The intersection of wealth and power in the modern ecosystem is a fascinating subject as it often defines where economic wealth/prowess influences the direction of global politics. Interestingly, some of the richest presidents in the world hail from nations not typically known for their wealth or the generation of a significant Gross Domestic Product (GDP).
When you assume great responsibility and help enact rules, how wealthy can someone become? The result is astonishing, although the means by which great wealth is obtained, is often marred by intrigue and scandal.
How We Compiled the List?
The richest presidents list noted below only includes ruling heads of state who hold elected presidential positions. The list purposely excludes kings or monarchs, etc. A distinction is made for those nations overseen by an elected Prime Minister acting in a presidential capacity.
Many news sites compile lists of presidents based on various factors – of which net worth is often the aspect of their lives for which most people have an interest. Primary examples of reputable publications (digital as well as traditional) offering meaningful data and information include -
The Forbes Annual Billionaire's List
Forbes releases a list of billionaires across the globe each year. While Forbes tends to focus on the wealth of the richest business leaders, it often includes former and current presidents who have amassed tremendous wealth by dabbling in the business realm.
The Bloomberg Billionaire's Index
Bloomberg maintains an ongoing list of –
- The World's Billionaires.
- Each Billionaire's net worth.
Additionally, the following sources offer other valuable insight into the net worth of current and former presidents in the world -
Public Financial Disclosures
Certain nations mandate that public officials file financial disclosures to be eligible for a public servant's position. These financial statements offer great insight into any president/public official's assets and income while they serve in their official capacity.
Many presidents either write an autobiography or have had biographers interested in writing about their life stories. Although indirect, these types of books may provide financial insights into a presidential life.
Many journalists working for magazines, newspapers, and other news sites rank the wealth of current and former presidents as special features.
Wealth Tracking Websites
Some online organizations specialize in tracking the wealth of public figures, although their estimates are not official and often unverified.
Finally, it is noted that the list of the richest presidents in the work in 2023 considers various factors, some of which are subjective – i.e., opinions of historians.
Here are the 16 Richest Presidents
The list, which includes an in-depth analysis of each president's fortune and national influence, offers a great indication of how influential presidents can be. In fact, some of the richest presidents have personal fortunes that compete, and even surpass, some of the globe's mightiest economies.
16. Meles Zenawi
- Country: Former President and Prime Minister – Ethiopia.
- Age: Died in 2012 at age 57.
- Net Worth: According to the Election Commission of Pakistan, Meles Zenawi has a net worth equivale $31 million UU.S
- Source of Wealth: Meles Zenawi's wealth is primarily sourced from the earnings and assets acquired during his political career as an Ethiopian leader.
Meles Zenawi Azres was born in Adwa and was a part of the victory of the Ethiopian Civil War. During his time as the country's leader, Ethiopia became one of the fastest-growing economies in Africa. He undertook major reforms to try to reduce drought and provide school expansions and agricultural interests. It is noted that during his tenure and after his death, allegations of corruption and financial misconduct within the Ethiopian government continued to surface.
15. Barack Obama
- Country: Former President - United States from 2009 – 2017.
- Age: 62. (2023).
- Net Worth: According to Clutch Points, Barack Obama's net worth is approximately $70 million. (2023).
- Source of Wealth: In addition to speaking engagements and a Netflix deal, Obama signed a book deal after he left the presidency. He wrote A Promised Land – his memoir, which became a bestseller and generated significant book sales.
Barack Obama was elected as the 44th President of the United States and the first African American to become president. Born in Hawaii, Barack Hussein Obama’s secondary education was in New York (Columbia University) and Cambridge, MA. – where he enrolled in Harvard Law School. Obama became the first black president of the distinguished Harvard Law Review. Obama's tenure as president had no scandals, which in and of itself is unique. Obama and his wife have two daughters.
14. John F. Kennedy
- Country: Former President - United States from 1961 to 1963.
- Age: Assassinated in 1963 at age 46.
- Net Worth: According to Celebrity Net Worth, JFK's net worth at the time of his death was $12 million, which is equivalent to $120 million in 2023's purchasing power of the dollar.
