Africa's Top 40 Richest Men List- How did Forbes get the list?
Forbes just released its inaugural list of Africa’s richest men. The list of 40 Africa’s richest men interested me because we had two of them from Kenya. One is a famous Politician (Mr. Uhuru Kenyatta) and the other is a quiet businessman (Mr. Chris Kirubi). I shared the link on my face book wall and most of my face book friends were surprised that the names of some certain personalities were not on the list. What criteria did they use to judge how wealthy someone is? It’s a question that has crossed the minds of many people very many times. Before anything else, lets get a short history of the Forbes 400 list. Here are some quick historical facts on the now famous Forbes list
Forbes List timeline
1982- The Forbes list
begins with only 100 million dollars. That’s right, with a net worth of a hundred million dollars, you would appear on
the top ten list- if you had it in 82 of
1987- There were a total of 140 billionaires on planet earth
2005- People were either getting richer or the currency was quickly deprecating. 10 million dollars would not do for you in 2005. You needed at least 900 million dollars to appear on Forbes list
2006- 47% of the richest men in the world lived in America. This was followed by Europe which had a 26% stake of the men/women making it to the Forbes list. Middle East and Africa together shared 7%. Latin America also had 7% and the remaining percentage went to India.
400- This is the number of the men and women that are listed. So why did they choose the number 400? Why not 300 or 500? It began in 1900. Lady Astor’s 400 was the list of New York’s social elite in the early 1900s. Astor was the self proclaimed New York queen and she took it upon herself to regulate the society by keeping some of the new rich of the gilded society out. You might recall that this was the age when there was the industrial revolution and so there were more wealthy people in the society.
Enough timelines and history. So how does Forbes get its data?
The website has over the years grown to be one of the biggest data house for information of the rich men and women in the world.
Apart from the Forbes website, the internet and other legally available documents like company results etc are all sources of lots of information. You can hide riches but you cannot hide wealth.
Forbes uses many experts to analyze the records and the data available in order to eventually end up with the top list. This collection of experts ranges from journalists to economic experts.
Continually making new calls
According to a Forbes official, the best source of information on billionaires is other billionaires. The rational is that wealth people know other wealthy people- and I can’t agree more.
the process is usually a lengthy one. Speaking at the Liverpool IFC forum, a
Forbes official revealed the entire process of arriving at that year’s top 400
list to the audience. An able team of at least forty reporters had been
selected. The reporters had traversed at least nine countries where they spent most
of their time valuing the assets of 793 billionaires. He reportedly said that
the estimates they eventually arrived at after dropping 355 wealthy people from the original
list was a "conservative estimate".
So what did they put into account?
the tally included companies whether publicly traded or privately held, real
estate, and various investments in art, rich men toys (that would be jets and yachts)
and of course hordes of dough.
So was that the same criteria used in gathering data for the top 40 Africa's list? I would say yes but am no expert. But I doubt they would use a different criteria. What is clear however is that Forbes avoid personalities that are perceived to have attained affluence via corrupt means. That would explain why some notable figures from the continent are missing from the list. In fact, Forbes has another list for the top richest dictators from Africa. And how did they settle at the number forty? Well, I don’t think there is an African story behind forty like there is an American one behind 400. But still, it’s good the list is finally here. Am sure the journey to search next years top 40 list has began. Now I can start waiting to get a call from them. Someone needs to value my thousands and tell me what my position is.
And just to put things into perspective, lets compare Africa's Top five with America's top five
NET WORTH ($Bil)
1. Aliko Dangote
2.Nicky Oppenheimer & family
3. Nassef Sawiris
4. Johann Rupert & family
4. Charles Koch
5. Mike Adenuga
4. David Koch
To put it candidly, the rich dudes of Africa wouldn't even feature anywhere on America's top 400 list- unless if forbes decided to use the 1982 standard, but that is neither here nor there
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