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Dangote now Africa’s richest man

Adenuga also makes Forbes billionaires’ list
PRESIDENT of Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has emerged the richest man in Africa, for the first time, with a networth 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 made up of two Nigerians, four South Africans and eight Egyptians. The Aliko Dangote’s fortune surged 557 per cent in the past year, from 436 positions 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, Mr. Mike Adenuga, 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’s 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’s conglomerate

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 remained 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 longtime white South African billionaires Nicky Oppenheimer of Debeers and Johann Rupert of luxury goods group Richemont, which owns Cartier, Dunhill and other premium brands. For now he’s gearing up to introduce Dangote Cement to foreign investors.

Companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange are required to have a minimum free float of 25 per cent, Dangote initially listed five per cent of 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 to London for months, in anticipation of a public offering in London later this year.

Pride of Africa

Mallam Nasir El_Rufai, former Minister of Federal Capital Territory, 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.”

The net worth of Mexico’s Slim, 71, whose holdings include the largest mobile phone operator in the Americas, rose $20.5 billion. Bill Gates, 55, chairman of Redmond, Washington-based Microsoft Corp. (MSFT), was second again as his net worth rose $3 billion to $56 billion. Warren Buffett, 80, chief executive officer of Omaha, Nebraska_based Berkshire Hathaway Inc. (BRK/A), held on to third place with $50 billion.

There were a record number of billionaires in 2011, with 1,210 in total, compared with the previous high of 1,125 in 2008. Of the 214 newcomers this year, 54 were from China and 31 from Russia. The Asia_Pacific region had more billionaires than Europe for the first time in more than 10 years and gained the most billionaires of any region, with 105 newcomers. Moscow displaced New York as the city with the greatest number of billionaires with 79, compared with New York’s 58.


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