Nigerian cement magnate Aliko Dangote’s rise up the Forbes list of global billionaires was unexpected because the West African state’s currency has fallen sharply.

The Nigeria Stock Exchange was badly affected as investors sold their stocks, and that is where Dangote Industries is the largest listed entity.

But Mr Dangote has hedged his wealth by expanding his business into different markets such as Ethiopia, where the economy consistently performs well and is fairly stable.

He has also diversified his investments, spreading them across infrastructure and food products.

More importantly with the exception of the oil refinery he is building with the Chinese, he really has limited exposure in the industry.

He is not afraid to let go of a business that is not working well. In the past, he sold subsidiaries such as Dangote Flour Mills that were not profitable, although he recently had to retain equity in that business.

On a personal note, Mr Dangote is known to be a bit conservative with money and not flamboyant.

Whilst he does have a private jet and a yacht, they are mainly used as company property for business trips, not for pleasure.

It may very well be that an attitude of saving and reinvesting has earned him more money in volatile markets than what others have lost.

 

BBC