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The rise and fall of millionaires in Morocco and Egypt

man, woman, sunglasses Reuters/Philippe Wojazer
King Mohammed VI and Crown Prince Moulay Hassan, pictured with the French President's wife Brigitte Macron, are among Morocco's wealthiest
  • 5,800 millionaires in Morocco and HNWIs to grow 65% in 10 years
  • Egypt has second highest number of millionaires but this is falling
  • South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria are top in African Wealth Report

The number of millionaires living in Morocco has increased by 28 percent over the last 10 years, but fallen by 25 percent in Egypt.

While Morocco was awarded a $5 billion credit line from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) this week to shield it from the impact of the pandemic, droughts and the Ukraine war, it would seem its wealthy community have continued to prosper.

There are currently 138,000 high net worth individuals (HNWIs) with investable wealth of $1 million or more living in Africa, and 5,800 of them are living in Morocco, according to the annual African Wealth Report.

There are 28 centi-millionaires (individuals with wealth of $100 million or more) and four billionaires in the country, according to the research, published by Henley & Partners alongside South Africa-based New World Wealth consultancy firm.

Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, told AGBI: “It starts from a relatively low base, but there has clearly been wealth growth in Morocco, particularly in the top end with the people with over $1 to $10 million.”

Comparing current figures showing the increase over the past decade to numbers from 2012, Amoils said there was “a bit of a drop in 2010 and 2011, during the Arab Spring period”.

Overall Morocco ranked fifth among the top 10 wealthiest countries in the report, behind South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria and Kenya, which together account for 56 percent of the continent’s HNWIs and over 90 percent of the continent’s billionaires.

Earlier this week, the IMF’s executive board approved a two-year flexible credit line for Morocco that is worth about $5 billion.

The North African country’s economy remains vulnerable to a worsening of the global economic and financial environment, higher commodity price volatility, and recurrent droughts, Antoinette Sayeh, the IMF’s deputy managing director, said in a statement.

Despite these challenges, Amoils said he expected the number of HNWIs in Morocco to grow by 65 percent over the next decade, above the 42 percent average for the entire continent.

“That’s mainly based on the fact that the last couple of years have shown strong growth, so there’s a bit of an acceleration,” he said.

Water, Waterfront, TransportationUnsplash/Kit Suman
Approximately 18,500 HNWIs have left Africa over the past decade, relocating to Europe, the US, the UAE and other countries

A report from the Mastercard Economics Institute in January revealed that the gap between affluent and non-affluent households in 2019 against 2022 in terms of discretionary spending, was highest in Morocco.

The kingdom led the way at 71 percent, followed by Madagascar (70 percent), Jordan (60 percent), Senegal (55 percent), Kenya (39 percent) and Zambia (34 percent).

However, while Egypt had the most number of billionaires (8) in the African Wealth Report, and was listed second across Africa for centi-millionaires (54) and millionaires (16,100), overall it saw a 25 percent decline in millionaires over the past 10 years.

“Egypt hasn’t performed so well mainly because the currency has struggled against the dollar,” said Amoils. He predicted a below average 25 percent growth in the number of Egyptian millionaires over the next 10 years.

The report also revealed that approximately 18,500 HNWIs have left Africa over the past decade.

While Amoils said many have since returned, this was not a trend witnessed in Egypt where “a lot of the people who left didn’t come back”.

He said: “There has been wealth migration away from Egypt, people going to places like Dubai and various other places in Europe and the US.”

“That’s probably hurt Egypt more than Morocco which hasn’t lost that many people to migration. A lot of the wealthy people who did leave Morocco during some of the trouble from a decade ago have returned.”

Total investable wealth held on the continent is $2.4 trillion.