• Africa’s richest man is ready to solve his home country’s many problems -- including forex scarcity, crude oil refining -- and create millions of jobs.
  • Dangote says he is stepping up the game to increase the exports of cement and other commodities from Nigeria in 2019 to foreign markets.
  • He is expected to earn about $600 to $700 million annually from cement export.

Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, is ready to solve his home country’s many problems -- including forex scarcity, crude oil refining -- and create millions of jobs but the global price of crude oil is determining factor.

ll these, the billionaire believes, will largely depend on global crude oil prices for the availability of hard currency in the Nigerian market.

Dangote, on Monday, said he is stepping up the game to increase the exports of cement and other commodities from Nigeria in 2019 to foreign markets, boost sales and generate more hard currency - mostly dollars.

The Nigerian billion in an interview with Reuters projects export estimation of 8 million tonnes of cement from July and the completion of the 650,000 barrel per day refinery in Lagos by 2019 as main thing to come.

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Dangote refinery site in Lekki

Forex crisis, crude oil refining, unemployment are some of the issues facing Africa’s populous nation. As of December 2018, the country’s statistical office put the unemployment figure at 115.5 million, mostly youths. Also, despite being Africa’s largest crude oil producer, the country still imports fuel because of non-functional refineries to cater to local demands.

“By next year we will start exporting more than 2 million tonnes of ammonia out of our 3 million tonnes’ capacity and we will export more than 35% of petroleum products and about 30 million tonnes of cement,” he told Reuters.

He said his company, Dangote Cement, could earn about $600 to $700 million annually from cement export.

Forex shortage in Nigeria

Dangote said the availability of hard currency in Nigeria would not be an issue provided oil prices stayed relatively buoyant.

Naira and Dollar

“If the price of oil stabilises at $60 per barrel, I don’t think we would have any problem.”

He said the increase in export of cement which will boost sales will make more forex available in the domestic market.

The Central Bank of Nigeria (CBN) is currently operating multiple forex regimes and keep foreign reserves to shove up to keep the local currency at a stability level. An analyst has, however, predicted a depreciation to N400 per dollar by the end of 2019 based on the oil production level and crude oil prices.