Aliko Dangote is no ordinary man. Besides being the richest man in Nigeria, he also happens to be the leading billionaire in Africa (meaning whenever a list of Africa’s richest is compiled anywhere, Dangote emerges top), a position that equally earns him a place among the top 100 richest men in the world. His core business is in the manufacturing industry where he sells millions of tonnes of cement in Nigeria and elsewhere out of the country. The other thing that you may need to know about Dangote is that he is a man of dreams. And now he has just announced his next dream: To build a big oil refinery in his country Nigeria, a country that exports barrels and barrels of oil but carries the shame of not having sufficient oil refineries.
400,000 Barrels a Day
Although the billionaire did not mention where he intends to plant the refinery, it is believed that he is planning to set it in southwest of Nigeria. He said that the plant will be producing 400,000 barrels of oil per day which will help improve the country’s capacity that now stands at about 450,000 barrels per day. He added that the refinery is set to help parts of sub-Saharan Africa as no major refinery exists in the region. The refinery will also help cut down the massive sum of money Nigeria uses to import refined oil.
$ 3.5 Billion Loan
Mr. Dangote is planning to get a loan of $3.5 billion from local lenders such as standard bank, standard chartered and Guaranty Trust Bank (GTB). GTB is the biggest bank in Nigeria with capacity to offer larger loans. It was recently declared the leading bank in West Africa with the largest number of clients across the region. It is closely followed by standard bank and standard chartered bank, all stably contributing to the county’s large market share.
Dangote urged international lenders who are willing to support Africa eradicate poverty to team up with the local banks. He is confident of repaying the full loan in 7 years.
If all goes as the billionaire sees it, the crude oil refinery is expected to be complete at the end of 2016 when he will be celebrating his 57th birthday. Approximations show that he will have to invest $8 billion in the project.
Nigeria’s Oil Curse
Nigeria is the leading crude oil producer in the African continent yet spends massive sums of money in importing oil for domestic consumption. The government had earlier given approval to several corporations to set up private refineries but none was able to do that due to massive corruption.
Residents of Nigeria’s oil rich regions feel they have noting to show for the famed oil wealth because as much as they are the chief producers, market rates still remain high. The product is currently going for 97 nairas per litre. This has always led to fights and riots between locals and the military. The local residents feel they deserve better to salvage them from high levels of poverty.
Many incidences of oil-related riots have repeatedly occurred leading to destruction of lives plus increased poverty. Suspected camps of rebels in an oil sector were recently bombed from the air and sea by troops deployed by the government to fight against the ‘rebels’.
Sometimes poor Nigerians meet sudden death through explosions in the struggle to scoop oil from either damaged pipes or while fetching spilled oil from the ground. Such an incident occurred in 2006 where several lives were lost.
Will Dangote Succeed?
Aliko Dangote confirmed he is already set to face the challenges ahead of him. Investors in the private refineries are likely to be the chief opposers of the project. However, he insists he will stand out to make sure he succeeds.
Judging from history, Dangote is known to be a strong achiever who has set up and succeeded in various industries. He currently owns the leading cement business in the country in terms of market share. He also owns a major sugar factory. He recently sponsored The United Nations Children’s Fund (NHIF) with $500,000 to help in treatment and prevention of measles in Nigeria.
All these achievements only build a strong belief among many that Dangote is a success-driven man who lives by his word. He has achieved in other major areas and there will be many waiting to see if he will indeed reach his latest dream.