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30% of Nigerian millionaires lose status

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By Abraham Adekunle

“Big 5” wealth markets account for 56% of Africa’s high-net-worth people.

A new report has revealed that the number of high-net-worth millionaire individuals in Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, fell by 30 percent in the past decade (2012 to 2022). Henley & Partners, the global firm in residence and citizenship by investment analysis, made this known in its latest edition of the “Africa Wealth Report” (AWR) published in March. The report is a definitive guide to Africa’s wealth and luxury sector. It is usually published annually in partnership with a wealth intelligence firm, New World Wealth.

In the report, a comprehensive review of private wealth in Africa is provided. This includes high-net-worth-individual, luxury, and wealth management trends, as well as expert insights on investment, the investment migration sector, and economic mobility on the continent. According to the 72-page report, South Africa tops the list of the top ten wealthiest countries in Africa in terms of resident high-net-worth individuals by some margin. Mauritius’ high ranking is also noted to be impressive when its small size and population are considered.

Report findings says “Big 5” make up over 90% of Africa’s billionaires.

Also particularly notable in the report is South Africa’s centi-millionaire count. “Centi-millionaires are typically the founders of large multinational companies, making their presence in a country particularly valuable when it comes to creating employment,” the report said. The 2023 edition of the AWR reveals that the “Big 5” wealth markets in Africa are South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya and Morocco. Together, these countries make up a significant 56 percent of Africa’s high-net-worth individuals and over 90 percent of the continent’s billionaires.

Nonetheless, the report said that the continued dominance of these wealth markets is far from assured. It added that the five aforementioned countries could soon be challenged by the likes of Mauritius and Rwanda, which are fast gaining ground. Also, Namibia’s new residence by investment offerings positions it as a future potential rival as well, according to the report. It explained that the total high-net-worth individual numbers in Africa have fallen by 12 percent over the past decade under review (2012 to 2022).

The report highlights the growth trends in the sector.

AWR revealed that performance was constrained by poor growth in the three largest African markets, namely South Africa, Egypt, and Nigeria. Rwanda was the top performing market in Africa during the period, with millionaire growth of 72 percent. The country is followed by Mauritius, Seychelles, Uganda, and the Democratic Republic of Congo. It added that Morocco and Kenya’s high-net-worth individual populations also grew solidly. The AWR noted that Ethiopia and Ghana’s millionaire populations had been growing rapidly until 2019 but have struggled over the past few years. This has pulled back their ten-year growth rates.

Officially, the report pegs the number of individuals who are worth over $1 million in Africa at 138,000. Only 328 people of this number in the continent are worth more than $100 million and just 23 of these are worth more than $1 billion within the last decade. South Africa tops the list with 37,800 people worth at least $1 million and 98 people worth at least $100 million. Egypt follows with 16,100 and 54 individuals respectively. Nigeria is ranked third with 9,800 individuals worth at least $1 million and 27 individuals worth at least $100 million. Meanwhile, Egypt has the highest number of billionaires in Africa worth at least $1 billion with eight individuals, followed by South Africa with five, while Nigeria and Morocco have four each.

Disturbing trend of millionaire migration highlighted.

Between 2012 and 2022, the report noted that approximately 18,500 high-net-worth individuals have left Africa. It said most have relocated to the United Kingdom, the United States, and the United Arab Emirates. As well, significant numbers have also moved to Australia, Canada, France, Israel, New Zealand, Portugal, and Switzerland. In terms of internal millionaire migration within the continent, the report said approximately 1,200 high-net-worth individuals have moved between African countries over the 10-year period, with most relocating to Mauritius and South Africa. This is a significant concern because many billionaires are entrepreneurs and company founders. These individuals, the report said, have the ability to create significant employment in their host countries.

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