Where Africa’s ICT wealth sits

Last year Forbes launched its inaugural list of Africa’s 40 Richest individuals, indicating each person’s respective net worth and source of wealth. The 2012 list of Africa’s 40 Richest makes for interesting reading, particularly in light of the relevance and movement of Information Communication Technology (ICT).

Naguib Sawiris, founder of Orascom Telecom Holding SAE. (Image: Flickr/Hurbert Burda Media)

Telecommunications features on the wealth portfolios of almost twenty percent of those who have made it onto the list.

Although this sector is not the only source of wealth for individuals (some are accredited with diversification and investment as additional sources), one is able to deduce that ICT has a role to play in wealth generation and the economies of developing markets throughout the continent.

This is where Africa’s tech leaders stand:

  • 5th position: Mike Adenuga from Lagos, Nigeria. He is the founder of Nigerian multinational telecommunications company Globacom Limited (Glo) and has a net worth of $4,6 Billion.
  • 9th position: Naguib Sawiris from Cairo, Egypt. He is the founder of Orascom Telecom Holding SAE and is reported to have a net worth of $2,5 Billion.


  • 11th position: Onsi Sawiris also from Cairo, Egypt. Sawiris founded the Orascom Group, which incorporates, amongst others, the Orascom Telecom Holding S.A.E company. He has a net worth of $2.17 Billion.
  • 26th position: Oba Otudeko from Lagos, Nigeria. Otudeko founded the Honeywell Group and is reported to have a 14% stake in telecommunications services provider Bharti Airtel Nigeria. His net worth is reported to be $575 million.
  • Hakeem Belo-Osagie from Lagos, Nigeria, made it onto the list in 40th position with a net worth of $400 million. Belo-Osagie is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Emerging Markets Telecommunication Services Ltd., trading under the Etisalat brand.

It is also interesting to note that there are African entrepreneurs who made it onto last year’s list, but did not feature in 2012 – otherwise referred to by Forbes as “the drop-offs”.

Readers will notice several recognisable names on this drop-off list, including Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s first president, as well as Mohamed Al Fayed.

Also featured is Zimbabwean Strive Masiyiwa, founder of mobile telecommunications company, Econet Wireless.

According to Forbes he achieved a ranking of 34 with a net worth of $280 million, a figure that has escalated to $350 million. Despite the increase, Masiyiwa did not make it onto the list.

Previous entrants on this list were excluded this year due to new criteria, including the requirement that candidates be resident on the continent

Chris Tredger, Online Editor