Billionaires listed by Forbes’ this March 18, 2020, shows that out of the 2,153 billionaires on earth, only13 are blacks!
Africa’s Black Billionaires
Of Africa’s 54 nations, only 8 countries have billionaires: Egypt and South Africa are tied with five billionaires each, followed by Nigeria with four and Morocco with two. Forbes also found one billionaire each from Algeria, Angola, Tanzania, and Zimbabwe. The African continent boasts of 16 billionaires but just 5 of them are blacks. One billionaire hails from Jamaica and another is a British Sudanese.
America’s Black Billionaires
According to Forbes’ recent list, only six of the United States’ 615 billionaires are African American. The United States, by the way, is home to the highest number of billionaires.
This begs the question, Why are blacks the least number of Forbes’ billionaires?
Before delving into the answer, let’s see how our black billionaires stood out in the current Forbes’ ranking.
Cement tycoon Aliko Dangote is the richest black person in the world with a fortune estimated at $7.7 billion. Dangote is number 162 on the Forbes’ list. He’s followed by Nigerian oil and telecoms mogul Mike Adenuga t No. 286 with a net worth of $5.7 billion. Robert F. Smith comes in at number 3 (No. 330 on Forbes list) with $5billion. He is followed by American businessman David Steward (ranked 538) with an estimate of $3.5 billion. Nigerian businessman Abdulsamad Rabiu is number 5 black billionaire with $3.1B placed as 712 on Forbes.
Oprah Winfrey, 836 with $2.6billion on Forbes. She is number 6. Michael Jordan, 1001 with $2.1billion, is number 7. Michael Lee-Chin, 1063 with $1.6billion is number 8. Angolan investor Isabel dos Santos, 1513, with $1.7billion is the only African female billionaire listed this year and she is number 9. Unfortunately, Kanye West could have made number 11, but his name is missing in this year’s list. Strive Masiyiwa (1851, $1.2billion) is number 10. Mohammed Ibrahim (1851, $1.1billion) is 12 and. Jay-Z (1990, $1billion) is number 13.
It is of interest to note that the second-highest number of billionaires comes from Asia, which boasts of a total number of 581 billionaires: Mainland China (318), India (102), Hong Kong (71), Taiwan (36) South Korea (28) and Japan (26). Third place in Europe which has over 500 billionaires. The countries with the most billionaires are Germany (114), Russia (98), United Kingdom (54), France (41), Italy (35), and Switzerland (33).
The staggeringly low number of American billionaires that identify as being of African descent highlights the widening gap between the economic opportunities given to Black and white Americans.
However, the diversity problem among the world’s wealthiest people isn’t just an American problem.
Why do African Americans have few billionaires?
According to Antonio Moore of inequality.com, African Americans today own little if any of America’s land, produce little if any of the country’s resources, and possess negligible amounts of this nation’s immense wealth. He mentioned that “the white poor have more money than most black families. Princeton University sociologist Dalton Conley has found that white families living near the poverty line have a net worth exceeding $10,000.”
Unfortunately, this is the sad truth about the amount of wealth held by the offshoot of American slavery. He further added that “Blacks live in the wealthiest country the world has ever known. But most African Americans have little if any personal wealth to show for it.”
What about Africans? Why so few billionaires?
For black Africans, there are historical, environmental, socio-economic, and political reasons why some countries and regions are not as wealthy as others. Historical factors are linked with the legacy of colonialism.
Environmental factors are elated to a lack of natural resources and, sometimes combined with a climate that makes it prone to extremes of drought or flood making it hard to establish crops or other economic activity. Socio-economic factors include debt, unfair trade, and the low status of women, education, and health/disease. Then the killer punch: Political factors. These include conflict, wars, and corruption. A combination of some or all of these factors has Africans generally.
Other factors include plunging stock prices, weaker currencies, and low utilization of technology among Africans. The impact of these factors is the fact that even the number of African billionaires has shrunk.
Conversely, it is reported that the Asian continent’s billionaires are set to rise above 1,000 in the next five years. They would soon become one-third of the world’s billionaire population by 2023. India is forecast to have the world’s biggest growth in billionaires, followed by the Philippines and China.
So, Africa, my Africa, where art thou? It’s obvious that the number of black billionaires is incomparable to the rest of the world. What is the way forward for the black race in terms of global wealth?