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A Snapshot of Wealth in Africa Is Eye Opening To Diaspora

africa wealth Sep 07, 2022

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A Snapshot of Wealth in Africa

The continent of Africa contains more than 50 countries, but just five account for more than half of total wealth on the continent: South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco, and Kenya.

Despite recent setbacks in Africa’s largest economies, wealth creation has been strong in a number of areas, and total private wealth is now estimated to be US$2.1 trillion. There also an estimated 21 billionaires in Africa today.

Drawing from the latest Africa Wealth Report, here’s a look at where all that wealth is concentrated around the continent.

A Country-Level Look at Wealth in Africa

South Africa is a still a major stronghold of wealth in Africa, with a robust luxury real estate market and ample wealth management services. The country is also ranked second on the continent in per capita wealth. That said, the country has faced challenges in recent years.

An estimated 4,500 high net worth individuals (wealth of US$1 million or more) have left South Africa over the past decade, migrating to places like the UK, Australia, and the United States. In one stark data point, the report points out that “there are 15 South African born billionaires in the world, but only 5 of them still live in South Africa.”

Here is how major African countries compare in terms of per capita wealth.

Mauritius is Africa’s wealthiest nation on a per capita basis. Here are a few reasons why the island nation comes out on top:

  • HNWI growth – Wealthy individuals have flocked to Mauritius in recent years
  • Ease of doing business – Mauritius ranked 13th worldwide in World Bank’s Doing Business Report
  • Low taxes – There is no inheritance tax or capital gains tax in the country
  • Safety – Mauritius was recently rated by New World Wealth as the safest country in Africa
  • Financial sector – A growing local financial services sector and stock market (SEMDEX)

As a result, Mauritius has seen the strongest growth in total private wealth over the past decade, followed by Rwanda and Ethiopia.

Bar chart showing 10-year wealth growth in African countries

On the flip side of the equation, Nigeria—which is Africa’s largest economy—saw a steep drop in total wealth. The country has struggled in recent years with high unemployment, corruption, and an over-reliance on crude oil.

The Big Picture

Over time, African countries are becoming less dependent on extractive industries, and business conditions are continuing to improve nearly across the board. These tailwinds, combined with the continent’s favorable demographics, point to a bright economic future for Africa.

The outlook for private wealth on the continent is largely positive as well. Total private wealth held in Africa is expected to reach US$3 trillion by 2031, an increase of close to 40%.

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