Riches and royalty go hand in hand. It is a rare phenomenon to find a poor ruler. In the 21st century, rich African kings earn their wealth from government taxes, community donations, businesses, inheritance, and other ventures. Their net worth is estimated based on the assets held after accounting for debt. Here is a look at the top 10 richest kings in Africa 2020.
In contemporary Africa, most traditional rulers are governed by written national laws and constitutions. eSwatini remains the only absolute monarch in the continent. All the royal heads have the duty to ensure the economic development of the ruled, even as they amass personal wealth.
Top 10 richest African kings
10. King Goodwill Zwelithini of Zulu South Africa - $19 million
The Zulu reigning king was born on 14th July 1948 in Nangoma, South Africa. He ascended to the monarch position in 1968 after his father, King Cyprian Bhekuzulu, passed away. The Zulu ruler gets an annual allowance of $6 million. He also receives grants and other luxuries from the South African government, which are deducted from the country’s revenue.
9. Osagyefuo Nana Amoatia Ofori Panin of Akyem Abuakwa Ghana - $28 million
Nana Amoatia became the 35th king to ascend the Okyeman Ofori Panin stool on 4th October 1999 after the passing away of Osagyefuo Kuntunkununku II. Since his ascension, and he has been advocating for economic and commercial development as well as the general welfare of the people of Akyem and Ghana in general.
8. Togbe Afede XIV of Asogli State Ghana - $30 million
The Agbogbomefia was born on 23rd April 1957 as James Akpo and was coroneted in October 2003. He holds a Business Administration degree from the University of Ghana and an MBA from Yale School of Management. Togbe is a great investor and holds the following titles.
- Current executive chairman of the World Trade Centre Accra
- A board member of several companies
- He established SAS Finance Group Ltd, which consists of SAS Investment Management Ltd and Strategic African Securities Ltd.
- He established a private equity investment company called Strategic Initiatives Ltd (SIL).
- Co-founder of Africa World Airlines Ltd, Sunon Asogli Power Ghana Ltd, and Databank Financial Services
- The majority shareholder in Accra Hearts of Oak FC
7. Otumfuo Osei Tutu II of Ashanti Ghana - $40 million
Otumfuo Osei Tutu II, whose birth name is Nana Barima Kwaku Duah, was born on 6th May 1950. He began his reign as the Asantehene of the Ashanti people on 26th April 1999. The ruler is the Chancellor of the Kwame Nkrumah University of Science and Technology (KNUST), the Grand Patron of the Grand Lodge of Ghana, and the Sword Bearer of the United Grand Lodge of England.
In the 1980s, Osei Tutu II started a mortgage finance firm called Primoda Financial Services Ltd, which is located in North West London. In 1989, he established Transpomech International (Ghana) Limited, a mining equipment provider in Ghana. He also has a massive collection of valuable gold crown jewels as well as real estate properties in South Africa and Ghana.
6. Oba Rilwan Akiolu of Lagos Nigeria - $40 million
Oba Rilwan Akiolu was born on 29th October 1943 and was crowned the 21st Oba of Lagos in May 2003. He is a law graduate from the University of Lagos. He served in the Nigerian Police Force for 32 years, where he ascended to the position of Assistant Inspector General.
5. Obi Nnaemeka Alfred Ugochukwu Achebe of Onitsha Nigeria - $50 million
Nnaemka Alfred was born on 14th May 1941 and emerged as the Obi of Onitsha in May 2002. He is one of the most prominent kings in Eastern Nigeria. Nnaemeka is currently the Chancellor of Ahmadu Bello University as well as the chairman of the board of directors of Unilever Nigeria. The Obi also serves as the chairman of International Breweries (ABInBev), Nigeria.
4. King Mswati III of Swaziland - $50 million
The King of eSwatini was born on 19th April 1968 in Manzini as Makhosetive. He took the crown on 25th April 1986 at 18 years old, thus becoming the world’s youngest monarch to rule at the time. He is also the last absolute monarch in Africa. The Head of the Swazi Royal Family gets an annual salary of $50 million, which is deducted from the government treasury.
He is also in charge of an investment holding company called Tibiyo TakaNgwane that has assets valued at over $140 million, which he holds in trust for the people of eSwatini. As of 2020, he has 15 wives and is known for leading a flamboyant lifestyle despite the high poverty rate in Swaziland.
3. Sultan Sa’adu Abubakar III of Sokoto - $100 million
Sa’adu was born on 24th August 1956. He served in the military from 1977 and retired in 2006 as Brigadier general. He became the 20th Sultan of Sokoto in November 2006 after the death of Sultan Miccado on ADC Airlines Flight 53. Sa’adu is the most powerful traditional leader in Northern Nigeria and is the Nigerian head of the Islamic religion.
2. Oba Fredrick Obateru Akinrutan of Ugbo Land Nigeria - $300 million
The Olugbo of Ugbo Land was born in 1950 and became king in 2009. He has an estimated net worth of $300 million, which makes him the second richest African royalty and the wealthiest in Nigeria. The King owns Obat Oil, a leading privately-owned oil company in Nigeria. He also owns an extensive portfolio of residential and prime commercial real estate property in Nigeria and London.
1. King Mohammed VI of Morocco - $2 billion
The King of Morocco, a member of the Alaouite dynasty, was born on 21st August 1963. He was crowned King in July 1999 after the passing away of his father, King Hassan II. As of 2020, King Mohammed VI has an estimated net worth of $2 billion, making him the richest king in Africa. His palace’s daily operating budget is estimated at $960,000.
King Mohammed VI is a successful banker and businessman in Morocco. The Royal Family is the majority stakeholder in Societe Nationale d’Investissement (SNI), one of the largest investment holding companies with a diverse portfolio. The King also owns phosphate reserves, extensive land, and is a leading agricultural farmer in Morocco, where agricultural activities are not taxed.
Africa is a wealthy continent, as seen from the net worth of the richest kings in Africa. However, the problem is that most of those under their rule remain poor. Is the situation likely to change?
Power and greatness have most often been associated with men. However, history tells a different story as Africa had powerful queens who were revered warriors and rulers. They ruled with wisdom and bravery.
Briefly.co.za highlighted the top 10 most powerful women who ruled in ancient prominent African kingdoms. They include Aminatu of Hausa, Yaa Asantewaa of Ashanti, Queen Makeda of Sheba, Empress Kandake of Ethiopia, Ranavalona 1 of Madagascar, and others.