Black billionaires are individuals who are of Sub-Saharan African descent with net worth of at least US$1 billion. These individuals include native Africans born on the continent as well as the African diaspora. According to the 2019 Forbes 2019 ranking of the world’s billionaires, Nigerian business magnate Aliko Dangote had a net worth of $10.9 billion and was the world’s richest black man. Other black billionaires on the 2019 Forbes list included Nigerian businessman Mike Adenuga with $9.1 billion, American investor Robert Smith with $5 billion, American businessman David Steward with $3 billion, American media mogul Oprah Winfrey with $2.5 billion, Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos with $2.3 billion, South African gold magnate Patrice Motsepe with $2.3 billion, Jamaican-Canadian businessman Michael Lee-Chin with $1.9 billion, American rapper Kanye West with $1.8 billion, Nigerian businessman Abdul Samad Rabiu with $1.6 billion, American sports executive Michael Jordan with $1.6 billion, American rapper Jay-Z with $1.4 billion, Mo Ibrahim of the United Kingdom with $1.1 billion, and American media mogul Tyler Perry with $1 billion.
From 2001 to 2003, Forbes listed American television network executive Bob Johnson as a billionaire but dropped him after his fortune was split in his divorce. He returned to the Forbes Billionaire list in 2007 with a net worth of $1.1 billion. In 2008 Johnson’s wealth dropped again, this time to approximately $1.0 billion and by 2009 he fell off the list again. Nigerian petroleum executive Femi Otedola briefly emerged as a billionaire in 2009 but did not remain one in subsequent years. He returned to the list in the company of a fellow Nigerian, sugar tycoon Abdul Samad Rabiu, in 2016, but both were dropped from the rankings the following year.
Of all the above-mentioned billionaires identified by Forbes, only Oprah Winfrey qualified for Forbes 2009’s list of the world’s 20 most powerful billionaires, a list which considered not only wealth, but also market sway and political clout. Winfrey was considered especially powerful because of her influence on American consumer choices and her pivotal role in Barack Obama’s successful 2008 U.S. presidential campaign.
List of Black billionaires
Black billionaires 2001 (Total African Billionaires = 2)
All World Billionaires in 2001 = 538, Richest: Bill Gates $114 billion
Aliko Dangote is the richest Black billionaire and has held the title since 2013. He owns 85% of publicly traded Dangote Cement, Africa’s largest cement producer. The company’s stock price went up more than 30% over the last year. In addition, Dangote also has investments in salt and sugar manufacturing companies.
The fifth richest Black person, David Steward, owns the technology solutions provider World Wide Technology. Steward had decided he wanted to be part of the technological revolution and founded the company in 1990 before the first internet browser had even been created. The company has since grown to be the largest Black-owned business in America with over $13.4 billion in annual revenue and more than 7,000 employees.
Best known for his music career, Shawn Carter, more commonly known as Jay-Z, is number 14 on the list. However, the rapper’s wealth goes far beyond his music. Jay-Z has built a diversified business empire, including investments in a fine art collection, an entertainment company, a clothing line, and alcohol brands. He recently sold half of his champagne brand to LVMH, the parent company of Dom Pérignon.
Unfortunately, little progress has been made with regards to the proportion of Black billionaires. Since 2011, Black billionaires have made up fewer than 1% of all billionaires worldwide.