How Johann Rupert became Africa’s richest man

Johann Rupert, a 73-year-old South African businessman, has overtaken Nigeria’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, to become the continent’s richest man. This happened in June 2023.

According to Forbes Magazine’s Real-time Global Billionaires ranking, Johann Rupert’s fortune is expected to exceed $12 billion, with Dangote’s fortune coming in second at $10.8 billion.

For the first time in a decade, Aliko Dangote has lost his title as Africa’s richest man. According to Forbes, the continent’s new number one is Johann Rupert of South Africa, who has acquired a fortune in luxury goods and other fields. According to Forbes’ Real-Time Billionaires ranking earlier this June, Rupert beat Dangote and now has an estimated net worth of $11.7 billion.

This article explains why Dangote has been displaced by Johann Rupert, everything to know about the new African richest man


The latest decline in Dangote’s fortunes follows the Central Bank of Nigeria’s announcement this month that the country’s foreign exchange market has been fully deregulated. The naira plunged as much as N750 per dollar, a substantial loss from the previous N469 per dollar transacted in the Investor and Exporter market. The development eroded the fortunes of many Nigerian billionaires, not just Dangote.

According to the report, the floating of the Forex exchange had a real impact on his assets, this includes his significant 86 percent stake in Dangote Cement, his holdings in the Dangote Sugar Refinery, and his interests in Dangote Industries.

However, the CBN directive cost numerous Nigerian millionaires their fortunes, including entrepreneur Abdul Samad Rabiu and telecom and oil mogul Mike Adenuga. With the floating of the Nigerian FX market, which allows market forces to determine the value of the naira versus the dollar, Dangote and other renowned Nigerian billionaires’ net worth is anticipated to fall even lower.

On this account, it should be noted that the deregulation(floating) of the Nigerian forex market led to the plunge of Dangote’s net worth.  Johann Rupert on the other hand saw shares in his company jump early this year. However, these two factors made him become Africa’s richest man.

Who is Johann Peter Rupert

Johann Peter Rupert, born in 1950, is a South African business mogul and the first son of business magnate Anton Rupert and his wife Huberte. He is the chairperson of Richemont, a Swiss luxury goods firm, and Remgro, a South African corporation. He has been the chief executive officer of Compagnie Financiere Richemont since April 2010.

Rupert grew up in Stellenbosch and studied economics and company law at Paul Roos Gymnasium and the University of Stellenbosch. He dropped out of university to pursue a commercial career, but the university awarded him an honorary doctorate in Economics in 2004.

Rupert received an honorary doctorate from Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University in 2008. Financial Times classified him as reclusive because he rarely gives interviews and avoids public gatherings. He’s also known as Rupert the Bear.

Rupert has announced his support for the concept of a universal basic income.

Johann Rupert’s Journey to becoming a billionaire

Johann Rupert is a well-known and successful businessman in South Africa, with investments in multiple top South African and international companies.

Johann is Anton Rupert’s eldest son, and his initiatives in the 1940s laid the groundwork for the Rupert family’s wealth.

Anton Rupert established Voorbrand, a cigarette company, in the 1940s. Rembrandt, which joined the South African cigarette and tobacco business in 1948, was inspired by Voorbrand.

Rembrandt was a major success in South Africa, listing on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange less than a decade after its establishment.

In the 1970s, Rembrandt ventured into new fields like finance, mining, engineering, and food.

Johann Rupert majored in economics at the University of Stellenbosch during this time but left school to pursue a car business career.

He was the chief executive officer of RMB until 1984 when it merged with Rand Consolidated Investments to form RMB Holdings. 

He left the company to work for Rembrandt. Soon after joining his father’s company, he spun off Rembrandt’s international assets to form Compagnie Financiere Richemont, a Swiss luxury goods holding company that includes Cartier and Montblanc. 

In 1991, he was made Chairman of Rembrandt.

Rembrandt and Richemont merged their tobacco interests in Rothmans International in 1995. A few years later, it unified its holdings with those of British American Tobacco. 

Rembrandt was separated into two publicly traded holding companies, Remgro and Venfin, in 2000, resulting in substantial changes.

Remgro was in charge of Rembrandt’s traditional assets, while Venfin was in charge of the technology-oriented assets.

Remgro and VenFin merged less than a decade later to form Remgro, of which Johann Rupert is currently chairman.

Rupert was appointed chairman and CEO of Richemont in 2000, and the company’s non-luxury divisions were spun off into Reinet Investments in 2008.

Rupert Johann is now the current chairman of Remgro, Reinet, and Richemont. Richemont is the largest of the three companies, with a market capitalization of R1.51 trillion. Reinet comes in second with a market cap of €3.76 billion (R73.63 billion), while Remgro is slightly smaller with a market cap of R72.98 billion.

The rise in the share price of his luxury goods company, Richemont, has contributed greatly to his wealth.

Rupert’s fortune climbed by R40 billion in 2023 as the share price of his luxury goods company Richemont increased. Following the company’s good earnings in May, Richemont’s share price scaled 33.21% in 2023.


The status of being the richest man in Africa is a position worth coveting, and when one finds himself there, especially retaining it for decades he works to do everything to retain it. But the reality now is that Johann Rupert is the richest man on the continent now.

However, that may change at any time because it is generally believed that with the expected commencement of petroleum products refining at the $20 billion Dangote Petrochemical and Refinery commissioned last month, Aliko Dangote may bounce back to the number one position in Africa as the richest man. Also, businesses must learn the impact of governmental policies on their business and be proactive enough to mitigate them.

Johann Rupert is married to Gaynor Rupert. Gaynor Rupert’s full name is Gaynor Georgina Rupert. She is a renowned figure in her own right and has made very important contributions in various fields.

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Paul Umukoro

Paul Umukoro

Paul Umukoro is an astute content writer with He writes mostly on hot, contested, and valuable topics in business, finance, and technology. He majored in computer science.

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