Richest of the rich: The country's two billionaires

Gaborone city is estimated to house 1,200 US dollar millionaires. PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES
Gaborone city is estimated to house 1,200 US dollar millionaires. PIC. THALEFANG CHARLES

The country has two individuals with net assets of more than $100 million (P1.1 billion), members of an exclusive club of less than 260 billionaires on the continent.

Their identity: no one can say for sure, but it is believed they are ‘hiding’ in plain sight, individuals who are well-known but whose total wealth remains the subject of speculation.

AfrAsia Bank’s African Wealth Report released on Tuesday indicates that while the two billionaires walking unnoticed are an oddity of sorts on local soil, billionaires’ occurrence in South Africa, which has 94 such individuals, is more commonplace.

Egypt has 56 pula billionaires, while Nigeria has 27 and Morocco 20. Excluding South Africa, billionaires are scarce in Southern Africa, with three each in Zambia and Namibia and just one in Mozambique.

Published each year, researchers for the Wealth Report use a model to calculate wealth breakdowns for each country, with key inputs that include stock market, property, income and GDP per capita statistics.

Researchers also use a historical in-house database and account for currency, stock market and property price movements, amongst others.

The report is one of the continent’s most authoritative on wealth and trends.

According to the publication, the number of dollar millionaires living in Gaborone declined from 1,300 in 2016 to 1,200 last year, although the capital city’s total wealth rose between those years from $9 billion to $12 billion.

According to the researchers, total wealth refers to the private wealth held by all the individuals living in the city. It includes all their assets such as property, cash, equities, business interests less any liabilities.

The estimate also excludes government funds.

AfrAsia researchers noted that Botswana’s wealth patterns over the years were impressive.

“Botswana’s growth (between 2008 and 2018) was impressive when considering that wealth per capita there is already quite healthy,” the researchers noted.

“In the next 10 years to 2028, we expect Mauritius, Ghana, Rwanda, Ethiopia and Uganda to be the strongest performing wealth markets in Africa during this period with 100%+ growth rates.  “Our projections for Kenya are also strong at 80%.

“Solid growth is also forecast in Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zambia with 50%+ growth rates.” The latest wealth data flies in the face of other reports that show deepening inequality in Botswana and the Southern African region in general.

Statistics Botswana’s last poverty report, released in January 2018, showed that inequality was rising in the country as measured by the Gini co-efficient, a statistical measure.

The report also showed that while nationally, poverty had declined from 2009-2010 to 2015-2016, rates had actually risen in cities and towns, while rural areas declined marginally.  The major fall between those two periods was the poverty rate in urban villages.

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