Tue. Apr 16th, 2024

By Ojukwu Emmanuel Chiadikaobi

 

Forbes, the renowned business publication, has unveiled its latest list of the world’s billionaires, showcasing the staggering wealth amassed by the global elite. Among the elite ranks, four Nigerian tycoons have secured their positions as some of the wealthiest individuals on the planet. Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga, Abdulsamad Rabiu, and Femi Otedola have been recognized for their immense fortunes, cementing their status among the 2,781 billionaires worldwide in 2024.

Despite the economic challenges confronting Nigeria, these four businessmen have defied the odds, emerging as shining examples of entrepreneurial success on a global scale. Forbes reports that the total number of billionaires has reached an all-time high, surpassing last year’s figures by 141 individuals and exceeding the previous record set in 2021 by 26.

The collective wealth of these billionaires has soared to unprecedented levels, with Forbes estimating their combined net worth at a staggering $14.2 trillion. This marks a significant increase of $2 trillion from the previous year and a remarkable $1.1 trillion above the previous record.

Leading the pack is Aliko Dangote, widely regarded as Africa’s richest man and the wealthiest Black individual globally. With a fortune of $13.4 billion in 2024, Dangote continues to expand his business empire, the Dangote Group, which stands as one of the largest private-sector employers in Nigeria and the most valuable conglomerate in West Africa.

Forbes notes that despite global uncertainties, including geopolitical tensions and inflationary pressures, the fortunes of the world’s billionaires have continued to swell, driven largely by robust stock market performance.

The concentration of wealth at the upper echelons of society is evident, with a record 14 individuals now belonging to the exclusive “$100 billion Club.” These individuals collectively hold $2 trillion in wealth, underscoring the stark wealth inequality prevalent worldwide.

Bernard Arnault, the chairman and CEO of LVMH Moët Hennessy – Louis Vuitton SE, retains the title of the world’s richest individual for the second consecutive year, with an estimated net worth of $233 billion. Arnault’s conglomerate, behind iconic brands such as Louis Vuitton and Sephora, has experienced another record-breaking year, further boosting his wealth.

Among the notable gainers is Mark Zuckerberg, whose fortune skyrocketed by $116.2 billion in a single year, propelled by the meteoric rise of Meta Platforms Inc. Despite facing challenges, including workforce layoffs and strategic shifts towards AI and the metaverse, Zuckerberg’s net worth surged to an all-time high of $177 billion, securing him the fourth position on Forbes’ 2024 ranking.

Larry Ellison, the co-founder and chairman of Oracle Corporation, rounds out the top five with an estimated net worth of $141 billion.

The global billionaire landscape continues to evolve, with the United States leading the pack with a record 813 billionaires collectively worth $5.7 trillion. China follows closely behind, despite economic headwinds, while India boasts a record 200 billionaires, signaling the growing prominence of Asia’s economic powerhouses.

Forbes calculates these net worths based on stock prices and exchange rates as of March 8, 2024, providing insights into the dynamic nature of global wealth distribution and the ever-changing fortunes of the world’s wealthiest individuals.

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