It’s that time of year again. Forbes has just published its list of the richest people on the planet. Out of the record 2,043 people who made the cut, ten are black, with Nigerian’s having more billionaires than any other country in Africa. Three African-Americans are also in this exclusive club: investor Robert Smith, media mogul Oprah Winfrey, and basketball legend Michael Jordan.
Nigerian cement tycoon Aliko Dangote is still the richest black person in the world, with an estimated worth of $12.2 billion, he ranks No. 105 on the list. Dangote is the CEO of Dangote Group, with interests in everything from cement plants, sugar refineries, flour milling, and salt processing in his homeland and several other countries in Africa.
He is followed by Saudi-Ethiopian construction magnate Mohammed Al-Amoudi, who is worth $8.4 billion. In Ethiopia, his Midroc Ethiopia Technology Investment Group has investments in gold mining, leather production, agro-processing, transport, and construction. Outside Ethiopia, he owns oil refineries in Morocco and Sweden and oil fields in West Africa.
With a net worth of $3 billion, Oprah Winfrey ranks in at number 660. The self-made media mogul has appeared on the list since 2003. The former queen of daytime TV is still the richest African-American person in the world. Her once-struggling cable channel OWN [Oprah Winfrey Network] is enjoying soaring ratings on the back of a series of successful collaborations with director Tyler Perry. Oprah has also been making waves in the movie industry, both on- and off-screen.
The list also includes Robert Smith, the founder of private equity shop Vista Equity Partners, an Austin, Texas firm that is best known for fixing up enterprise software outfits. Smith announced a $50 million gift in January 2016 to his alma mater Cornell University, which renamed its school of chemical and bioengineering after him.Basketball star Michael Jordan made the cut for the first time in 2015. With an estimated net worth of $1.31 billion, Jordan qualifies as the 1,567th richest person in the world. The 54-year-old is the majority shareholder of Charlotte Hornets and enjoys lucrative deals with the likes of Gatorade, Hanes, and Upper Deck. His biggest pile comes from Brand Jordan, a $1 billion (sales) sportswear partnership with Nike.
In 2001, Robert Johnson became the first African-American to appear on the annual Forbes billionaire list. Johnson secured his billionaire status in the years 2002, 2003, 2007, and 2008, but then dropped off the list again in 2009.
And of course, prominent Latinos also feature on the list. Carlos Slim Helu ranks 6. Mexico’s richest man, Slim and his family control America Movil, Latin America’s biggest mobile telecom firm. Joseph Safra, a Brazilian banker, ranks at #37.
Bill Gates is once again the richest person on the planet, with a net worth of $86 billion, putting the Microsoft Corp co-founder at the top for the 18th year in the last 23. Warren Buffet comes in at number 2 on the list. Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg has risen up the ranks to No. 5. The Facebook CEO has seen his net worth soar as the social network’s stock price has skyrocketed.
Check out the full list of billionaires here.
Photo Courtesy of Harpo Studios, Inc. / George Burns.