Forbes magazine has a new list of the richest people in the world and surprise suprise, the first black Africans have made the list. Bill Gates is now in third position with Warren Buffet in first position and Mexico's Carlos slim in second.
And the Africans are
Patrice Motsepe of Souh Africa
Patrice Motsepe entered the mining business when South Africa ended apartheid. Today the onetime lawyer and avowed capitalist is the country's first black billionaire.
On a brilliantly sunny Thursday in January, Patrice Motsepe, a vigorous 46-year-old with regal posture, is striding through a gleaming shopping mall on the Cape Town waterfront. Suddenly a crowd forms. A half-dozen employees from the Build-A-Bear Workshop ask for his autograph. Two giggling young women roll up their sleeves as Motsepe signs their arms with a black marker, smiling while admirers snap photos with cell phones. An older woman approaches Motsepe and nearly swoons, grasping his arm and laying her head on his chest as he pats her back and murmurs thank you in Xhosa, one of the six African languages he speaks.
All this is not for a movie star or entertainer but for South Africa's first black billionaire. Over 15 years Motsepe, preaching free market capitalism, turned a low-level mining services business into the country's first black-owned mining company, African Rainbow Minerals, with 2007 revenue of $875 million. Driven by the Asian commodities boom, ARM's share price has rocketed in the past year from $12 to $24, pushing the value of Motsepe's net worth to $2.4 billion. Motsepe, a lawyer by training, serves as ARM's executive chairman, with a 42% stake in the company. He also owns a 5.5% stake worth $295 million in Sanlam, a publicly traded financial services company outside Cape Town.
By billionaire standards Motsepe has a modest lifestyle. His three sons attend prestigious private schools, but he has only one home, in the affluent Johannesburg suburb of Bryanston, and no yacht or plane. His one indulgence is to own the Mamelodi Sundowns, a soccer team. It doesn't tarnish his star quality that he's married to one of South Africa's most glamorous women, a medical doctor turned fashion impresario.
And Aliko Dangote from Nigeria
Nigeria's first billionaire hit the jackpot when his sugar-production company listed on the Nigerian stock exchange last year. Meanwhile, proposed initial public offerings of his flour and cement companies have stalled. Began career as trader at 21 with loan from his uncle; built his Dangote Group into conglomerate with interests in sugar, flour milling, salt processing, cement manufacturing, textiles, real estate, haulage and oil and gas. Closely linked to Nigeria's former president Olusegun Obasanjo.