Aliko Dangote, the president and chief executive of Dangote Group and co-chair of the World Economic Forum annual meeting, speaks during a session at the summit in Davos on Wednesday. Photo: Reuters

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

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

The group’s plan was “to be one of the leaders in terms of all the sectors we’re involved with”, its owner said.

“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.”

The group is investing $16 billion (R173bn) over the next four years in cement, sugar, rice and oil, including the construction of a $9bn oil refinery in south-west Nigeria.

The company was considering the purchase of oil and gas fields in Nigeria to help supply energy to its petrochemical complex and cement plants, group executive director Devakumar Edwin said last week.

Aliko Dangote’s wealth has climbed $1.2bn in the month to date, making him the world’s 27th richest person with a net worth estimated at $25.1bn, according to the Bloomberg billionaires index.

Dangote said he would like to emulate the philanthropy of Bill Gates, who is once again the world’s richest man, and said he spent $100 million last year “giving back to society” in the areas of health and education. – Bloomberg