- Source of Wealth: Kennedy hailed from one of the wealthiest and most influential families – often called the Kennedy Dynasty - in the United States. He also wrote several books, including Profiles in Courage – which won a Pulitzer Prize.
John Fitzgerald Kenned, or Jack as he was known by family and friends, was elected as the 35th president of the United States. He was born outside of Boston in Brookline, Massachusetts, and he earned his degree from Harvard University before joining the Navy in 1940. He was the youngest person to have become president by election. Kennedy served in both houses of Congress prior to being elected president. Kennedy was married to Jacqueline Lee Bouvier, who was known for her grace, style, and contributions to American culture.
13. Bill Clinton
- Country: Former President - United States from 1993 to 2001.
- Age: 77. (2023).
- Net Worth: According to Value Walk, Bill Clinton has a net worth that is estimated at $120 million. (2023).
- Source of Wealth: Clinton's wealth has been derived from his presidential salary, speaking engagements, book deals, board member engagements, consulting, and media/television.
Bill Clinton was the 42nd President of the United States and the husband of the former UU.S.Secretary of State/Senator, Hillary Clinton. William Jefferson Blythe III was born in Hope, Arkansas, to a traveling salesman who was killed in a car accident only three months after Bill was born. He was formerly adopted by his stepfather – i.e., the surname – Clinton when he was 15. Bill Clinton attended Georgetown University and won a Rhodes Scholarship in 1968 after he earned his bachelor's degree in foreign service. In 1971, he earned his law degree from Yale University. Clinton was Governor of Arkansas prior to becoming president. His largest scandal was the Monica Lewinsky scandal, which led to an impeachment due to grand jury perjury.
12. Bola Ahmed Tinubu
- Country: Current President – Nigeria.
- Age: 71. (2023)
- Net Worth: According to Forbes, Bola Ahmed Tinubu's net worth is approximately $150 million.
- Source of Wealth: Bola Ahmed Tinubu's wealth has been generated by significant real estate holdings that are believed to exceed $20 million in value and equity/government securities.
Chief Bola Ahmed Adekunle Tinubu was born in Lagos to a large Nigerian family. He was educated in Nigeria until he was sent to study overseas at Richard J Daley College and then the University of Chicago, where he earned a baccalaureate degree in business/management. Bola Ahmed Tinubu was a business executive for Mobile Oil in Nigeria before turning to politics in 1991. His first political position was when he was elected as a senator in 1993, followed by his governorship in 1999 – which he held for eight years.
11. Michael Misick
- Country: Former First Premier-Turks and Caicos
- Age: 57. (2023)
- Net Worth: According to Equity Atlas, Michael Misick has a net worth estimated at $180 million. (2023).
- Source of Wealth: The Turks and Caicos Islands is a tourism destination for many across the world. Misick's family was involved in the tourism sector, so he played an integral role in developing and promoting the island nation as a premier destination.
Michael Misick served the island nation as its First Premier prior to being asked to resign for corruption. Michael Misick's tenure as Premier was marked by allegations of corruption and financial misconduct, which led to investigations and legal proceedings in 2008. In 2008, Misick was asked to step down by members of his party. Misick, who first denied wrongdoing, eventually resigned in March 2009 after an investigation found evidence of Turks and Caicos' corruption.
10. Uhuru Kenyatta
- Country: Former President – Kenya from 2013 to 2022.
- Age: 62. (2023)
- Net Worth: According to CC.A.Knowledge, Uhuru Kenyatta's net worth is estimated to be $550 million. (2023).
- Source of Wealth: Kenyatta's wealth is tied to his political career as well as the family's assets. His family's business interests – Kenyan agriculture, real estate, and business, have been passed down through generations.
Uhuru Kenyatta, who was born in Nairobi, is the son of the first Kenyan president. He was educated in the United States at an elite liberal college – Amherst College in Massachusetts. He was first nominated to Kenya's Parliament in 1999 and ran in the 2002 presidential election but lost. Prior to being Kenya's president, Uhuru Kenyatta was named by the International Criminal Court (ICC) prosecutor for crimes against humanity for planning/funding violence in the country.
