How wealth is distributed across African continent

A section of Kigali City in Rwanda. The city is home to a growing number of upper-middle class residents. It accounts for 52 percent of Rwanda’s total wealth and more than 60 percent of the country’s millionaires. PHOTO/Flickr 

What you need to know:

  • With a war chest of $2.5m (Shs9.5b) in investable wealth, Africa plays host to 135,200 millionaires, 342 centi-millionaires, and 21 billionaires.   

A new report has fleshed out the details of Africa’s wealth story. Titled Africa Wealth Report 2024, the body of work published by Henley & Partners in partnership with wealth intelligence firm New World Wealth, sketches a portrait that shows how hope and despair live side by side.

With a war chest of $2.5m (Shs9.5b) in investable wealth, Africa plays host to 135,200 millionaires, 342 centi-millionaires, and 21 billionaires. 
Mr Dominic Volek, the group head of private clients and a member of the executive committee of Henley & Partners, says the data points in the report underscore an “aspiration and untapped potential” binary.

“The growth story is promising, with Africa’s millionaire population set to rise by 65 percent in the next decade, fuelled by strong growth in key sectors such as fintech, eco-tourism, business process outsourcing, software development, rare metals mining, green tech, media and entertainment, and wealth management,” Mr Volek notes.
“But this growth has not been without setbacks. Currency depreciation and underperforming stock markets have chipped away at Africa’s wealth compared to global benchmarks … This erosion of wealth can be largely attributed to the typical composition of African wealth portfolios. African investors tend to allocate their assets equally across equities, property, and cash,” he adds.

Africa’s big five
The report shows that South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, and Morocco—in that order—account for the vast bulk of the continent’s high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs) (56 percent) and billionaires (90 percent). The study indicates that South Africa leads the way “with 37,400 millionaires, 102 centi-millionaires, and five billionaires, followed by Egypt with 15,600 millionaires, 52 centi-millionaires, and seven billionaires.”

Billionaires are valued in the excess of $1b. Elsewhere, centi-millionaires command a little more than $100m (Shs380b) and millionaires are weighted in the excess of $1m (Shs3.8b).
South Africa also continues to flex muscle at the city level, with five of its cities making the top 10 cut in the wealthiest cities category. Johannesburg and Cape Town lock out the top two positions in that order. They are joined by the regions of Cape Winelands (sixth) and the Garden Route (eighth). The two regions sandwich Durban, Umlanga and Ballito. Pretoria places 10th.

Across East Africa, only the Kenyan capital of Nairobi (fourth) makes the top 10 behind its 4,400 millionaires, and 10 centi-millionaires. The city, however, has no billionaire under its proverbial belt. 
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania’s commercial port and financial hub, counts among its super-rich one billionaire, four centi-millionaires, and 1,200 millionaires. The tally is good enough to secure a 16th placement. 

Rwanda, the only other city from East Africa to make the top 20, does so behind its 800 millionaires and three centi-millionaires.

“Going forward, over the next decade (to 2033), the likes of Mauritius, Namibia, Morocco, Zambia, Kenya, Uganda and Rwanda are all expected to experience 80 percent+ millionaire growth,” the study reveals, adding, “Mauritius, with its stable governance and favourable tax regime, is projected to experience a remarkable 95 percent growth rate, positioning it as one of the world’s fastest-growing wealth markets once more.”

The study lists millionaire migration; strong safety and security; growth in key sectors; and competitive tax rates as some of the key drivers of wealth on the continent in 2024. Other key drivers include a well-developed banking system and stock market; media freedom; and strong ownership rights.

“A large number of billionaires have left Africa over the past 20 years. Notably, there are 54 African-born billionaires in the world, but only 21 of them still live on the continent,” Mr Andrew Amoils, the head of research at wealth intelligence firm New World Wealth, notes, adding, “This is a significant concern, as billionaires are often entrepreneurs and company founders who, therefore, have the ability to create large numbers of jobs in their host country.”

10 wealthiest cities and areas in Africa

Johannesburg: 12,300 high-net-worth individuals (HNWIs)
Johannesburg is home to the Johannesburg Stock Exchange, the largest stock exchange in Africa by some margin and one of the world’s top 20 exchanges. Most of Johannesburg’s top-end wealth is concentrated in the suburbs surrounding Sandton City Shopping Centre. The Sandton suburbs of Sandhurst, Hyde Park, and Inanda are home to large numbers of HNWIs, as is the suburb of Westcliff.

