Who are the richest people in Ethiopia? Here is a list of the billionaires and millionaires with successful businesses in Ethiopia.
Ethiopia is home to over 122 million people, per Worldometer. However, less than 3,400 are ultra-high-net-worth individuals.
Despite ranking only 29th in Africa by living standards and economic wealth, Ethiopia is a land of riches for thousands. It ranks fourth for private wealth held by individuals.
In 2020, private wealth in Ethiopia was estimated at $57 billion, $1 billion higher than the figure for Ghana and $33 billion lower than Kenya’s $90 billion.
Ethiopia has only a few billionaires, more multimillionaires, and 3,200 ultra-high-net-worth individuals. Meanwhile, the local economy has a GDP of $108 billion, making it the sixth-largest economy on the African continent behind Algeria.
A significant percentage of the country’s richest individuals are politicians. According to research conducted by Billionaires.Africa.
Top Richest People In Ethiopia
Even though Ethiopia is classified as one of the developing countries in the world there are still rich people who are living and enjoying life as the Westerners do. They have such an amount of money because of connections with the country’s politics and a stable business that takes the supplies from the country and sends them to other places. Below is a list of the top 20 richest Ethiopians in 2023.
1. Mohammed Al Amoudi – $8.3 Billion
Source: Oil & Gas, Real Estate and Technology
Mohammed Al Amoudi, the son of a Saudi father and an Ethiopian mother is Ethiopia’s richest businessman.
Al-Amoudi’s fortune is derived mainly from closely held companies in Sweden, Saudi Arabia, and Ethiopia.
The billionaire owns Svenska Petroleum, Midroc Europe (a construction and property group), and Preem (his most valuable asset) through the wholly-owned Petroswede AB.
He also owns a 17-percent stake in Crunchfish AB, a Swedish technology company that develops gesture recognition.
In recent times, Al-Amoudi has tightened his grip on his hotel business following the appointment of one of his sons-in-law to the board of Midroc Gold, whose portfolio includes the Sheraton hotels in Djibouti and Addis Ababa.
What is Mohammed Al Amoudi’s net worth? Celebrity Net Worth estimates Al-Amoudi’s net worth to be around $8.3 billion whereas Bloomberg places his net worth at $5.46 billion. Forbes places Mohammed Al Amoudi’s fortune at $8.1 billion as of 2017. He is among the richest people in Africa who are worth billions ranking among Aliko Dangote, and others.
2. Azeb Mesfin – $4 Billion
She is the widow of the late dictator Meles. She has her own business and owns shares in various companies around Ethiopia. She also has a criminal image of herself among the people of Ethiopia, with the name mother of corruption given to her by the people. In the biggest companies and industries, she is a stakeholder and thus she has an estimated worth of $4 billion combining the worth of the dictator and all that she got out of the interests of the companies.
3. Meles Zenawi – $3 Billion
Meles Zenawi was an Ethiopian politician and businessman born on May 9, 1955, but died on Aug 20, 2012, at age of 57 years old. He had a net worth of $3 billion, according to Celebrity Net Worth.
Meles Zenawi is the former Prime Minister of Ethiopia. Before becoming the prime minister of his native country, Zenawi was the president of Ethiopia in the nineties (from 1991 to 1995). He was also the chairman of the Tigrayan People’s Liberation Front (TPLF) and the head of the Ethiopian People’s Revolutionary Democratic Front (EPRDF) during the eighties.
Taking the position of Prime Minister of Ethiopia from 1995 (until his death in August 2012), Zenawi was hailed as one of Africa’s strongmen, introducing a multi-party political system, and private press in the country, and reducing child mortality rates. He was also heavily involved in the US War on Terror, helping to eliminate military organisations such as Al Qaeda.
Furthermore, Zenawi received praise for his work towards a stable relationship with the African Union, playing an important role in improving the continent’s position on climate change. However, his leadership came under serious attack, as he was accused of abusing a string of human rights issues and repressing the freedom of the press/speech.
Following a brain tumor operation in Brussels, Zenawi died from contracting an infection in August 2012. He was 57. Barack Obama said that Zenawi deserves recognition for his lifelong contribution to Ethiopia’s development, particularly to the poor.
4. Eyob Joe Mamo – $2.5 Billion
Source: Oil and Gas, Real Estate
Eyob Joe Mamo is an Ethiopian oil tycoon known for running and controlling half of the gas stations in Washington, D.C., through Capitol Petroleum Group, a leading wholesale distributor of petroleum services in the Metro D.C. area and New York City.
Mamo, who tries to keep a low profile, is regarded as the king of the D.C. gas business.
