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Cairo has most billionaires in Africa, but wealthy are leaving

Egypt's wealthiest man, Nassef Sawiris, who lives in Cairo, has interests in construction, manufacturing and sports Reuters
Egypt's wealthiest person, Nassef Sawiris, who lives in Cairo, has interests in construction, manufacturing and sports
  • 4 billionaires, 30 centi-millionaires in Cairo
  • Number of Egyptian millionaires is falling
  • African HNWIs leaving the continent

Cairo is home to more billionaires than any other African city, but Egypt is facing an exodus of its wealthiest citizens.

The international wealth advisory firm Henley & Partners said Cairo is home to four billionaires, and 30 centi-millionaires – those worth $100 million or more. Most reside in affluent parts of Greater Cairo, including Zamalek, Garden City and Newgiza.

Egypt’s richest man Nassef Sawiris lives in Cairo and has a net worth of $7.4 billion. He runs Orascom Construction and OCI, one of the world’s largest nitrogen fertiliser producers, and also has a stake in sportswear giant Adidas and Madison Square Garden Sports.

Cairo has 7,200 millionaires, the most on the continent after Johannesburg and Cape Town, according to the 2024 Africa Wealth Report.

However the number of millionaires in Egypt as a country has fallen by almost a quarter over the past decade, and is down 22 percent on 2013 figures. Algeria has also lost a quarter of its millionaires since 2013, but its North African neighbour Morocco has gained a third over the same period.

The picture of wealth flies in the face of current economic conditions. Consumer inflation is more than 30 percent and Egypt is suffering from a large trade deficit and falling foreign currency reserves.

Elsewhere in North Africa, Casablanca, Morocco’s largest city and the country's economic centre, is also ranked in Africa’s top 10 wealthiest.

It has 2,800 millionaires, 10 centi-millionaires and one billionaire, while Marrakesh and Tangier also boast 1,000 millionaires or more each.

Marrakesh, emerging as a popular retirement destination for wealthy foreign nationals from the Middle East and Europe, is among the fastest-growing cities for millionaire residents, with the number up 65 percent over the past decade.

In Tangier the number of millionaires has also jumped by 42 percent over the same period. The city, a major port located in northern Morocco, is known for its beaches and nightlife.

Millionaire numbers in both cities are projected to almost double over the next 10 years.

When it comes to luxury real estate, Cape Town continues to lead the way, with prime residential spaces valued at $5,600 per sq m. Marrakech ($2,200), Tangier ($1,600), Casablanca ($1,400) and Cairo ($1,500) all make it into the top 10.

However, all remain far behind Monaco, the most expensive market for prime property, which has sq m costs of more than $50,000.

On the country level, Egypt boasts 15,600 millionaires, 52 centi-millionaires and seven billionaires, second only to South Africa.

Egypt is part of Africa’s “Big 5” wealth markets, alongside South Africa, Nigeria, Kenya and Morocco, which together account for 56 percent of the continent’s millionaires and more than 90 percent of its billionaires.

The annual wealth report, now in its ninth edition, found that there were 135,200 millionaires living in Africa, along with 342 centi-millionaires and 21 dollar billionaires.

Dominic Volek, group head of private clients at Henley & Partners, said wealth growth on the continent has not been without its setbacks. 

“Currency depreciation and underperforming stock markets have chipped away at Africa’s wealth compared to global benchmarks.”

The Egyptian pound has lost more than two thirds of its value against the dollar since early 2022.

Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth, an intelligence platform that collaborated with Henley on the report, said that African nations were also losing large numbers of millionaires to migration. 

About 18,700 high-net-worth individuals have left Africa since 2013. There are 54 African-born billionaires in the world, including one of the world’s richest, Elon Musk. But only 21 still live on the continent. 

Amolis said most have relocated to the UK, the US, Australia and the UAE, while significant numbers have also moved to France, Switzerland, Monaco, Portugal, Canada, New Zealand and Israel.

The wealthiest Egyptians

Nassef Sawiris: net worth $7.4bn
Sawiris is part of Egypt's wealthiest family. His most valuable asset is a stake in the sportswear giant Adidas. He also holds a stake in Madison Square Garden Sports, owner of the NBA Knicks and the NHL Rangers teams. He runs OCI, one of the world's largest nitrogen fertiliser producers, and Orascom Construction.

Mohamed Mansour: $3.6bn
Mansour oversees the family conglomerate Mansour Group, which has 60,000 employees. He established General Motors dealerships in Egypt in 1975 and also has exclusive distribution rights for Caterpillar equipment in Egypt and seven other African countries. 

Naguib Sawiris: $3.3bn
Naguib is a brother of Nassef and built a fortune in telecom, selling Orascom Telecom in 2011. He is chairman of Orascom TMT Investments and has developed a luxury resort on the Caribbean island of Grenada.

Youssef Mansour: $1.5bn
Youssef is chairman of the family-owned conglomerate Mansour Group and oversees the consumer goods division, which includes supermarket chain Metro, and sole distribution rights for L'Oreal in Egypt. 

Yasseen Mansour: $1.3bn
As well as being a shareholder in the family-owned conglomerate Mansour Group, Yasseen is chairman of Palm Hills Developments, one of Egypt's biggest real estate developers.

Source: Forbes Richest Arabs list 2023

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