Home » South African billionaire Christo Wiese positive on Nigeria, predicts investors’ return

South African billionaire Christo Wiese positive on Nigeria, predicts investors’ return

Wiese confident in Nigeria, expects investors to comeback soon

by Omokolade Ajayi
Christo Wiese

South African billionaire Christo Wiese remains bullish on Nigeria’s economic potential, despite recent challenges and foreign investors’ cautious stance. In an exclusive interview with Bloomberg TV, Wiese, valued at $1.2 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, asserted the significance of Nigeria’s sizable and expanding population.

“How do you ignore an economy like this?” questioned Wiese, a prominent figure among Africa’s billionaires. He emphasized that the current withdrawal of foreign investors, including those from South Africa, is a temporary phenomenon, confidently stating, “Sooner or later the big players will enter again.”

Wiese acknowledged that many investors are adopting a wait-and-see approach, deeming it premature to fully engage with Nigeria. “Most foreign investors, including South African investors, I think have adopted an attitude when it comes to Nigeria that it’s too early,” Wiese said. “We’ve got to wait for things to settle, for the economy to develop more, and then for governments that adopt the correct policies.”

Beyond Shoprite, Christo Wiese eyes Diamond exploration 

These sentiments come in the wake of reports confirming Wiese’s re-entry into the diamond mining sector, reminiscent of his early career nearly half a century ago. Shoprite Holdings, where Wiese maintains the largest stake, exited Nigeria in 2021 following the acquisition of its Nigerian unit by Ketron Investment Limited, led by Nigerian entrepreneur Tayo Amusan.

Presently holding a 10.67-percent stake in Shoprite valued at over $850 million, Wiese is directing his mining enterprise, Trans Hex Group, towards diamond exploration. Reflecting on the transformative potential of the industry, Wiese highlighted the Atlantic Ocean, off South Africa’s coast, as a reservoir of some of the world’s finest diamonds.

The 82-year-old magnate’s history in the diamond sector dates back to 1976 when he acquired a mine along the Orange River. Despite selling it five years later to fund the purchase of the Pepkor clothing chain, his recent venture signals a return to his origins in the diamond business.

Trans Hex Group, co-owned by Wiese’s son-in-law, spearheads exploration efforts in the Kaapvaal Craton, an area believed to have transported diamond-rich material to South Africa’s southwest coast more than 2.5 billion years. In a strategic move to diversify its portfolio, the mining unit aims to utilize advanced technology for exploring minerals such as phosphate, lithium, gold, and platinum.

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