Notícias

Africa's Richest Man Bets Big on Oil Refinery

27 dezembro 2013

Drew Hinshaw
 

LAGOS, Nigeria—Africa's richest man sat barefoot on his new yacht in a lagoon here after another night of about three hours sleep.

The day was filled with meetings about his cement company and preparations for a polio-fighting trip with fellow billionaire Bill Gates. His BlackBerry buzzed every few minutes with messages from the president of Benin, and a former U.S. ambassador wanted some face time.

"You don't see any sign of stress on me," Aliko Dangote said with a tight smile. The 56-year-old businessman said he was getting an energy boost from a weeklong fast that limits him to six glasses of watermelon juice a day.

For two decades, Mr. Dangote (pronounced DAHN-go-tay) has turned his relentlessness, connections and entrepreneurial bets on the rise of Africa into a fortune estimated at about $22 billion.

Most of it comes from his controlling stake in a conglomerate of cement, sugar, salt and noodle factories sprawled across 16 countries. Profits in three publicly traded companies he controls hit $1 billion in the first nine months of 2013, up 43% from a year earlier.

Mr. Dangote now has a plan to quintuple his wealth—and become one of the five richest people in the world. He will spend $9 billion to build the largest privately owned refinery in Nigeria, which produces more oil than any other African country but must import most of the motor fuel and diesel it uses because existing refineries are dilapidated and inefficient.

Within about two years, the new refinery in a stretch of swampy shoreline outside Lagos could start piping in crude from roughly 7 miles offshore, bypassing a traffic jam of tankers often stuck for weeks. Competing against four government-managed refineries that run at barely 20% of their capacity, Mr. Dangote would double the country's maximum refinery output.

The refinery project is a bet that Africa's economy will keep growing much faster than the rest of the world, especially as a wave of consumerism sweeps the continent.

New airlines are taking off so quickly that some jet-fuel sellers, hurt by a shortage, have been caught trying to fill airplane tanks with kerosene instead. Car imports through Nigeria's main port have risen to about 300 cars a day.

As a result, Africa now is the world's fastest-growing oil user, and the International Energy Agency expects oil consumption in Africa to surge about 30% to 4.5 million barrels a day by 2018. The jump represents 15% of the world's projected rise in oil demand.

Mr. Dangote and his supporters, including Nigeria's president, see more than money in the new refinery. To them, it also defies centuries of Africa exporting its most precious resources—including gold, diamonds and humans—rather than putting them to work at home.

Nigeria's government has collected about $1.3 trillion in oil revenue since 1980, according to the Economist Intelligence Unit. Yet about 60% of the country's 170 million people live on less than $1 a day, according to the government. It says as much as 400,000 barrels of oil per day—or one-sixth of total output—are pilfered from pipelines by bandits. Most of the stolen crude is loaded onto barges at night and shipped abroad.

The refinery planned by Mr. Dangote will "change the economic and industrial landscape of Nigeria," said Doyin Okupe, senior special assistant to Nigeria President Goodluck Jonathan. The president thanked the billionaire and his bankers by inviting them to Mr. Jonathan's villa on a day usually reserved for government planning sessions.

The project faces daunting challenges. Competition will be fierce from U.S., Asian and European companies that also want to satisfy Africa's thirst for gasoline and other fuel products. Some energy firms are expanding operations in Africa, and American refineries are gaining an edge around the world as the U.S. shale-oil boom lowers their production costs.

Nigeria also subsidizes imported oil, keeping prices at the gas pump about one-third lower than they are in the U.S.

"I don't know how he's going to do it, but I do know it's going to be very, very tough," said Bismarck Rewane, managing director of Financial Derivatives Co., a research firm in Lagos. He has known Mr. Dangote since they lived near each other in the 1980s and attended middle-of-the-night house parties together.

Despite all his connections, Mr. Dangote hasn't won government approval for a license needed to build the refinery. That is not unusual. From 2000 to 2010, more than 100 refinery construction projects were announced in Africa. Only one was built, according to consulting firm Citac Africa Ltd. Others often fell victim to political interference or high borrowing costs.

