|Full Name||Aliko Dangote|
|Net worth||$ 15.7 billion|
|Date of Birth||April 10, 1957|
Years active 1977–present
(m. 1977, divorced)
Mariya Muhammad Rufai
Children 4, including Halima
Alhassan Dantata (great-grandfather)
Sanusi Dantata (grandfather)
Aminu Dantata (grand-uncle)
Sani Dangote (brother)
The Bloomberg Billionaires Index estimated his net worth at $20.5 billion in April 2023, making him the richest person in Africa, the world’s richest black person, and the world’s 83rd richest person overall.
Dangote in 2011
The Dangote Group was established as a small trading firm in 1977, the same year Dangote relocated to Lagos to expand the company. Dangote received a ₦500,000 loan from his uncle to begin trading in commodities including bagged cement as well as agricultural goods like rice and sugar. In the 1990s, he approached the Central Bank of Nigeria with the idea that it would be cheaper for the bank to allow his transport company to manage their fleet of staff buses, a proposal that was also approved.
Today, the Dangote Group is one of the largest conglomerates in Africa, with international operations in Benin, Ghana, Zambia, and Togo. The Dangote Group has moved from being a trading company to being the largest industrial group in Nigeria, encompassing divisions like Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Cement, and Dangote Flour. Dangote Group dominates the sugar market in Nigeria, with its refinery business being the main supplier (70 percent of the market) to the country’s soft drink companies, breweries, and confectioners. The company employs more than 11,000 people in West Africa.
In July 2012, Dangote approached the Nigerian Ports Authority to lease an abandoned piece of land at the Apapa Port, which was approved. He later built facilities for his sugar company there. It is the largest refinery in Africa and the third largest in the world, producing 800,000 tonnes of sugar annually. The Dangote Group owns salt factories and flour mills and is a major importer of rice, fish, pasta, cement, and fertilizer. The company exports cotton, cashew nuts, cocoa, sesame seeds, and ginger to several countries. Additionally, it has major investments in real estate, banking, transport, textiles, oil, and gas.
In February 2022, Dangote announced the completion of the Peugeot assembling facility in Nigeria following his partnership with Stellantis Group, the parent company of Peugeot, the Kano and Kaduna state governments. The new automobile company, Dangote Peugeot Automobiles Nigeria Limited (DPAN) factory which is based in Kaduna commenced operations with the roll-out of Peugeot 301, Peugeot 5008, 3008, 508, and Land Trek.” Wealth
Dangote became Nigeria’s first billionaire in 2007. Dangote reportedly added $9.2 billion to his wealth in 2013, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, making him the thirtieth-richest person in the world at the time, and the richest person in Africa. In 2015, the HSBC leaks revealed that Dangote was an HSBC client and that he had assets in a tax haven in the British Virgin Islands.
As of June 2022, Dangote is the wealthiest person in Africa, with an estimated net worth of US$20 billion. Political activity
Dangote had a prominent role in the financing of President Olusegun Obasanjo’s re-election bid in 2003, to which he gave over N200 million (US$2 million). He contributed N50 million (US$500 thousand) to the National Mosque under the aegis of “Friends of Obasanjo and Atiku”. Dangote also contributed N200 million to the Presidential Library. These highly controversial gifts to members of the ruling PDP party have generated significant concerns despite highly publicized anti-corruption drives during Obasanjo’s second term.
In 2011, Dangote was appointed by President Goodluck Jonathan to serve as a member of his economic management team. In 2017, rumors circulated that Dangote was considering a run for President of Nigeria in the 2019 election. Dangote declined to run and asserted that he did not intend to run for elected office. Instead, Dangote went on to serve on a special advisory committee for Muhammadu Buhari’s reelection campaign.
“My great-grandfather was a kola nut trader, and the richest man in West Africa at the time of his death. My father was a businessman and politician. I was raised by my grandfather. It’s traditional in my culture for grandparents to take the first grandchild and raise it. I had a lot of love, and it gave me a lot of confidence.” He told Time Magazine during a world economic forum event.
“I grew up in Kano, Nigeria. After my school, I went to Egypt and finished there. Then I moved on to Lagos to do business. I learned quite a lot from my late grandfather. He was in trading. I grew up with him. I didn’t know my parents until I was about 4 or 5 years old, and unfortunately, my father died when I was 8.”
At 21, he completed his degree in business studies and administration at the Al-Azhar University in Egypt, one of the biggest Islamic universities.
His First Business
In 1977, at age 21 Dangote felt it was the right time to be his own man and start his own business. He approached his uncle, Sanusi Abdulkadir Dantata for a loan. His uncle eventually gave him a loan of N500,000 ( about $3000 in today’s value).
The purpose of the loan was to start importing and selling agricultural products in Nigeria. The commodities he traded included: Sugar, rice, pasta, salt, cotton, millet, cocoa, textile, and vegetable oil. His major imports were rice from Thailand and Sugar from Brazil in wholesale quantity and resale in Nigeria for interest.
This venture became an immediate success for him and he was able to repay the loan he took from his uncle within 3 months.
In 1978, Dangote ventured into Cement, buying trucks and reselling them to others for profit. The business became a success but he eventually decided to stop it and concentrate on Sugar, rice, and other stuff.
He eventually returned to Cement, this time bigger.
