Friday, March 11, 2011

Two Nigerian Men Makes the Forbes Billionaires List

by Dr. Boyce Watkins, Syracuse UniversityScholarship in Action 

Two Nigerian men, Mike Adenuga and Aliko Dangote, represented their home country of Nigeria by placing themselves among the wealthiest men in the world. Both men made the Forbes billionaires list, with Adenuga ranking as number 595, while Dangote skyrocketed up to number 51. Dangote's fortune grew five fold last year, as he consolidated his holdings and went public on the Nigerian Stock Exchange. His company now has a market cap of $13 Billion, representing over one-fourth of the total market cap of the entire Nigerian stock market.

Dangote is able to make money hand-over-fist primarily because there are so few Nigerian cement suppliers to meet the country's increasing demand for construction. He is now wealthier than South African billionaires Nicky Oppenheimer from Debeers and John Rupert, both of whom are white. During my trip to Nigeria in 2009, I noticed that there was a tremendous amount of construction being done in the country, as well as a hunger to understand the principles of entrepreneurship and building a business. I expect the country to continue to grow, assuming that it can deal with itswell-documented corruption problems (for example, I was asked to give an agent money in order to get my bags through airport security).

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