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Black billionaires are individuals of African ancestry with a net worth of at least US$1 billion. According to the 2019 Forbes 2019 ranking of the world’s billionaires, Nigerian business magnate Aliko Dangote had a net worth of $10.9 billion and was the world’s richest black man.[1] Other black billionaires on the 2019 Forbes list included Nigerian businessman Mike Adenuga with $9.1 billion, American investor Robert Smith with $5 billion, American businessman David Steward with $3 billion, American media mogul Oprah Winfrey with $2.5 billion, Zimbabwean businessman Gerald Sibanda with $2.9 billion, Angolan businesswoman Isabel dos Santos with $2.3 billion, South African gold magnate Patrice Motsepe with $2.3 billion, American sports executive Michael Jordan with $2.1 billion, Jamaican-Canadian businessman Michael Lee-Chin with $1.9 billion, Nigerian businessman Abdul Samad Rabiu with $1.6 billion, American rapper Kanye West with $1.3 billion, Nigerian businesswoman Folorunsho Alakija with $1.1 billion, Mo Ibrahim of the United Kingdom with $1.1 billion, American rapper Jay-Z with $1 billion, and American media mogul Tyler Perry with $1 billion.[2]

From 2001 to 2003, Forbes listed American television network executive Bob Johnson as a billionaire,[3] but dropped him after his fortune was split in his divorce.[when?][4] He returned to Forbes Billionaire list in 2007 with a net worth of $1.1 billion. In 2008 Johnson’s wealth dropped again, this time to approximately $1.0 billion[5] and by 2009 he fell off the list again. Nigerian petroleum executive Femi Otedola briefly emerged as a billionaire in 2009, but did not remain one in subsequent years. He returned to the list in the company of a fellow Nigerian, sugar tycoon Abdul Samad Rabiu, in 2016, but both were dropped from the rankings the following year.[6]

Multiracial billionaires with significant black ancestry have been identified over the years. Saudi Arabian billionaire Mohammed Al Amoudi, of Hadhrami Yemeni and Ethiopian descent, has been on the Forbes billionaire list since 2002 and in 2012 had a net worth of $12.5 billion.[7] Michael Lee-Chin of Canada, who is Jamaican of Chinese and Black ancestry, was on the list from 2001 to 2010 but dropped off in 2011.[8] Isabel Dos Santos is of both Angolan and Middle Eastern ancestry. Alexander Karp, Co-Founder and CEO of Palantir Technologies has an African-American mother.[9]

Of all the above-mentioned billionaires identified by Forbes, only Oprah Winfrey qualified for Forbes 2009’s list of the world’s 20 most powerful billionaires, a list which considered not only wealth, but also market sway and political clout. Winfrey was considered especially powerful because of her influence on American consumer choices and her pivotal role in Barack Obama’s successful 2008 U.S. presidential campaign.


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