Elon Musk became R1.836 trillion richer in a year

Forbes released its 35th annual world’s billionaires list which showed that Elon Musk increased his wealth from R357 billion in 2020 to R2.2 trillion in 2021.

The Forbes annual world’s billionaires list, which was first published in March 1987, ranks the wealthiest billionaires in the world.

The total net worth of each billionaire is estimated based on their documented assets, accounting for debt and other factors.

This year the list contained 2,755 billionaires, a significant increase of 660 individuals from a year ago.

The individuals on the list have a combined wealth of $13.1 trillion, an increase of over $5 trillion from 2020.

Amazon founder Jeff Bezos topped the list with a net wealth of $177 billion, followed by Musk on $151 billion, and luxury-goods mogul Bernard Arnault on $150 billion.

The richest South African is Nicky Oppenheimer with a net wealth of $8 billion, which places him 308th on the Forbes billionaires list.

Johann Rupert, ranked at 358, is the second richest South African with $7.1 billion, followed by Koos Bekker with $3 billion.

Patrice Motsepe and Michiel Le Roux are the only other two South Africans on the list with $2.9 billion and $1.1 billion, respectively.


Although he is no longer a South African, Musk remains popular in South Africa.

He was born in Pretoria in 1971 and matriculated at Pretoria Boys High School before leaving the country.

He became one of the world’s most respected entrepreneurs after starting and growing numerous successful companies, including Paypal, SpaceX, and Tesla.

Tesla’s exceptional share price growth last year saw Musk become the richest man in the world with a net worth of over $195 billion.

Tesla shares have gained more than 23,900% since its 2010 initial public offering (IPO). As a 20.7% shareholder in the company, Musk’s wealth grew along with Tesla’s share price.

His rise to the top of the Bloomberg Billionaires Index was the fastest in history, having started 2020 with a net worth of only $27 billion.

Over the past year, the South Africa-born Musk has added more than R1.8 trillion to his fortune in what is the fastest bout of wealth creation in history.

To put this growth into perspective, Musk added more to his fortune over the last year than South Africa collected in taxes.

The table below shows the world’s top billionaires and the top-ranked South Africans.

# Billionaire 2020 ($bn) 2021 ($bn) % change
1 Jeff Bezos 113.0 177.0 +56.6%
2 Elon Musk 24.6 151.0 +513.8%
3 Bernard Arnault 76.0 150.0 +97.4%
4 Bill Gates 98.0 124.0 +26.5%
5 Mark Zuckerberg 54.7 97.0 +77.3%
6 Warren Buffet 67.5 96.0 +42.2%
7 Larry Ellison 59.0 93.0 +57.6%
8 Larry Page 50.9 91.5 +79.8%
9 Sergey Brin 49.1 89.0 +81.3%
10 Mukesh Ambani 36.8 84.5 +129.6%
308 Nicky Oppemheimer 7.4 8.0 +8.1%
358 Johan Rupert 4.6 7.1 +54.3%
1008 Koos Bekker 2.0 3.0 +50.0%
1064 Patrice Motsepe 1.4 2.9 +107.1%
2524 Michiel le Roux 1.1

Now read: Elon Musk’s University of Pretoria aptitude test showed extraordinary ability

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Elon Musk became R1.836 trillion richer in a year