9. Ilham Aliyev
- Country: President – Azerbaijan – 2003 to present.
- Age: 61. (2023)
- Net Worth: According to Wikipedia, Ilham Aliyev's net worth is estimated to be $500 million. (2023).
- Source of Wealth: Although closely guarded and largely undisclosed, Ilham Aliyev's net worth is said to have been generated as he had control of Azerbaijan's significant oil and natural gas resources.
Having succeeded his father as President of Azerbaijan in an election with marked concerns/irregularities, Ilham Aliyev has been in office since 2003. Ilham Heydar Oglu Aliyev became president after being appointed Prime Minister. The Eastern European Institute for Democracy, along with Human Rights Watch, has documented arrests of Aleyev's opposition candidates, violence against journalists, and "widespread fraud and abuse" in the election. Under Aliyev, the nation's foreign relations strengthened by way of additional EU and NATO cooperation.
8. Paul Kagame
- Country: President - Rwanda
- Age: 66. (2023).
- Net Worth: According to CA Knowledge, the net worth of Paul Kagame exceeds $510 million. (2023)
- Source of Wealth: Paul Kagame's personal wealth is not publicly disclosed in great detail, so it is speculated that his role as president and the benefits of his political role played a significant role in the collection of his wealth.
Paul Kagame is a Rwandan politician who has been Rwanda's president for more than two decades. He was born in southern Rwanda – in Tambwe, to a Tutsi family, but his family was forced to flee to Uganda, where he spent his childhood. He is also a former Rwandan military officer of the Rwandan Patriotic Front – the armed rebels that ended the Rwandan genocide during the country's civil war. Rwanda's economy has grown rapidly under Kagame's presidency as his economic policies were based on the objective of liberalizing the nation's economy and reducing required red tape for businesses.
7. Islam Karimov
- Country: President - Republic of Uzbekistan
- Age: Died in 2016 at age 78.
- Net Worth: According to Celebrity Net Worth, Islam Karimov's net worth was $1 billion at the time of his death in 2026.
- Source of Wealth: Much of his wealth remains a mystery, with most people believing it was generated when he had control of state resources, which may have been mishandled corruptly.
Islam Abduganiyevich Karimov was an Uzbek politician who declared the nation independent from Russia in 1991, although he ruled a repressive authoritarian regime characterized by political oppression under the guise of democracy. He was born in Samarkand, which was then a part of the USSR. He studied both business and engineering, which led to various positions within the Uzbekistan government. Over the years, Islam Karimov's status rose within the Communist Party of the Uzbek SSR. Karimov was re-elected as President in several controversial elections/referendums, which were criticized for a lack of transparency. His death in 2016 caused a political power struggle for the country, with Shavkat Mirziyoyev ascending to the position.
6. Behgjet Pacolli
- Country: Former Acting President - Republic of Kosovo
- Age: 72. (2023)
- Net Worth: According to CA Knowledge, Behgjet Pacolli's net worth exceeds $1.1 billion. (2023)
- Source of Wealth: Pacolli is the founder of the multinational company Mabetex Group – a Swiss-based construction company. In addition, his business ventures include diverse investments in construction, real estate, and the hospitality industries.
In 2010, Behgjet Pacolli briefly held the position of acting president. Behgjet Pacolli, whose heritage is Kosovo Albanian, was born in Pristina, which was formerly a part of Yugoslavia. He has enjoyed a successful business career in addition to his influence in Kosovo's political spheres – especially that related to recognizing Kosovo as an independent state capable of international diplomacy. Throughout his career as an active global businessman, Behgjet Pacolli was instrumental in developing charitable and philanthropic organizations to benefit youth in Kosovo, helping the poor, building hospitals and schools, etc.
5. Sebastian Pinera
- Country: Former President – Chile – two non-consecutive terms.
