Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, insists that Nigeria is the continent’s biggest economy contrary to reports that the country had been overtaken by South Africa.
According to the president of Dangote Group who was moderating a presidential policy discussion organized by the Lagos Chamber of Commerce and Industry, the economy may have issues but despite the challenges it remains Africa’s biggest.
Local media outlet Daily Post reports that Dangote noted further that the problem with Nigeria’s economy did not start with the Buhari administration.
According to figures from the International Monetary Fund (IMF) based on gross domestic product of South Africa and Nigeria at the end of 2015, the size of South Africa’s economy was $301 billion at the rand’s current exchange rate, while Nigeria’s GDP is $296 billion.
The growth of the South African economy was hinged on the rand having gained over 16% against the dollar since the start of 2016. In the other case, Nigeria’s naira lost more than a third of its value after the central bank removed a currency peg in June.
Dangote is credited with having built the biggest indigenous conglomerate in West Africa in the Nigerian economy. He has built the biggest cement company in sub-Saharan Africa and the second biggest sugar refinery in the world.
He recently announced a $12 million dollar oil refinery and petrochemical plant to be situated in the commercial capital of the country, Lagos. Nigeria was assessed as the continent’s largest economy in April 2014 when authorities in the West African nation overhauled their GDP data for the first time in two decades.
Forbes magazine ranks the 59-year old Kano-born businessman in its ‘The World’s Billionaires’ list as the 51st richest man globally with a net worth of $12.5 billion. The dialogue session was attended by Nigeria’s vice president Yemi Osinbajo and the minister for budget and national planning, Udo Udoma.