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Tanzania produces richest man in East Africa, Kenya misses out


NAIROBI, KENYA: Tanzanian Mohammed Dewji is the richest man in East Africa with net worth of USD1.4 Billion, according to Forbes World list of billionaires.

He puts his country in the map which has Nigeria, South Africa, Egypt, Morocco representing the continent in a global list dominated by United States of America

Mohammed Dewji is the CEO of METL, a Tanzanian conglomerate founded by his father in the 1970s. It is active in textile manufacturing, flour milling, beverages and edible oils in eastern, southern and central Africa.

Tanzania’s only billionaire, Dewji operates in at least six African countries and has ambitions to expand to several more. His net worth rose due to an increase in sales in 2015. Dewji retired from Tanzania’s parliament in early 2015 after completing his two terms. His Mo Dewji Foundation provides scholarships for poor Tanzanian children. He signed the Giving Pledge in 2016, promising to donate at least half his fortune to philanthropic causes.

Kenya missed in the list which profiled wealth value of some 1940 people across the globe.

Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote with investments in Sugar, Cement and Flour is the richest man in Africa followed by South Africa’s Nicky Oppenheimer whose investment is only in diamond.

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Dangote was ranked at number 105 globally with wealth estimated at USD12.2 billion while the South African billionaire was ranked at 199 globally with an estimated wealth of USD 7 billion.

The two conspired to beat US President Donald Trump who Forbes listed number 544 with an estimated wealth of USD3.5billion. Donald Trump who is 70 years has interest in real estate and television.

It was a record year for the richest people on earth, as the number of billionaires jumped 13 per cent to 2,043 from 1,810 last year, the first time ever that Forbes has pinned down more than 2,000 ten-figure-fortunes.

Their total net worth rose by 18 percent to $7.67 trillion, also a record. The change in the number of billionaires — up 233 since the 2016 list — was the biggest in the 31 years that Forbes has been tracking billionaires globally. Gainers since last year’s list outnumbered losers by more than three to one.   

Bill Gates is the number one richest for the fourth year in a row, and the richest person in the world for 18 out of the past 23 years. He has a fortune of $86 billion, up from $75 billion last year. Amazon’s Jeff Bezos had the best year of any person on the planet, adding $27.6 billion to his fortune; now worth $72.8 billion, he moved into the top three in the world for the first time, up from number five a year ago.

Warren Buffett had the second-best year, and the biggest gain since Donald Trump was elected president in November 2016. His $14.8 billion jump in 12 months was enough for him to grab back the number two spot from Amancio Ortega, founder of Spanish clothing chain Zara. Ortega’s fortune was up $4.3 billion since last year, but he still fell to fourth in the world, unable to keep up with the outsize gains of others.  

Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg moved up to number five for the first time, after his fortune rose $11.4 billion in 12 months. Meanwhile Carlos Slim Helu of Mexico, once the world’s richest man, fell to number six, the first time he’s been out of the top five in a dozen years.

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There were 195 newcomers. Mainland China had the most new ten-figure fortunes with 76. The U.S. was second with 25. Notable newbies include Patagonia sportswear founder Yvon Chouinard; Viking Cruises founder Torstein Hagen of Norway; U.S. hedge fund tycoon Cliff Asness and two of his partners; and John and Patrick Collison, Irish citizens who cofounded San Francisco-based Stripe, which enables online payments. John Collison, age 26, is now the world’s youngest self-made billionaire, just two months younger than Snapchat’s Evan Spiegel. The Collisons are two of just four self-made billionaires in their 20s (the other two are the Snapchat cofounders). There are 56 billionaires under age 40, down from 66 last year, after some aged out and others dropped below the $1 billion mark.

New Australian billionaire Manny Stul may not be a familiar name yet, but his popular Shopkins, grocery-inspired plastic collectibles with names like Kris P. Lettuce and Posh Pear, are a huge hit with American kids.

There are also 15 new self-made women, all but one of whom are from Asia Pacific. That includes 10 from China and the first ever from Vietnam, Nguyen Thi Phuong Thao, who took her budget airline, VietJet Air, public in February 2017. The sole American self-made woman newcomer is Thai Lee, who was born in Thailand but moved to the U.S. as a child and now runs tech reseller SHI, reportedly the nation’s largest woman-owned business by sales. Altogether there are 227 women on list, including 10 who cofounded or own businesses with a spouse or a brother and thus share the fortune.

The U.S. continues to have more billionaires than any other nation, with a record 565, up from 540 a year ago. China is catching up with 319. (Hong Kong has another 67, and Macau 1.) Germany has the third most with 114 and India, with 101, the first time it has had more than 100, is fourth.

Seventy-eight people fell off the list, including 33 from China, 7 Americans and 9 who are still super wealthy but share their wealth among extended family members and therefore are not eligible for these ranks. Additionally, 20 billionaires died in the past year, including Enterprise car rental founder Jack Taylor and Michael Ilitch, who launched Little Caesar’s pizza with his wife, Marian.  

 

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