The phrase “Africa is not poor but impoverished” is a counter-cliché that is due an additional corollary: not all Africans are poor. This is a truism that takes on a different dimension when one consults the Henley & Partners’ study.
Based in the UK, the investment migration consultancy firm takes a close look at private wealth in Africa, focusing on the number of individuals with a certain level of wealth, evidence of a luxurious lifestyle, wealth management and investment trends, migration of such investment and, more generally, economic mobility on the continent.
In order to avoid drowning in a sea of economic jargon, or into figures that are too complex for the general public to digest, Henley & Partners has given into the desire for rankings.
Combining individual successes with geographical considerations, the firm proposes a double annual top, in collaboration with New World Wealth, a company specialising in global wealth intelligence: that of the cities and that of the African countries hosting the largest number of millionaires in US dollars.
In the new version of these twin peaks, the two classifications have exhibited the same trends.
While South Africa tops the list of countries with 37,800 millionaires, Cyril Ramaphosa’s country has four cities in the top 10: Johannesburg first, Cape Town third, Durban sixth, and Pretoria eighth with 14,600, 7,200, 3,600 and 2,400 millionaires, respectively.
Nigeria in third
Similarly, Egypt ranks second in the country rankings, with 16,100 millionaires, while Cairo is the second city, with 7,400 of the wealthy up for consideration.
With 9,800 millionaires in dollars, Nigeria is in third place, while Lagos is the fourth city with 5,400 wealthy individuals with more than $1m.
Kenya and Morocco are the fourth and fifth-wealthiest, with 7,700 and 5,800 millionaires respectively, while Nairobi and Casablanca, the fifth and seventh top cities, registered 4,700 and 2,800.
Outside of these five nations, only Accra and Luanda made it into the top 10. As for the countries, ranks six to 10 are occupied, in order, by Mauritius, Algeria, Ethiopia, Ghana, and Tanzania and its 2,400 millionaires.
Underlying these trophy-like rankings is undoubtedly the question of the unequal distribution of wealth, from one continent to another, but also within nations.
The Africa Wealth Report points out that private wealth in Africa is constantly evolving, with persistent growth prospects. No doubt a global trend. But the World Bank reminds us that seven of the 10 most unequal countries in the world are located in Africa, and mainly in Southern Africa.
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