Is Malawi The Next Investment Destination For Africa’s Richest Man?

Written by Dana Sanchez

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest man, is expected to talk about investment in Malawi when he visits the landlocked country later this month, according to a report in NyasaTimes.

Worth an estimated $15.7 billion, Dangote made his fortune in Nigeria in cement, sugar, four, real estate, banking, oil and gas, among others.

Dangote also does business in Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, Senegal, South Africa, Tanzania, Togo and Zambia, and this month opened a cement plant in Ethiopia. He is building a $400-million factory in Kenya, according to CPAfrica, and others are planned in Niger and Congo, according to Forbes.

While Dangote is in Malawi, he plans to hold private talks with President Peter Mutharika, according to Joseph Mwanamvekha, Malawi’s Minister of Industry and Trade.

“His visit to Malawi will inspire both private and public sector on how he has succeeded in his businesses,” Mwanamvekha said, according to NyasaTimes.

Dangote is expected to participate in the first-ever Malawi Investment Forum scheduled for June 29-30 in the capital of Lilongwe.

Malawi is one of the smallest countries in Africa and one of the world’s least developed, according to Wikipedia. Lake Malawi occupies about a third of its area. A 2013 estimate put its population at 16.77 million.

The 58-year-old Dangote is the 67th richest person on Earth, according to Forbes.

With a flair for entrepreneurship since childhood, Dangote started his own business with a loan from his uncle and launched the Dangote Group.

Initially he traded in vegetable oil and rice, then diversified into materials that could be used for infrastructure projects such as cement.

Dangote’s businesses include food processing, cement manufacturing, and freight.

He dominates — some say monopolizes — the sugar market in Nigeria — and is a major supplier to the country’s soft drink companies, breweries, and confectioners, according to Wikipedia. The Dangote Group grew from trading to being the largest industrial group in Nigeria. It includes Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Cement, and Dangote Flour.

One of Dangote’s most repeated quotes in the media is the following, recently appearing in the NigerianObserver. It has been repeated at least so often, some may argue it’s out of context. Others may say if you’re Dangote, nothing you say is out of context: “Let me tell you this and I want to really emphasize it…nothing is going to help Nigeria like Nigerians bringing back their money. If you give me $5 billion today, I will invest everything here in Nigeria.”