Home » Dangote’s fortune rebounds above $17 billion as naira leads global currencies in April

Dangote’s fortune rebounds above $17 billion as naira leads global currencies in April

Dangote climbs global rich list on naira rally

by Omokolade Ajayi
Aliko Dangote

Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote, founder and chairman of Dangote Group, the continent’s most diversified manufacturing and industrial conglomerate, has seen his net worth climb above $17 billion. This follows a rebound in March that pushed his wealth back past $15 billion.

According to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, which tracks the fortunes of the world’s richest individuals, Dangote remains Africa’s richest person and the world’s wealthiest Black billionaire. His net worth has surged past $17 billion.

With his wealth now estimated at $17.2 billion, Dangote ranks 118th globally, surpassing Malaysian billionaire Robert Kuok and Shanghai-based businessman Liu Yongxing, who are both worth $17.1 billion. The surge in Dangote’s fortune coincides with the Nigerian naira’s continued appreciation, making it the world’s best-performing currency this month. 

Dangote climbs global rich list on naira rally

As the richest man in Africa, Dangote continues to maintain his lead ahead of South African billionaire Johann Rupert, chairman of Richemont, the Swiss luxury goods holding company that houses brands like Cartier and Van Cleef & Arpels. Rupert is worth $12.3 billion, making him South Africa’s richest man and the world’s 172nd richest individual.

The sustained increase in Aliko Dangote’s fortune since his net worth plunged below $14.5 billion in late February is linked to the sustained strengthening of the naira against the U.S. dollar. This follows a series of devaluations that saw the local currency reach its all-time low in mid-March, losing 43 percent of its value against the dollar in the first two-and-a-half months of this year. However, the currency has strengthened 34 percent since mid-March, the most in the world among global currencies tracked by Bloomberg.

The appreciation has been driven by steps taken by the central bank to support the naira. The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) raised borrowing rates by 400 basis points in February to 22.75 percent, and by another 200 basis points to 24.75 percent in March. It also cleared a backlog of overdue dollar-purchase agreements estimated at $7 billion and narrowed the gap between the policy rate and yields on short-dated paper.

Naira extends gains as central bank tightens policy

Goldman Sachs economists, who initially predicted the naira would strengthen to 1,200 per dollar by year-end 2024, have revised their forecast upwards following the CBN’s recent actions. They now see the naira potentially appreciating beyond that level, buoyed by its current position as the world’s best-performing currency this month. However, Goldman Sachs cautions that this positive outlook hinges on policymakers remaining committed to their current course.

While the stronger naira benefits some sectors, the full impact on Nigerians’ disposable income remains muted due to persistent inflationary pressures. The recent threefold increase in electricity prices for some urban consumers is likely to strain household budgets and businesses. 

On the other hand, Nigerian billionaires like Aliko Dangote have seen a significant rise in wealth amid currency appreciation. Dangote’s net worth has climbed $2.16 billion year-to-date. His most valuable asset, an 86-percent stake in Dangote Cement (Africa’s leading cement producer), is currently valued at $8.37 billion. He also holds a $5.15 billion fortune from his fertilizer plant, with a production capacity of 2.8 million tonnes of urea annually.

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