Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan.
Net worth: $23B
Khalifa bin Zayed al Nahyan is the president of the UAE and Supreme Commander of the Union Defence Force. After he succeeded his father as the Emir of Abu Dhabi, he automatically became president the very next day.
Khalifa made his money from an investment group, Abu Dhabi Investment Authority, which has a lot of holdings throughout the world. Overall, the al Nahyan family as a collective has about $150 billion. Recently, the Burj Dubai (aka: the world’s tallest structure) was renamed after Khalifa. It is now called Burj Khalifa. As if this weren’t enough, Khalifa also commissioned a huge luxury yacht. Most estimate it will cost between $400 and $600 million, making it the largest in the world.
Net worth: $550M
Country: South Africa
Cyril Ramaphosa is not only the most powerful man in South Africa (he’s currently the region’s fifth President), but he’s also the richest. Renowned for building up South African’s trade union, he honed his skills as a politician through both activism and business practices. He was, quite famously, the man that Nelson Mandela supported to be South Africa’s President.
Ramaphosa has several highly lucrative business ventures, but chief among them is Shanduka Group. The mighty conglomerate has vast dividends in telecom, energy, and banking throughout South Africa. Oh, and if you’ve ever eaten at a McDonald’s in South Africa, then Ramaphosa is probably the person to thank. He bought a massive, 20-year franchise to ‘Mickey D’s’ back in 2011, a move which popularized the chain in the region for good.
Net worth: $47.5B
Position: Former U.S. Presidential Candidate
Michael Bloomberg was born in Boston’s Brighton neighborhood. Known mostly as a former mayor of New York City, you might be surprised to learn that he wasn’t raised in NYC (though today his businesses are mostly based there). Bloomberg made a run for U.S. president on the Independent Party’s ticket. A run he may yet again make in the upcoming 2020 election. Bloomberg is the eighth richest person in America. He made most of his money from his company, Innovative Market Systems, which provides information to stockbrokers.
Bloomberg’s political affiliations have switched several times. He was a registered Democrat before becoming a Republican, but then he left the Republican Party to joining the Independents. But the rumor is that he’ll rejoin the Democratic Party if and when he runs in 2020.
Net worth: $50B
Position: Former President
Nigeria’s former President Ibrahim Babangida was a military man credited with leading the coup against his predecessor, Muhammadu Buhari. He then streamlined Nigeria’s wealth (and his own) through oil, economic reform and international partnerships. Babangida himself owns some of the continent’s most expensive real estate. His rise through Nigeria’s army, culminating in his reign as the Chief of Army, is a highlight of his military career.
Babangida’s wealth is second to none in his home country of Nigeria. Though considered by some to be a controversial leader, it’s tough to argue with his business tactics given his massive wealth. Babangida personally owns over half of the London-based Fruitex International Limited corporation. He also owns nearly a quarter of Nigeria’s second-largest telecom company, Globacam.
Net worth: $20M
Position: Former Prime Minister
One of Malaysia’s richest men is also one of its most powerful. Abdullah Badawi served as the country’s Prime Minister from 2003 until 2009, and continued to serve in Parliament until 2013. His family lineage is steeped in power and religious leadership. He entered politics quickly after receiving his BA in Islamic Studies from the University of Malaysia.
Though his tenure was not without its share of controversies, the country flourished economically under Badawi’s leadership. He won by large margins in his early elections. His popularity eroded in subsequent years, and he was nearly faced with a no-confidence vote by 2008. In addition to politics, Badawi is a celebrated poet. His work has been published in more than 80 languages.
Net worth: $20B
Russian president Vladimir Putin was the ruler of Russia from 2000 to 2008, and he reassumed office in 2012. Born in Leningrad during the Soviet years, Putin studied law before taking up a political office. Though he has helped the Russian economy grow, Putin faces fierce criticism and accusations of being a ruthless dictator.
Russia rates low on the transparency index, and its democracy has taken a similar nosedive. Putin tends to assassinate his outspoken critics, making his inner circle (and workings) a very mysterious and dark affair. Even when he wasn’t the acting president, Putin reportedly pulled many strings in former president Dimitry Medvedev’s administration. Putin is among the world’s most controversial leaders.
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