South Africa at the top of Africa's Wealth Report, ahead of Egypt and Nigeria


South Africa is still Africa's wealthiest country with total wealth at $649 billion, despite political uncertainty.

According to the AfrAsia Africa Wealth Report 2019, which was released this week, the total wealth held in Africa rose by a modest 14 percent over the past 10 years (2008 - 2018) with three of the largest economies on the continent, South Africa, Egypt and Nigeria performing poorly on most economic indicators.

The total wealth refers to private wealth held by all the individuals living in each country and includes all assets (property, cash, equities, business interests) less any liabilities. 

South Africa is still the continent’s wealthiest country with total wealth at $649 billion, despite its period of increased uncertainty, which defined the administration at that time. Egypt follows with less than half of the total wealth of South Africa. Together with Nigeria, Morocco and Kenya, these countries are at the top of the table. 

The report also projected a 35 percent rise in total private wealth held on the continent over the next 10 years reaching $3 trillion by 2028. The total wealth held on Africa currently amounts to $2.2 trillion. The total wealth globally is $204 trillion.

Over the past 10 years, South Africa’s performance has been moderate with total private wealth held by people living in the country rising by 13 percent from $575 billion in 2008 to $649 billion in 2018. 

Several factors contributed to South Africa’s performance during the past decade, including a declining currency which is now seen inching closer to R15 to the dollar, a declining local property market and ongoing migration of wealthy people out of the country. 

As part of this year’s report, the continent’s wealthiest cities were also identified and ranked. They include: 

  • Johannesburg: The total wealth held in the city amounts to $248 billion. Most of the city’s wealth is concentrated in Sandton. Hyde Park, Sandhurst, Houghton and Westcliff make up the most exclusive and expensive suburbs in the city. Major sectors in Joburg include financial services (banks), professional services (law firms, consultancies), telecoms and basic materials. 
  • Cape Town: The total wealth held in the city amounts to $133 billion. Africa’s most exclusive and expensive suburbs like Clifton, Bishopscourt, Camps Bay and Bantry Bay are in Cape Town. It is also popular for second home-owners from around the world. Major sectors include real estate, financial services (fund management), retail and tourism. 
  • Durban and Umhlanga: The total wealth held in the city amounts to $54 billion. Umhlanga and Ballito are two of the fastest-growing areas in South Africa, in terms of wealth over the past 10 years. Major sectors include financial services, healthcare, real estate, diversified and transport. 

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