In 2011, Capitol Petroleum Group was valued at $800 million, making him one of the wealthiest businessmen in Ethiopia with an estimated net worth of $2.5 billion. Mamo is the CEO of the D.C.-based group.
The Ethiopian magnate and real estate developer has tendered a bid to buy a minority stake in D.C. United. The six-percent stake would make him the latest in a slew of new minority partners that the U.S. soccer franchise has added in recent years.
5. Berhane Gebrekristos – $2 Billion
He was one of the closest to the dictator Meles and his wife Azeb Mesfin. He is a really trusted apprentice to the dictator and even now he is a partner of Azeb Mesfin in various businesses. He was a part of the diplomatic works that were used by the dictator for money laundering. The dictator himself looted a huge amount of money in the name of taxes from the common people and before the government was formed, he helped them in the loot of money.
He was previously a member of the politburo of TPLF and was close to the dictator. He was also a member of the committee for the Endowment Fund For Relief Of Tigray. He was close to Meles but was later kicked out of both organisations.
Berhane Gebrekristos’ present estimation of net worth is about $2 billion but his real worth previously was even more than this. He is still one of the most influential people in the whole of Ethiopia today.
6. Sebhat Nega – $2 Billion
Sebhat Nega is considered a magnate within the Tigray People’s Liberation Front (TPLF). He is known for having built a multibillion-dollar business empire in Ethiopia over the 27 years that the group was in power.
Nega was in charge of the TPLF business empire under the conglomerate Endowment Fund for the Rehabilitation of Tigray. He has amassed hundreds of millions of dollars through his political affiliations and his business dealings through TPLF.
Nega was one of the most powerful men in Ethiopia. At one point, he was considered even more powerful than the late Meles Zenawi, the one-time prime minister.
7. Seyoum Mesfin – $1.8 Billion
He is presently the Ethiopian ambassador to China. He was previously in the position of foreign affairs minister where he had a lot of power over trade. He has been chairman of Ethiopian Airlines. His power in the Ethiopian cabinet along with the airlines helped him smuggle a lot of drugs within Africa and Asia. He is the richest drug lord in Africa with a long criminal history of selling illegal drugs. He has made a lot of profit in this business in the past few years and his estimated worth at present is $1.8 billion.
8. Samuel Tafesse – $1.6 Billion
Source: Construction and Real Estate
Samuel Tafesse is one of the most famous businessmen in Ethiopia. The 63-year-old real estate mogul is the founder of Sunshine Investment Group, a construction and real estate development company that develops residential, leisure, and commercial properties in Ethiopia and the Middle East.
Since its founding in 1983, Sunshine Investment Group has built 3,254 apartments and 427 villas in Ethiopia. This includes the landmark Marriott Executive Apartments in Addis Ababa.
Sunshine has constructed 1,129.78 kilometers of road projects, as the company operates as a principal highway contractor to the government.
The company has more than 3,000 employees. Its milestones over the past 34 years have enabled it to build a reliable capacity and exhibit practical excellence in the construction sector.
Aside from founding Sunshine Investment Group, Tafesse has played a seminal role in developing Ethiopia’s construction sector. He has also launched other businesses and philanthropic entities under Sunshine Investment Group.
9. Abay Tsehaye – $1.5 Billion
He is a politician from the ruling party in Ethiopia. He has enough influence inside the party because he is a veteran there. That is one reason he has made a lot of connections and made a lot of worth to the country’s economy. He has also invested in various sectors of business that have made the work simpler for him to gain profits. The shares from the company have made her present estimated worth of about $1.5 billion. He is extremely influential in the country.
10. Belayneh Kindie
Belayneh Kindie has amassed a fortune through his Belayneh Kindie (BK) Business Group, an Ethiopia-based group initially focused on exporting oil seeds, nuts, and other products.
Since its founding in 2005, the company has grown into one of the country’s largest exporters of sesame seeds and a leading Ethiopian agricultural commodities trader.
Recently, it has evolved into a prominent corporate group in the country through BK Business Group.
Today, the group maintains active operations in trade, transportation, construction material rentals, hotels, domestic business investments, and product and service sales in Ethiopia and abroad.
11. Tewodros Ashenafi
Source: Oil and Gas, Consumer Goods
Tewodros Ashenafi is an Ethiopian entrepreneur and the CEO of SouthWest Energy, an Ethiopian oil and gas exploration and production company based in Addis-Ababa, the capital city of Ethiopia.