"We will get it," Mr. Dangote said about the license. The ministry reviewing the license application declined to comment. Nigeria's next presidential election is scheduled for 2015.

In an interview on his yacht, named Mariya after his mother, the billionaire said his refinery will have no trouble competing because it will avoid Nigeria's costly and congested ports. He hasn't said if it will sell gasoline to retailers for less than they pay now.

He also expects Nigeria to eventually abolish foreign-oil subsidies, which cost the government $6.5 billion last year.

In the past decade, Africa's economy has grown by an average of 5.6% a year, compared with the world-wide growth rate of 3.6% per year, according to the International Monetary Fund. The surge has helped turn some of the richest businessmen in Africa into tycoons.

Africa now has 27 billionaires, up from 16 in 2012 and just two a decade ago, according to Forbes magazine. Those two were white South Africans.

Mr. Dangote was born into wealth. Near the dawn of British colonialism in the early 1900s, his great-grandfather, Alhassan Dantata, cornered the peanut market in drought-prone northern Nigeria. While other Nigerians chafed at colonial rule, Mr. Dantata exported tons of peanuts to feed Europe's growing appetite.

During the oil boom of the 1970s, an uncle of Mr. Dangote gave him a government-issued license to import cement. But few Nigerians had ever heard of him. Mr. Dangote spent much of his time and earnings in Brazil, usually enjoying the Carnival festival before Lent. In the 1990s, a friend talked him into flying to Atlanta, where he bought a house and then swung through every other month for jaunts at nightclubs.

He felt comfortable amid Atlanta's historically black colleges and restaurants, far away from a succession of military coups and botched elections in Nigeria. Startled by a snake in his basement one day, Mr. Dangote sold the house and bought a larger one.

But he started to feel the tug of his homeland, the most populous country in Africa. On trips to Brazil for Carnival, he saw signs of the economic progress the country had made: Desperate hustlers, touts and money changers didn't swarm him at the airport any more. And cement factories were popping up in the mountains.

That gave him an idea to do something big, he said. He flew back to Nigeria, contributed to the upstart People's Democratic Party and made a promise after its presidential candidate won election in 1999. Mr. Dangote vowed to build one of the world's largest cement plants if the government restricted the flow of cement through the country's ports.

The businessman got what he wanted. The limits on imports of cement—the most common building material in Africa—lifted prices to twice the world-wide average. His business empire mushroomed. Dangote Group now makes a two-thirds markup on every bag of cement it sells.

In return, Mr. Dangote spent $1 billion on the cement factory and an adjoining, 1.7 mile-long airstrip, borrowing some of the money at an interest rate of 42%. They opened in 2008, and he vaulted onto the billionaires' list for the first time.

Dangote Group now employs about 25,000 people in Nigeria, is building cement factories in 14 countries in Africa and is buying mining licenses from Kenya to Zambia.

A pop song in Nigeria called "Aliko Dangote Special" includes the line "Cover of Forbes, he no be joke." The motivational book "Dangote's Ten Commandments on Money" cites the billionaire's advice "to make the best of your time because any time lost cannot be regained." No. 8: "Believe in Nigeria."

"It's something he said to me years ago: 'Only Africans will build Africa,' " said Kola Karim, chief executive of oil-exploration company Shoreline Natural Resources Ltd. Mr. Karim sells most of the oil from Shoreline's fields in the Niger River delta to India but would rather do business with Mr. Dangote.

The two men, who are friends, recently talked over the details on a dock next to the billionaire's yacht but haven't announced an agreement. "This is where my future lies," Mr. Karim said. "The market is in Africa."

Mr. Dangote will soon borrow $1.5 billion to lease about 740,000 acres, an area 50 times bigger than Manhattan. He wants to grow sugar and rice for Dangote Group's processing plants.

The area in northeastern Nigeria is swarming with fighters from Islamic insurgency Boko Haram, but the fields will put so many people to work that the insurgents will "leave us alone," Mr. Dangote predicted. Once the farm is thriving, "Boko Haram will not have guys to recruit."

The industrialist nudged Nigerian bankers for more than a year about his refinery plans. Then he started telling them how much they should lend—and at what interest rate.

