JOHANNESBURG, South Africa — These are boom times for Africa’s rich.
The number of African millionaires is forecast to grow by nearly half over the next decade, according to a report by New World Wealth, a Johannesburg-based research firm.
This follows a whopping 145 percent increase in the number of “high net worth individuals” in Africa — meaning people with net assets of $1 million or more — between 2000 and 2014, with oil-rich Angola leading the pack.
In comparison, the number of high net worth individuals worldwide grew by 73 percent in the same period, the report said.
As of the end of 2014, there were some 161,000 millionaires in Africa, with combined wealth holdings of $660 billion. The number of African millionaires is expected to rise 45 percent to 234,000 by 2024.
Mozambique, buoyed by its vast natural gas reserves, is expected to see the biggest growth in millionaires, according to the report, with Cote d’Ivoire and Zambia on its heels.
It is worth remembering that all of this is set against stark income inequality in many countries.
For example, Mozambique’s gross domestic product per capita was just $619 last year, according to the World Bank, making it one of the world’s poorest countries.
South Africa, the top ranked country in Africa for total individual wealth — and home to the highest number of millionaires, at 46,800 — is also one of the most frighteningly unequal countries on the planet.
The World Bank has forecast an average of 4 percent economic growth for sub-Saharan Africa this year, while warning that “extreme poverty remains high across the region.”