liko Dangote, a Nigerian business billionaire, was born on April 10, 1957. He is the Chairman and CEO of the Dangote Group, an industrial conglomerate, and Africa’s richest man, with a net worth of US$12.4 billion as of September 2021.
Aliko Dangote was born into a rich Muslim family in Kano, Kano State, as the son of Mohammed Dangote and Mariya Sanusi Dantata, the daughter of Sanusi Dantata. He is the great-grandson of Alhassan Dantata, who was the wealthiest West African when he died in 1955.
Dangote attended the Sheikh Ali Kumasi Madrasa before attending Kano’s Capital High School. He has remarked about his early life:
“I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets (candy) and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time”.
He graduated from Birnin Kudu’s Government College in 1978. Al-Azhar University in Cairo awarded him a Bachelor’s Degree in Business Studies and Administration.
The Dangote Group began as a tiny trading concern in 1977, the same year Dangote moved his company to Lagos to expand. It is now a multi-trillion-naira corporation with activities in Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, Zambia, and Togo, among others. Dangote has expanded its operations to include food processing, cement manufacturing, and freight transportation. In Nigeria, the Dangote Group controls the sugar market and is a key supplier to soft drink firms, breweries, and confectioners. Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Cement, and Dangote Flour are all parts of the Dangote Group, which has grown from a trading concern to Nigeria’s largest industrial conglomerate.
Dangote approached the Nigerian Ports Authority in July 2012 and was granted permission to lease an abandoned plot of land at the Apapa Port. Later, he established facilities there for his flour industry. In the 1990s, he approached the Central Bank of Nigeria with the concept that allowing his transport company to operate the bank’s fleet of staff buses would save the bank money, a proposal that was also approved.
He also contributed funds to the Nigerian Sport Ministry’s renovation of Abuja’s National Stadium.
Today, the Dangote Group is the primary supplier (70 percent of the market) to Nigeria’s soft drink firms, breweries, and confectioners, thanks to its dominance in the sugar market and refinery industry. It is Africa’s and the world’s largest sugar refinery, producing 800,000 tonnes of sugar each year. The Dangote Group has salt and wheat mills, as well as being a significant importer of rice, fish, pasta, cement, and fertiliser. Cotton, cashew nuts, chocolate, sesame seeds, and ginger are among the products exported by the company. It also has significant real estate, banking, transportation, textiles, oil, and gas investments. The corporation employs over 11,000 people and is West Africa’s largest industrial conglomerate.
Dangote has entered the telecommunications industry and has begun laying 14,000 kilometres of fibre optic cables to supply the entire country of Nigeria. As a result, Dangote was named the number 1 job creator in the Nigerian construction industry in January 2009.
“Let me tell you this and I want to really emphasise it … nothing is going to help Nigeria like Nigerians bringing back their money. If you give me $5 billion today, I will invest everything here in Nigeria. Let us put our heads together and work.”
Dangote lives in Lagos and has been married twice and divorced both times. Mariya, Halima, and Fatimah are his three daughters, while Abdulrahman Fasasi is his adopted son.
Dangote’s accomplishments in business and entrepreneurship have been recognised and praised, including:
- Former President Goodluck Jonathan bestowed on Dangote, Nigeria’s second-highest honour, the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON).
- In 2014, Dangote was selected Forbes Africa Person of the Year.
- For six years in a row, Forbes named him the “Most Powerful Man in Africa” in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018.
- In 2014, CNBC (Consumer News and Business Channel, USA) named him one of the “Top 25 Businessmen in the World” who shaped the century.
- In April 2014, Time magazine named him one of the world’s 100 most influential people.
- Bloomberg Markets named Dangote one of the “50 Most Influential Individuals in the World” in October 2015.
- In 2015, he was named “The Guardian Man of the Year.”
- He received the Africa-America Institute’s (AAI) “2016 African Business Leader Award”.
- In 2015, 2017, 2018, and 2019, New African magazine named Dangote one of the top 100 most influential Africans.