"When he wants something, he gets it," said Edmund Boyo, a partner at law firm Clifford Chance LLP who worked on the deal.

In September, Dangote Group announced a $3.3 billion syndicated loan from banks led by Standard Chartered of the U.K. and Nigeria's Guaranty Trust Bank PLC. Terms of the $3.3 billion loan weren't disclosed, though he said it includes a penalty if he repays the banks too quickly.

Nowadays, banks sometimes charge him less than 6% interest, he added, a lower interest rate than Nigeria's government gets on its loans.

Yvonne Ike, chief executive of investment bank Renaissance Capital's operations in western Africa, said she has seen bankers' "eyes watering when they thought about how much they had lent" to Mr. Dangote at rock-bottom interest rates compared with other companies. Still, the bankers "couldn't stand not to be a part of the biggest debt deal in Africa," she said.

Mr. Dangote now is trying to line up oil to feed his refinery. Chevron Corp. CVX 0.00% and Royal Dutch Shell RDSB.LN 0.00% PLC are selling oil fields along Nigeria's coast after long battles with kidnappers and pipeline-bombing oil thieves.

The billionaire wants to buy the two companies' tracts of oil-rich swamp. To protect the oil from bandits, he will bury pipelines to and from the refinery. Chevron and Shell declined to comment.

The billionaire hasn't announced any deals to sell the gasoline, plastic and other fuel products that will be made by his refinery.

He likely will have to lure away customers from state-owned oil company Nigerian National Petroleum Corp. It controls the four rundown refineries that dominate Nigeria's oil industry. Government leaders have denounced the company as opaque and unscrupulous.

"It's a waste pipe of corruption," said Ken Saro-Wiwa Jr., a spokesman for Mr. Jonathan, Nigeria's president. An NNPC spokeswoman couldn't be reached for comment.

Mr. Dangote hasn't had a vacation since he took 18 children, grandchildren, nephews and nieces to Walt Disney World in Florida last year. That was his first vacation in 17 years, and he has no plans for another one. The refinery is keeping him too busy.

"If there is anything higher than the national honor that the president gave me two years ago, which I do appreciate very much, then he obviously needs to give me another national honor for building a refinery that we never, ever dreamt about," he said.

The billionaire's private jet was landing in Lagos at 1 a.m. last month when his pilot got a call from air-traffic controllers. Mr. Gates, the Microsoft Corp. co-founder and one of the world's richest men, had just spent two days with Mr. Dangote but was stranded 400 miles away by a broken-down plane.

Mr. Dangote told his pilot to turn around, pick up Mr. Gates and fly back to Lagos. Mr. Dangote got home at 4 a.m. and was at his desk by 7:30.

DISCLAIMER: The purpose of the ICF Newsletter is to compile and share relevant information for its users regarding the investment climate in Africa. The focus of this information will predominantly be on the latest reforms in customs, taxations, commercial justice, business registration and licensing, land registration and relevant events relating to the ICF’s mission.
27 dezembro 2013

Africa's Richest Man Bets Big on Oil Refinery Ler mais »
18 dezembro 2013

Sub-Saharan Africa lost an estimated 5.7 percent of its GDP over a ten-year period to illicit financial outflows, preventing millions of people in Africa from accessing better health and education, according to a new report by a US-based organization, Global Financial Integrity (GFI). Ler mais »
13 dezembro 2013

Today the Ethiopian Revenues and Customs Authority (ERCA) and the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) have signed an Agreement worth US$ 7.3 million to establish an electronic Single Window (eSW) system for international trade. Ler mais »
12 dezembro 2013

The Ethiopia Commodity Exchange (ECX) is making preparations to introduce online trading that enables market players to participate directly in trade wherever they are. Ler mais »
05 dezembro 2013

South Africa joins the Infrastructure Consortium for Africa – as the first G20 member. Ler mais »
01 dezembro 2013

Trade facilitation will be in the spotlight at the Ninth World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Indonesia in December. A deal, whether in Bali or later, will make it easier for companies worldwide to move their goods across borders. While a multilateral trade facilitation agreement is important for East Africa, the region has already made headway in improving trade facilitation and increasing the competiveness of its exporters. Ler mais »
29 novembro 2013

