June 17, 2024

Who are the Black billionaires? – The Atlanta Journal Constitution

There are 2,640 billionaires in the world, according to Forbes.
Each year, the financial magazine tallies its list of the world’s billionaires using a snapshot of financial information, including the latest stock prices, exchange rates, assets and more. This year saw the number of billionaires worldwide fall by 87, with 34 Russian tycoons losing their spots after the country’s invasion of Ukraine.
Of the nearly 3,000 billionaires in the world, only 16 are Black. That’s fewer than 1%. Of those 16, only two are women. Ten are Americans.
As of 2024, here are the world’s 16 Black billionaires:
Africa’s richest man, Dangote saw his fortune grow from around $11.5 billion on last year’s list.
Dangote founded and owns nearly 88% of publicly traded Dangote Cement. He also owns stakes in publicly traded salt, sugar and flour manufacturing companies.

The world’s richest Black man, Nigerian 🇳🇬 Billionaire, Aliko Dangote, has held his title for the richest African for 11 consecutive years pic.twitter.com/pSxx3ObFbT
Smith made his fortune through the private equity firm, Vista Equity Partners, which he founded in 2000. A graduate of Cornell, he pledged $50 million (personally and through a foundation) to the university in 2016. And in 2019, Smith announced his family was providing a grant to eliminate the student debt of the entire Morehouse College Class of 2019.
Steward is co-founder and chairman of World Wide Technology, an $11.2 billion IT provider whose customers include Citi, Verizon and the federal government.
Adenuga, Nigeria’s second-richest man, made his first million at 26 selling lace and distributing soft drinks, according to Forbes. But he built his fortune in telecom and oil production.
Rabiu is the founder of BUA Group, a Nigerian conglomerate with interests in sugar refining, cement production, real estate, steel, port concessions, manufacturing, oil, gas and shipping.
NBA great Jordan, one of the 10 Americans on the list, still has sponsorship deals with Hanes, Gatorade and Upper Deck 19 years after retiring from basketball.
In addition to the media, entertainment and business empire she’s built, Winfrey owns shares in Weight Watchers and has a partnership with Apple. She has donated nearly half a billion dollars to charities throughout her career, including more than $100 million to the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls in South Africa.
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Motsepe was the first Black African to appear on the Forbes list. He became a billionaire in 2008 as founder and chairman of African Rainbow Minerals.
In June 2019, Jay-Z became Hip-Hop’s first proven and viable billionaire, thanks to what Forbes called a “sprawling and diverse empire.”
Masiyiwa “overcame protracted government opposition to launch mobile phone network Econet Wireless Zimbabwe in his country of birth in 1998,” according to Forbes. He and his wife, Tsitsi, have provided scholarships to more than 250,000 young Africans over the past 20 years through their Higherlife Foundation.
Karp is the co-founder and CEO of the software firm Palantir Technologies.
A native of Jamaica, Lee-Chin made his fortune investing in National Commercial Bank Jamaica, AIC Limited and other companies.
Making her debut on Forbes’ list, Rihanna has a projected net worth of $1.7 billion from her ever-expanding Fenty empire that has now branched out to sleepwear, lingerie and soon Fenty Kids.
Woods took the golf world by storm and went pro in 1996. Most of his capital comes from his success in the sport and endorsement deals. His partnerships with Nike, Gatorade and Rolex helped tip him over the edge, sending his net worth slightly over $1 billion.
Between his basketball and business ventures, including a start up in Blaze Pizza, to endorsements from Nike and Coca-Cola, James has his own media company, called SpringHill Entertainment.
Perry is an actor, director, producer and screenwriter. The media mogul also owns Tyler Perry Studios in the heart of Atlanta on the historic grounds of the former Fort McPherson Army base.

This year, the AJC’s Black History Month series will focus on the role of resistance to forms of oppression in the Black community. In addition to the traditional stories that we do on African American pioneers, these pieces will run in our Living and A sections every day this month. You can also go to ajc.com/black-history-month for more subscriber exclusives on the African American people, places and organizations that have changed the world.
About the Author

Ebony Williams is a writer, indie producer and director, and journalist for a variety of magazine outlets. Her career has led her to create content for entertainment, sports, lifestyle, local breaking news and more.

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