Meet Aliko Dangote, the Nigerian Billionaire

Who is Aliko Dangote?

Aliko Dangote is the founder of Dangote Group that was founded in 1981. This entrepreneur is the President and Chief Executive Officer of Dangote Cement, Dangote Flour and Dangote Sugar. He is a successful entrepreneur and among the Nigerian billionaires. In fact, Aliko Dangote is the richest man in the African continent and the wealthiest black person in the world according to Forbes. His net worth is estimated to be $14.1 billion. Most of his wealth comes from the majority stakes of about 85% of Dangote Cement. This 61-year-old business tycoon credits his entrepreneurial nature to his grandfather who instilled a business mindset in him. His grandfather Sanusi Dantata became his guardian in 1965 after the passing on of his father. This was the beginning of his business-minded lifestyle. At a tender age of 8 years, he would buy sweets using his allowance the give them out to be sold at a profit. Talking to Forbes in 2015, Dangote said, “When you are raised by an entrepreneurial parent or grandparent, you pick that aspiration. It makes you be much more aggressive -to think that anything is possible.”

Aliko Dangote’s Education and Onset of Business

After an entrepreneurial childhood, Aliko Dangote pursued a business degree at Egypt’s Al-Azhar University. He graduated in 1977 then returned to Nigeria’s wealthiest city, Lagos to further advance his business interests. Lagos is a strategic business hub being a major financial center in the whole of Nigeria. Dangote took a $500,000 loan from his uncle to start a business operation that entailed selling bagged cement, rice, and sugar. He would import soft agricultural products like rice, pasta, and flour, then sell to his village mates. He makes crazy profits of about $10,000 a day. The enterprise was so lucrative that Dangote was able to repay his debt within three months. Such success sparked his ambitions, even more, making him think about bigger investments. Furthermore, in a bid to get more returns,  he thought of cutting out the costs associated with middlemen. This would only be by starting his own manufacturing companies.

The Budding Business Empire

In 1999, Dangote decided to start a cement manufacturing industry, sugar refineries and a flour mill. That is Dangote Cement, Dangote Sugar, and Dangote Flour. His business grew rapidly with the Dangote Sugar gets listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange in 2010. By then the sales had hit $450 million. Dangote Flour also tripled the revenue to $270 million. Dangote Cement also produces an aggregate of 50 million metric tonnes per year supplying to subsaharan Africa to countries like Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Ethiopia, and others. Aliko Dangote plans to ensure that Dangote Cement is listed on the London Stock Exchange in 2020, which will obviously increase the output. Dangote alluded all this success to hard work, innovative minds and thinking big when handling challenges. “Often in Africa, we spend our projected incomes. There are ups and downs in business,” he said. Dangote explained to Al Jazeera Magazine that Dangote Group, his budding business empire reinvests the profits back into the business. “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 is also a major philanthropist who believes in impacting humanity. He once told Forbes, “You’d like to be remembered for things you’ve actually done. We Africans are the only ones who can make Africa great”.

The Bottom Line

Aliko Dangote’s wealthy background shaped him to be what he is today. Despite being well-up, he went an extra mile to make use of that opportunity to advance himself. Were it not for his proactiveness, he could not be a billionaire. Dangote sets an example for all of us to remain ambitious, innovative and big thinkers.


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