…A business mogul with passion for jobs creation
Alhaji Aliko Dangote, a northerner, precisely from Kano State, was born on April 10, 1957 into a wealthy Muslim family. Aliko Dangote is the founder and president/chief executive of the Dangote Group, the largest conglomerate in West Africa.
His eyes for business started right from when he was young as he recalled: “I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets (sugar boxes) and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time.”
He studied business from the Al Azhar University, Cairo in Egypt and thereafter returned to Nigeria to work with his uncle, Sanusi Abdulkadir Dantata. His uncle later provided him a loan of ₦500,000 when he was just 21 years old to start a business.
The Dangote Group, which started as a small trading firm, was established in 1977. Today, it is a multi-trillion naira conglomerate with many of its operations in Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, and Togo.
At present, Dangote has enlarged his line of businesses to also cover food processing, cement manufacturing and freight. The Dangote Group also dominates the sugar market in Nigeria and is a major sugar supplier to the country’s soft drink companies, breweries, and confectioners.
The Dangote Group has also moved from being a trading company to being the largest industrial group in Nigeria and these include: Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Cement, and Dangote Flour just to mention but a few.
In July 2012, Dangote approached the Nigerian Ports Authority with the idea of leasing an abandoned piece of land at the Apapa Port, which was welcomed and approved.
He later went to build facilities for his flour company there. So also in the 90’s, 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 which was also approved.
In Nigeria as of today, Dangote Group with its dominance in the sugar market and Sugar Refinery is the main supplier (70% of the market) to the country’s soft drinks companies, breweries and confectioners. It is indeed, the largest refinery in Africa and the third largest in the world producing 800,000 tonnes of sugar annually.
Apart from these, Dangote Group owns salt factories and flour mills and also being a major importer of rice, fish, pasta, cement and fertilizer.
It is instructive to note that Dangote Group currently has presence in 17 African countries and is a market leader in cement on the continent.
One of the Group’s subsidiaries, Dangote Cement Plc, is the largest listed company in West Africa and the first Nigerian company to join the Forbes Global 2000 Companies list.
The Group has diversified into other sectors of the Nigerian economy including agriculture and is currently constructing the largest petroleum refinery, petrochemical plant and fertiliser complex in Africa.
Internationally, Dangote sits on the board of the Corporate Council on Africa, and is a member of the Steering Committee of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative, the Clinton Global Initiative, the McKinsey Advisory Council, and the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum.
He was named Co-chair of the US-Africa Business Centre in September 2016 by the US Chamber of Commerce. In April 2017, he joined the Board of Directors of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which is helping countries build the systems necessary to provide health services to their people.
A dedicated philanthropist, Dangote made an initial endowment of $1.25billion to the Dangote Foundation in March 2014, enabling it to scale up its work in health, education and economic empowerment.
In addition, he is collaborating with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fight polio. He is also on the Board of ONE, the anti-poverty group, co-founded by Bono.
In 2013, Forbes listed him as the ‘Most Powerful Man in Africa.’ In April 2014, TIME Magazine listed him among its 100 ‘Most Influential People in the World.’ He also made the list of CNBC’s ‘Top 25 Business men in the World’ that changed and shaped the century.