When it comes to oligarchy or oligarchs, everyone thinks of Russia and the countries that made up the former Soviet Union. This kind of power structure does not only concern this part of the world. Indeed, many wealthy people come from African continent. According to some people the next great oligarchs will be African. The following article will deal with some of few influential figures who are growing financially despite political changes, revolutions and coups.


Ankara welcomed, on January 18 and 19, 2023, the delegation of the EBOMAF Group, led by its number one, Mahamadou BONKOUNGOU.

Mahamadou Bonkoungou is Chairman of EBOMAF (Bonkoungou Mahamadou and son). The EBOMAF Group is active in a wide range of sectors: insurance, banking, trade, retail, civil engineering, hotels, industry, leisure, mining, catering, health, social services and transport. Its founder is nicknamed “the friend of presidents”. He has survived the succession of Burkina Faso’s most recent leaders: from Blaise Compaoré to Captain Ibrahim Traoré, head of the military junta. Beyond Burkina Faso, he also maintains relations with the presidents of Guinea, Côte d’Ivoire and Benin. Furthermore, he developed relationships beyond the borders of the African continent. Mahamadou Bonkoungou maintains relations with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. He acted as intermediary for Burkina Faso’s purchase of TB2 drones from the Turkish manufacturer Bayraktar. An advance was paid to the Turkish supplier, directly in gold. Short of cash, Ouagadougou requisitioned 500 kg of gold from Endeavour Mining and Nordgold to finance this acquisition. At the beginning of March 2023, through Mahamadou Bonkoungou, the junta granted two mining licences to a company called Afro Turk : one for the Tambao manganese mine and the other for the Inata gold mine.


Sindika Dokolo and Isabel dos Santos are Africa’s richest couple. They met in 1999 at the Miami Beach in Luanda, place attended by the Angolan jet-set. Sindika Dokolo is a Congolese businessman and art collector. In addition to his estate in the Democratic Republic of Congo, Sindika Dokolo is also a powerful businessman in Angola and Portugal. His wife Isabel dos Santos is the daughter of former Angolan president Eduardo dos Santos. She is currently the richest woman in Africa, with over 3 billion dollars in assets. She is involved in almost every aspect of the economy, including oil. At the head of Angola’s national oil company, Sonangol, she transferred $38 million from the company to a Dubai-based company. The Dokolo / dos Santos couple also own shares in the Portuguese oil group Galp.

Sindika Dokolo and Isabel dos Santos are Africa’s richest couple.


Samba Bathily, an African businessman and philanthropist.

Samba Bathily is a world-renowned African businessman and philanthropist. In 2004, he founded the Africa Development Solutions (ADS) group. The aim is to providing strategic and innovative financial solutions for African businesses, institutions and governments. Samba Bathily also owns a portfolio of projects in several fieldswith across Africa with more than 5 billion dollars worth: fibre optics, renewable energies, hydraulic dams, data centers, road infrastructure and drinking water supply. Samba Bathily is President of the Fondation Volontaire d’Afrique (FVA). This NGO works to improve the quality of life and create opportunities for vulnerable communities across the African continent. FVA embodied Samba Bathily’s engagement to the development of Africa. The NGO is committed to social justice in order to find sustainable solutions to poverty, marginalization, exclusion, hunger, illiteracy, disease and access to water and energy in Africa. Samba Bathily’s relationship with the ruling junta is still recent. Even if the Malian businessman have tried try to create links with the military authorities, the loss of his best ally in President Bah N’Daw made things more difficult for him.


Aliko Dangote is a Nigerian businessman. He is considered to be the richest man in Africa. Born into a family of merchants in northern Nigeria, Aliko Dangote started his own business in 1977, at the age of 20. He invested early in cement manufacturing and creates the Dangote Group in May 1981. At that time cement was the company’s sole activity. In 2013, his group owns Obajana Cement Plant, the largest cement production plant in sub-Saharan Africa. His investment projects totalled $10 billion worth mainly for cement plants in Africa (South Africa, Zambia, Ethiopia, Senegal, Mozambique and Cameroon). In 2013, the businessman invested in the construction of an oil refinery with a capacity of 400,000 barrels a day, at a total cost of $8 billion. In 2023 he is positioned to be Africa’s top billionaire, with an estimated fortune of 13.5 billion dollars. He remains very concern about the respect of three principles : reinvest his profits, lead a modest lifestyle and focus everything on the country’s domestic market. However, in January 2024, the Economic and Financial Crimes Commission investigators visited Aliko Dangote’s group. This anti-corruption agency suspects Aliko Dangote of having been involved in financial crimes during the era of Godwin Emefiele, former Governor of the Central Bank of Nigeria between 2014 and 2023.

Aliko Dangote, the richest man in Africa.


Mohammed Dewji, youngest African billionaire businessman.

Mohammed Dewji is a Tanzanian billionaire businessman and former politician. He is at head of MeTL Group (Mohammed Enterprises Tanzania Limited), a Tanzanian conglomerate founded by his father in the 1970s. Thanks to Dewji’s talent, MeTL’s incomes grew from 30 million to more than 1.5 billion dollars between 1999 and 2018. The MeTL group invested in manufacturing, agriculture, trade, finance, mobile telephony, insurance, real estate, logistics and agribusiness. It operates in 11 countries and employs over 30,000 people. MeTL’s operations contribute around 3.5% of Tanzania’s GDP. On October 2022, Mohammed Dewji’s worth was estimated at $1.5 billion. He was ranked as the 17th richest person in Africa and the youngest billionaire. Entering politics in 2005, Mohammed Dewji became a member of the Tanzanian parliament to represent his home town of Singida. He won the general election with 90% of the vote. Dewji have been serving for ten years in politics before resign from politics in October 2015.

Despite of extreme poverty of most African countries many personalities have been building up their fortunes. On one hand, the philanthropic nature of some billionaires contributes to the development and growth of their countries. But on the other hand, other personalities are taking advantage of the situation to develop their network beyond the African continent in order to expand their wealth or to gain power. Mahamadou Bonkoungou who acts as intermediaries between states in Burkina Faso is the perfect example of this.

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