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Aliko Dangote (CON) is a name that rings a bell in the ears of every entrepreneur in Nigeria and Africa at large; the first and richest billionaire in Nigeria and Africa. Born on April 10th 1957, Dangote is ranked the 67th richest man in the world according to Forbes magazine thanks to his multiple businesses across African nations.

Early Life

Born to a prominent business family, Aliko is the great grandson of Alhaji Alhassan Dantatta who was also the richest man in Africa during his time in 1955. Dangote is a Muslim Hausa who hails from Kano state in the Northern part of Nigeria.

As a man born in a business acquainted environment, Dangote did not find it difficult to blend into the business world. Though he ventured into the business world as early as his primary school days, Dangote got fully involved in business in 1977 when he started trading in commodities and building supplies in Kano state

He studied Business from the Al Azhar University, Cairo in Egypt, after which he returned to Nigeria to work with his uncle Sanusi Abdulkadir Dantata who afterwards gave him a loan of N500, 000 when he was just 21 year old to start his own business.

Alhaji Aliko Dangote moved to Lagos in June 1977 and persisted in trading cement and commodities.  Seeing the tremendous growth of his cement and commodity business, he went on to incorporate other businesses. This gave birth to the multi trillion Naira conglomerate called the Dangote group.

 Dangote group

The Dangote group was established in 1978 to incorporate the different dimensions of the Dangote companies such as the cement manufacturing, food processing and freight. Today, the Dangote group operates in 18 countries in Africa such as Benin, Ghana, Togo, South Africa, Zambia, and even Nepal, to mention a few.

The group is also associated with diverse types of manufacturing with good revenues. Talk of the Dangote textile and the Nigeria Textiles Mills Plc it acquired, which produces over 120,000 meters of finished textiles daily.

The group has a ginnery in Kankawa, Katsina State with a capacity of 30,000 MT of seeded cotton annually not to talk of the sugar market which the company now dominates in the Nigerian market. The sugar refinery at Apapa port, Lagos is the largest in Africa and the third largest worldwide with an annual capacity of 700,000 tonnes of refined sugar annually.

The Dangote group also has another 100,000 tonne-capacity sugar mill at Hadeja in Jigawa State.

In fact, the Dangote conglomerate has moved from just being a trading company to being the largest industrial group in Nigeria.

Not relenting on his business initiative, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has diversified into telecommunications beginning with the building of a 14000 kilometres of fibre optic cables to be supplied to Nigeria. This act fetched him an honorary award in 2009 as the leading provider of employment in Nigeria.

Success Story

For many who have had direct contact with the business magnet, words like hard work, determination and business foresight has always been the key words for his success in life.

Aliko Dangote has made so much impact to the Nigerian economy and has influenced the financial growth of thousands in the country. It is projected that the Dangote group now employs close to 22,000 staff with thousands more being groomed into billionaires through his philanthropic acts.

When asked about factors behind his success in life, he simply outlines important factors such as thinking big, diversifying your products and market, taking failure as part of a business, and above all, being patriotic. Dangote seems to be broad-minded. Unlike some people, his Personal Assistant is Yoruba while his Head of Corporate Affairs is a Christian from Delta State.

Dangote Net Worth

Forbes magazine gave the Dangote net worth to stand at $17.6 Billion as of June 2016 making him the 51st billionaire in the world – several steps above the magazine’s 2015 ranking which had him at the 67th in the world.

Dangote, A Well Known Philanthropist

One thing that distinguishes this business Mogul from other successful cabals in the world is his philanthropic nature. Aliko Dangote is typically a philanthropist reaching out to as many that call for financial aid.

As far as politics is concerned in Nigeria, Dangote played a key role in the funding of Obasanjo’s re-election bid in 2003, to which he gave over N200 million (US$2M). He also contributed N50 million (US$O.5M) to the National Mosque under the aegis of Friends of Obasanjo and Atiku”.

He contributed N200 million to the Presidential Library. These highly controversial gifts to the members of the ruling Party have generated a lot of concerns despite highly-publicized anti-corruption drives during Obasanjo’s second term.

More to this, Dangote has reportedly given away $100 million of his fortune to charity in recent years. Causes he supports include flood relief, healthcare and poverty reduction.

His relentless help to the people of his country Nigeria fetched him an honorary award of the Nigeria’s second highest honor, Grand Commander of the order of the Niger awarded to him on the 14th of November 2011 under the Goodluck Jonathan administration.