CAN WICKNELL MAKE THE BILLIONAIRE BOYS CLUB?. . . Businessman says it’s his fate but how realistic is it?. . .Small number of billionaires shows it’s a tough task

Robson Sharuko


WICKNELL Chivayo says it’s his fate to join the BILLIONAIRE Boys Club.

It’s a very exclusive group which only has 20 of the wealthiest individuals in Africa.

And, when one considers that there are about 1.4 billion people on the continent, it puts into perspective how difficult it is for one to be a billionaire.

“I was told that I would be a billionaire,” he said on Capitalk FM this week.

Ini ndakaudzwa kunzi endai munorara mugomo kwaMurehwa ndikanorara pasi because I want to be a billionaire.”

There are only 2 640 people who are billionaires in the world, according to Forbes, as of this year.

And, considering that the global population is now about eight billion people, this is a very small percentage and, once again, highlights the difficulties of one earning billionaire status.

Chivayo is 41 and age is still on his side.

Strive Masiyiwa, the first Zimbabwean to be ranked as a billionaire by Forbes, attained that status at the age of 57.

Aliko Dangote, the billionaire Nigerian tycoon who is the richest man in Africa, became a billionaire in 2007 at the age of 50.

Mo Dewji, the 48-year-old Tanzanian tycoon, was 40 when he became a billionaire.

Masiyiwa is ranked the 12th richest man in Africa this year, with US$1.81 billion, while Dangote tops the list with US$13.9 billion.

There are only two black Southern African tycoons among the billionaires on the continent — Masiyiwa and Patrice Motsepe of South Africa.

Chivayo claims everything that he is doing was prophesied in 1994.

That was the year Motsepe established Future Mining, a company which he would use as springboard into his transformation into a billionaire businessman.

That was also the year Dangote established the Aliko Dangote Foundation “with the mission to enhance opportunities for social change through strategic investments to improve health and well-being and broaden economic empowerment opportunities.”

So, in terms of timing, the prophecy which Chivayo claims was made for him appears to have been perfect given the seismic events connected with people who also dreamt of not only hitting the big time but also becoming game changers as philanthropists.

He says he has businesses across the region mainly specialising in renewable energy.

While there have been rich pickings for those who have ventured into renewable energy, Chivayo knows that climbing the ladder to become a billionaire is not as easy as calling a benefactor to go and collect a car from Victor.

There are just EIGHT billionaires on the Forbes 2024 list in the entire SADC region.

This is a group of 16 countries — Angola, Botswana, Comoros, DRC, Eswatini, Lesotho, Madagascar, Malawi, Mauritius, Mozambique, Namibia, Seychelles, South Africa, Tanzania, Zambia and Zimbabwe.

The estimated combined population of the SADC countries is 389 million people and only EIGHT are certified as billionaires by Forbes, Masiyiwa, Dewji and the South Africans — Motsepe, Johann Rupert, Nicky Oppenheimer, Koos Bekker, Christoffel Wiese and Michel Le Roux.

Only three of the 16 SADC countries have billionaires.

Only SEVEN of the 54 African countries have billionaires — South Africa (6), Egypt (5), Nigeria (4), Morocco (2), Zimbabwe (1), Tanzania (1) and Algeria (1).

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