African magazine IDs 55 Africans as billionaires

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A Pan-African magazine says Africa has many more billionaires than previously reported: 55 of them. Combined, they are worth more than $143 billion, and include a Nigerian said to be the richest black woman in the world.

"Move over, Oprah!" Ventures Africa says in its latest edition published this week.

Editor-in-chief Uzodinma Iweala said Tuesday the Lagos, Nigeria-based magazine's estimates are "on the conservative side." The report predictably identifies Nigerian manufacturer Aliko Dangote, among 20 Nigerians listed, as the richest African, worth $20.2 billion.

Africa Ventures put the average net worth of Africa's billionaires at $2.6 billion and their average age at 65. The oldest billionaires are Kenyan industrialist Manu Chandaria and Egyptian property tycoon Mohammed Al-Fayed, both aged 84. The youngest billionaires are Mohammed Dewji of Tanzania and Nigerian oil trader Igho Sanomi, both 38.

Nigeria, South Africa and Egypt had the highest numbers of the richest Africans, with nine in South Africa and eight in Egypt. It said Algeria, Angola, Zimbabwe and Swaziland only have one billionaire each. It identified billionaires in only 10 of Africa's 53 countries.

The magazine's survey surprised by identifying oil tycoon Folorunsho Alakija as the richest black woman in the world, saying she is worth $7.3 billion.

Forbes magazine in its respected list had estimated Alakija's fortune at $600 million and Oprah Winfrey's worth at $2.9 billion.

The Forbes list of Africa's 40 Richest has only 16 billionaires including two Nigerians.

Last month, Forbes published a story describing Angolan president Jose Eduardo dos Santos' daughter, Isabel, as Africa's only female billionaire, worth about $3 billion.

Iweala said he was excited to find several Africans who have become wealthy through manufacturing and financial services showing "we're moving away from a continent that is just resource-based."-- AP

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