
The 96 year-old Namibian mogul parlayed a small family trading business into Pupkewitz Holdings, one of Namibia’s largest privately held conglomerates. Pupkewitz Motors, a subsidiary of the group is the largest dealer of Toyota, Nissan, Honda cars in the country. The group also has extensive interests in real estate and irrigation services. The group is also the largest distributor of Nokia, Samsung and Apple products in the country. A dedicated philanthropist, he solely funded the creation of the Harold Pupkewitz School of Business at the Polytechnic of Namibia.
Isabel Dos Santos
Source: Kento Holding
Isabel Dos Santos is the eldest daughter of Angola’s current president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos. She is a very successful businesswoman in her own right, and one of the continent’s wealthiest women (Forbes estimates her net worth is $170 million). At the age of 24, she rode on her father’s influence to secure lucrative state contracts from where she made her first millions. She loves to invest in Portugal. Today, her Maltese-registered investment vehicle, Kento Holding holds a 10% stake in Portuguese media giant Zon Multimedia. She acquired the stake last year for a reported 164 million Euros. She is also a shareholder in Portuguese banks Banco Espírito Santo and Banco Português de Investimento, and in electric utility company Energias de Portugal.
Said Salim Bakhresa
Source: Bakhresa Group
The extremely reclusive Tanzanian tycoon famously dropped out of school at the age of 14 to sell potato mix, then opened a small restaurant and then finally delved into grain milling. Today, his Bakhresa group employs over 2,000 people and is Tanzania’s largest conglomerate. The company’s interests include grain milling, confectionaries, frozen foods, beverages and packaging. The group’s Azam brand is the most popular manufacturer of chocolates and ice cream in the region. The $800 million (sales) group is also the largest producer of wheat flour in East Africa. Daily capacity: 2,100 metric tons. Company is managed by his sons.
Source: Chagoury Group
The Lebanese-Nigerian businessman cum diplomat was a close confidante and business associate to late Nigerian despot, Sani Abacha. He founded the Chagoury Group in 1971 which today is one of the country’s leading industrial conglomerates. The group’s activities include commercial real estate, flour milling, glass manufacturing and tourism. The group owns the landmark Eko Hotel in Victoria Island, Lagos. Chagoury is embarking on his most ambitious project so far: Along with the Lagos state government, he is building Eko Atlantic, a new mini-city in Lagos which is being constructed on land reclaimed from the Atlantic Ocean. When completed, the new district is expected to accommodate some 400,000 residents.
Antonio Oladeinde Fernandez
The mysterious and intensely private Nigerian diplomat is a formerly served as the Central African Republic’s ambassador to the United Nations. A close friend to Angola’s president, Jose Eduardo dos Santos, Fernandez has extensive gold, diamond and oil mining interests in Angola and across Africa held through his company, Petro Inett. Divides his time between lavish homes in France, Scotland and the United States. In 2003, Fernandez’s wife reportedly sued him for close to $400 million in a record divorce fight. Very little was heard about the case afterwards. Last year, he put up one of his properties in New Rochelle for sale for $12 million.
Source: Camac International Holding
Politician’s son left his native Ibadan-Nigeria to study chemical engineering and business in Texas way back in the 70s. He enjoyed brief stints at oil giants Halliburton and Shell, before branching out in 1986 to found CAMAC, a small commodities trading outfit. In the early 1990s he ventured into energy. Today his $1.5 billion (sales) Camac International is primarily involved in the exploration, production, and trading of crude oil for markets in Africa and Europe. It is one of the largest private companies in America.