On Tuesday, Africa’s richest person, Aliko Dangote, opened the continent’s largest fertilizer plant in Nigeria. Demand is already knocking at the door.
“People are begging us to sell,” Dangote told CNN on Tuesday.
Sitting on 500 hectares (1,235 acres) of land on the outskirts of Lagos, the $2.5 billion fertilizer plant has an initial annual production capacity of 3 million metric tons of urea fertilizer, according to information on the Dangote Group’s website.
The opening of the Dangote Fertiliser Plant comes amid a supply crunch in crop fertilizers due to sanctions against Russia, which accounted for almost one-fifth of 2021 fertilizer exports, according to Trade Data Monitor and Bloomberg’s Green Markets. Russia is also a top exporter in key fertilizer ingredients such as urea, ammonia, and potash, per trade outlet Argus Media.
The supply strain has sent fertilizer prices soaring, with the Bloomberg Green Markets North America Fertilizer Price Index surging to record highs. This, in turn, is expected to feed into already soaring food prices.
“We are lucky to have this plant,” Dangote told CNN. “It is coming at the right time with the Ukraine-Russia conflict as both Ukraine and Russia control substantial amounts of agricultural inputs.”
Dangote’s fertilizer plant is already shipping to the US, Brazil, and India, CNN reported, citing the billionaire.
Dangote, 64, is the 80th-richest person in the world with a net worth of $20 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. The Dangote Group, which he founded, is the second-largest employer in Nigeria after the government, the country’s Vanguard News outlet reported recently, citing the Nigerian president.
The Dangote Fertiliser Plant is expected to create 5,000 direct and indirect jobs, Vanguard News reported, citing a government official.
Amid the war in Ukraine, resource-rich African economies are tipped to benefit from sweeping sanctions against Russia, the world’s third-largest oil producer.
“As the European Union and the United States impose sanctions to deny Russia access to European oil and gas markets, oil-producing African countries could seize on the opportunity,” wrote Mvemba Phezo Dizolele, director of the Africa Program at the Center for Strategic and International Studies, in a recent note. Oil companies may also expand prospecting operations on the continent, he added.