Self-made billionaire Aliko Dangote is Africa’s richest man.
Dangote was born on the 10th of April, 1957 in Kano, Nigeria. His grand father, the late Alhaji Sanusi Dantata provided him with a small capital to start his own business, as was the practice then. He thus started business in Kano in 1977 trading in commodities and also building supplies.
He was interested in business even as a child. He is quoted to have said that he used to buy cartons of candies and sell them for profit. He graduated from the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, after which he went back to Nigeria to work with his uncle who later on gave him the loan he needed to start a business.
Dangote moved to Lagos in June 1977 and persisted in trading cement and commodities. Encouraged by tremendous success and increase in business activities, he incorporated two companies in 1981. These as well as others that followed now make up the conglomerate known as The Dangote Group.
Aliko started the Dangote Group in 1977 and today it has become a multi-million naira business with operations in several countries such as Ghana, Togo, Benin and Nigeria. His business includes cement manufacturing, food processing and freight.
Today his Dangote Group dominates the sugar market with his sugar refinery being the major supplier to 70% of the market. It also imports fish, rice, pasta, fertilizer and cement on a large scale. It exports cocoa, cashew nuts, sesame seeds, ginger and cotton to many countries. Dangote Group’s major investments include banking, textiles, real estate, gas and oil. With more than 11,000 employees it is one of the biggest conglomerates in West Africa.
Dangote’s fortune is estimated at $17.3 billion and he is listed as Forbes’ 51st most powerful person in the world.
In 2015 Dangote Cement launched new plants in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Zambia and Tanzania. The company produces more than 30 million metric tons annually, and plans to double capacity by 2018. Dangote owns about 90% of publicly-traded Dangote Cement through a holding company; this percentage exceeds the 80% ownership ceiling set by the Nigerian Stock Exchange. A spokesman for Dangote told Forbes that the company has until October 2016 to lower Aliko Dangote’s stake and plans to do so by then. Other companies in the Dangote Group, which is active in 15 African countries, include publicly-traded salt, sugar and flour manufacturing companies.
Despite all this wealth and outstanding achievements as a businessman, Dangote remains as simple, hardworking, humble and cool headed as he was in the very beginning. He is the owner of the largest industrial business in Nigeria and the whole of West Africa providing bread and butter for thousands of families with his employment opportunities. He is the richest African in the world and an inspiration for the young minds who want to succeed as entrepreneurs.