Although most African countries practice democracy except for a few that practice monarchy like Morocco, Swaziland and Lesotho. However, even in these democratic settings, they are several hundred traditional monarchs in urban, semi-urban and rural communities across Africa.
Some of these monarchs wield little or no formal political power, however, they fulfil spiritual and ceremonial obligations to members of their community. With this, being a traditional monarch in Africa can be a lucrative affair.
A significant number of these rulers are formally recognized by state institutions and as a consequence, many of them receive generous stipends and allowances from the government.
In most parts, some African monarchs control large fortunes within their communities and without. In addition to their wealth and influence which results in some of them getting invited to join boards of large corporations.
For instance, the Obi (King) of Onitsha in South-Eastern Nigeria, Obi Nnaemeka Achebe, serves as the non-executive chairman of Unilever Nigeria, a large publicly listed manufacturer of consumer goods, and he previously served as chairman of defunct Diamond Bank, a leading Nigerian commercial bank.
In this article, we’ll be looking at the list of the top five richest kings in Africa and their net worth according to Forbes.
Although some of these monarchs have built their fortunes from scratch by starting successful enterprises and shrewdly reinvesting their profits into a diverse range of business concerns. Others have simply had wealth transferred to them by their forefathers.
1. King Mohammed VI, Morocco
Estimated net worth: $2 billion
His Majesty King Mohammed VI of Morocco is the wealthiest monarch in Africa with a net worth of $2 billion. King Mohammed VI, the 27 king of the Alaouite dynasty, ascended the throne in July 1999 and immediately set out to initiate a series of socio-political and economic reforms that have made the Kingdom freer and more prosperous than during the reign of his father, King Hassan II.
He derives his fortune from his control of Société Nationale d’Investissement (SNI), a large Moroccan investment holding company with assets valued at more than $10 billion.
SNI’s largest asset is a 48% stake in Morocco’s largest bank, Attijariwafa, as well as controlling stakes in mass distribution giant Marjane Holding; mining company Managem Group and mobile telecoms company Inwi. The King also owns a substantial chunk of the world’s phosphate reserves.
2. Oba Obateru Akinrutan, Ugbo Land, Nigeria
Estimated net worth: $300 million
Oba Obateru Akinrutan is the Olugbo (traditional King) of Ugbo land, a small oil-rich community in Ondo state, in Nigeria’s southwestern region.
Oba Akinrutan ascended the throne in 2009 and founded Obat Oil in 1981 with a single gas station to meet the needs of his family and neighbouring community.
Now, Obat Oil is one of Nigeria’s largest privately-held oil trading companies and owns more than 50 gas stations across Nigeria as well as one of the largest tank farms in Africa.
He also owns an extensive portfolio of prime commercial and residential real estate in London and Nigeria, including the landmark Febson Hotels and Mall in the Central Business District of Abuja.
3. King Mswati III, Swaziland
Estimated net worth: At least $50 million
King Mswati, 52 is one of the richest kings in Africa with an estimated net worth of $50 million. The king is paid at least $50 million annually as salary by the government.
He also controls Tibiyo TakaNgwane, an investment holding company that owns stakes in sugar refining giants Ubombo Sugar and Royal Swaziland Sugar Corporation (RSSC), dairy company Parmalat Swaziland, spirits manufacturer Swaziland Beverages and hotel chain Swazi Spa Holdings. The company has assets worth over $140 million, but he holds it in trust for the people of Swaziland.
4. King Goodwill Zwelithini Kabhekuzulu, South Africa
Estimated Net Worth: $19 Million
King Goodwill Kabhekuzulu is the monarch of the Zulu group which is South Africa’s biggest ethnic group. He receives a yearly allowance of $6 million to fend for his royal household.
In addition, he also gets to enjoy other perks like frequent private air travel and keeps an exotic collection of automobiles, all paid for by South Africa’s taxpayers
With his massive net worth valued at $19 million, King Goodwill Kabhekuzulu splashes around wealth with a beautiful garage of expensive cars.
5. Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, Ashanti, Ghana
Estimated net worth: $10 million
Source: Mining Equipment, Property, Jewelry
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II is the King of Ghana’s gold-rich Ashanti kingdom, home to the country’s largest ethnic group, the Asantes. He ascended the throne in 1999 and serves as the political and spiritual head of the Asante people. Osei Tutu set up Transpomech Ghana in 1989, a $12 million (sales) company that provides mining equipment to several large industrial companies in Ghana. The King also owns extensive real estate in Ghana and South Africa as well as a collection of valuable gold crown jewels.