Africa’s billionaire businessman Aliko Dangote has stated that the group is not interested in investing in the telecommunications industry, rather it is looking at other opportunities.
Dangote said the group plans to invest about USD20 billion to USD50 billion in the U.S. and Europe by 2025, in the renewable energy and petrochemicals industries.
In a recent interview with Bloomberg Markets, the Nigerian businessman revealed that over 60% of the group’s investment will be out of Africa. The 60-year old also said he aims to diversify into these territories for the first time in 2020 following the completion of almost USD5 billion of agricultural projects and an USD11 billion oil refinery in Nigeria.
Recent reports have made the rounds about the cement giants investing in telecommunications business especially following the exit of Mubadala, a major stakeholder in Etisalat Nigeria. While admitting that there are key players in the telecommunications industry, Dangote stated that the business is focused on other industries and ruled out the possibilities of investing in that sector.
“When I look at telecoms, for instance, I think that would be very tough for us,” he said. “Some players have been in this market for 17 years already. There’s no way you can go and jump over somebody after 17 years of their hard work. So I think we would pass when it comes to telecoms today. There are other businesses that we understand better.”
“Beginning in 2020, 60 percent of our future investments will be outside Africa, so we can have a balance,” said Dangote, worth USD11.6 billion, according to Bloomberg’s Billionaires Index. Dangote Group’s major investment will be in the U.S. and Europe, he said.
“I think renewables is the way to go forward, and the future. We are looking at petrochemicals but can also invest in other companies.”
Dangote has diversified rapidly in the last five years, both geographically and
Shares in Dangote Cement fell 4.9 percent to 214 naira in Lagos Wednesday, paring the advance this year to 23 percent.
“When you look at it — not just in Nigeria but in the rest of Africa — the majority of countries here depend on imported food,” he said. “There is no way you can have a population of 320 million in West Africa and no self-sufficiency. So the first thing to do is food security. I believe Dangote Group is in the right position to drive this trajectory.”
Dangote also said he wasn’t planning to enter Nigerian politics.
“I’m not interested,” he said. “I enjoy a lot of what I am doing, and I also love my freedom — and I don’t have too much. The little I have, politics would take away. There are businessmen who are interested in politics. I’m not one of them.”