- Age: 73. (2023)
- Net Worth: According to Forbes, Sebastian Pinera's net worth is $2.8 billion. (2023)
- Source of Wealth: His business holdings included at one time – 90% of Chilevision, ¼ of Lan Airlines, and about 10% of a football/soccer club – Colo-Colo, to name a few.
Miguel Juan Sebastian Piñera Echenique is the son of a politician and diplomat who studied economics at Harvard University.Piñera was the president of Chile for two terms that were highlighted by both economic achievements and political challenges. Piñera served as a senator in Chile's National Renewal Party from 1990 to 1998 – before running for the president of Chile in 2005. Piñera faced significant protests and social unrest during his second term, which led to calls for various social and political reforms.
4. Nawaz Sharif
- Country: Former Prime Minister – Pakistan for three non-consecutive terms.
- Age: 73. (2023)
- Net Worth: According to Celebrity Net Worth, Nawaz Sharif's net worth is approximately $1.8 billion. (2023).
- Source of Wealth: The Sharif wealth has been sourced from manufacturing, real estate, and the Ittefaq Group – a prominent industrial conglomerate in Pakistan.
Muhammad Nawaz Sharif began his professional career working in his family's steel business prior to his entrance into Pakistani politics in the 1980s. He was the longest-serving Prime Minister prior to being ousted when facing allegations of financial misconduct and corruption. The legal and political controversies surrounding his tenure in Pakistan were leaked in the 2016 Panama Papers – which revealed offshore companies and real estate questionably linked to Sharif. A year later, Sharif was disqualified from being Prime Minister and sentenced to prison. He was released on medical grounds two years later (2019), during which he sought medical treatment in the United Kingdom.
3. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum
- Country: Prime Minister/Minister of Defense - United Arab Emirates
- Age: 74. (2023)
- Net Worth: According to several wealth-ranking websites, Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum's net worth is approximately $4 billion.
- Source of Wealth: Much of Sheikh Maktoum's wealth is derived from his active and successful real estate ventures.
Sheikh Maktoum is the acting president of the United Arab Emirates and the third son of the former Dubai Ruler and UAE vice president. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum succeeded his brother Maktoum bin Rashid Al Maktoum following his 2006 death. Maktoum is considered one of the most prolific real estate investors in the world as being one of the visionaries that turned the nation of Dubai into a Middle Eastern version of Las Vegas. Mohammed bin Rashid Al Maktoum has 23 children and an incredible yacht known as The Dubai and is a founder of the Mohammed bin Rashid Space Center.
2. Silvio Berlusconi
- Country: Prime Minister – Italy - During 4 Administrations.
- Age: Died June 2023 at age 86. (2023)
- Net Worth: According to several wealth-ranking websites, Silvio Berlusconi's net wealth exceeded $7 billion at the time of his death.
- Source of Wealth: Berlusconi was the controlling shareholder of Mediaset and owned the Italian football club AC Milan from 1986 to 2017.
Silvio Berlusconi was a prominent figure in Italian politics until his death in June 2023. Berlusconi was in the entertainment industry as a singer, although he rose into the financial elite of Italy in the late 1960s and was Italy's third richest person at the time of his death. Berlusconi had a significant effect on Italy's domestic/foreign policies. However, Silvio Berlusconi's political career has been marked by a variety of legal controversies regarding corruption allegations and caused serious media attention.
1. Vladimir Putin
- Country: Current President - Russia
- Age: 71. (2023)
- Net Worth: According to testimony before the U.S. Senate in 2017, it is estimated Putin's wealth is approximately $200 billion.
- Source of Wealth: Much of Putin's wealth (as well as his title as president) is subject to speculation based on the amount and the manner in which Putin amassed his fortune.
Putin has been President of Russia for over a decade but has been head of Russia (as Prime Minister) since 1999. Born in Leningrad – which is now Saint Petersburg, Vladimir Putin studied at Leningrad State University and graduated in 1975. He served in the KGB as an intelligence officer for more than 15 years and entered the political arena after the fall of the Soviet Union. Putin's leadership has been marred by controversy, having begun an unnecessary war with Ukraine.