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Aliko Dangote: Richest blackman under the sun, what makes him different?

I assume none of you reading this article is alien to the name ‘Aliko Dangote’. However, you may be inquisitive about certain aspect of his life that have made him standout in Nigeria, Africa and the World in general. Strap up, and enjoy a flash of who Aliko Dangote is.

Do you want to know what it feels like to be named the richest man in Africa, eleven consecutive times? Ask Aliko Dangote. With an estimated networth of around $13 billion, he has been the richest man in Africa more times than the total number of your fingers.

Aliko Dangote was born in Kano state, Nigeria in 1957. The famous wealthy business mogul has affiliations with SanusiDantata who happens to be his grandfather. Dangote’s  mother is Mariya Sanusi Dantata. Eureka right?

Although Aliko Dangote has publicly asserted that he built his empire from zero to where it currently is singlehandedly. By implication, he did not receive any sort of leverage from his family to propel his business exploits thus far. How true is this?

Dangote obtained his primary education at the Sheikh Ali Kumasi Madrasa before proceeding to Capital High School in Kano. He graduated from Al-Azhar University at age 21, of course it is a prestigious university. He began his journey into entrepreneurship by starting his trading firm in 1977 although small, it was the genesis of a journey of no return. ‘The journey of a thousand mile starts with just a step’ may be true afterall.Dangote currently has one wife having married and divorced twice.

Interestingly, Dangote’s launch into his trading business was with a loan which he obtained from his uncle. ‘ Borrowingmoney may not be a bad idea perhaps’. Before you Jet off and begin borrowing money from all corners, and probably getting locked up, Dangote paid back his loan 3 months after he obtained it.

Furthermore, he continued doing business around the country as she transformed and pivoted the business into the company ‘Dangote Group’ as we now know it, in 1981. Dangote began to diversify into other kinds of business and operations; sugar, flour, rice etc. Dangote expanded by adding sugar, salt refineries as well as a pasta factory in 1999 to his conglomerate.

With his ability to identify money making opportunities and interpret national economy, his timely venture into manufacturing, packaging and processing, positioned him to satisfy the demands of the then fast booming Nigeria and its population.

I watched from my screen, Dangote mention that his great-grandfather was a trader who carved a niche for himself selling Kolanut. Interestingly, Dangote was raised by grandfather due to the prevalence of the culture and tradition in that era.

Dangote’s conglomerate enjoys the lion share of its revenue from ‘Dangote Cement’. It should amuse you to know that he owns 85% of his conglomerate. Forbes magazine asserts that the subsidiary produces 45 million metric tons of cement annually.

How rich is Aiko? The mogul owns the world’s third-largest sugar refinery . It was reported in 2021 that Dangote Cement Group reported quarterly revenue that ‘Danced’ around 332.7 billion Naira. Haha, I am sure you would not want to know the US Dollar equivalent, would you? Anyway, $808.5 million is the figure.

He is not just a serial entrepreneur and investor, Dangotefounded his private charity organization in 1994. The AlikoDangote Foundation (ADF) is poised at making the lives of the less privileged more enjoyable across Africa by supporting them with quality food, education and health.

Although Dangote’s fortune emanates from Dangote cement, he started by selling and importing agricultural produce before venturing into consumer goods and manufacturing.

From all indications, we can see that Dangote was born into a family of wealth and affluence, but here is the big question. How true was his statement ‘ I built everything by myself, I did not receive any help from my Family’ ? Is Dangote’s story a rags-to-riches example? Is anyone coming close to dethroning him from ‘Richest man in Africa’ high horse?


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