Dubai Tycoon Sunil Vaswani Eyes Africa In A $9B Investment Plan

Dubai Tycoon Sunil Vaswani Eyes Africa In A $9B Investment Plan

Sunil Vaswani, a Dubai-based business tycoon and one of the Gulf richest Indian has unveiled a $9 billion investment plan that will target the continent’s vibrant commodities market, particularly in West Africa where he already has vast business interest in the auto industry.

Vaswani, who is estimated to be worth as much as $7.2 billion, has vast interest in several industries across the continent including commodities, agriculture, automobile assembly, automobile distribution, food products, industries, FMCG, mining, steel manufacturing, real estate, financial services, technology, logistics, shipping and even banking.

One of his most successful business in West Africa has been the automobile industry, with his Stallion Group owning exclusive distributorship in the region. Stallion as many as 17 major brands under its wings, including Volkswagen, Nissan, Honda, Hyundai, Audi, Porsche, Skoda, Infiniti and Ashok Leyland.

The group, which has a string of showrooms and after-sales centers in West Africa, has even moved into local assembly operations for passenger cars and commercial vehicles such as trucks and buses.

“Africa has its own challenges. But if you can overcome them, it is still the land of great opportunity,” Vaswani told ArabianBusiness.com in an exclusive interview.

“I am a strong believer in the future of Africa; Africa will prosper in the coming years with all its abundant natural resources. We as a business are well positioned to be at the forefront in several key sectors in the continent.”

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Stallion African Presence

Stallion Group, headquartered in Dubai, has a presence in Africa, the Middle East, Asia and Europe — in total spanning 18 (mostly African) countries and 10,000 staff on the payroll.

The Group does much more than just cars. It has interest in Africa’s commodities business ans is the market leader in sub-Saharan Africa, managing 2 million tons of physical commodity sales and distribution per year.

It also has the largest network of cold storage facilities anywhere in Africa that helps preserve shiploads of frozen food products. Other venture includes integrated rice milling and huge steel trading operations.

Vaswani has also moved heavily into backward integration through agriculture, establishing a fully integrated rice value chain, from farming to milling and packaging.

Throw in insurance, shipping, vehicle leasing and banking, and there really isn’t much left to do that he isn’t already doing in sub-Sahara Africa.

“You know something? I just never give up. If I set my mind on something, I just go for it and keep trying until I get it. Rejection doesn’t bother me,”  Vaswani told ArabianBusiness.com, adding that it took him four years to get the first automobile franchise in Africa.

“They kept saying ‘no, we will deal with a Japanese company’. Four years of saying no, four years of rejection. But I got it. Nothing is impossible.”