He told Bloomberg:
“Back when we first tried cement in 1978, I was just trading—buying four trucks of cement, selling it, and making my money. Almost every day I was getting an allocation of four trucks. The business grew, but then we decided to dump cement so we could get into sugar, rice, and other commodities. When we went back into cement with that first factory, within the first year, we went from zero market share in Nigeria to about 45 percent. Now the country is producing 42 million tons, of which 29 million tons is ours—and it’s not only Nigeria that we benefit, but we’ve also been able to go to 17 other African countries. By 2019 we’ll have 80 million tons of capacity.”
His biggest business step was to start manufacturing the same products he was importing or buying from others. In 1997, he built a plant and started manufacturing the things he had been importing: pasta, sugar, salt, and flour.
He went back into the cement business but this time as a manufacturer. By 2005, he had built a multi-million dollar cement factory. Of the money spent to build the new factory, $319 million was his own money while a $479 million loan from the World Bank completed the financing.
“Manufacture, don’t just trade. There is money in manufacturing even though it is capital-intensive. To achieve a big breakthrough, I had to start manufacturing the same product I was trading on; which is commodities.” He famously said
Paying off Debts
Being a successful businessman most times means taking lots of loans. While this is good, if these loans are not paid back, you may be at the risk of losing it all. Dangote understood this and by 2010, he paid off his debts.
“I had no financial capacity (in 2015 when he planned his refinery). Then in about 2010 we paid all of Dangote Group’s debts, which amounted to $2 billion, and started accumulating cash.
“It was a turning point. It helped us to be more disciplined. We are not trying to hide our heads from the banks. It has also given us a model to be very prudent and also be financially robust. Normally people go out there and do project financing. We don’t do project financing. We leverage our current businesses and then build another new business. So in the head office here, what we do is only strategy and incubating various businesses.” He told Bloomberg
Producing his electricity
One of the biggest obstacles faced by businessmen in Nigeria is electricity. Electricity is so bad that if you don’t handle it properly as a manufacturer, you will be making losses.
To make money as a manufacturer, you must be able to address the issue of electricity and Dangote understood this so well.
“We had a lot of capital, and we were able to build out our power grid. The number one thing that kills businesses in Africa is power or the lack of power. We wanted to have our businesses completely independent, from our grid. So we built it. It took $1.2 billion.”
Access to Capital
Having access to capital is very crucial for any entrepreneur or business. You have to be able to work your financial links to get the capital you need. Without capital, your business suffers, your plans suffer and you may find yourself stagnant.
Dangote understands the importance of having access to capital.
“It’s so important to have capital. At that point, we had about $2 billion in debt from expanding so quickly, so we had to scale back. But if I had more capital [in hand] in 2008, I could have bought so many things – homes, airplanes, land – so cheaply.” He told Time magazine.
Being a big player in Africa can be difficult without political support and goodwill. This is something Aliko Dangote understands so well. You need to maintain a good relationship with governments and politicians to avoid friction that could slow down business.
This is what most businesses do. It is simply about relationships.
In 2003, Dangote gave over N200 million to the re-election bid of former Nigerian president, Olusegun Obasanjo.
“In Africa, yes, I do think you need politicians. But at the same time, we cannot get things right unless there is good cooperation between the politicians and the businessmen. It’s a win-win. When you look at it today, in Nigeria, more than 85 percent of the GDP is from the private sector.” he said.
One thing that is very consistent with Aliko Dangote is the need to expand his businesses. He is always on the increase, entering new territories and a new line of business.
So far, he has extended his businesses into many African countries including Benin, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, South Africa, Tanzania, Kenya, and Zambia.
He has also stepped into the oil industry with the construction of an $11 billion refinery ongoing in Lagos, Nigeria.
“Let me tell you why we had to go into oil. Our strategy was to be an African company. When you look at the other options, it’s agriculture—and agriculture doesn’t take that much money. We always invest most of our money back into the business, so when we looked at it in 2015 and projected our revenue for the next few years, we looked at what we had left after investing in fertilizer and realized we still had billions of dollars we could put somewhere else. The only place we could invest that much money was in the oil and gas business. So the refinery takes those dollars and allows us to invest in something we are used to, which is industry.”
He has stated of his intention to build 60% of his business outside Africa from 2020.
‘‘We are not doing like other Africans who keep most of their money in the bank. We do not keep money in the bank. We fully invest whatever we have and we keep on investing.’’
Aliko Dangote Companies
Dangote is the Chairman and CEO of Dangote Group. The group has over 30,000 employees.
The Dangote group consists of the following companies and businesses
Dangote Cement Plc
Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc
Dangote Flour Mills Plc
Dangote Pasta Plant Limited
Dangote Agro Sacks Limited
Prayer Mats Production
Dangote Salt Plc
Dangote Foods Limited
Aliko Dangote’s Net worth and properties
Dangote is the richest man in Africa and has been for many years. In 2013, he became the first African entrepreneur to be worth over $20 billion. As of October 2018, he is worth over $11 billion according to Forbes.
Aliko Dangote’s house is a mansion he lives in on Victoria Island of Lagos State in Nigeria. He mentioned he has houses in the United States and of course in Kano.
He has a yacht, private jet, and cars.
Note that Net worth Values are estimates from Multiple Reliable Sources, Some are from their interviews, reliable online portals, Scripts shared online, Friends or even items, can purchase, and more.
The majority do not speak about all their wealth but the more we get to know them, the more we need to know hence we explore.