Despite economic headwinds that affected Nigeria’s economy, three Nigerians have appeared in the list of richest black people on earth. They are Aliko Dangote, Abdulsamad Rabiu and Mike Adenuga.
Aliko Dangote, President of the pan-African Conglomerate, the Dangote Group, tops the list.
Here is a list of 17 richest black people on earth
1. Aliko Dangote ($10.8 billion)
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person, founded and chairs Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer.
He owns 85% of publicly-traded Dangote Cement through a holding company.
Dangote Cement has the capacity to produce 48.6 million metric tons annually and has operations in 10 countries across Africa.
After many years in development, Dangote’s fertilizer plant in Nigeria began operations in March 2022.
Dangote Refinery has been under construction since 2016 and is expected to be one of the world’s largest oil refineries once complete.
2. Robert F. Smith ($8 billion)
Robert F. Smith founded private equity firm Vista Equity Partners in 2000. It focuses exclusively on investing in software companies.
With $96 billion in assets, Vista is one of the best-performing private equity firms, posting annualized returns of 31% since inception.
In October 2020, Smith entered into an agreement with the DOJ and IRS, agreeing to pay $139 million for his role in a tax evasion scheme.
As a college student, Smith secured an internship at Bell Labs after calling the company every week for five months.
An engineer by training, he worked at Kraft Foods and Goodyear Tire before getting his MBA at Columbia University.
During a commencement speech, Smith vowed to wipe out the student debt of the entire 2019 graduating class of Morehouse College.
3. David Steward ($7.6 billion)
David Steward is the founder and chairman of IT provider World Wide Technology.
In the early days, Steward sometimes went without a paycheck and once watched his car get repossessed from the office parking lot.
Today he is majority owner of the $14.5 billion (sales) company, whose customers include Citi, Verizon and the federal government.
He grew up in the segregated South with seven siblings; his father worked as a mechanic, janitor and trash collector.
Steward donated $1.3 million to the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2018 to create the David and Thelma Steward Institute for Jazz Studies.
4. Abdulsamad Rabiu ($5.6 billion)
Abdulsamad Rabiu is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate active in cement production, sugar refining and real estate.
In early January 2020, Rabiu merged his privately-owned Obu Cement company with listed firm Cement Co. of Northern Nigeria, which he controlled.
The combined firm, called BUA Cement Plc, trades on the Nigerian stock exchange; Rabiu owns 98.2% of it.
Rabiu, the son of a businessman, inherited land from his father.
He set up his own business in 1988 importing iron, steel and chemicals.
5. Mike Adenuga ($3.6 billion)
Adenuga, Nigeria’s second richest man, built his fortune in telecom and oil production.
His mobile phone network, Globacom, is the third largest operator in Nigeria, with 55 million subscribers.
His oil exploration outfit, Conoil Producing, operates 6 oil blocks in the Niger Delta.
Adenuga got an MBA at Pace University in New York, supporting himself as a student by working as a taxi driver.
He made his first million at age 26 selling lace and distributing soft drinks.
6. Jay-Z ($2.5 billion)
Since becoming hip-hop’s first billionaire in 2019, Jay-Z has more than doubled his fortune thanks to his lucrative liquor businesses.
In 2021, giant LVMH purchased a 50% stake in his champagne empire Armand de Brignac, otherwise known as Ace of Spades.
Jay-Z sold a majority of his stake in his cognac brand D’Usse to Bacardi in February 2023.
His other assets range from a fine art collection including works by Jean-Michel Basquiat, his music catalog and shares in companies like Block and Uber.
In 2021 he was inducted into the Rock & Roll Hall Of Fame; He won an Emmy in 2022 for Outstanding Variety Special for his production of the Super Bowl Halftime Show.
7. Oprah Winfrey ($2.5 billion)
Oprah Winfrey has transitioned her hit talk show, which ran for 25 years, into a media and business empire.
Reinvested, the profits from her show, plus profits from films like The Color Purple, Beloved and Selma (which her Harpo Productions coproduced) add up to an estimated more than $2 billion.
In 2011, Winfrey launched cable channel OWN. She sold most of her stake in the network to owner Warner Bros. Discovery in 2020 in exchange for shares in the company.
Winfrey bought a 10% stake in Weight Watchers in 2015, though she owns less now.
Her sprawling real estate portfolio includes homes in California, Nashville and over a dozen properties in Hawaii.
8. PATRICE MOTSEPE ($2.3 billion)
Patrice Motsepe, the founder and chairman of African Rainbow Minerals, became a billionaire in 2008 – the first black African on the Forbes list.
In 2016, he launched a private equity firm, African Rainbow Capital, focused on investing in Africa.
Motsepe also has a stake in Sanlam, a listed financial services firm, and is the president and owner of the Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club.
In March 2021, Motsepe was elected president of the Confederation of African Football, the sport’s governing body on the continent.
In 1994, he became the first black partner at law firm Bowman Gilfillan in Johannesburg, and then started a mining services contracting business.
In 1997, he bought low-producing gold mine shafts and later turned them profitable.
9. Michael Jordan ($2 billion)
Regarded by most as the NBA’s greatest all-time player, Michael Jordan won six titles with the Chicago Bulls.
His salary during his career totaled $90 million, but he has earned $1.8 billion (pre-tax) from such corporate partners as Nike, Hanes and Gatorade.
MJ joined sports-betting firm DraftKings as a special advisor to the board and an investor in September 2020.
He also became a NASCAR team co-owner in late 2020.
