The Dangote phenomenon: How does Aliko manage these endeavours?

March 24, 2016
4 mins read

LAST Thursday, reported that Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, had made a bid for a majority stake in Peugeot Automobile Nigeria (PAN) Limited. The bid announcement was made by the Kaduna state Governor, Nasir El-Rufai, who pointed out that Aliko Dangote was a key member of a consortium that included Dangote, the Kaduna and Kebbi states. They were applying to acquire majority stake in PAN, which is presently owned by the Asset Management Corporation of Nigeria (AMCON).

El-Rufai told the media that: “we have submitted bids for the car-maker with Aliko Dangote on board together with BoI, Kebbi and Kaduna State, we are confident our bid will sail through”. There is no gainsaying the fact that if the PAN bid becomes successful, the possibilities for re-commencement of production and new jobs would be significantly enhanced. At the height of its production success in the 1980s, PAN produced 90, 000 cars annually, and there were remarkable linkages with other companies that supplied components for vehicles within the Nigerian economy, with remarkable ripples for prosperity as well as jobs.

People look at the wreckage of a car, yesterday, after two explosions killed over 35 people in a crowded neighbourhood in Maiduguri, Borno State,File Photo: AFP.

The PAN bid was just one of the new investment initiatives that Aliko Dangote is exploring with potentials to redound positively to the benefit for the Nigerian economy. The new investment that will go into a re-activated PAN, will have positive effects on jobs creation and the local and national economy in general.

Endless TAM

Similarly, there is increasing optimism that the 650, 000 bpd Dangote Refinery will come on stream in 2018 as planned. Its completion will help Nigeria solve the problems associated with the importation of refined petroleum products, which has become the heart of one of the greatest economic scandals in recent years in Nigeria. State-owned refineries were run down and became scenes of on-going sabotage and corrupt appropriation of endless sums of money in yearly “turn around maintenance”, that neither turned around for the better nor produced the requisite amounts of refined products for Nigerians. An elaborate structure of corruption developed around a lucrative project of importation of refined products, which left Africa’s largest oil producing country prostrate, unable to refine the requisite petroleum products to drive economic development. This is the conundrum that the Dangote refinery is likely to burst once and for all!

Aliko Dangote recently spoke  about the refinery and promised that it would mean the end of importation petroleum products, as well as turning Nigeria into a net exporter of refined crude and also helping to end the importation of fertilizers: “Today, Nigeria imports 100% of its fertilizers, but when we finish, Nigeria will be the largest exporter of Urea and Ammonia in Africa. The refinery is the largest single line refinery in Africa and the world; and it will meet our total domestic requirement and save foreign exchange”.

The fertilizer plant is the largest in the world and that section alone will employ up to 2, 500 workers and the petrochemical plant will also employ up to 2, 500 workers. It is significant to add that the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries (OPEC), in its world oil outlook for 2015, had pointed out that Dangote was responsible for nearly 50% of African refinery projects into the next five years. And the Nigerian central bank envisages that when all these projects are completed, Dangote was not only going to meet our domestic needs but would be a major exporter and could be supplying foreign exchange to the tune of $6billion annually to Nigeria’s coffers.

There are also very significant projects in rice production, with a vision to stem importation of staple food and commencement of local rice farming with the recently inaugurated Rice Outgrowers scheme in Hadejia, Jigawa state. He said Nigeria spends nearly $1.8billion annually on importing approximately 3.2million MT of rice; this was money that could make more meaningful social impacts on the country, if kept within the Nigerian economy.

And last week, he opened a new tomato-processing plant in Kano, which targets the production of 1, 200 metric tons per day. The company was the outcome of a report from a 2011 CBN study, which showed that it was cheaper to process tomato paste locally, rather than import from China, from where we take about 300, 000 tons a year, worth around $300million.

Rice and sugar plants

Dangote’s new Kano plant will produce more than 400, 000 tons annually, with most of the raw material coming from the farmers of Kano’s Kadawa valley. Similarly, Dangote is also working in sugar refining, with plans to become a leading integrated sugar producer, within the national sugar master plan; Dangote plans to produce 1.5million tons of sugar per annum. A sum of N180billion is being invested in four factories in Sokoto and Kebbi states, while 150, 000 hectares  of land is being brought into the sugar project in Kogi, Kwara, Jigawa, Sokoto, Taraba and Kebbi states. These are very significant developments, because one of the criticisms that trailed Dangote’s endeavours in the past was how little of his investment used to go to states in Northern Nigeria.


But it is clear, that Dangote’s industrial development vision is not just regional or only national; he has gone continental, as his cement plants in various African countries have shown. Aliko Dangote is the best expression of what is now termed “Africapitalism”. An African entrepreneur that is investing in the development of the productive forces of the African continent and in the process, sweeping  the carpets from under transnational capitalist enterprise, with such strategic investments that keep jobs on the African continent as well as helping to modernise and invigorate economic activities in various parts of Nigeria and Africa.

The Dangote Group now has investments in cement, flour milling, fruit canning, salt and sugar, refinery, roads construction and agriculture, to mention a few. Aliko Dangote made a remarkable transition from trading and importation of goods into industrialisation and production within the Nigerian economy and it is a remarkable testimony to the growth of his investments as well as the confidence that he has developed in that process of development, that he can also make those giant strides within Africa and even beyond our continent.

The Dangote Foundation is also putting a lot into social causes. Frankly, I keep wondering just where he gets that prodigious energy to keep churning out and tracking these multi-faceted and multi-billion dollar enterprises!

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