On December 31, 2014, the shares of the Nigeria Stock Exchange (NSE)-listed Dangote Cement sold at N200 each, but it was the last time the stock of Africa’s largest cement company was worth that much. Last Friday, DANGCEM closed at N162. This, and a weaker Nigerian currency have declined the fortunes of Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote by about $5 billion.
According to the new Forbes Africa’s 50 Richest, although Dangote remains Africa’s richest, his net worth has dropped by nearly nearly $5 billion to $16.7 billion. Other rich people on the continent were also affected by the lower prices of oil and other commodities, with the number of billionaires on the list dropping to 23, down from 28 a year ago.
Drop in net worth notwithstanding, this year has been a successful one for Dangote whose cement business has continued to expand across Africa and beyond. Among several other expansion activities, Dangote has set up a $250 million cement plant in Cameroon, a $400 million cement plant in Zambia and another worth $500 million in Ethiopia. He also set up a $600 million cement plant in Tanzania. A shrewd businessman, Dangote chose the best time for successive expansion across the continent, especially with the collapse in commodity prices driving down the cost of freight and other construction activities.
These investments are sure to further increase Dangote’s fortunes once the ailing sectors of the African economy recovers.
Others on the Forbes Africa’s 50 Richest include 16 from South Africa, 10 from Nigeria, seven from Egypt, three from Tanzania and three from Kenya. Algeria, Angola and Uganda had one each.