South Africa’s commercial capital, Johannesburg, remains Africa’s wealthiest city.
Also called the “City of Gold,” it is home to the largest number of dollar millionaires in the continent, according to the World’s Wealthiest Cities Report 2023. The study was compiled by international investment migration firm Henley & Partners and global wealth intelligence firm New World Wealth.
Johannesburg appears to have weathered the difficult times South Africa’s economy has faced in recent times, including a persistent energy crisis and rising inflation.
Global anti-money laundering and terrorism financing watchdog, Financial Action Task Force, even “graylisted” the country earlier this year, placing it under increased scrutiny by investors and financial institutions.
The wealthiest cities report reveals that Johannesburg, South Africa’s most populous city with 6.2 million people, hosts 14,600 high net-worth individuals. Thirty of them are dollar centi-millionaires and two are dollar-billionaires.
The HNIs in the city have, however, decreased by 40% from 16,000 in 2022.
Gold is the main driver
Johannesburg was founded following the discovery of gold deposits nearby in 1886. In 2021, its cumulative wealth stood at $235 billion, topping Africa’s chart.
The city’s Sandton suburb, one of its four wealthy localities, hosts the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE), Africa’s largest. It is also the base of several leading banking institutions.
This factor, coupled with the city’s position as the gold and diamond mining capital of Africa, allures high net-worth individuals. Its central location and vast infrastructural network are contributing factors, too.
Located in the Gauteng province, Johannesburg is one of the world’s largest 50 urban agglomerations and contributes roughly 40% to South Africa’s GDP.
Over 50% of Africa’s millionaires are in five countries
The “Big Five” wealth markets—South Africa, Egypt, Nigeria, Kenya, and Morocco—together account for 56% of Africa’s high net-worth individuals and more than 90% of Africa’s billionaires, according to the World’s Wealthiest Cities Report.
Mauritius, Rwanda, and Namibia are also catching up quickly.
Elsewhere across the world, New York City, Tokyo, The Bay Area, London, Singapore, Los Angeles, Hong Kong, Beijing, Shanghai and Sidney are the top ten cities with the highest number of high net-worth individuals.