Dangote to invest in food
THE DANGOTE Group, controlled by Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, plans to invest $3.8 billion (R51.41bn) in sugar and rice and $800 million in dairy production in the next three years as the company seeks to expand and deal with a shortage of dollars needed to import raw materials. The conglomerate plans to increase its production of sugar to 1.5 million tons a year by 2020 from 100 000 tons now and is seeking to add 1 million tons of rice, Edwin Devakumar, executive director at Dangote’s industries unit, said in Lagos, Nigeria’s commercial hub. The company also plans to have 50 000 cattle producing 500 million litres of milk a year by 2019, he said. A lack of foreign exchange means companies need to invest in local agriculture to help meet demand for food from Nigeria’s population of more than 180 million, Devakumar said. “All raw sugar has to be imported today, same thing for flour milling,” he said. Dangote, whose cement unit is Nigeria’s biggest listed company, has been investing in agriculture as the country’s government seeks to diversify away from oil, which accounts for 90 percent of the nation’s export earnings.