Lessons from the Top 10 Richest in Africa

The richest men and women in Africa have stories that teach valuable lessons that everyone can learn from. I have read the summarized stories of the top 10 richest in Africa, and here are some priceless lessons that would change your life and business.

Start Young

Image Credit : www.dangote.com

Aliko Dango started his business at age 20. The young detribalised Dangote was only 20 when he established his small trading business in 1977, focusing on commodities and building supplies, IBTimes UK reported.

Johann Rupert, 65, is South African and currently the third richest man in the country. He is best known for its brands Cartier and Montblanc – and owns part of Anthonij Rupert Wines, named after his late brother.

He created the company in 1988 after spinning off international assets owned by Rembrandt Group Ltd, a South African company his father Anton founded in the 1940s as a tobacco manufacturer.

Rupert’s networth is estimated at $5.3bn. Naguid Sawiris is the 10th richest in Africa with networth valued at $3bn. Sawiris joined the family business in 1979. Orascom, his father’s company, was the largest private employer in Egypt at the time and was split into separate operating companies in the late 1990s

[junkie-alert style=”red”] Do not wait till you have 5 years to go on retirement before you start a business. And do not wait for the never-appearing opportunity before you start. Create opportunities. Start young [/junkie-alert]

 Not Afraid to Borrow

Aliko Dangote launched his business after his uncle lent him 500,000 naira. He inherited three cement trucks from his grandfather – as was the practice then – and took out a loan repayable over two years. Today, the Dangote group is the largest business conglomerate in West Africa, with a market capitalisation of $15.5bn, and supplies telecoms, textiles, and commodities such as cement, sugar, salt, and rice at competitive prices.  Dangote owns 90% of publicly traded Dangote Cement, as at March 2016, through a holding company.[junkie-alert style=”red”] Do not be afraid to borrow funds from financial institutions to expand your business. [/junkie-alert]

There are many businesses who leveraged their growth with debt, in addition to their organic growth. Be sure to pay back all borrowed funds and accompanying interest so you can take more when you need it again.

 Diversified Portfolio

The top 10 richest men and women in Africa do not have all their eggs in one basket. They have interests in businesses in various sectors. Nicky Oppenheimer, $6.6B, has investment in his family’s diamond mining giant and marketer DeBeers. Christoffel Wiese,$6.5B, has a portfolio including British fashion retailer New Look and gym chain Virgin Active, and furniture and home goods retailer Steinhoff. King Mohammed IV is the 5th richest in Africa with $5.7billion networth. He has investment in Morocco’s largest bank, sugar company Cosumar, and mining company Managem Group.

Rank Name Net Worth Age Origin of Wealth
#1 Aliko Dangote $16.7 B 59 cement, sugar, flour
#2 Nicky Oppenheimer $6.6 B 70 diamonds
#3 Christoffel Wiese $6.5 B 74 retailing
#4 Johann Rupert $6.3 B 65 luxury goods
#5 King Mohammed VI $5.7 B 52 diversified
#6 Nassef Sawiris $4.9 B 55 construction, chemicals
#7 Mike Adenuga $3.5 B 63 telcom, oil
#8 Isabel dos Santos $3.4 B 43 investments
#9 Issad Rebrab $3.2 B 72 food
#10 Naguib Sawiris $3 B 61 telecom

[junkie-alert style=”red”] To succeed, don’t look at just one business. Once you build one, look to the next and the next. [/junkie-alert]

Not Afraid of Risk

Something I shouldn’t be telling you. Obviously these Africans won’t become billionaires if they were afraid to take risk. They have had their fair share of losses and failures but that has not stopped them from taking more risk.

Mike Adenuga, $3.5 has risked his flagship Glo brand beyond the borders of Nigeria. Globacom, is the second largest telecom operator in Nigeria, with 32 million subscribers. He has taken the business to Ghana and republic of Benin.

In May last year, Globacom lodged a $600m takeover bid for Ivorian mobile telecoms operator Comium Cote d’Ivoire, a company that had been grappling with debt and cash flow problems, IBTimes UK reported. Such is the risk appetite of Africa’s billionaires.

 Have an Eye for Opportunities

The rich men of Africa are able to spot profitable investment and invest in them. This is how they all built their wealth. Christoffel Wiese’s biggest investment, furniture and home goods retailer Steinhoff, moved its listing from the Johannesburg Stock Exchange to the Frankfurt Stock Exchange in December 2015 in order to focus on the European market.

The billionaire see opportunities in the European market. Most of them have their businesses outside their home countries –  a move that confirms their ability to spot opportunies.

Supportive Family

Aliko Dangote, Nicky Oppenheimer, Johann Rupert, King Mohammed IV, Mike Adenuga, Isabel Dos Santos, Issad Rebrab and Naguib Sawiris are billionaires who started and built their wealth with some level of support from family, and friends.

[junkie-alert style=”red”] You cannot underestimate the power of your family ties and connections with friends in building wealth. Referrals and other forms of business support are some of advantages you enjoy from such an influential network. Make it count. [/junkie-alert]

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