Dangote embraces Forbes ranking amid growth plans


Dangote, who remains the richest man in Africa, also indicated that the company’s portfolio would be more focused going forward.

“We are going to have refineries with a petrochemicals complex, which will produce oil for not only Nigeria but for the West African region and some of the Central African area, where we will have the capacity to deliver petroleum products and make tyres, and [where] we also have the fertilisers,” Dangote told CNBC Africa.

(READ MORE: New Dangote plant to transform Nigeria’s industrial sector)


“Fertilisers will be about 2.8 million tonnes, so this will be about 45 per cent of total growth revenue. The next business will be cement which by 2016 will be over 10 million tonnes in sub-Saharan Africa. By this year, we will be the largest producer of cement in sub-Saharan Africa with 40 million tonnes.”

This was after Forbes, a leading source of business news and financial information, announced that Dangote moved up 20 spots to 23 in the 2014 Forbes Billionaires List.

He is now worth 25 billion dollars and is the first African businessman to break into the top 25, which contains the likes of Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, Michael Bloomberg and Mark Zuckerberg, to name a few.

(READ MORE: Bill Gates reclaims top of Forbes billionaire list from Slim)

Dangote, who has commercial interests in cement, sugar and flour, indicated that he would build on this achievement by developing his current businesses.  

“The programme that we have at the moment is trying to grow the companies that we have, in terms of the group business, to about 500 per cent in the next five years, starting from 2013. This means that this trajectory will be completed in 2017,” he said.

“By the time it’s finished, we should have a market cap over 100 billion dollars so it’s a very exciting thing that we are doing. We just started and we are on track. We have a team that is monitoring exactly what we are doing day by day and I hope by 2017, we’ll reach that 100 billion dollar market cap.”

Dangote also alluded to the fact that, by implementing this programme, the company would be doing a massive backward integration.

“We are seeing that in the next four or five years, there will not be any sugar imports in Nigeria, that means we have to grow about 1.5 million tonnes but with the 1.5 million tonnes, we also have coal generation, which is power. You have to have ethanol, you have to have bio composites like organic fertiliser, animal feed and so on,” he explained.

“What is more interesting is the amount of jobs that we are going to create because we are also doing rice. We are targeting a million tonnes of rice in the next five years which will employ about 200,000 additional workers and that’s more exciting than making the money. We’ll be able to be self-sufficient. We will not require any additional foreign expenditure from the central bank because we are doing a backward integration where we are seeing import substitution.”

While the opportunity for growth and job creation is prevalent in individual countries on the African continent, Dangote emphasised the importance of encouraging intra-regional trade and exchange.

“We’ve been exporting to West Africa. We export to Chad, Niger – our near neighbours. We have a bit of a challenge going through the Republic of Benin, that is the gateway – we have to go to Benin Republic, to Togo and then to Ghana,” he said.

“From our factory up to Ghana is only about 420 kilometres, the issue is that Benin Republic wants to charge us a tax and there shouldn’t be any tax. We are working with the government to resolve that issue. Once we resolve that issue, we have a market of nine million tonnes.”

He added that he believes in committing and giving back to the continent through philanthropy but that it can be difficult when you have an ever expanding business.

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“In Africa, philanthropy is something new. Not new but people haven’t paid much attention to it. We have this massive trajectory which we are doing in the next four, five years and that’s why we are not able to give more. If you look at it, the amount that we’ve given now is 1.25 billion dollars – I’d have loved to do more,” Dangote explained.

“We are growing the business so we’ve done this one between now and the next five years. After five years, if we did not have any more projects, we would do additional endowments. We want to concentrate more on the same areas – education, health, nutrition, which is under health, but there are a lot of things we want to do.”