African Billionaires List Much Larger Than Previously Reported

African billionaires are larger in number than previously reported according to a new annual list put out by the magazine Ventures Africa.

Most people don't usually associate Africa with wealth, since it's one of the poorest continents, but apparently there are some that have made significant fortunes in that part of the world.

Ventures Africa is a business magazine and news wire service which champions African capitalism and has compiled the annual list for the first time.

This is the most comprehensive list of the African wealthiest people yet and it has some interesting information pertaining to the individuals who made the top successful business people in the continent.

Contradicting previous reports, Venture Africa lists 55 billionaires, not 16, as was widely believed to be the number of those making several millions, which can be attributed to the private nature of the wealthy who don't publicize the size of their fortunes.

The African billionaires range in age from 38 to 84, with a median age of 65-years-old.

The two youngest African billionaires are Mohammed Dewji of Tanzania and Igho Sanomi, a Nigerian oil trader. With the eldest being Manu Chandaria, from Kenya, and Mohammed Al-Fayed, the Egyptian tycoon, who are both 84.

Of the 55 listed billionaires 20 are from Nigeria, 9 come from South Africa, and 8 hail from Egypt. The combined fortune of the top wealthiest Africans in $143.88 billion.

At the top of the list is Aliko Dangote, Africa's richest man with a fortune estimated to be $20.2 billion. This is in accordance with figures posted by Forbes magazine.

The top woman on the list, Folorunsho Alakija, from Nigeria, is worth $7.3 billion with her company Fama Oil which owns an offshore oil block acquired in 1993 at a "relatively inexpensive price."

According to Chi-Chi Okonjo, founder of Ventures Africa the list of 55 African billionaires is conservative, since people don't like to disclose their fortunes publicly.

The list of wealthiest individuals in the continent does not reflect the economic situation in which "there are more than twice as many extremely poor people living in sub-Saharan Africa today (414 million) than there were three decades ago (205 million)," according to a statement from World Bank in April.

However, the magazine's list also reveals that the attitude towards philanthropy is changing when it comes to African billionaires, for example, the foundation of the top man on the list, Aliko Dangote, has donated over $100 million in the previous twelve months to causes including: education, health, and disaster relief.