African Booty

Sean Jacobs
Forbes Magazine–fresh from its cover story last week about Barack Obama’s “Kenyan, anti-colonialist tendencies” which he inherited from his “Luo tribesman father”–gets back to its normal business: reminding us who has real power. Its annual list of the world’s wealthiest people was published this week. As usual they published two lists: the 400 richest Americans (which contains little surprises);  that list is then combined with the rest of the globe’s into a 1000-person list of “The World Billionaires.”  A few of the world’s super wealthy who list themselves as citizens of African countries (whether they live there or not) make the cut:*

127 Nassef Sawiris (Egypt), worth US$5.1bn from construction  (above).
154 Nicky Oppenheimer & family (South Africa), $5bn from diamond mining.
307 Onsi Sawiris (Egypt), father of Nassef, $3.1bn also from construction.
374 Naguib Sawiris (Egypt), brother of Nassef, $2.4bn from telecoms.
421 Johann Rupert & family (South Africa), $2.3bn from luxury goods.
421 Patrice Motsepe (South Africa), $2.3bn from mining.
463 Aliko Dangote (Nigeria), $2.1bn from sugar, flour and cement.
655 Samih Sawiris (Egypt), brother of Nassef, worth $1.5bn from hotels.

We’re not celebrating. We’re not getting any of that money.

* We wanted to, but didn’t have time to work through the list and highlight those wealthy non-Africans who also derive massive profits from the continent. For starters we known that 2 of the top 10–Bill Gates and Lakshmi Mittal–have economic interests on the continent.

Sean Jacobs

Sean Jacobs is on the international affairs faculty of The New School. He is the founder and chief editor of Africa is a Country.

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