Notably, South Africa is home to over twice as many millionaires as any other African country, while Egypt has the most billionaires on the continent.

NAIROBI, Kenya: A fresh report has shown that the ‘Big 5’ wealth markets in Africa are South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Morocco and Kenya. Together these five countries account for over 50% of Africa’s total wealth.

Total private wealth held in Africa is expected to rise by 38% over the next 10 years, reaching US$3 trillion by 2031.

‘Total wealth’ according to The Africa Wealth Report, published by Henley & Partners refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in a country including all their assets including property, cash, equities and business interests less any liabilities, excluding government funds.

The total wealth held in Africa has fallen by 7% over the past decade (2011 to 2021). Performance was constrained by poor returns in the three largest African markets, namely South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria. Angola also performed poorly.

Mauritius was the fastest growing market in Africa during the review period (in percentage growth terms), followed by Rwanda. Mauritius is the wealthiest country in the region, followed by South Africa and Namibia.

The report indicates that growth projections for Mauritius are strong and expected to experience wealth growth of 80% over the next decade (to 2031).

Mauritius, Rwanda and Uganda are forecasted to be the strongest performing wealth markets in Africa during this period (60%+ growth rates).

This will make it one of the fastest growing high-income markets in the world over this period (in % growth terms), together with Australia, New Zealand, Switzerland and Malta. By 2031, high-net-worth individual (HNWI) numbers in Mauritius are expected to reach over 8,000.

Ethiopia also grew rapidly until 2019, but has struggled over the past two years (2020 and 2021).

Strong growth is also forecast in Kenya, Morocco, Mozambique and Zambia (50%+ growth rates).

The other countries on the wealth list should all see positive wealth growth of between 20% and 40% over the forecast period.

Overall 38% growth forecast for Africa is very healthy when compared to most other regions globally.

Africa’s wealth growth, according to the report will be driven by especially strong growth in the technology and professional services sectors in Africa.

The coronavirus impact

Dominic Volek, Group Head of Private Clients at Henley & Partners says that apart from the human cost, the coronavirus outbreak has had a severe economic impact on the continent.

“The travel, hospitality and entertainment sectors have been the most severely affected, and HNWIs involved in these sectors have lost significant portions of their wealth, says Volek.

“However, the pandemic has also caused the wealthy in Africa to change their habits, including a move towards private jet travel, especially among the super-rich.”


Cape Town, home to many of Africa’s most wealthiest people.

The report has also shown thatAfrica’s top two wealthiest cities are in South Africa. Other cities in the top five are in Egypt, Nigeria, and Kenya.

Johannesburg is the wealthiest, with total private wealth of US$239 billion, while Cape Town in second place has total private wealth of US$131 billion.


Johannesburg isthe wealthiest city in Africa. Most of it’s HNWI wealth is concentrated in the suburbs of Sandhurst, Hyde Park and Westcliff. Major sectors in the city include financial services (banks) and professional services (law firms, consultancies).

Cape Town

Home to many of Africa’s most exclusive suburbs including Clifton, Bantry Bay, Fresnaye, Llandudno, Camps Bay, Bishopscourt and Constantia. Home also to a number of top-end lifestyle estates including Steenberg, Atlantic Beach and Silverhurst Estate. Major sectors include real estate and fund management.


Located along the Nile River, Cairo is one of the world’s most important cities historically. It is also home to more billionaires than any other city in Africa. Major sectors there include financial services, telecoms, retail, tourism and basic materials.


The largest city in Africa (in terms of its overall population) and the economic hub of West Africa. Affluent parts of Lagos include Ikoyi and Victoria Island. Major sectors in the city include basic materials, oil and gas, transport and financial services.

Durban and Umhlanga

Our figures for this area include wealth held in Durban, South Africa’s third-largest city, and the residential towns of Umhlanga, La Lucia and Ballito, which lie to the north of Durban. Umhlanga is especially affluent and is home to a large number of HNWIs.


Nairobi is the economic hub of East Africa and one of the fastest growing cities in the world. Affluent parts of Nairobi include Runda Estate, Lavington, Kitisuru, Karen and Muthaiga. Major industries there include financial services, real estate, tourism, media, clothing, textiles, processed foods, beverages and cigarettes.


Based on the research, the most important factors that encourage wealth growth in a country include:

High safety and security

The safety levels in a country and the efficiency of the local police are probably the most critical factors in encouraging long-term wealth growth. Based on our latest safety index, the safest countries in Africa are Mauritius, Botswana and Namibia.

Media freedom

It is important that major news outlets in a country are neutral and objective. A well-developed financial media is especially important because it helps to disseminate information to investors. South Africa, Mauritius and Kenya score strongly here.

Robust ownership rights

Zimbabwe stands out as a case study of the consequences of taking away the legal ownership rights of individuals—once assets are stripped away they tend to devalue because potential purchasers become no longer willing to risk buying and/or investing in goods.

Strong economic growth

Strong economic growth is usually linked to wealth growth.

A well-developed banking system and stock market

Ensures that people invest and grow their wealth locally.

Low level of government intervention

Government tampering in the business sector creates large inefficiencies within an economy. Government-owned enterprises and parastatals can pose problems (as in the case of electricity utility Eskom in South Africa).

Low income tax and company tax rates

Dubai and Singapore are examples of the power that tax rates can have in encouraging business creation—both countries have very low tax rates.

Ease of investment

Barriers such as exchange controls inhibit wealth growth.

Wealth migration

The migration of HNWIs to a country helps build wealth, while HNWI migration from a country slows down the creation of wealth.


The research considers wealth to be a far better measure of the financial health of an economy than Gross domestic product (GDP). Reasons for this include:

In many developing countries a large portion of the GDP flows to the government and therefore has little impact on private wealth creation.

GDP counts items multiple times. For instance, when someone is paid US$100 for a product or service, which they in turn use to pay for another product or service, the two transactions add US$200 to a country’s GDP, even though only the original US$100 were produced at the start.

GDP ignores the efficiency of the local banking sector and stock market in retaining wealth in a country.

GDP largely ignores the impact of property and stock market moves, yet these two factors clearly have an enormous impact on wealth.

GDP is a fairly static measure—it tends to move only slightly year on year and, as a result, is not a sufficiently true and comprehensive gauge of the performance of an economy.

Wealth figures, on the other hand, it says, have none of these limitations, making them a far more accurate gauge of the financial health of an economy than its GDP figures.

Lead photo: Johannesburg – the Africa’s wealthiest city and the economic capital of South Africa. -CNN.


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