Capitalism is taking some lumps—and not just in the headlines. For only the second year in a decade, both the number of billionaires and their total wealth shrank, proving that even the wealthiest are not immune to economic forces and weak stock markets. By our latest count there are 2,153 billionaires, 55 fewer than a year ago. Of those, a record 994, or 46%, are poorer (relatively speaking) than they were last year. In total, the ultra-rich are worth $8.7 trillion, down $400 billion from 2018. Altogether 11% of last year’s list members, or 247 people, dropped out of the ranks, the most since 2009 at the height of the global financial crisis.
Asia-Pacific was hardest hit, with 60 fewer 10-figure fortunes. That dip was led by China, which has 49 fewer billionaires than a year ago. Europe, the Middle East and Africa also lost ground. The Americas, driven by a resurgent Brazil, and the U.S. are the only two regions that have more billionaires than they did a year ago. There are now a record 607 in the U.S. That includes 14 of the world’s 20 richest. Jeff Bezos is again number 1 in the world, followed by Bill Gates at number 2.
Even with strong headwinds, resourceful and relentless entrepreneurs found new ways to get rich: 195 newcomers joined the ranks. The richest newcomer is Colin Huang, the founder of Chinese discount web retailer Pinduoduo, which went public in the U.S. in July. Other notable new entrants include Spotify’s Daniel Ek and Martin Lorentzon; Juul Labs’ James Monsees and Adam Bowen, Kind Bar’s Daniel Lubetzky and cosmetics wunderkind Kylie Jenner, who is the world’s youngest billionaire at age 21.
Only four Nigerians made the Forbes world list
1.Aliko Dangote ranked-#136 Aliko Dangote
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, founded and chairs Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer.
He owns nearly 85% of publicly-traded Dangote Cement through a holding company.
Dangote Cement produces 45.6 million metric tons annually and has operations in 10 countries across Africa.
Dangote also owns stakes in publicly-traded salt, sugar and flour manufacturing companies.
Dangote Refinery has been under construction for three years and is expected to be one of the world’s largest oil refineries once complete.
2.Michael Adenuga ranked #156 Mike Adenuga
Adenuga, Nigeria’s second richest man, built his fortune in telecom and oil production.
His mobile phone network, Globacom, is the third largest operator in Nigeria, with 43 million subscribers.
His oil exploration outfit, Conoil Producing, operates 6 oil blocks in the Niger Delta.
Adenuga got an MBA at Pace University in New York, supporting himself as a student by working as a taxi driver.
He made his first million at age 26 selling lace and distributing soft drinks.
3.Abdulsamad Rabiu ranked #1425 Abdulsamad Rabiu
Abdulsamad Rabiu is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate active in cement production, sugar refining and real estate.
In December 2018, Rabiu merged his privately-owned Kalambaina Cement company with listed firm Cement Co. of Northern Nigeria, which he controlled.
His BUA Group also owns Obu Cement, which expanded its production with a new line in 2018.
Rabiu, the son of a businessman, inherited land from his father.
He set up his own business in 1988 importing iron, steel and chemicals.
#1941 Folorunsho Alakija
Folorunsho Alakija is vice chair of Famfa Oil, a Nigerian oil exploration company with a stake in Agbami Oilfield, a prolific offshore asset.
Famfa Oil’s partners include Chevron and Petrobras.
Alakija’s first company was a fashion label whose customers included the wife of former Nigerian president Ibrahim Babangida.
The Nigerian government awarded Alakija’s company an oil prospecting license in 1993, which was later converted to an oil mining lease.
The Agbami field has been operating since 2008; Famfa Oil says it will likely operate through 2024.