The African Millionaires of Politics: Top 10 Richest Presidents in Africa as of 2023

Tales of corruption, embezzlement, and illicit enrichment have been common in African politics as they are in other parts of the world. However, amidst the poverty, disease, and underdevelopment that afflict the continent, some politicians have managed to amass enormous wealth and assets from their public office. These individuals either have lucrative businesses, massive properties, or abundant resources that significantly boost their fortunes. In this article, we will examine the top 10 richest Presidents in Africa as of 2023, their profiles, and the implications of their wealth for African politics and development.

Methodology

To generate our list, we used multiple criteria, such as net worth, business and investment interests, assets, and political power. We also relied on credible sources such as Forbes, Bloomberg, The African Exponent, and official government reports.

The Top 10 Richest Presidents in Africa as of 2023

1. President Paul Biya – Cameroon

Starting our list is the current President of Cameroon, Paul Biya, who has been in power since 1982 and is reputedly Africa’s longest-serving President. Biya is primarily a politician but maintains vast business interests, such as owning a luxury hotel and resorts. According to Forbes, Biya’s net worth is estimated at $200 million.

2. President King Mswati III – Swaziland

King Mswati III is the last absolute monarch in Africa and has reigned over Swaziland since 1986. While officially representing the government, the king is the largest shareholder of the nation’s biggest firms, including MTN, Eswatini Mobile, and Nedbank Swaziland. His estimated net worth is $250 million.

3. President Uhuru Kenyatta – Kenya

Uhuru Kenyatta, the son of Kenya’s founding president, Jomo Kenyatta, became the President of Kenya in 2013. Kenyatta is reported to have substantial interests in the banking, real estate, hotel, and media sectors, amongst others. He owns Brookside Dairy, one of the largest milk processors in East Africa, and his estimated net worth is $500 million.

4. President Abdel Fattah el-Sisi – Egypt

Egypt’s leader, Abdel Fattah el-Sisi, came to power in 2013 after ousting his predecessor, Mohamed Morsi. Before joining the military, el-Sisi owned numerous farms, including an olive farm. He is also a prolific writer, and his books have sold over 200,000 copies. His net worth is reportedly $1.1 billion.

5. President Ali Bongo Ondimba – Gabon

Ali Bongo Ondimba is the President of Gabon and has been in power since 2009, after his father’s (Omar Bongo Ondimba) 42-year reign. Bongo has vast interests in the petroleum and timber industries, as well as in banking and telecommunications. His estimated net worth is $1.8 billion.

6. President Cyril Ramaphosa – South Africa

As the current President of South Africa, Cyril Ramaphosa has a significant stake in various businesses, including MTN, Africa’s largest telecommunications company. He’s a wealthy businessman with interests in the mining, construction, and farming sectors, amongst others. According to Forbes, his net worth is $2.5 billion.

7. President Teodoro Obiang – Equatorial Guinea

Teodoro Obiang Nguema Mbasogo is the President of Equatorial Guinea and one of Africa’s longest-serving leaders, having been in power since 1979. He has large investments in gas, forestry, fishing, agriculture, mining, finance, and tourism. He’s reportedly worth over $600 million, although it’s difficult to know the exact figure due to the country’s lack of transparency.

8. President Denis Sassou Nguesso – Congo-Brazzaville

Denis Sassou Nguesso has been the President of Congo-Brazzaville on two separate occasions, first from 1979 to 1992, and then from 1997 to date. His family members have stakes in mining, forestry, and oil, which contribute to his estimated net worth of $2 billion.

9. President Isaias Afwerki – Eritrea

Isaias Afwerki has been the President of Eritrea since its independence in 1993. He has no known business interests, but there are reports that he has personal access to the nation’s treasury. It is challenging to verify his net worth, but we can assume it’s quite significant, considering his long time in office.

10. President Mauricio Macri – Argentina (Bonus)

Mauricio Macri is the first non-African President on our list but rounds up our top 10 nonetheless. Macri is a wealthy multi-millionaire businessman who was the President of Argentina from 2015 to 2019. According to Forbes, his net worth is $1.1 billion, mainly from his family’s 40% stake in Grupo Macri, a diversified holding company.

Brief Profile of Each President

For each President, we provide a detailed profile outlining their educational background, political career, business interests and investments, and their net worth.

Analysis and Conclusion

Our selection of the top 10 Richest Presidents in Africa as of 2023 reveals a prevalent trend – most of them have been in power for a long time, between 5 to over 40 years, and their families have significant interests in business and investments. While some of them have created diversified wealth through hard work, others have achieved their wealth through questionable means such as kleptocracy, cronyism, and financial irregularities. Such a concentration of wealth in the hands of a few powerful people raises concerns about the accountability, transparency, and inclusiveness of African politics and development. Therefore, the way forward would require strengthening institutions, promoting pluralism, and combating corruption and impunity. Otherwise, the African Millionaires of Politics may continue to thrive at the expense of the majority of Africans.

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