Aliko Dangote.

Davos, Switzerland - Africa’s richest man Aliko Dangote said his Dangote Group would join the ranks of the world’s biggest 100 companies within three years as he invests in cement, agriculture and oil refining across the continent.

“We are targeted now to be one of the 100, in terms of ranking, global companies by 2017,” Dangote said yesterday in an interview at the World Economic Forum in Davos, where he is this year’s co-chairman.

Lagos, Nigeria-based Dangote’s plan is “to be one of the leaders in terms of all the sectors we’re involved with,” its owner said.

Dangote is investing $16 billion over the next four years in cement, sugar, rice and oil, including the construction of a $9 billion oil refinery in southwest Nigeria.

The company is considering the purchase of crude fields in Africa’s biggest oil producer to help supply energy to its petrochemical complex and cement plants, Group Executive Director Devakumar Edwin said in an interview in Lagos last week.

Aliko Dangote has seen his wealth climb $1.2 billion in the month to date, making him the world’s 27th richest person in the world with a net worth estimated at $25.1 billion, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires’ Index.

“I’m going to actually put quite a lot of money in sugar and rice and then oil,” he said.

“We invested heavily in Nigeria, but we’re not only looking at Nigeria, we’re looking at the regional market.”

Dangote said he would like to emulate the philanthropy of world’s richest man Bill Gates and said he spent $100 million in 2013 “giving back to society” in the areas of health and education. - Bloomberg News