In March 2022, Africa’s richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote opened a $2.5 billion urea and ammonia fertilizer plant in Lekki Free Trade Zone, Ibeju-Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria. The factory was commissioned by President Muhammadu Buhari.
In an interview with FORBES AFRICA, Dangote, president and CEO of Dangote Group, the continent’s largest cement producer, says the new fertilizer plant, which has already started production, could lead to Nigeria earning about $5 billion in export revenue. “We are getting a huge demand from all over the world with massive orders from the European Union,” says the billionaire entrepreneur, who is also opening an oil refinery, expected to be Africa’s biggest with the capacity to produce 650,000 barrels per day, by the third quarter of 2022.
The war in Ukraine and the sanctions against Russia, the world’s largest exporter of fertilizers, have meant disrupted global supply chains and this has ignited the price of fertilizers for Africa’s small-scale farmers. Fertilizers provide healthy nutrients for crops and experts say the current impasse can stifle agricultural growth and lead to hunger on the continent. Nitrogen, potash and phosphate that are important for fertilizer manufacture also come from Russia and Ukraine. The countries’ leading position stems from their influence on the gas ecosystem too. Fertilizers are a by-product of ammonia created when mixing nitrogen and hydrogen gas. Dangote’s fertilizer factory, located in Lekki Free Trade Zone, Lagos, sits on 500 hectares of land with capacity to produce three million metric tons of urea yearly.
The Dangote Group’s website cites the plant as Africa’s largest granulated urea fertilizer complex. The oil refinery, also at the same location, will boast 1,100kms of subsea pipeline infrastructure to handle 3 billion Standard Cubic Foot of gas per day produced for commercial use.