Commentary & Analysis by: O. Paul Andrew


African Cities of the Rich in the HNWI & UHNWI Cluster

Wait a minute! The new African Multi-millionaires and billionaires will triple by 2025 while the cities that host them would have significant economic boost. As an independent wealth adviser in Geneva, I have studied the growth pattern of the rich in Africa for close to a decade and particularly with the Nigerian UHNWIs and the new entrants into the club. Some of the Top Ten Billionaires and multi-millionaires didn’t exist ten years ago, so the question is, what changed the equation in the continent? – creativity and innovation of these new players – that’s the game changer! Between Johannesburg, and Lagos there has been a dramatic shift of wealth balance the African continent has ever witnessed before, and this is just the beginning.

Our bi-monthly CityView of African cities with considerable wealth-population will feature these top cities below in each AWR Briefing tagged “Wealth of a Nation” in conjunction with WealthInsight. Some of Africa’s beautiful cities are amongst the cities that will form part of reports in AWR Briefing. And this maiden issue will feature Lagos, Nigeria to be followed by Johannesburg, South Africa in the next issue. Here are the High/Ultra High Networth Individuals HNWI/UHNWI City clusters in the continent as researched by WealthInsight.

Johannesburg 23’400 285
Lagos 9’500 123
Cape Town 9’000 110
Nairobi 5’000 65
Marrakech 1’800 15


It is no longer news that Nigeria overtook South Africa to become the dominant and largest economy in Africa post rebasing its Gross Domestic Product (GDP) data in over twenty years. The new data has added sectors that were unaccounted for in previous statistics such as the information and communications sector, telecoms, entertainment industry- Nollywood and music industry, airlines, virtual retail outlets via the internet and fashion. These vibrant economic sectors redefined the country’s economic landscape and helped shore up Nigeria’s GDP which now stands at $510bn as compared to South Africa’s GDP of $350bn.

Nigeria currently ranks 24th largest economy in the world. And its main economic power house, Lagos ranks 13th largest economy in Africa, almost that of Kenya. Lagos is undeniably home to most of the wealthiest in Africa, including Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga, Folorunso Alakija, Femi Otedola, Tunde Folawiyo, Samad Isiyaku Rabiu, just to mention a few with a combine networth of $80bn.

Lagos accounts for most of the major companies and financial institutions. This economic attraction has increased the appetite of wealth management firms from Europe and United States whilst competing for space in the wealth management industry. Notable firms such as UBS, Deutche Bank, Credit Suisse, BNP Paribas Wealth Management, JP Morgan, Standard Chartered are competing with the local banks such as GT Bank, Zenith Bank, First Bank, Access Bank, FCMB, StanbicIBTC with Little or no visible international presence.


Lagos, Nigeria:


HNWIs and UHNWIs In Lagos, Nigeria:

A very fascinating trend is that the collective wealth of the Ultra High Networth Individuals (UHNWIs) in Nigeria stands at approximately $90bn of which 80% of the wealth is in the hands of young and vibrant business men. The wealth demography is changing fast. A new wave of young entrepreneurs within the age bracket of 35yrs and 50yrs old are mostly visible in the UHNW bracket. They are placed in the HNWI and UHNWI space with wealth from $30m and above.

Out of this $90bn, Lagos is home to 80% of these wealthy individuals. Most wealthy Nigerians are directly or indirectly connected to Lagos due to its economic prowess and industrial colouration. It houses the biggest financial institutions in the country, FBN, Zenith, GTB, Access, FCMB, Standard Chartered, StanbicIBTC, Skye, Fidelity and also have some global financial institutions’ country representative offices such as UBS, JP Morgan, Deutche Bank, Barclays Bank.

The city of Lagos is ranked second on the list according to WealthInsight research with 9’500 HMWIs and 130 UHNWIs. Apparently buoyed by the new regulatory framework that introduced local content acts in Mineral extraction, the Oil & Gas industry in Nigeria has new oil magnates.

The recent successful oil and gas assets divestment by most International Oil Companies (IOCs) including Shell, Chevron, ConocoPhillips, Total, most local Nigerians have been able to close some of these transactions with the local financial and international financial institutions facilitating the debt and equity deals. About $8b worth of these assets is in the hands of local Nigerian Oil barons who have joined the growing list of wealthy Nigerians, some of these young turks are Wale Tinubu, CEO Oando, A.B.C Orjiakor and Austin Avuru of Seplat, Kola Karim, Tunde Folawiyo were part of these divestments on the buy-side and have seen their fortune soared.

A sizeable chunk of these HNWI and UHNWIs who are also listed on the Forbes African Billionaires’ list are residents of Lagos. They also maintain a structured Family Office and their wealth adequately managed within and out of Nigeria. Swiss banks offering wealth management and private banking services are the most visible. A number of British wealth management firms and advisers oversee the wealth in form of active portfolio management, Trust and Fiduciary practice, Custody, Legal and Tax Advisory and VIP services, this may be largely attributable to the colonial influence.

Few Nigerian wealth management firms exist with limited capacity to administer wealth management at the global level. What most financial institutions in Nigeria have done recently is to interface with their global counterparts through custody banking. The need for Nigerian banks with huge capital base to advance wealth management locally is the way to have part of the wealth retained in Nigeria.