Every year, Forbes magazine releases its list of the richest people on the planet. Out of the 1,226 people who made this year’s “Forbes Billionaires List”, only six are black — and just one is American: Oprah Winfrey.
With a net worth of $2.7 billion, media mogul Winfrey remains the sole black, female billionaire in the world, despite a tough first year for her cable channel the Oprah Winfrey Network (OWN).
OWN is a joint venture between her Harpo Productions and Discovery, and has been marked by disappointing ratings and turnover at the top. The channel’s chief executive, Christina Norman, for instance, left just months after the channel launched.
“A new programming line-up, including a nightly talk show with performer Rosie O’Donnell and an interview show featuring Winfrey with high-profile guests, has given the channel a recent boost, but its future remains uncertain,” according to Forbes.
Others in the billionaire’s club include Nigerian self-made business magnet Aliko Dangote. He is, however, no longer the richest black person in the world.
He’s been ousted by Mohammed Al Amoudi, of Saudi and Ethiopian descent, who is worth an estimated $12.5 billion. That’s $1.3 billion richer than Dangote.
Al-Amoudi, 67, is the 61st richest person in the world. His most prominent assets include oil companies like Svenska Petroleum Exploration, which produces crude oil in Africa, and refinery operator Preem.
Based in Nigeria, Aliko Dangote, worth $11.2 billion, is the owner of the Dangote Group, with interests in everything from sugar refineries, flour milling and salt processing to cement plants in his homeland and several other countries in Africa, including Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa and Zambia.
Fellow Nigerian Mike Adenuga, worth $4.3 billion, has interests in Telecoms, banking and oil. His Conoil Producing Company is Nigeria’s largest indigenous oil exploration company, and his mobile phone operator, Globacom, has over 15 million subscribers in Nigeria.
Mining magnate Patrice Motsepe is South Africa’s first and only black billionaire. His company, African Rainbow Minerals (ARM), has interests in gold, ferrous metals, base metals, and platinum. Motsepe, worth $2.7 billion, owns 41 percent of the company.
Dr. Mohamed “Mo” Ibrahim is the final black billionaire to make it on the authoritative Forbes billionaire list. The Sudanese mobile communications entrepreneur is worth an estimated $1.1 billion.
He worked for several telecommunications companies before founding Celtel, which he sold in 2005 for $3.4 billion, and pocketed $1.4 billion.
He has also set up the Mo Ibrahim Foundation to encourage better governance in Africa, as well as creating the Mo Ibrahim Index to evaluate nations’ performances.
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 the dropped off the list again in 2009.
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