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Global Wealth Report: total private wealth rises in Africa

Africa posted a 7.7% increase in total private wealth to $5,808 billion at the end of 2021. In the same year, total global wealth jumped by 9.8%, representing a rise of $41.5 trillion.

By the editor 

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It’s a record year. The world’s wealth grew at a steady pace in 2021, to reach, at current exchange rates, a total of $463.6 trillion by the end of the year, an increase of 9.8%. Wealth per adult picked up by 8.4 percent to $87,489, according to the 2022 edition of the Global Wealth Report, released by the Credit Suisse Research Institute (CSRI) on September 20.

In Africa, total private wealth grew by 7.7% year-on-year (+417 billion dollars). It stood at $5,808 billion at the end of 2021. While the increase in non-financial assets was limited to 3.7%, it was the 11.9% rise in household financial assets that accounted for the growth in the assets of the continent’s inhabitants. While all regions of the world are affected, North America alone accounts for just over half of the increase and China for a quarter.

Average wealth per adult up 4.7 percent

The average wealth per adult on the African continent was up 4.7% over the previous year. Unsurprisingly, Nigeria and South Africa recorded the best jumps. Wealth per adult was $21,601 in South Africa at the end of 2021, well above the average of $8,419 for the continent as a whole or $7,618 for Nigeria. 

Yet Africa has suffered from the economic impact of the COVID crisis more than from the health consequences. The situation was made worse by the war between Ukraine and Russia. Some 30 million people fell into extreme poverty in 2021. That same year, 22 million jobs were lost. 

“The number of millionaires will exceed 87 million people in the next five years”

How then to explain these announced good numbers? “Because of the generalized rise in share prices and the favorable environment created by the measures taken in 2020 by central banks to reduce interest rates,” says the report by the Swiss banking group.

Nannette Hechler-Fayd’herbe, Chief Investment Officer for the EMEA region and Global Head of Economics & Research at Credit Suisse predicts that “by 2024, global wealth per adult should pass the $100,000 threshold and that the number of millionaires will exceed 87 million individuals over the next five years.” This represents a 28% increase in global wealth per adult. Low- and middle-income countries, such as those in Africa, currently account for 24% of wealth, but will generate 42% of the growth in wealth over the next five years, the report says. They would even be the main driver of global trends.

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