Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Africa's richest man wants continent to reap what he sows

20 September 2011

LAGOSAfrica's richest man wants his continent to grow -- and some say his project to build its largest fertiliser plant could provide relief to farmers and help put a dent in food shortages.

The project, set to come on stream in three years, may also serve as an example of how Nigeria, the continent's largest oil producer with massive untapped gas reserves, can put its often-squandered natural resources to good use.

Of course, Nigeria-based Dangote Group, headed by Aliko Dangote, once dubbed Africa's richest man by Forbes, could stand to rake in yet another small fortune along the way.

The company has set out plans for the plant to be located in the south of Nigeria in Edo state. It is to be constructed by Italian firm Saipem, though the cost of the project was not made public.

It would employ some 7,000 people, directly and indirectly, according to Dangote, and eventually allow Nigeria to stop importing fertiliser and use its wealth of natural gas reserves as part of the manufacturing process.

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