African Politics and Policy

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Wealth in Africa

Every year, for the past few years, the AfrAsia Bank of the Mauritius Islands has published the Africa Wealth Report, that is the report on the wealth in Africa. This report not only tells us how much wealth there is in Africa, but also how many High Net Worth Individuals live in the African continent.

Instead of using GDP or GNI per capita to estimate the wealth of a nation, AfrAsia Bank uses instead individual assets. Using this indicator, the AfrAsia Bank report tells us that in the world individual assets (wealth) amount to 215,000 billion dollars, that there are 15,200,000 people with assets of at least one million dollars, that 584,000 individuals are multimillionaires (in the sense that they have assets worth more than 10 million US $) and that 2252 individuals have at least an individual wealth of at least one billion US dollars. A far from negligible part of this wealth is found in Africa.

The report indicates that the individual wealth in Africa amounts to 2300 billion dollars, that in Africa there are at least 148,000 millionaires, 7100 multimillionaires and 24 billionaires. If these estimates are reliable, they suggest a fairly clear conclusion, namely that in Africa, alongside so much poverty, there is also a considerable wealth and that continuing to describe Africa only and exclusively as a poor continent is in many ways misleading.

The Wealth Report drafted by AfrAsia Bank for 2018 does not tell us how the rich Africans are distributed, which can however be deduced from the previous year’s report. The ten countries with the highest number of High Net Worth Inviduals, that is, individuals with a net worth of at least one million dollars, are: South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya, Angola, Mauritius, Namibia, Ethiopia, Ghana, Botswana e Costa d’Avorio. Tanzania is eleventh in this particular ranking.

COUNTRY Number of High Net Worth Individuals
Sud africa 40400
Nigeria 12300
Kenya 9400
Angola 6100
Mauritius 3800
Namibia 3300
Etiopia 3100
Ghana 2900
Botswana 2800
Costa d’Avorio 2500
Tanzania 2400


In the last three years the fastest growth of wealth was recorded in East Africa (Mauritius, Ethiopia, Rwanda, Kenya, Tanzania and Uganda) where, from 2007 to 2017, wealth grew on average by 108.5 percent. In West Africa (Ivory Coast, Ghana, Nigeria), in the same period, wealth grew by 33.7 percent. In Southern Africa (Botswana, Namibia, South Africa) wealth has grown on average by 21.4 percent. While in Central Africa, with the exception of Angola where wealth has grown 8 percent from 2007 to 2017, the growth of wealth has been fairly negligible.

Region Country Wealth- % increase
  Mauritius 195
  Ethiopia 190
Eastern Africa Rwanda 74
  Kenya 73
  Tanzania 66
  Uganda 53
  Costa d’Avorio 43
West Africa Ghana 39
  Nigeria 19
  Botswana 32
Southern Africa Namibia 30
  Sud Africa 2


While East Africa has done better than other regions in the course of the past decade, Southern Africa was where wealth grew fastest in 2017: 11 percent in Botswana, 10 percent in Namibia and 8 percent in South Africa.

According to the analysts of AfrAsia Bank, wealth in Africa will continue to grow over the next decade. While the average annual growth is estimated at 3.4 percent, growth above the continental average should occur in Mauritius, Rwanda, Uganda, Ghana, Ethiopia, Mozambique, Zambia, Kenya, Botswana and Namibia. Therefore, during this period (2017-2027), African wealth should increase from around 2300 billion dollars today to about 3100 billion.

Riccardo Pelizzo

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