ICT, vontade política e uma reforma contínua estão entre os factores-chave para garantir que haja um ambiente propício para as empresas poderem registar-se e licenciarem-se mais rapidamente e a baixo custo . Ler mais »
25 novembro 2013

Um projecto bem posicionado para se tornar um centro de excelência. Foram estas as palavras proferidas por William Asiko, CEO do ICF, a propósito do projecto de Capacitação da Bolsa de Valores da Tunísia, aquando da visita recentemente efectuada pela equipa de quadros de gestão superior do ICF. Ler mais »
31 outubro 2013

Doravante os zambianos já não terão de fazer fila na sede da Autoridade Tributária para processar as suas transacções fiscais, já que terão agora diponível a possibilidade de o fazer a partir do conforto das suas próprias casas ou escritórios,desde que tenham acesso à internet. Ler mais »
30 outubro 2013

On the 24th to 25th October 2013, the Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) in collaboration with the Registrar of Companies and the Registrar General of Mauritius organized a knowledge sharing workshop on business, land and asset registration in Port Louis, Mauritius. Ler mais »
24 outubro 2013

O Investment Climate Facility for Africa, em colaboração com o Registrar of Companies nas Ilhas Maurícias organizou um workshop de partilha de conhecimentos sobre o registo de empresas e activos, a ter lugar nos dias 24-25 de Outubro de 2013, em Port Louis , nas Ilhas Maurícias. Ler mais »
07 outubro 2013

O Conselho de Administração fez uma visita à Magistratura da Tanzânia para comprovar os benefícios que estão a derivar dos tribunais modernizados. Ler mais »
18 setembro 2013

O governo de São Tomé e Príncipe, a International Finance Corporation (parte do Banco Mundial) e o Investment Climate Facility for Africa lançaram conjuntamente um projecto de incentivo ao comércio no Praia Hotel, São Tomé, a 10 de Setembro de 2013. Ler mais »
15 agosto 2013

O governo da República Democrática de São Tomé e Príncipe engajou-se na implementação de um projecto na área do comércio internacional de forma a reduzir os custos relacionados com a importação de mercadorias de e para São Tome e Príncipe. O projecto visa consolidar o actual sistema de gestão aduaneira e implementar um Guichet Único para o Comércio Internacional. Ler mais »
17 junho 2013

Dentro de pouco tempo, será mais fácil importar e exportar bens para as empresas em Burkina Faso, graças a um projecto de Facilitação dos Regimes Aduaneiros que está a ser implementado pelo ICF e pelo governo do Burkina Faso. Ler mais »
11 junho 2013

O Investment Climate Facility for Africa co-organizou no dia 29 de Maio de 2013 um evento com o Banco Africano de Desenvolvimento (BAD), em Marraquexe, Marrocos. Ler mais »
03 junho 2013

As Pequenas e Médias Empresas (PME) são o principal motor do crescimento económico em toda a África. Infelizmente, muitas empresas operam informalmente, devido à falta de informação, a burocracia e os altos custos envolvidos na formalização de um negócio. Ler mais »
29 maio 2013

Durante os dias 24 e 25 de Maio de 2013, decorreu no Centro de Arbitragem de Kigali (KIAC) um workshop sobre arbitragem comercial na região da Comunidade da África Oriental. O evento reuniu advogados, juízes, profissionais e académicos da África Oriental e incidiu sobre o papel dos tribunais nacionais na prestação de justiça comercial. Ler mais »
24 maio 2013

No dia 20 de Maio de 2013, a cidade de Kigali lançou o seu Sistema de Gestão Online de Liçencas de Construção (CPMIS). Ler mais »
21 maio 2013

Uma equipa da Autoridade Tributária da Zâmbia (ZRA) realizou recentemente uma visita de estudo à Autoridade Tributária do Ruanda (RRA), para aprender sobre o seu sistema fiscal online. Ler mais »
10 maio 2013

O Investment Climate Facility for Africa realizou o seu 4º workshop de partilha de conhecimentos em gestão de projectos e contabilidade em Abidjan, Costa do Marfim. Ler mais »
03 maio 2013

