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Analysis: Why Dangote doesn’t like to build houses

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Though Africa’s richest man Mr Aliko Dangote is one of the biggest producers of cement in Africa, he does not like building houses.

Findings have shown that though Dangote has warehouses in Nigeria’s major cities like Lagos, Calabar, Kano, Port Harcourt and Abuja, he is no big investor in residential housing.

A senior official of the Dangote Group who would not want his name mentioned here confirmed this when he said, “Dangote’s personality isn’t like one who’s is interested in building houses”.

Dangote has a conglomerate named Dangote Group. Dangote Cement Plc, a subsidiary of the group is the largest company traded on the Nigerian Stock Exchange.

In 2013, the company produced and sold 13.3 million metric tonnes of cement with revenues of US$2.4 billion. As of 2014, Dangote Cement Plc had a market capitalization of $20 billion.

Last year, the Africa’s richest man disclosed that Dangote Cement Plc has grown its total production capacity across Africa to 45.8 million metric tonnes per annum.

He boasted saying as one of the biggest cement producers on the African soil, his desire is to rank among the top 10 cement producers in the world by 2020.

Recently, Dangote Cement Plc presented to the construction world a new product called Dangote Blocmaster Cement.

The product also known as The King of Cement is said to be the best as it is 50 percent stronger a day after and offers best value for money.

Apparently, cement is one of the important building materials. Many estate companies use Dangote Cement. But the cement producer himself is rather more interested in importing/producing/distributing cement, sugar, rice, pastry, textiles, flour, salt and fisheries.

The company’s cement production has grown rapidly and expanded into other African countries.

Viewpoint Housing News reports that the biggest known Dangote’s investment in housing is the N2 billion housing estate he built for Internally Displaced Persons (IDPs) in Borno State. The estate was handed to the Borno State government in June this year.

The estate located in Dalori village in Konduga Local Government Area was developed by Dangote Foundation for 200 women who lost their spouses in the Boko Baharam insurgency.

Dangote was also said to have built a hostel facility in the Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria. Reports had it that the 10-block hostel has capacity to accommodate 1,440 students.

In July this year, news broke that Dangote would work with the Federal Mortgage Bank of Nigeria (FMBN) to boost affordable housing delivery for Nigerians. How that could be done was not made clear.

Though Nigeria suffers huge housing shortage, not many investors are seen building houses that will serve the mass of the people. Many build high-end properties which attract humongous premium, thereby lacking off-takers.

The result is millions of housing units are unoccupied when many Nigerians live in substandard houses or are without a roof over their heads.

Nigeria’s housing initiatives are only perfunctory even as housing policies at different times have always not been implemented or poorly implemented, leaving the housing situation as it is.

Owing to the acute shortage of decent housing in Nigeria, it was expected that Dangote would take up homebuilding as a way of tackling the problem.

Abuja-based property developer observed, “It’s time Dangote sits back and looks at where it hurts most. I think he’s prepared to give back to society. Housing is the way to go. Housing with its value chain can make a lot of difference. We’re talking about real mass housing, not the kind we do today.”

Mr Tope Kolade Fasua, the presidential candidate of Abundant Nigeria Renewal Party (ANRP) lamented that Nigeria has for long neglected housing provision for those at the lower rung of the social ladder. For him, housing should move away from the realm of business to the realm of social security and humanity.

In Morocco, Anas Sefrioui’s company, the Groupe Addoha focuses on building low-cost housing for Moroccans and this has greatly helped.

Uganda’s Sudhir Ruparelia considered the wealthiest businessman in his country and across the entire East Africa region owns a quarter of the buildings in Kampala’s central business district. How many buildings has Dangote in Nigeria’s capital city? you may ask.

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