Africa’s wealthiest man isn’t only plopping big bucks into sub-Sahara Africa, but he’s also drawing in funds from even bigger players.
Last week, Africa’s wealthiest man Aliko Dangote invested $1 billion in rice production in Nigeria, his home country. This week, the world’s largest private equity firms are joining him to make some larger investments. The Carlyle Group and Blackstone have both announced they’re partnering with Dangote Investment Group to invest in Africa’s energy sector in sub-Saharan Africa, and Carlyle said they will also invest in the consumer industry, financial services and the agribusiness sector.
“Opportunities there are far greater than people thought years ago and the great explosion in private equity,” said Carlyle Group LP Co-Chief Executive officer David Rubenstein to Bloomberg. “If it’s going to occur anywhere around the world in the next couple of years, is probably going to be in Africa.”
Dangote’s worth is estimated at $25.1 billion, according to Forbes, and his fortune was reportedly acquired from investment in cement, flour, sugar and agriculture. No wonder he keeps going back to ag.
Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan said Dangote’s recent $1 billion investment is the largest Africa’s rice sector has seen. Dangote Group’s acquired about 150,000 hectacres of land in Nigeria for commercial rice paddies, and Dangote said that the investment will bring in jobs. Within 4 years, Nigeria hopes to be a net exporter of rice.
“Whenever you are importing something into the country,” Dangote said, “you are importing poverty and exporting your jobs out.”
Carlyle and Blackstone, while expressing interested in agribusiness investments, show most interest in the energy sector. Blackstone has agreed to commit $5 billion over the next 5 years to power generation and infrastructure, and Carlyle plans to invest in oil and gas, among other investments.
“They want to invest heavily,” Dangote said to Bloomberg. “They couldn’t really find a local partner to work with. You are not going to move down here and sit here and make sure it is done, because you are doing business all over the world.”
So, they’re putting their money on Dangote. And if the outcomes reflect Dangote’s past investments, they’re smart to do so.
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FEATURED PHOTO: Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade/ Flickr