South Africa: The rich getting richer

While the South African economy staggers along condemning multitudes into poverty the number of the country’s super rich is growing steadily and the wealth in the hands of the lucky few is bulking.

This can be read from the latest trends captured in WealthInsight annual update. The South African chapter of the report, capturing 2012 trends, says the number of millionaires in South Africa reached 48,800 at the end of 2012. This represented a 9% increase from the previous year.

The report also claims that the number of South African multi-millionaires (US$30m+) reached 594 at the end of 2012. Johannesburg accounted for 285 of these individuals followed by Cape Town with 110.

According to WealthInsight the number of billionaires (US$1 billion+) in South Africa remained at four in 2012. These are Nicholas Oppenheimer and family, Johann Rupert, Patrice Motsepe and Christo Wiese.

The report also noted that South Africa saw an additional 158 centi-millionaires, with assets of between US$100 million and US$1 billion at the end of 2012.

The report features a geographical breakdown in the spread of the super rich. It was not surprising to see that South Africa’s economic capital Johannesburg claims the top spot in the African continent.

The report said Johannesburg accounted for 23,400 of South Africa’s total of 48800 millionaires followed by Cape Town with just over 9000.

The report said Johannesburg is the top African city for millionaires, ranking well above the likes of Cairo and Lagos. The number of millionaires in Johannesburg grew by 12% over the past year compared to Cape Town which experienced millionaire growth of 6%.

The Johannesburg suburb of Sandton accounted for 15300 of Johannesburg’s millionaires. WealthInsight analyst Andrew Amoils said “The most interesting statistics were in Sandton. Sandton experienced far stronger growth than the rest of the country with millionaire numbers in the area rising by 18% during the past year.”

Amoils added that while Johannesburg has more multi-millionaires than any other African city it ranks well below the top ranked city in the world, London, which has over 4200 multi-millionaires, 15 times as many as Johannesburg.”

WealthInsight’s list of the top 20 global cities for millionaires and multi-millionaires worldwide shows Tokyo taking the top spot in the top 20 list of cities ranked by millionaires. Tokyo registered 461 000 millionaires. It is followed by New York City with 389 000, London 281 000, Paris 219 000 and Frankfurt with 217 000.

A top 20 list of cities ranked by multi millionaires shows London on top with 4 224 multi millionaires. It is followed by Tokyo with 3 525, Singapore 3 154, New York City 2 929 and Hong Kong with 2 560.

A top 20 list ranking cities by billionaires has New York City on top. It is followed by Moscow at 64, London 54, Hong Kong 40 and Beijing 29.

A list ranking countries by millionaires was as follows:

Rank Country Number of millionaires (000s)
1 US 5,231
2 Japan 2,105
3 Germany 1,326
4 China 1,280
5 UK 675
6 France 555
7 Canada 422
8 Switzerland 298
9 Australia 275
10 Italy 259

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