More African cities are attaining mega-city status across the continent and contributing immensely to the overall GDP of Africa. Many research and travel experts like Richard Quest have compared African cities to prime locations in the United States and the United Kingdom, commending the level of infrastructure and ambience.
There is no doubt that every city is a reflection of the wealth of the people in it. So, cities such as Pretoria, Cape Town, Cairo, Kigali, N’Djamena, and Lagos, to mention a few, are wealthy cities by all standards.
But which African city is considered the wealthiest and has the largest number of millionaires – not in its local currency, but in United States Dollars? This article tells you all you need to know – and more.
According to the World’s Wealthiest Cities Report 2023, South Africa’s commercial nerve, Johannesburg, remains the wealthiest city in Africa and houses the largest number of millionaires in U.S. Dollars than you can find anywhere else on the continent. Also called the “City of Gold,” Johannesburg is home to the largest number of business magnets, industrialists and entrepreneurs on the continent.
The report revealed that the commercial hub boasts of as many as 14,600 millionaires in U.S. Dollars, making it not only the wealthiest city in Africa but also makes the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), the largest stock market in the continent. The city currently contributes 40% to South Africa’s GDP.
Also called the “City of Gold,” it is home to the continent’s largest number of dollar millionaires, according to the World’s Wealthiest Cities Report 2023. International investment migration firm Henley & Partners and global wealth intelligence firm New World Wealth compiled the study.
Putting the Past Behind for Good
Johannesburg appears to have weathered the difficult times South Africa’s economy has faced in recent times, including a persistent energy crisis and rising inflation.
Global anti-money laundering and terrorism financing watchdog Financial Action Task Force even “graylisted” the country earlier this year, placing it under increased scrutiny by investors and financial institutions.
The wealthiest cities report reveals that Johannesburg, South Africa’s most populous city with 6.2 million people, hosts 14,600 high net-worth individuals. Thirty of them are dollar centi-millionaires, and two are dollar-billionaires.
Gold is the Main Driver
Johannesburg was founded following the discovery of gold deposits nearby in 1886. In 2021, its cumulative wealth stood at $235 billion, topping Africa’s chart.
The city’s Sandton suburb, one of its four wealthy localities, hosts the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), Africa’s largest. It is also the base of several leading banking institutions.
This factor, coupled with the city’s position as the gold and diamond mining capital of Africa, allures high net-worth individuals. Its central location and vast infrastructural network are contributing factors, too.
Located in the Gauteng province, Johannesburg is one of the world’s largest 50 urban agglomerations and contributes one of the largest GDPs globally.
50% of Africa’s Millionaires Live in 5 African Countries
Over 50% of Africa’s millionaires are in five countries. The “Big Five” wealth markets—South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, and Morocco—together account for 56% of Africa’s high net-worth individuals and more than 90% of Africa’s billionaires, according to the World’s Wealthiest Cities Report.
However, Mauritius, Rwanda, and Namibia are also catching up quickly.
Elsewhere across the world, New York City, Tokyo, The Bay Area, London, Singapore, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Sidney are the top ten cities with the highest number of high net-worth individuals.
Brief Facts About Johannesburg
One of the youngest of the world’s major cities, Johannesburg was founded in 1886 following the discovery of gold. The city was initially part of the Transvaal, an independent Afrikaner, or Boer, republic that later became one of the four provinces of South Africa.
Whilst sometimes mistakenly assumed to be South Africa’s capital city, Johannesburg is not even one of South Africa’s three official capital cities (although Pretoria, which is in the same province, is).
Pretoria remained the administrative capital, with Cape Town being the legislative capital when the Union of South Africa was established in 1910. The city remained the administrative capital when South Africa became a Republic in 1961. It remains the administrative capital of post-apartheid South Africa.
It is the provincial capital and largest city of Gauteng, which is the wealthiest province in South Africa. Johannesburg is the seat of the Constitutional Court, the highest court in South Africa.
Credit: WWCR, Faustine Ngila, Quartz