The 6th person listed in the Forbes 2020 African billionaire rankings is Issad Rebrab (and family) from Algeria. As the founder and CEO of Cevital – Algeria’s biggest privately-held company, Issad Rebrab has a net worth of $4.4 billion.

Born on May 27, 1944 (age 76), Rebrab founded Cevital 54 years later in 1998. The company is currently one of the largest sugar refineries in the world with the capacity to produce 2 million tons a year. Initially focused on the food industry, Rebrab diversified the privately-owned company into automotive, household appliances, transport (road, sea), float glass production and large-scale retail, to become Algeria’s largest conglomerate.

Cevital has distinguished itself in recent years by employing over 18,000 people and owning a number of European industrial companies such as French home appliances maker Groupe Brandt, an Italian steel mill and a German water purification company.

Being the only Algerian to grace the Forbes African billionaires list for some years now, Rebrab believes that “We [Algerians] have great potential; we can make up for lost time.” He is the son of militants who fought for Algeria’s independence from France and helped finance a biopic on Algerian resistance hero Larbi Ben M’hidi, who was executed by the French in 1957.

Following a corruption probe in 2019, Rebrab was incarcerated at the prison of El Harrach on the public prosecutor’s orders in April. He was however released on January 1, 2020, after having been sentenced to six months for tax, banking and customs offenses. Although Rebrab served a total of eight months in jail, He denied any wrongdoing but paid the fine of 1.383 billion dinars (more than $11.6 million). 

A total of 20 billionaires were featured on Forbes 2020 African billionaires with the combined wealth of $73.4 billion, up from $68.7 billion a year ago. Forbes magazine solely tracked the wealth of African billionaires who reside in Africa or have their primary businesses there. Calculations of the net worths were made using stock prices and currency exchange rates from the close of business on Friday, January 10, 2020.

In addition, to value privately-held businesses, Forbes couple estimates of revenues or profits with prevailing price-to-sales or price-to-earnings ratios for similar public companies. Some list members grow richer or poorer within weeks—or days—of our measurement date.

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