“I enjoy myself a lot but I derive more joy in working. I believe in hard work and one of my business success secrets is hard work. I don’t rest until I achieve something.” – Aliko DangoteBusiness tycoon, Nigeria and Africa’s first billionaire, Alhaji Aliko Mohammad Dangote is currently the world’s wealthiest black man. Currently the 23rd richest person in the world, Dangote is the founder, Chairman and CEO of the Dangote Group – the largest industrial conglomerate in West Africa (and one of the largest in Africa) with interests in commodities such as cement, sugar, salt, flour, rice, spaghetti, fabric etc and operations in several countries in Africa, including Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Togo, Ghana, South Africa and Zambia. courtesy: abiyamo Diversification has been a key ingredient in the success of Dangote, as the focuses of his investments have been food, clothing and shelter… and then some. His companies (under the Dangote Group) have grown to dominate the Nigerian economy in a large number of sectors, like sugar – where he is the major supplier (70% of the market) to the country's soft drink companies, breweries, and confectioners (candy/sweets) with the Dangote Sugar Refinery, the largest of its kind in Africa and third largest in the world. The ‘Golden Child’ of Nigerian business was born 10th, April 1957 in Kano State (northern Nigeria) into a wealthy Muslim family. He studied business at the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. Upon the completion of his studies, he returned to Nigeria when he ventured into business in 1977 at the age of 21 years, starting with a capital (N500,000) loaned to him by his grandfather, Alhaji Sanusi Dantata. He was involved in trading in local commodities and building materials. Around June 1977, he moved into Lagos and continued his trade in cement and commodities. After his business began to experience tremendous success and increase, he was encouraged to incorporate two companies in 1981. Today, the Dangote brand has grown into other sectors of the economy as well - exporting, importing, manufacturing, real-estate, philanthropy etc. His company, Dangote Textile (and the Nigeria Textiles Mills Plc, which it acquired), with a ginnery in Katsina State, produces 120,000 meters of finished textiles daily. courtesy: erp-dca Sugar refineries in Lagos and Jigawa State add up to produce 800,000 tonnes of refined sugar annually. With a significant investment in the National Salt Company of Nigeria at Ogun State, the group has salt factories at Apapa (Lagos) and Calabar (Cross River); a bagging factory which produces the essential packaging for its products and over 600 trucks for effective distribution network. The Dangote Group is also dominating in the production of cement (Dangote Cement, which Forbes Africa named in 2012 one of the top 5 listed companies in West Africa) with an $800 million cement factory at Obajana, Kogi State (the largest in sub-Saharan Africa) and a $1 billion cement plant at Ibese, Ogun State. courtesy: forbes africa A major importer of rice, fish, pasta, cement and fertilizer, the company imports 200,000 metric tonnes of rice annually and also imports fish with three chartered big fishing trawlers with a 5,000 MT capacity. The group exports cotton, cocoa, cashew nuts, sesame seed and ginger to several countries globally. In telecommunications, the building of 14,000 kilometres of fibre optic cables to supply Nigeria has commenced. And in transportation, is a vehicle leasing unit with over 100 fully air-conditioned commuter buses. In the 1990s, his transport company was approved to manage the Central Bank of Nigeria’s fleet of staff buses. The real estate arm boasts of luxury flats and high rise complexes in high-class environments such as Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Abuja and Kano. The Dangote Foundation, set up 20 years ago, is the philanthropic arm of the group who yearly spends millions for worthy causes such as contributions to education, health care and youth empowerment across the world. The Foundation disburses small grants usually within the range of $50 – $80 to very poor rural women and youths who want to start small businesses. The Foundation also funds the construction of University libraries and hospitals across Nigeria. Dangote recently announced on 4th March, 2014, that he would be donating N200 billion ($1.25 billion) to the foundation. With a nationwide staff strength of 12,000, the Dangote Group which comprises of more than 18 different subsidiary companies employs over 21,000 people across Africa. Dangote, who has been married to 4 women and is father to 16 children, ousted Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi in 2013 by over $2.6 billion to become the world’s richest black man, and he was recently ranked by Forbes Magazine as the 23rd richest person in the world.
Written By: Olusola Agbaje