The President/Chief Executive of the pan-African conglomerate, the Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, has become the first African entrepreneur to lay claim to a $20bn fortune, thus becoming one of the 25 richest men in the world. This is on account of the stock value of his largest holding, Dangote Cement, leaping about three-fourths since March when Forbes released its annual ranking of the world’s richest people.Dangote’s 93 per cent stake in the cement company is now worth $19.5bn, according to the magazine. Dangote Cement becomes the first Nigerian company to achieve a market capitalisation of over $20bn. Added to this are his controlling stakes in other publicly-listed companies like Dangote Sugar and National Salt Company of Nigeria, and his significant shareholdings in other blue-chip companies like Zenith Bank Plc, UBA Group and Dangote Flour; his extensive real estate portfolio, jets, yachts and current cash position, which includes more than $300m in recently-awarded Dangote Cement.
Forbes reported that the Nigerian billionaire was now richer than Russia’s richest man, Alisher Usmanov; India’s Lakshmi Mittal; and running neck and neck with India’s Mukesh Ambani.According to the magazine, he is catching up to such Americans as Google’s billionaire founders, Larry Page and Sergey Brin.The Head of Investor Relations in the United Kingdom, Dangote Cement, Mr. Carl Franklin, explained in an email response to Forbes that the company’s share boost in the first quarter of 2013 was because it had a huge increase in demand across Nigeria, considerable improved gas supply and ramped up capacity.
Dangote made a debut on the Forbes billionaires list in 2008 with a fortune pegged at $3.3bn. His fortune dropped to $2.5bn in 2009 and plunged further to $2.1bn in 2010.His fortune surged 557 per cent in 2011 to $13.8bn after he took Dangote Cement public. Dangote dropped to $11.2bn in last year’s rankings, but rebounded at $16.1bn this year. Since March, his fortune has jumped another 30 per cent.
Dangote started building his fortune over three decades ago after taking a loan from Sanusi Dantata and started trading in commodities like flour, sugar and cement.