Aside from his leadership role in Ethiopia’s first and only indigenous oil and gas company, SouthWest Energy, the leading business tycoon played a vital role in transforming the Ethiopian energy sector.
He serves as chairman of SouthWest Development, a leading player in Ethiopia’s oil and gas sector and the provider of various services to oil and gas companies.
Ashenafi is a co-owner of Ambo Mineral Water, the best-selling naturally-carbonated bottled mineral water in Ethiopia, and the beverage giant SABMiller.
In 2016, Ashenafi played a vital role in one of Africa’s largest private-sector business transactions.
As a local partner in Ethiopia for Japan Tobacco International, he closed a $1.4-billion deal to acquire a 40-percent interest in Ethiopia’s National Tobacco Enterprise. This billion-dollar deal is Ethiopia’s largest-ever privatization agreement.
Tewodros Ashenafi Tewodros Ashenafi is a famous Entrepreneur, born on August 26, 1969, in Ethiopia. As of December 2023, Tewodros Ashenafi’s net worth is $5 Million, per All Famous Birthday.
12. Buzuayehu Bizenu
Source: Conglomerate Investment through EAH
Buzuayehu Bizenu is the founder and chairman of East African Holding (EAH), a leading industrial conglomerate in Ethiopia.
The enterprise was established as an operating holding for subsidiary companies acting in various sectors, such as FMCG manufacturing, agriculture, agro-processing, printing and packaging, transport, real estate, cement production, and coal mining.
The group has grown into one of the country’s largest employers, employing more than 6,000 permanent and temporary personnel.
EAH produces over 100 products and provides distribution and logistics services to subsidiary companies and external customers.
Aside from his ownership stake in the group, Bizenu control companies such as Bizenu Investments Plc, East African Agri-Business Plc, Cosmar East Africa Business Plc, East African Group (Eth) Plc, East African Tiger Brands Plc, Ethio-Asia Industries Plc, National Cement S.C., East African Coal Mining Corporation Plc, and a host of other companies.
13. Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu
Bethlehem Tilahun Alemu is an Ethiopian businesswoman and founder and executive director of soleRebels, an international footwear company based in Addis Ababa.
soleRebels was founded in 2005.
As of 2016, soleRebels shoes were sold in more than 50 countries after it was tagged the “Fastest Growing African Shoe Brand” in 2014.
Alemu founded soleRebels as a way to blend her Ethiopian community’s creative artisan talents with the traditional “barabasso” (Ethiopian recycled tire) shoe.
The result is uniquely original footwear driven by an ethos of ethical production, sustainable materials, and maximum comfort.
Following the opening of its 22nd location in Hamburg’s trendy St. Pauli District, the group is on course to control 500 global soleRebels branded retail stores and generate $1 billion in revenues by 2028.
14. Tashitaa Tufaa
Tashitaa Tufaa, the founder of the Metropolitan Transportation Network, is one of Ethiopia’s wealthiest businessmen.
Tufaa left Ethiopia for the United States in 1992 and ultimately opened a U.S.-based transportation outfit. Since then, it has grown from a single bus in 2004 to a multimillion-dollar valuation as of press time.
The privately-owned company founded in Minnesota now has more than 300 trucks and vans and transports about 15,000 people a day.
15. Tekleberhan Ambaye
Tekleberhan Ambaye (Eng) began his rise to greatness in 1993, registering his self-named TACON or Tekleberhan Ambaye Construction Plc., with an initial capital of 5,000 ETB or 185 USD.
The company today employs over 2,500 people with a dozen projects with contract values in the range of 5,000,000,000 ETB or 186,000,000 USD.
Tekleberhan has also opened up Edna Mall, housing a modern movie theater, and one of only two countries in Africa that receive Hollywood movies directly upon their release.
His company TACON was also the first Ethiopian construction company to qualify for the International Standardization Organization ISO. Tekleberhan Ambaye is an industry leader and one of Ethiopia’s richest men.
16. Omer Ali Shifaw – $500 Million
Ethiopia has a great environment for coffee cultivation. Thus the production of coffee is a perfect business that Omer Ali Shifaw set up there. He is the leading name behind Nejat International which is involved in supplying high-grade coffee to other countries around the world. Most of the coffee produced here is exported and that made this agricultural company famous. This company went into other sectors of agriculture as well so that it can flourish from all sides. Since the company is facing competitors the business has decreased making enough profit like before. His net worth at present is $500 million.
17. Suhura Ismail Khan – $200 Million
Ethiopian entrepreneur and leading businesswoman Suhura Ismail Khan is the head of a trading empire from Jijiga, with several thousand employees, dozens of trucks, and her airline, Suhura Airways, a Somalian charter carrier established in 2009.
