Friday, March 11, 2011

Aliko Dangote is Africa's Richest Man

President of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote (53), has emerged the richest man in Africa, for the first time, with a net worth of $13.8 billion, according to a report from the Forbes annual world's billionaires ranking, released on Wednesday.

The 14 Africans on the 2011 Forbes Rich list are two Nigerians, four South Africans and eight Egyptians.

The Aliko Dangote's fortune surged 557 per cent in the past year, from 436 position to 51 in 2011, making him the world's biggest gainer in percentage terms and Africa's richest individual for the first time.

Also, on the Forbes list for Nigeria is the Chairman of Globacom and Equatorial Trust Bank (ETB), Dr. Mike Adenuga jnr (54), who is valued at $2 billion.

Adenuga debuts on the billionaires' list after making waves with mobile technology.

His telecoms carrier, Globacom, recently launched a 4G network, and he has invested $1 billion on a submarine cable, connecting Nigeria to the rest of the world.

He owns a stake in the Equitorial Trust Bank and chairs Niger Delta oil exploration firm, Conoil.

With presence in 14 African countries, Dangote has emerged the continent's biggest cement maker, contributing significantly to other African countries' economy.

Dangote began his career as a commodities trader; built his Dangote Group into a conglomerate with interests in sugar, flour milling, salt processing, cement manufacturing, real estate, oil and gas, among others.

Meanwhile, Carlos Slim remain the world's richest person for a second year with estimated assets of $74 billion, according to Forbes Magazine's annual global ranking of billionaires.

Dangote is now richer than long-time white South African billionaires, Nicky Oppenheimer of Debeers and Johann Rupert of luxury goods group Richemont, who owns Cartier, Dunhill and other premium brands.

For now he is gearing up to introduce Dangote Cement to foreign investors.

Companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) are required to have a minimum free float of 25 per cent, Dangote initially listed five per cent shares.

According to analysts at Thaddeus Investment Advisors, the Nigerian market is too shallow for a stock of Dangote Cement's size to be listed on the exchange; this is why the balance of the free float will be listed outside of Nigeria.

Dangote, who recently bought himself a $45 million Bombardier aircraft for his birthday, has been shuttling back and forth London for months, in anticipation of a public offering in London later this year.

Nasir El-Rufai, former Minister of Federal Capital Territory (FCT), described Dangote as a rare breed and the pride of Africa.

He said: "When the producer of the BBC documentary described Dangote as the wealthiest black man in the world, several people challenged him. Well, Forbes just released their wealth list today and you guessed it, Dangote is not only the richest black man. But he is also richer than Mark Zuckerberg, founder of Facebook. The Nigerian spirit is an excellent spirit. Believe it today and always."

An astute world class business expert, with worldwide business interests, Adenuga, is a highly respected entrepreneur and one of the biggest employers of labour in the country.

In the last two decades, he has established a pedigree as a well-focussed and prudent manager of men and resources with the ability to successfully transform ideas and dormant businesses to highly viable enterprises.

He has founded and successfully run high-profile companies in the most lucrative sectors of the economy including telecommunications, banking, oil and gas.

His foray into banking commenced about 20 years ago when he established two banks, Devcom Merchant Band and Equitorial Trust Bank, both of which were merged to become the Equitorial Trust Bank during the consolidation exercise of 2005.

In the oil sector, he also achieved a historic feat in December 1991 by being the first Nigerian to find and produce crude .oil in commercial quantities at the Bella field.

In 2000, he bought majority shares in the downstream oil company, National Oil, and transformed the loss-making company into a profitable business.

Now renamed Conoil Plc, the company has been paying dividends to its shareholders since its acquisition.

Adenuga became a household name following his establishment of the Glo brand and his focus on Nigeria and Nigerians as the heartbeat and driving force of the company's competitive stance, as captured by its Glo with Pride and Rule your world slogans.

It is the opinion of many that Adenuga has infused pride in Nigerians through the achievements of Globacom and Glo Mobile, which are currently operating mobile telecoms services in three countries and gateway services in four.

Daily Independent

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