Dubai sovereign wealth fund sees investment in Dangote as its gateway into Africa

The Investment Corporation of Dubai (ICD), the emirate’s public investment arm, is using Nigerian cement tycoon Aliko Dangote as “a gateway to Africa”.

Dangote's Obajana cement plant in Nigeria

Dangote’s Obajana cement plant in Nigeria

A few weeks ago the ICD agreed to acquire a minority stake in Dangote Cement for US$300m. Dangote Cement is one of Africa’s largest cement producers with manufacturing interests in Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Zambia and Ethiopia, to name a few. The company was founded by Aliko Dangote, said to be Africa’s richest man.

Speaking at the Africa Global Business Forum in Dubai, CEO of the ICD Mohammed Al Shaibani, described Dangote Cement as a “profitable business” with good growth potential.

He added that Dangote Cement represents a “fantastic way” for the ICD to “kick-start its investment into Africa”.

Al Shaibani said the ICD has “been looking at Africa for a long time”, but conceded that the continent is not an easy environment to invest in.

The ICD is especially eyeing Africa’s agriculture and infrastructure sectors. Regarding agriculture, it is interested to invest both from a returns perspective, as well as to export food back to Dubai.

Al Shaibani highlighted airline Emirates and marine terminal operator DP World as Dubai-based companies that have successfully grown their presence in Africa. Emirates currently operates numerous routes to Africa, and according to Al Shaibani, it is sometimes referred to “the national carrier of Africa”.