Khan controls more than 50 percent of khat sales in Ethiopia, making it a world market leader. Khat is a leafy green plant containing two main stimulants used mainly in North East Africa, the Arabian Peninsula, and expatriate communities from these regions.
In 2010, she retired from the group, leaving her empire to be managed by her sons. However, she returned to manage her business after the group incurred losses of up to £1 million within a short period.
In 2011, her group recorded sales of between 30 and 40 tonnes of khat per day.
18. Eskinder Zewdie
Eskinder Zewdie is a German-educated engineer that has brought his exceptional civil engineering abilities to his homeland.
Before starting his company in Ethiopia, Eskinder had already become a success in Germany. With lucrative government contracts and the ability to successfully complete them, his German company reached great heights.
In Ethiopia, Eskinder has consulted and managed various huge road and bridge projects that are a source of pride for Ethiopians.
From the beautifully designed Bole Road-Wello Sefer overpass to various other projects all over Ethiopia, he and his company have received a multitude of accolades.
Eskinder’s obsession with quality has changed the way several construction companies operate in Ethiopia.
Working closely with the Chinese, he has been praised for not letting any shoddy construction works pass.
Eskinder has also been awarded by the Ethiopian Roads Authority (ERA) and Addis Ababa City Roads Authority (AACRA) for being one of the best engineers benefiting Ethiopia.
19. Ketema Kebede
Ketema Kebede created the self-named KK Plc. in 1976, as a mere youth. Through the crafty use of his family’s trading background, Ketema began to retail acrylic yarn and other similar items that were in high demand throughout Ethiopia.
As his company grew, Ketema expanded to trading with neighboring countries and KK Plc. began its explosive rise as one of Ethiopia’s largest business enterprises.
In the beginning, Ketema Kebede would be engaged in the trade of blankets, sweaters, carpets, and like products.
Through its explosive growth, KK Plc would be transformed into a corporate entity in 1992. Ketema would begin to import and sell goods, export agricultural products, and distribute locally produced goods throughout Ethiopia.
Furthermore, continually looking to grow, Ketema would also begin to manufacture acrylic yarn and blankets, engage in real estate development, and operate a transit and forwarding company.
A true businessman at heart that rose from humble beginnings to become one of the richest Ethiopians, Ketema Kebede is a true inspiration for all hoping to achieve substantial success.
20. Akiko Seyoum Ambaye
Akiko Seyoum Ambaye, the daughter of the late and well-known contractor Seyoum Ambaye, is the major shareholder of Orchid Business Group which was established in 2001.
Orchid Business Group holds government contracts for a variety of highly lucrative endeavors, such as being involved in the construction of the GERD or Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam, the Awash/Kombolcha/Woldiya Railway construction, as well as, many other foundation works and roads.
Furthermore, Akiko’s OBG also engages in construction machinery rental, spas, gyms, and logistical work.
Recently, Akiko, along with the Italian Enel Green Power, was to sign a 3,240,000,000 ETB or 120,000,000 USD to develop, operate and build a solar power generation plant in Metehara.
Akiko’s deal with the EEP or Ethiopian Electric Power would make her the first Ethiopian to build a privately owned and operated a solar plant in the country.
Akiko through the extensive business dealings of the Orchid Business Group cement her as one of Ethiopia’s richest a billionaire.
21. Mohammed Ture
Mohammed A. Ture established his company in 1954 as Ture Chinese Commodities but was later changed to Ture Plc.
The company has been operating in Ethiopia for over 60 years now and is respected throughout for its competence.
Although no longer living, Mohammed Ture’s company is run by 6 members of the Ture family.
The Ture business empire is engaged in the import and distribution of hardware, machinery, and construction materials, including the installation of small and large-scale factories.
To add to this immense business portfolio, the Ture family also has a cement factory, a packaging and printing factory, and an aggregate production facility.
22. Ermias Amelga
Ermias Amelga was born in Addis Ababa but would move to Egypt and later to Kenya but would be returned to Addis Ababa to study secondary school and university.
Fluent in Arabic, Swahili, English, and Amharic the multilingual Ermias would drop out from Haile Selassie I University after only a year and move to the United States, where he would study and become an economist.
After 22 years away from his homeland, Ermias would return with his experience in Wall Street’s stock exchange and start innovative businesses in Ethiopia.
Ermias would create, develop and fund huge and lucrative businesses such as Royal Crown Mineral Water Factory (Highland water), Access Capital, Access Bank, Access Real Estate, Zemen Bank, and Jano Music Band among others.