Forbes Billionaires: Dangote and Adenuga as symbols of Nigeria's growing economy

by Emeka Chiakwelu

The two giant Nigerian business executives Aliko Dangote and Mike Adenuga making the powerful list of Forbes 2011 Billionaires of the richest people in the world is an omen of deepening Nigerian capitalistic economy. Nigerian economy is making an impressive growth that it can produce two-ranked of the richest business executives in the world.

Aliko Dangote, the Group President/CEO of Dangote Group ranked as the richest Nigerian and African with a net fortune quantified at $13.8 billion. Mike Adenuga, founder Globacom made The Forbes 2011 Billionaires’ List for the first time with a net worth of $2 billion, which is impressive and massive amount of wealth by any standard.

Although many were speculating that Adenuga’s worth was under quantified in the Forbes ranking. Mfonobong Nsehe’s piece posted at Forbes blog had a quote from an individual in Lagos, “Globacom has 20 million subscribers- almost as much as MTN [another wireless carrier] does. MTN is worth $30 billion. Mike Adenuga owns Globacom. How can he be worth only $2 billion? It is not possible. Have you forgotten that he also owns Equatorial Trust Bank- Nigeria’s largest privately held bank? Don’t you know that he owns Conoil Producing- Nigeria’s first indigenous Oil exploration company? Do you know that he owns the highest stake in Conoil Marketing? $2 billion is too small. If Mike Adenuga is poor, he’s worth at least $5 billion. You people should increase his net worth.”

With $2 billion worth or more it is a herculean achievement to be at a pinnacle of capitalism in the global ranking of fellow capitalists and investors. That is a significant and enduring attainment by a Nigerian based capitalist.

Emeka Chiakwelu, principal policy strategist at Afripol commented on the growing impact the billionaires are having on Nigeria’s image and economy, “With business executives and billionaires of Alhaji Dangote and Mr. Adenuga statures, Nigerian image is being remake as a destination for capitalism, profit and land of investments. This is great for our country Nigeria, it will help to rebrand Nigeria and attract foreign investors.”

The most encouraging thing about the two richest Nigerians are their unflinching confidence in the economy of Nigeria. Another issue that worth to be recognized was that all their wealth was basically made from investing and growing businesses in Nigeria. This must send the right signal to both local and foreign investors that Nigeria is ready to grow their money and yield possibly the largest dividend in Africa if not in the whole world.

Nigerian economy has been growing impressively and it is the fasted growing economy in Africa. Nigeria’s economy is accelerating at a growth rate of 7.4 percent in the first quarter of 2011. Although the vulnerability of rising inflation at above 11 percent is being monitored by Sanusi’s Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) and will utilized all the effective monetary policies at his disposal to rein in the rising inflationary trends.

The Nigerian billionaires must not relent on encouraging economic expansion by committing to Nigerian and African economies which have been always their hallmarks. Aliko Dangote already “has started building investments in cement plants and terminals across Africa including Senegal, Zambia, Tanzania, Congo, Ethiopia, Cameroun, Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast, Liberia and Ghana,” writes Tatiana Serafin in her Forbes’ blog.

According to Serafin’s piece, Mike Adenuga’s “Globacom launched services in Nigeria in 2005, in the Republic of Benin in 2008 and has licences to operate in Ghana and Cote d’Ivoire (with Togo and Senegal next). He took a big gamble laying a $1 billion undersea fibre optic cable, Glo-1, to link Africa with the rest of the world. (Partnered with Alcatel-Lucent) The connection will help lower prices for customers as well as help Adenuga expand more quickly.”

The emerging Nigerian business executives and Nigerian universities especially the business schools should look up and willing to learn from the two most successful Nigerian billionaires. Our universities must create curriculums on teaching students the models of operations and methodologies employed by the business trail blazers.

The point here is that Nigeria is already showing its relevance as a powerful emerging market by the quality of business tycoons emanating from the second largest African economy.

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afam nwafor June 5, 2011 - 7:43 pm

i am not so surprised that the likes of dangote and adenuga re billionaires today.they re great men every businessman should look up to for inspiration

i am impressed by there achievements.

Benson Ohiaka April 16, 2011 - 4:34 pm

What is so bizarre about this article is that the author quotes himself in the third-person in it, as if to give credibility to his thoughts. A little bit of honesty would be appreciated by readers.


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