Ethiopian tycoon, Sheikh Mohammed Ali Al-Amoudi, who is worth an estimated US$12.5 billion, tops the Forbes 2012 Black Billionaires List announced this week.
The Ethiopian-born Saudi billionaire ousted Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, worth US$11.2 billion. Dangote, who is ranked second, remains Africa’s wealthiest individual.
Al-Amoudi, 67, is the 61st richest person in the world. He is presently involved in various construction projects in Ethiopia, where he has invested more than US$2 billion.
He is preparing to undertake additional US$3 billion investment in the coming five years in various sectors including agriculture, cement production, steel and transport.
Al-Amoudi also owns gold mines in the Horn of Africa country and the very prestigious 5-star Sheraton Hotel, Addis.
Born to a Saudi father and an Ethiopian mother, Mohammed Al-Amoudi migrated to Saudi Arabia as a child. He made a fortune handling lucrative construction contracts for the Saudi royal family.
He subsequently invested in Sweden, Morocco and Ethiopia.
His most prominent assets include oil companies Svenska Petroleum Exploration, which explores crude oil in Africa, and refinery operator Preem.
In July, Al-Amoudi’s Midroc Gold discovered over 33,000kg of gold deposits after seven years of exploration; this will boost production, which has already started at two other mining locations.
In September, he will reopen two newly refurbished Ethiopian resorts – Blue Nile and Lake Tana – as part of his eight hotel empire across North Africa.
He plans to add to that next year with the African Union Grand Hotel which is a US$200 million 6-star hotel, which is currently being built in Addis Ababa next to the African Union headquarters, for the union’s 50th anniversary celebration.
Mike Adenuga (Nigeria), worth US$4.3 billion, Patrice Motsepe (South Africa), worth US$2.7 billion dollars, and Oprah Winfrey (USA), worth US$2.7 billion, occupy the top five positions in Forbes 2012 Black Billionaires List.
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