O governo da Zâmbia tem vindo a modernizar o seu sistema judicial, graças a uma colaboração com o Investment Climate Facility for Africa. Ler mais »
19 abril 2013

Os co-presidentes do Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) têm o prazer de anunciar que, após uma pesquisa internacional intensa, William Asiko sucederá a Omari Issa como CEO, com efeito a partir de 1 de Maio de 2013. Ler mais »
11 abril 2013

O Investment Climate Facility for Africa vai realizar um workshop sobre Gestão de Projectos e Contabilidade em Abidjan, Costa do Marfim, nos dias 15 a 17 de Abril de 2013. Ler mais »
05 abril 2013

O governo de Burkina Faso concluíu um projecto com o Investment Climate Facility for Africa que teve como objetivo melhorar os sistemas de registo de propriedade e de negócios. Ler mais »
28 março 2013

The Government of Mauritius has partnered up with the Investment Climate Facility for Africa to modernize its judicial procedures. Ler mais »
22 março 2013

O ICF está a trabalhar com o governo de Moçambique para melhorar a prestação de serviços da administração fiscal, melhorar a informação para os contribuintes e facilitar um portal virtual para que os contribuintes possam apresentar e efectuar o pagamento de impostos online. Ler mais »
15 março 2013

Como parte do projecto, o LCA realizou recentemente uma sessão de formação para a Ordem de Advogados da Nigéria. Ler mais »
08 março 2013

O governo do Ruanda está a implementar um projecto co-financiado pelo Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) para ajudar a enfrentar os desafios encontrados pelas empresas durante o seu ciclo de vida, tais como começar uma empresa, registar transacções seguras, e a dissolução de uma empresa. Ler mais »
04 março 2013

O Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) realizou o seu terceiro workshop de partilha de conhecimentos em gestão de projectos e contabilidade, em Joanesburgo, África do Sul , entre 27 de Fevereiro e 1 de Março de 2013. Ler mais »
01 março 2013

O Investment Climate Facility for Africa vai realizar um workshop com o tema “Gestão de Projectos e Contabilidade”, em Joanesburgo, África do Sul, entre os dias 27 de Fevereiro e 1 de Março de 2013. Ler mais »
22 fevereiro 2013

Hoje, a Autoridade Tributária e Aduaneira da Etiópia(ERCA) trouxe benefícios significativos para a comunidade empresarial e para a economia do país, através do seu recém-desenvolvido portal online de tributação. Ler mais »
15 fevereiro 2013

Uma equipa do Supremo Tribunal do Ruanda efectuou recentemente uma visita de estudo ao Supremo Tribunal das Maurícias, em particular ao projecto judicial online, que é co-financiado pelo Investment Climate Facility for Africa. Ler mais »
01 fevereiro 2013

Burkina Faso está a inaugurar os seus primeiros tribunais comerciais do país, graças ao apoio do Investment Climate Facility for Africa (ICF) e do Banco Mundial. Ler mais »
01 fevereiro 2013

The private sector in Togo will now enjoy a fast and transparent commercial justice system, thanks to the strengthening of the Court d’Arbitrage du Togo. This arbitration court provides businesses with an alternative method of solving commercial disputes. Ler mais »
08 janeiro 2013

O Senegal goza agora de um sistema aduaneiro que dispensa o uso de papel, graças a uma parceria frutífera entre o ICF e o governo do Senegal. Esta colaboração ajudou a simplificar e a automatizar totalmente os procedimentos aduaneiros no Senegal. Ler mais »
Contactos para a imprensa

Eunice Urio

Communications Manager
+255 222 129 211
Send an email

Elizabeth Mwambulukutu

Communications Officer
+255 222 129 211
Send an email

Partilhar esta página
Recursos
Navegue pela nossa biblioteca de recursos, os quais estão à sua disposição para transferir e visualizar.
Mapa de actividades
Utilize o nosso mapa interactivo para seguir todos os nossos projectos e actividades no continente africano.
Candidaturas a projectos
Veja e transfira os nossos formulários de candidatura a projectos, bem como as nossas directrizes de adjudicação.