Aliko Dangote is a self-made business tycoon with a net worth of $20.1 billion. According to Forbes, he is the 43rd wealthiest person in the world and the wealthiest person in Africa. He owns the Dangote Group that has interest commodities and operations in several countries.
Dangote was born on 10th April 1957 in Kano, Nigeria to a rich Muslim family. 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.
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. The group also controls the sugar market in Nigeria; it is the biggest supplier of sugar to the soft drink companies, confectioners and the breweries. It is not only a trading company but the biggest industrial group of Nigeria with the Dangote Cement, Dangote Flour, Dangote Sugar Refinery and many more. Dangote possesses extraordinary entrepreneurial skills; he can spot an opportunity far beyond the naked eye. In July 2012 he approached the Nigerian Ports Authority and gave them the idea of leasing an abandoned land near the Apapa Port which they approved. After some time he constructed his flour company there. Similarly in the 1990s he projected his idea of letting his transport company to manage their staff buses to the Bank of Nigeria which was also accepted by them.
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 11000 employees it is one of the biggest conglomerates in West Africa. Currently Dangote is looking into telecommunications; his present work includes building of fourteen thousand kilometers of optic cables in Nigeria. For all this work he was honored in 2009 as the largest provider of employment in the whole of Nigerian construction industry. In 2011 the president of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan awarded Dangote with Nigeria’s second highest honor the ‘Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger’.
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.