Familiar names dominated the World’s rich list released by Forbes Magazine on Monday but Nigeria’s and Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote , was the biggest loser on this year’s list when his wealth plummetted from $25 billion last year to $14.7 billion.
The $10 billion drop, according to the magazine, was propelled by a weaker Nigerian currency and shrinking demand for cement, his largest asset. He still retains the title of Africa’s richest man.
However, despite plunging oil prices and a weakened euro, the ranks of the world’s richest defied global economic turmoil and expanded yet again. Forbes found a record 1,826 billionaires with an aggregate net worth of $7.05 trillion, up from $6.4 trillion a year ago. The total includes 290 new billionaires and a record 197 women, up from 172 last year.
Bill Gates is once again the richest person on the planet, a title he’s held for 16 of the past 21 years. His fortune grew $3.2 billion since last year to $79.2 billion, in spite a gift of $1.5 billion in Microsoft shares to Facebook’s Mark Zuckerberg moves up 5 spots to number 16, his first time ranked among the world’s 20 richest.
At age 30, Zuckerberg is also the leader in a youth revolution that has minted a growing number of billionaires under the age of 40. The youngest billionaire in the world is Evan Spiegel, 24, co-founder of photo-messaging app Snapchat. Silicon Valley tech companies have spawned other young new billionaires including cofounders of car-hailing service Uber, Travis Kalanick and Garrett Camp, and their first employee Ryan Graves. Elizabeth Holmes, who runs blood- testing firm Theranos, debuts on the global list as the youngest self-made woman at age 31.