SHAFAQNA -Â Africa is home to some 160,000 peopleÂ with personal fortunes worth in excess of $1m, a twofold increase in the number of wealthy individuals since the turn of the century that highlights the problem of deepening inequality as some of the worldâ€™s poorest nations register strong economic growth.
The combined wealth of African U.S. dollarÂ millionaires isÂ totalled $660 billion at the end of 2014, according to a report by New World Wealth.
At the same time,Â the number of Â people in Africa living on less than $1.25 a day increased from 411.3 million in 2010 to 415.8 millon in 2011, World Bank data shows.
By 2024, New World Wealth expects number ofÂ millionaires to rise 45%, to approximately 234,000 peopleÂ in comparison to today’sÂ 160,000.
During the past 14 years, the number of high-net-worth individuals in Africa has grown by 145%. The rate for the Middle East over the same period was 136%, while in Latin America it was 278%. The global average was 73%.
The global average wealth per capita is $27,600, with top-ranking countries such as Switzerland and Australia boasting per-capita wealth of more than $200,000.
In Africa, Mauritius has the wealthiest individuals, with average per-capita wealth of $21,470, according to the report.
Whereas people ofÂ Democratic Republic of the Congo are almost ten-times poorer than Mauritians – $230 a person, which makes DRC the poorest country by average per-capita wealth on the continent.
â€œOver the last year thereâ€™s been very strong growth in places like Mozambique, Zambia and Tanzania. Going forward, we expect Mozambique to continue to be the fastest growing market for high-net-worth individuals in percentage growth terms. So Iâ€™d say that Mozambique stands out in this report,â€ said Andrew Amoils, head of research at New World Wealth.
Amoils added thatÂ African economies benefit from rich citizens: â€œA lot of high-net-worth individuals keep their wealth locally, so normally, for most African countries, itâ€™s between 50% and 70% local wealth. Thereâ€™s lots of advantages because a lot of these individuals are business owners and a lot of them start businesses even if they are in corporate environments.â€
Dearden said: â€œFrom Nigeria to Mozambique you can see poverty rising at the same time as rapid growth. What does this mean? The growth is being gobbled up by the super-rich and transnational capital. And that means ordinary people, by comparison, find their lives even more impoverished.
â€œIt could be different: with decent government spending on public services, progressive taxation, regulation to control capital and regional trading relationships to wean countries off dependency on western markets.â€