By Emmanuel Nduka
Johann Rupert, a South African businessman, has overtaken Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote as Africa’s wealthiest person.
The luxury goods tycoon and his family are currently the 201st wealthiest in the world, while Dangote is the 219th, according to the latest Forbes billionaire ranking.
Dangote had held the status of Africa’s top billionaire for 12 years.
His valuation of the wealth came under pressure after a major devaluation of the naira by roughly 40 percent in June last year, as the free fall that followed left his wealth much weaker in dollar terms.
Dangote earns the bulk of his fortune in naira, which finished 2023 as the third worst-performing currency in the world of the 151 currencies tracked by Bloomberg.
Currently valued at $9.5 billion, Dangote’s wealth declined by nearly one-third last year.
73-year-old Rupert chairs the Swiss-based luxury goods company Compagnie Financiere Richemont and South Africa-based investment holding company Remgro.
Richemont’s most iconic brands include Cartier and Montblanc. His net worth, together with that of his family, is estimated to be $10 billion.
The billionaire also holds a 26 per cent stake in Reinet, an investment holding company headquartered in Luxembourg.
Rupert’s wealth has been on a steady rise since 2020 after slumping by 34.3 per cent over the two previous years. It climbed to $7.1 billion in 2021 from $4.6 billion a year ago, jumping to $8.9 billion in 2022 and reaching an all-time high of $11.1 billion last year.
That feat lifted the billionaire to the 157th position on the Forbes World Billionaire Ranking in 2023.
It is worthy to note that Rupert partly owns the Saracens English rugby team and Anthonij Rupert Wines, named after his late brother.