Meet Johann Rupert, The Man Who Displaced Dangote as Africa’s Richest Man on Forbes List

Johann Rupert and Aliko Dangote Credit: Bloomberg / Contributor Source: Getty Images
  • The South African billionaire who displaced Dangote as Africa’s richest man came from a family of businesspeople
  • Johann Rupert overthrew Dangote on Forbes’s list of African billionaires with a net worth of $12 billion
  • Dangote lost much of his fortune thanks to Nigeria’s devaluation of the naira

Johann Rupert has displaced Nigeria’s Aliko Dangote as Africa’s richest man on the Forbes list for the first time in 12 years.

According to real-time billionaire rankings by Forbes, Rupert’s wealth rose to $12 billion while Dangote’s fortunes declined to N10.8 billion.

Johann Rupert and Aliko Dangote Credit: Bloomberg / Contributor. Source: Getty Images

The rise of Johann Rupert

The South African luxury merchant took the title of the continent’s richest person last week as Nigeria devalued its currency leading to a massive loss for Dangote.

The 73-year-old South African comes from a family of business people. The eldest son of Anton Rupert, a business tycoon, founded the Rembrandt Group, a tobacco firm, in 1948, which later became a key source of wealth for the family.

Johann Rupert abandoned his academic studies to take on business.

In 2010, Rupert became the CEO of Compagnie Financiere Richemont after working for Chase Manhattan and Lazard Freres in New York.

Rupert founded the Rand Merchant Bank in 1979 after returning to South Africa.

He held the position of the CEO of the bank until 1984, when it merged to form RMB Holdings. He left to join his father’s company, the Rembrandt Group.

In 1988, he established Compagnie Financiere Richemont and became the Non-Executive Director of Rothmans International the same year.

He became the Chairman of the Rembrandt Group in 1991 and assumed the position of Non-Executive Chairman of Gold Fields South Africa Limited five years later.

Rupert’s many businesses and ventures

Rupert undertook to restructure his father’s business, Rembrandt Group, and founding Remgro Limited and VenFin Limited.

Despite dropping out of school, his business success showed his brilliance and discipline.

Rupert founded the Laureus Sport for Good Foundation in 1990, aiming to address social problems via sports. Per Forbes, Rupert has other interests beyond business and philanthropy.

He partly owns Saracens English rugby team and Anthonij Rupert Wines, named after his brother who died in a car accident.

However, Dangote retains his position as Africa’s richest man on Bloomberg Billionaire Index, with a net worth of $18.8 billion.

Dangote displaced as Africa’s richest man on Forbes list,South African takes over reported that Nigeria’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has been displaced as Africa’s richest man, the position he held for over a decade.

According to Forbes, Dangote’s fortunes plunged by about $3.4 billion in a single day because of Nigeria’s naira devaluation, which slashed the fortunes of most Nigerian billionaires.

The drop pushed Dangote to the number two spot on the Forbes list, with South African billionaire Johann Rupert clinching the top spot