Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, says he intends to set up an office for his conglomerate in the United States, as a precursor to growing its presence globally.
In an interview granted to an American broadcaster, Dangote explained that the move to diversify his assets beyond the African continent will help him increase his business’s wealth, and make it more immune to economic challenges localized within Africa.
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Dangote had ended 2019 about $4.3 billion richer than he was in the previous year. The growth in his wealth came after expansions and strong performances for his cement and sugar companies. According to Bloomberg, he is currently worth about $15 billion.
He now seems keen on taking these successes beyond Nigeria and Africa, to other parts of the world. There’s already an office in London, from which he may launch significant operations in the Global North; but he seems particularly interested in the American market.
Although the growth of the Dangote conglomerate may have figured prominently in his decision, it appears he’s also concerned about currency fluctuations in his home continent. He is quoted as saying that Africa has “issues with currency devaluation”, and that he intended to preserve “some of the family’s wealth.”
A significant devaluation in the currencies of the countries in which he has businesses may reduce his business’s worth in real terms- a fate which he had to deal with in 2016, when the naira was devalued against major international currencies.
At the moment, the Dangote group is preoccupied with getting its proposed refinery up and running. Construction began in 2017, and is scheduled to be completed in 2021. When it does become fully functional, it’s expected to yield 65,000 barrels of refined petroleum products a day.
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The refinery, located on the coastal outskirts of Lagos, is costing the Dangote Group about $12 billion to build.
The group currently produces cement, sugar, flour, and salt, and also has a strong presence in steel and packaging. It is active in more than a dozen African countries.
Featured Image Source: TIME
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