Cape Town: 7,400 HNWIs
It contains many of Africa’s most opulent residential suburbs, including “New World Wealth’s Prime 7,” which comprise Clifton, Bantry Bay, Camps Bay, Bishopscourt, Constantia, Llandudno, and St James. The city is currently benefiting from the ongoing ‘semigration’ of large numbers of HNWIs from other parts of South Africa (especially Johannesburg and Pretoria). It is also an increasingly popular retirement destination for migrating millionaires from Europe and the rest of Africa. Cape Town is on track to overtake Johannesburg to become Africa’s wealthiest city by 2030.

Cairo: 7,200 HNWIs
Located along the Nile River, Cairo is home to more billionaires and more centi-millionaires than any other African city, but ranks only third by the number of HNWIs. Affluent parts of the Greater Cairo include Zamalek, Garden City, and Newgiza.

Nairobi: 4,400 HNWIs
Nairobi is home to some of Africa’s oldest and most well-established luxury residential neighbourhoods, including Karen and Muthaiga. It accounts for 48 percent of Kenya’s wealth and over 60 percent of the country’s millionaires.

Lagos: 4,200 HNWIs
The largest city in Africa in terms of overall population is home to the Nigerian Stock Exchange. It is also the base city for African multinational giants such as the Dangote Group and Zenith Bank.
The Cape Winelands: 3,600 HNWIs
Includes the neighbouring towns of Paarl, Franschhoek, and Stellenbosch in South Africa’s winelands region. The Cape Winelands have several luxury lifestyle estates that have attracted HNWIs such as Val de Vie, De Zalze, and Domaine des Anges. Also, most of the wine farms in the area are owned by ultra-wealthy HNWIs and centi-millionaires, who often retire there.

Durban, Umhlanga, and Ballito: 3,500 HNWIs
These neighbouring towns on South Africa’s Natal Coast feature many of the world’s top eco-estates including Zimbali, Simbithi, Izinga and Brettenwood. Lagoon Drive in Umhlanga is also very opulent, with luxury apartment complexes.

Garden Route: 3,200 HNWIs
Stretches from Mossel Bay to Storms River on South Africa’s South Coast. Notable towns on the route include Plettenberg Bay, George, Knysna, Wilderness, and Mossel Bay, as well as smaller up-and-coming hotspots such as Natures Valley and Keurboomstrand. Beachy Head Drive in Plettenberg Bay is especially affluent.

Casablanca: 2,800 HNWIs
Morocco’s largest city and the country’s economic centre. Major companies based in the city include global phosphate giant OCP Group, Al Mada, and Attijariwafa Bank. Casablanca is also home to the Casablanca Stock Exchange, which is one of Africa’s largest stock markets.

Pretoria: 2,100 HNWIs
The capital city of South Africa and one of the country’s top business centres. Affluent parts of Pretoria include Waterkloof and Waterkloof Ridge, as well as luxury lifestyle estates such as Silver Lakes, Mooikloof Equestrian Estate, and Woodhill Estate.

Africa’s fastest-growing cities 

Grand Baie: +95%
The village of Grand Baie in Mauritius is home to some of Africa’s most exclusive houses and apartments, with prices reaching more than $5,000 per square metre. Our figures for the area include surrounding residential estates such as Mont Choisy. Many of Mauritius’ wealthiest business leaders live in here.

Kigali: +88%
The economic engine room of Rwanda, Kigali is home to a growing number of upper-middle class residents. It accounts for 52 percent of Rwanda’s total wealth and more than 60 percent of the country’s millionaires.

Marrakech: +65%
Marrakech is an increasingly popular retirement destination for wealthy foreign nationals from the Middle East and Europe. It is also one of the world’s top second home hotspots for the super-wealthy and a major luxury tourism hub with several world-class hotels and resorts located in the city.

Swakopmund: +43%
Namibia’s Swakopmund is an increasingly popular retirement destination for South African and German HNWIs, known for its beautiful beaches and historical buildings. Affluent parts of Swakopmund include Vogelstrand and Langstrand.

Tangier: +42%
Tangier is a major port city located in northern Morocco, on the coasts of both the Mediterranean Sea and the Atlantic Ocean. It is known for its beaches and nightlife, while the new marina Tanja Marina Bay is also a highlight for HNWIs.

The Whale Coast: +35%
The Whale Coast is the area between Cape Town and the Garden Route. There has been a major rise in permanent residents in this area, which was previously mainly seen as a second home hotspot. Notable towns here include Hermanus, Rooi Els, and Betty’s Bay. The Hermanus suburbs of Voelklip, Kwaaiwater, Eastcliff, and Fernkloof Estate are especially affluent.

The Garden Route: +32% 
The city has seen a rise in permanent residents over the past few years. There are also a number of top-end estates in this area.

Windhoek: +30%
An economic centre of Namibia, Windhoek’s affluent suburbs include Ludwigsdorf and Klein Windhoek. There are also a growing number of eco-estates on the outskirts of the city.

Source: Africa Wealth Report 2024