CityView Africa



South Africa’s  economy is currently the second largest in Africa behind Nigeria- post rebase of Nigeria’s GDP that makes it the Largest in the continent so far. Classified as an upper middle income economy South Africa remains one of the leading African countries with a strong wealth leaning per capital gain.

Post apartheid rein, South African economy grew at a fast pace tripling its GDP to $405bn and attracting influx of investments into its economic enclave. South Africa occupies an enviable position as an economic power-house of the continent. It is the prime hub in the global mining value chain in Africa and a major force to reckon with in regional finance and retail value chains according to African Economic Outlook.

Home to some of the wealthiest in the continent, South Africa boasts of 14 billionaires and multi-millionaires within the UHNWI space, including Nicky Oppenheimer (spends most of his time in Hampshire, England), ex- De Beers Chairman, Patrice Motsepe, Stephen Saad, Desmond Sacco,  Gus Attridge Johann Rupert, Cyril Ramaphosa, Koos Bekker et al.

Wealth Management is well structured in South Africa. Competing strongly with their global counterparts, ABSA Bank, Stanbic, NedBank, Investec Bank and few private wealth management firms have consolidated their footprint in South Africa.


HNWI/UHNWIs In South Africa

According to WealthInsight research, there were approximately 581 UHNWI in South Africa in 2013, with an average per capita wealth of USD 124.7 million, making them a major target group for wealth sector professionals. Being one of the most prominent emerging economies, the UHNWI of South Africa contribute significantly to the development of the economy.

Most UHNWIs reside in Johannesburg, the commercial and economic powerhouse of South Africa. It has the largest concentration of UHNWIs in Africa with an estimated USD denominated millionaires in a single place numbering close to 23,400.
Johannesburg is also known as the “City of Gold” and it’s the most vibrant city in South Africa and economic powerhouse of Africa. The city is host to some of the leading luxury goods, hotel chains and financial institutions.


Johannesburg is the richest city in Africa with 23,400 HNWIs and 285  UHNWIs

It is perhaps ironic that a city created by a gold rush over a century ago is currently Africa’s wealthiest city, although little of its income today comes from the substance that inspired its creation. Today, Africa’s largest metropolitan economy is also its financial hub: Johannesburg is home to the continent’s wealthiest stock exchange and 9 of the 10 biggest companies in Africa.

Indeed, Johannesburg is perhaps more outward looking than it is inward: Not one of South Africa’s three capital cities, Johannesburg acts instead as the continent’s financial hub, harbouring pan-African conglomerates and doing deals between companies throughout the SADC and beyond.

“Jo’burg’s” transformation from a gold town into financial hub has been crucial to maintaining its status as the continent’s wealthiest city. Whereas yesteryear’s affluent would be mine owners, the majority of today’s wealthy residents owe their wealth from financial services and technology.

Though we predict Johannesburg to retain its position as ‘Africa’s richest city’ for the foreseeable future, there are some dangers afoot. It’s status as Africa’s financial hub is being challenged from abroad. Mauritius and Dubai are fast becoming the major staging posts for African investment, the former overtaking South Africa in 2013’s World Economic Forum’s (WEF) global competitiveness report. Light regulated financial centres such as those aforementioned here have shown-up South

African’s own restrictive laws on tax and personal wealth. South African billionaire and famed space tourist Mark Shuttleworth’s fight against the Supreme Court has revealed the difficulty of taking personal wealth outside the country. As one Forbes article summed it up, “It cost Mark Shuttleworth more to leave South Africa than it did to leave the Earth”.

Yet Johannesburg is now seeing a re-generative phase. Its CBD, once ridden with crime, is now coming back into fashion. Tech is the next big thing: Along with financial services, tech and telecoms now account for most the HNWIs in the city. Their place in Africa’s financial capital could see Johannesburg re-invent itself as the Silicon Valley of Africa.


Africa’s Richest Suburb?

Johannesburg is in many ways a back-to-front city, with its outlying suburbs the most affluent and central areas in slow decay. This was not always the case: In 2000 the JSE (Johannesburg Securities Exchange) took the decision to move its location out from the city centre to Sandton, what was then a little known northern suburb, but is now labelled ‘Africa’s richest square mile’.

For HNWIs and UHNWIs in Johannesburg, Sandton is the default meeting place. The suburb houses roughly half the city’s UHNWI population, more than any other suburb in the country. Real estate prices reflect this: Outside the Western Cape, its properties are some of the most expensive city residences on the continent, with prices topping US$5 million.

Hand-in-hand with affluent living is a luxury lifestyle and Sandton arguably contains Africa’s largest luxury mico-market. Here, luxury retail outlets and upmarket shopping centres attract shoppers from not only Johannesburg, but outside South Africa’s borders as business trips to the financial capital are tied in with shopping sprees: HNWIs from Angola, Zambia and even Kenya are no  strangers Sandton’s luxury stores.