Jordan, who owns the Charlotte Hornets, agreed to sell a minority stake in a 2019 deal that valued the NBA team at $1.5 billion.
10. STRIVE MASIYIWA, ($1.8 billion)
Strive Masiyiwa overcame protracted government opposition to launch mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in his country of birth in 1998.
He owns just over 50% of the publicly-traded Econet Wireless Zimbabwe, which is one part of his larger Econet Group.
Masiyiwa also owns just over half of private company Liquid Telecom, which provides fiber optic and satellite services to telecom firms across Africa.
His other assets include stakes in mobile phone networks in Burundi and Lesotho, and investments in fintech and power distribution firms in Africa.
He and his wife Tsitsi founded the Higherlife Foundation, which supports orphaned and poor children in Zimbabwe, South Africa, Burundi and Lesotho.
11. Alexander Karp ($1.8 billion)
Alex Karp is cofounder and CEO of data mining firm Palantir Technologies, which received early backing from CIA investment arm In-Q-Tel.
The company does contract work for government agencies like the Department of Defense, the FBI and the Danish National Police.
Palantir went public on the New York Stock Exchange in an unusual direct listing process in September 2020.
Karp met Palantir cofounder and billionaire Facebook investor Peter Thiel while at Stanford Law School.
Karp managed money before starting Palantir in 2004, and occasionally teaches meditation classes at the company.
12. Rihanna ($1.4 billion )
Rihanna, Barbados’ most famous export, is a billionaire thanks to the success of cosmetics line Fenty Beauty.
The cosmetics company, which she co-owns with French luxury retailer LVMH, doubled its revenue in 2022.
She also has a 30% stake in the Savage x Fenty lingerie line, which raised money at a $1 billion valuation in February 2021.
The pop star headlined the Super Bowl LVII halftime show for the first time in 2023, during which she revealed she is pregnant with her second child.
Rihanna and rapper A$AP Rocky already have one son, born in May 2022.
She released her first new music in five years in 2022 for the movie Black Panther: Wakanda Forever. Her song “Lift Me Up” was nominated for an Oscar for Best Original Song.
13. Michael Lee-Chin ($1.4 billion each)
Michael Lee-Chin made a fortune investing in financial companies like National Commercial Bank Jamaica and AIC Limited.
The native of Jamaica acquired AIC in 1987, when it had less than $1 million in assets under management.
Under Lee-Chin, the Canada-based wealth management and mutual fund business managed more than $10 billion in assets by 2002.
But the firm was hit hard by the 2008 recession, and Lee-Chin sold AIC to Canadian financial services group Manulife in 2009 for an undisclosed price.
He managed to hold onto a valuable 60% stake in National Commercial Bank Jamaica, which now makes up much of his wealth.
14. MOHAMMED IBRAHIM ($1.2 billion)
Mohammed “Mo” Ibrahim founded Celtel International in 1998, one of the first mobile phone companies serving Africa and the Middle East.
He sold Celtel to Kuwait’s Mobile Telecommunications Company for $3.4 billion in 2005 and pocketed $1.4 billion.
Since then, he’s focused on fighting corrupt leadership in Africa through the Mo Ibrahim Foundation, directed by his daughter, Hadeel.
Ibrahim also chairs the board of Satya Capital, a private equity fund that invests in African businesses, education and healthcare.
15. Tiger Woods ($1.1 billion)
Woods has earned roughly $1.8 billion during his pro golf career, including a PGA Tour-record $121 million in prize money. In 2022, Forbes certified him as a billionaire, making him only the second active athlete ever with that distinction, after LeBron James.
Woods reached that rarified air despite reportedly turning down a “mind-blowingly enormous” offer from the upstart LIV Golf tour, a deal that LIV CEO Greg Norman told the Washington Post would have been in the “high nine digits.”
Woods has parlayed his golfing paychecks into investments that include two homes on Jupiter Island, a golf-course design business and high-end mini-golf chain Popstroke.
Woods and fellow golf star Rory McIlroy announced in 2022 that they had founded TMRW Sports, a tech-focused venture with plans to launch a new golf league called TGL.
The superstar is also a partner with Justin Timberlake and British billionaire Joe Lewis in Nexxus, a luxury real-estate venture.
16. LeBron James ($1 billion)
James is the first active NBA player to become a billionaire, with Forbes estimating his net worth at $1 billion in June 2022.
Born to a 16-year-old single mother, he lived with an assortment of family members, friends and neighbors, plus his youth football coach, before being drafted by the Cleveland Cavaliers in 2003.
James has reportedly earned more than $430 million in pretax salary from stints with the Cavaliers, the Miami Heat and his current team, the Los Angeles Lakers.
He has raked in upwards of $900 million (pretax) off the court, according to Forbes estimates from business ventures and endorsement deals with the likes of PepsiCo, Walmart and Nike.
Key to his billionaire status: James has been more than a pitchman, taking equity in brands he works with, including Beats by Dre and the fast-growing Blaze Pizza chain.
His LeBron James Family Foundation opened its first elementary school in 2018 and has pledged to spend more than $40 million to send kids to college.
17. Tyler Perry ($1 billion)
A director, actor, producer and writer, Tyler Perry is best known for his “Madea” franchise, which has grossed more than $660 million.
Perry started out in live theater in the 1990s and became extremely popular before transitioning to film and television in the 2000s.
Perry’s wealth comes both from his cut as a producer and from a library dating back to the early 1990s: he owns 100% of the content he’s created.
In 2019, he opened Tyler Perry Studios, a 330-acre property in Atlanta with 12 sound stages and custom sets that include a to-scale White House.