Top 10 Richest African Dictators in History

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As if imposing unwanted leadership to citizens wasn’t enough, these African dictators also made a fortune for themselves. You can defend them all you want but the simple fact that they didn’t practice democracy in their respective countries automatically qualifies them as dictators; African dictators. Also, they got rich because of it. Here are the top 10 richest African dictators in history.

10. Robert Mugabe

  • Country: Zimbabwe
  • Net worth: $1.4 billion

He was the national leader of Zimbabwe from 1980 to 2017. During his time, the country’s economy collapsed thanks to him enriching himself. Data from Wikileaks shows that Mugabe owned a number of farms and luxury residences which was worth more than $ 1 billion.

9. Ali Bongo Ondimba

  • Country: Gabon
  • Net worth: $2 billion

Get this, Ali Bongo came into power in 2009; assuming the role from his father Omar Bongo. How bad is the dictatorship in Gabon? There are reports that he may or may not have siphoned off 25% of his country’s GDP since assuming power. These are just speculations; don’t take them to be true.

8. Daniel Arap Moi

  • Country: Kenya
  • Net worth: $3 billion

Kenya’s second president served from 1978 to 2002 and his term has been rightfully been termed as eventful. During his time, there was an attempted coup, oppression of democratic rights, corruption and of course, several government scandals. According to Forbes, Moi’s assets include sizeable stakes in several oil companies, a 247,000-acre farm in Australia and shares in banks and shipping firms.

7. Sani Abacha

  • Country: Nigeria
  • Net worth: $5 billion

He was the authoritarian leader of Nigeria from 1993 until his death in 1998. General Sani’s time in office was marked by widespread human rights abuses and large scale corruption. The government later found out that he siphoned an estimated $4 billion in secret bank accounts in Switzerland. Once the money gets to Switzerland, it’s as good as gone. I wonder who is the current beneficiary of all that cash.

6. Mobutu Sese Seko

  • Country: Democratic Republic of Congo
  • Net worth: $5 billion

He was president of the resource-rich country from 1965 to 1997. Mobutu took advantage of his position by amassing immense wealth that rose up to $5 billion in 1984. This means he was one of the probably three people in Africa who were billionares at that time.

5. Zine El Abidine Ben Ali

  • Country: Tunisia
  • Net worth: $17 billion

Overthrown by the Jasmine revolution, he lived an excessive life while his countrymen struggled under human rights atrocities. His wife is said to have made her exit with gold bars worth $37 million. Ben Ali is said to have a net worth of $17 billion.

4. Jose Eduardo dos Santos

  • Country: Angola
  • Net worth: $20 billion

The former president of Angola garnered enormous sums of money when he was leader of the country from 1979 to 2017. Turning a blind eye to his poverty-stricken masses, dos Santos preferred to enrich himself and his family instead. His daughter Isabel dos Santos is one of Africa’s richest women with an estimated net worth of $2.2 billion.

We actually did an article about her wealth. You can read about it here.

3. Ibrahim Babangida

  • Country: Nigeria
  • Net worth: $22.7 billion

Nigeria had the privilege of being swindled by not one but two dictators. Some countries had it rough with one; how did Nigerians get past two dictators? Ibrahim was the military head of state of Nigeria from 1985 to 1993. He appropriated billions of the nation’s money and is believed to have laundered $12.4 billion off the back of Nigeria’s enormous oil boom during the 1992 Gulf War.

2. Hosni Mubarak

  • Country: Egypt
  • Net worth: $70 billion

After serving 30 years as president, Hosni Mubarak was finally removed from power in 2011. It is reported that he amassed wealth while citizens were facing increasing life struggles. The Guardian alleged that he had stolen $70 billion from the Egyptian people with his family taking cuts from government projects.

1. Muammar Gaddafi

  • Country: Libya
  • Net worth: $200 billion

There are a lot of myths that make rounds about Gaddafi being a good dictator, if that makes any sense. We actually don’t know if the war he had with the US was legitimate as the US government stated. What we do know is that after his demise in 2011, Libyan officials estimated that he had stashed away $200 billion in secret bank accounts, shady investment, real estate and corporate investments; all thanks to the country’s massive oil revenues.


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