Nigeria has four new billionaires, according to wealth research done by Ventures Africa. This brings the total number of Nigerians represented on the list to 23, giving Nigeria the largest concentration of billionaires in Africa.
Cletus Ibeto ($3.7 billion), founder of multi-faceted Ibeto Group; Benedict Peters ($2.7 billion), an oil magnate; Tony Elumelu ($1.6 billion), a serial investor and philanthropist; and Canada-based oil trader Akanimo Udofia ($1 billion), are the new faces of the Nigeria’s newest Billionaires.
A grass to grace billionaire, Cletus Ibeto, grew from an apprentice in a spare parts shop to the owner of the largest conglomerate in Eastern Nigeria. His debut as the 11th richest person sees him ranked higher than popular Nigerian billionaires like Jim Ovia and Oba Otudeko.
Nothing announces the arrival of Benedict Peters like his $2.56 billion acquisition of a prolific oil block from Shell Nigeria, except, of course, his first ever ranking on the Ventures Africa’s Rich List.
After decades of labouring in the oil and gas business, Benedict Peters is now reaping the fruits of his labour. His Aiteo group is one of the fastest growing local players in Nigeria’s upstream and downstream oil sectors.
Although Tony Elumelu is just entering the billionaires club, he has been a major player in Nigeria’s financial industry. A serial investor and businessman, Tony is the chairman of UBA Group, one of Africa’s most successful banks; Heirs Holdings, an investment company; and Transnational Corporation (TRANSCORP Plc), a conglomerate with investments in hospitality, oil, agriculture, and logistics.
Nigeria’s domination of the rich list also extends past contributing the highest number of individuals. The collective wealth of Nigerians on the list is $77.7 billion or 48 percent of the total Rich List wealth, almost as much as the other countries combined.
Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote, founder of Africa’s largest industrial conglomerate, Dangote Group, also remains the continent’s richest man. His net worth has grown to $25.7 billion, a 21 percent rise from $20.2 billion in 2013.
Another Nigerian, Igho Sanomi, shares the position of Africa’s youngest billionaire with Mohammed Dewji, Tanzania’s richest man. At 39, Igho Sanomi, the founder of oil conglomerate Taleveras Group, is worth $1.3 billion.
Africa’s richest woman, Folorunsho Alakija, is also Nigerian. Worth $7.3 billion dollars, Folorunsho is actually the richest black woman in the world, trumping long time title holder, Oprah Winfrey.
It comes as little surprise however, that the main source of the Nigerians’ wealth is the country’s abundant oil resources. According to the Ventures Africa Rich List, almost 40 percent of Nigeria’s billionaires’ wealth is tied to the country’s oil and gas industry.