How Africa’s First Black Billionaire Lost $900M In 2023

African billionaire Patrice Motsepe. (Patrick T. Fallon/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Patrice Motsepe became Africa’s first Black billionaire in 2008 and has maintained his status as the richest man in the southern part of the continent in years since. However, in 2023 alone Motsepe has reportedly lost a staggering $900 million of his wealth.

According to Business Insider, the 61-year-old self-made billionaire’s 40.37 percent stake in African Rainbow Minerals (ARM) is the culprit. Motsepe is both the founder and chairman of ARM and the private equity firm African Rainbow Capital; the former has experienced significant financial decline.

ARM, a diverse mining and minerals company with interests running the gamut of precious metals from iron to gold, has struggled to make good on its investments throughout the continent in 2023, says Business Insider. The company’s share price on the Johannesburg Stock Exchange has plummeted to $8.99 from $15.99 since January 1, marking a more than 6% decline in profits.

Motsepe stands to bring in $56.5 million from his stake in the company by Oct. 9, nearly half of his dividends from last year. Still, the mining juggernaut holds an impressive array of investments and an enormous amount of wealth, with a net worth of $2.3 billion.

Forbes reports that Motsepe became the first African to take Bill Gates’ and Warren Buffett’s Giving Pledge in 2013, promising to donate at least half of his massive fortune to charity. He has also served as the president of the Confederation of African Football since 2021, and owner of the Mamelodi Sundowns Football Club since 2014.

Motsepe grew up in the apartheid era, and his story is one from which many have gleaned inspiration. After transitioning out of a successful career as an attorney — one in which he became the first Black partner at law firm Bowman Gilfillan in 1993 — he founded Future Mining with the help of South Africa’s Black Economic Empowerment Laws, which required companies to have a minimum 26 percent black ownership in order to procure a mining license.

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