Africa’s wealthiest individual Aliko Dangote experienced a staggering setback as his net worth took a nosedive by $5.7 billion within 24 hours, following the latest devaluation of the Nigerian naira against the U.S. dollar.
This financial downturn comes on the heels of an impressive $7.11-billion surge in January, cementing Dangote’s position as the richest person not only in Nigeria but across the entire African continent.
According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which tracks the fortunes of the world’s top 500 billionaires, Dangote, also recognized as the richest Black billionaire globally, saw his net worth plummet from $22.2 billion on Feb. 2 to $16.5 billion at the time of drafting this report.
Dangote’s wealth plunges amidst Nigerian naira devaluation
The primary cause behind this abrupt plunge in Dangote’s wealth is attributed to the revaluation of his assets, triggered by the recent devaluation of the Nigerian naira.
His significant holdings in Dangote Cement Plc, Africa’s largest cement manufacturer, bore the brunt of this market turbulence, with his 86 percent stake now worth $7.98 billion, compared to its previous valuation of $12.4 billion.
Beyond Dangote Cement, the market values of his stakes in Dangote Sugar Refinery and NASCON Allied Industries, representing his ventures in sugar and salt, also witnessed substantial declines.
As of the time of this report, his 72.7-percent stake in Dangote Sugar Refinery is valued at $468 million, down from over $770 million. Similarly, his 66.5-percent stake in NASCON Allied is now worth $79.7 million, having dropped from over $120 million.
Tinubu’s reforms unravel: Nigeria’s naira plunges 67 percent after latest devaluation
This significant financial setback for Dangote coincides with Nigeria’s second devaluation of its currency in eight months, as the country strives to rectify its convoluted exchange rate system and attract investment to its struggling economy.
The recent devaluation led to a nearly 40-percent fall of the naira to 1,482.57 to the dollar on the official market on Tuesday, slipping even further to 1,531 on Wednesday, according to FMDQ, aligning closely with the black market rate of N1,475 to the dollar.
Xe.com, a Canada-based online foreign exchange tools and services company, reports that the naira currently trades at 1,413.57 to the dollar on the official market, marking a year-to-date plunge in the value of the naira by nearly 37 percent.
This latest devaluation follows the market-friendly reforms implemented by Nigerian President Bola Tinubu in June 2023, aiming to discard the long-standing peg that artificially maintained the currency’s high value, resulting in the naira losing more than 67 percent of its value.