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Samad Rabiu, Omokore, Ovia, named in new list of Africa's billionaires

By The Rainbow

Africa is the world's fastest growing emerging market and is home to 55 billionaires, up from a previous estimate of 25, a pan-African magazine Ventures Africa has reported.

Their wealth was helped greatly by the price of oil which topped $100 a barrel this year, up from $20 a barrel in early 2000, creating a new crop of African billionaires.

Interestingly, Nigeria boasts of 20 of billionaires of Africa with a combined wealth worth more than $143 billion including a Nigerian said to be the richest black woman in the world.

Associated Press quoted Editor-in-chief Uzodinma Iweala as saying  on Tuesday the magazine's estimates are 'on the conservative side'.

The report predictably identifies Nigerian manufacturer Aliko Dangote as the richest African worth $20.2bn, among 20 Nigerians listed.

Africa Ventures put the average net worth of Africa's billionaires at $2.6bn and their average age at 65. The oldest billionaires are Kenyan industrialist Manu Chandaria and Egyptian property tycoon Mohammed Al-Fayed, both aged 84.

The youngest billionaires are Mohammed Dewji of Tanzania and Nigerian oil trader Igho Sanomi, both 38 years old.

The United Kingdom, in contrast, is home to 84 billionaires, worth a nearly £250billion, according to the 2013 Sunday Times Rich List.

With 55 billionaires, Africa is comparable to Latin America, which has 51 at last count (Forbes). Asia is home to 399 billionaires as of 2013.

The new study, undertaken by African Business magazine and news service Ventures Africa, is the most extensive list ever compiled, claims founder Chi-Chi Okonjo. It reveals the 'true wealth' of Africa 's richest people, he said.

The richest man in Africa is cement, sugar and flour tycoon Aliko Dangote. The Nigerian is worth $20.2bn. This figure is slightly up on Forbes' estimation of $16.1billion for his wealth as of March this year.

In second place, South African financier Allan Gray holds assets worth at least $8.5bn.

Third on the list, Nigerian Mike Adenuga, with operations in the oil and telecoms industries, has an estimated fortune of $8bn. His major investment is in Globacom, Nigeria second national carrier, Conoil which plays in both the downstream and upstream petroleum industry.

Africa's wealthiest woman, Nigerian oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija, is worth $7.3 billion. She is the owner of Famfa oil, which sold 40 per cent of its oil block to Chevron recently.

The median age of Africa's billionaires stands at 65 years old, with the youngest billionaires both at 38. These young guns are Tanzanian Mohammed Dewji, head of the largest textile manufacturer in sub-Saharan Africa, and Nigerian oil trader Igho Sanomi.

The oldest billionaires are Manu Chandaria, a Kenyan industrialist, and Mohammed Al-Fayed, the Egyptian property tycoon and Harrods boss, who are both 84.

Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt have the most billionaires with 20, nine and eight respectively. In total ten African countries are represented on the list.

Founder and first managing Director of Zenith Bank, one of Nigeria 's leading financial institutions, Mr. Jim Ovia also made the list with net worth of $1.5 billion. Ovia is also the chairman of Nigeria 's fledging telecommunications company, Visafone.

According to Ventures Africa, there are a large number of African billionaires on its list whose fortunes have never been accurately calculated before including: Strive Masiyiwa of Zimbabwe, who is worth $1.46 billion and Abdulsamad Rabiu of Nigeria whose networt is $1.4 billion. Rabiu is one of the most notable players in the real sector of the Nigerian economy, calling the shots in the cement industry with a large percentage of the nation's cement market share. He is also interest in sugar and flour business in Nigeria.

Other are Aziz Akhannouch (Morocco, $1.39 billion); Jide Omokore (Nigeria, $1.32 billion); and Bode Akindele (Nigeria, $1.19 billion). Omokore is an oil and gas tycoon and owns a fledging petroleum dealing firm called Spog Petroleum and Gas.

'This list is a tribute to the entrepreneurial heartbeat within Africa,' said Okonjo.

The report credits the surge in energy prices over the last decade for the increase in billionaires. The price of oil topped $100 a barrel this year, up from $20 a barrel in early 2000.

The list was been compiled using financial reports, by tracking equity holdings around stock markets and identifying specific shareholding structures in large, privately-held companies. The results have been corroborated with investment bankers, realtors and financial analysts to determine proper values for companies, real estate and other assets, such as art collections, jets, yachts and jewelry.