Aliko Dangote is the richest man in Africa with a net worth of $14 billion. He’s $3 billion richer than Africa’s second-wealthiest individual, Johann Rupert of South Africa. Dangote is the founder, owner, chairman, and CEO of Dangote Group, an industrial conglomerate that manufactures cement, sugar, salt, and flour and has interests in the oil and gas industries.
Dangote joined the billionaires club in 2008 after accumulating a net worth of $3.3 billion and has been the richest man in Africa since then. He’s ranked the 130th richest person in the world as of now. Last year he was the 191st world’s wealthiest individual. Dangote is the richest of the 12 black billionaires in the world.
This is how the billionaire’s wealth has changed over time.
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For six successive years, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018 Forbes named Dangote the most powerful man in Africa. In 2014, Time magazine ranked him among the 100 most powerful people in the world. Bloomberg Markets listed the billionaire among the 50 most influential persons in the world in 2015. In 2016 Dangote won the 2016 African Business Leader Award from the Africa-America Institute (AAI). Aliko Dangote, Mike Adenuga, and Abdulsamad Rabiu are the only billionaires from Nigeria.
Aliko Dangote was born in Kano, Kano state, Nigeria into a rich Hausa family. He’s the great-grandson of Alhassan Dantata, the wealthiest person in West Africa in the 1950s. The billionaire attended Capital High School in Kano and later joined Al-Azhar University in Cairo where he graduated with a bachelor’s degree in business studies and administration.
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Dangote Group is one of the largest industrial conglomerates in Africa. The company has more than 30,000 employees with more than $4.1 billion in annual revenues. One of its subsidiaries, Dangote Cement is the second-most valuable company in Nigeria and Africa’s 20th most valuable corporation with a market cap of $8.95 billion. The billionaire has an 86% stake in the cement manufacturing company. According to Forbes, Dangote Cement reported sales of about $2.5 billion in 2019. The billionaire pocketed $650 million in dividends that year.
After graduating from Al-Azhar University in 1977, Aliko Dangote returned to Nigeria and with a $3,000 loan from his uncle, he started a small trading company that imported sugar, cement, and rice for distribution in the Nigerian market. Within just three months into the business, Dangote was able to repay his uncle’s loan. After a decade, the company shifted its focus to manufacturing for import substitution. It began salt processing, sugar refining, and flour milling operations in the 1990s.
Today the group owns and operates more than 16 subsidiaries which include:
Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, which according to African Business magazine is the 15th most valuable company in Nigeria with a market cap of $504 million. The company is also ranked #157 on the list of Africa’s most valuable companies.
It’s the main supplier of sugar in Nigeria, accounting for about 70% of the sugar used by breweries, soft drinks companies, and confectioners in the country. Dangote Sugar is the largest sugar refinery in Africa and the 3rd largest in the world producing more than 800,000 tons of sugar every year. The company intends to produce about 1.5 million tons of refined sugar annually from locally grown sugarcane within the next 10 years.
Dangote Group’s other major subsidiary is Dangote Cement which is the leading cement manufacturer in Africa with a production capacity of 48.6 million tons every year. The company has cement manufacturing plants in 10 African countries including Nigeria, South Africa, Senegal, Cameroon, Ethiopia, Tanzania, Zambia, Sierra Leone, and Ghana.
Another subsidiary of Dangote Group is the National Salt Company (NASCON), a leading salt manufacturer in Nigeria. The company has also diversified and produces other products such as Vegetable oils, tomato paste, and seasoning and has production facilities in the Nigerian states of Lagos, Ogun, and Rivers.
Dangote Group is constructing a petroleum refinery, Dangote Oil Refinery in Lekki, Nigeria that will have the capacity of producing 650,000 barrels of oil per day. After its completion, the company will be the largest oil refinery in Africa and the biggest single-train facility in the world.
Other subsidiaries of Dangote Group include Dangote Flour Mills Plc which produces wheat products for the Nigerian market, Dangote Noodles Limited which makes Noodles, Green View Development Nigeria Ltd, which has port operations in Lagos as well as Dangote Transportation, a logistics company.
This year, the billionaire invested $2.5 billion to set up a fertilizer processing plant, Dangote Fertilizer in Lagos, Nigeria. According to CNN Business, the fertilizer plant has the capacity to produce 3 million metric tons of urea every year and sits on 1,235 acres of land. Dangote also owns MHF Properties, a property development company, which owns properties such as the Rahma Graden, Timer Tower, Lima Place, and Mariya Court in Lagos.
In February 2022, the billionaire set up a Peugeot assembling factory, Dangote Peugeot Automobiles Nigeria Limited (DPAN), in Kaduna, Nigeria — in collaboration with Peugeot’s parent company Stellantis Group. The company began with the assembling of Peugeot models 508, 301, 3008, 5008, and Land Trek.
How does the richest man in Africa spend his billions?
Apart from investments, the billionaire owns a $43 million luxury yacht known as Mariya, which he bought in 2013. In 2010 he acquired a bombardier global express private jet as a gift for his 53rd birthday. The business jet which can carry up to eight passengers cost the billionaire $54 million. In 2018 Dangote held a lavish wedding reception for his daughter Fatima and her husband Jamil Abubakar. The reception was hosted at the Eco Hotel, Nigeria, and had Bill Gates in attendance.
Dangote owns a $30 million mansion in Abuja, Nigeria which is his main residence. His car collection includes a Bentley Mulsanne which costs about $450,000, a customized Mercedes-Benz Maybach 57s which goes for about $1.7 million, as well as a $2 million Bugatti Veyron which can go from 0 to 60 in 1.8 seconds.
In 2014, Dangote donated about $750,000 to the Nigerian government to control the spread of Ebola. In March 2020 he gave away $500,000 to help in the fight against the Covid-19 pandemic in Nigeria. The billionaire owns and runs the Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF), a private charitable organization which focuses on issues such as health, education, humanitarian relief and empowerment.
The foundation has donated $2.4 million to universities in Nigeria including $1 million for the development of a business school in Bayero University. In 2010 the foundation donated $2 million to the World Food Programme to help Pakistani nationals affected by floods.
Aliko Dangote has three children from his past two marriages, Mariya, Halima, and Fatimah. Halima Dangote, his second daughter is the executive director, commercial operations of Dangote Group.
Aliko Dangote is the richest man in Africa. Even with such a huge fortune, the billionaire shows no signs of slowing down. He’s setting up an oil refinery in Nigeria and just recently, he completed the construction of a fertilizer plant in the country. These new companies will definitely increase his wealth. Finally here are a few quotes by Aliko Dangote.
- “The most dangerous thing for an entrepreneur to do is to actually go into a business that he does not understand fully.”
- “I always tried to move up the food chain. I started with cement and then moved into textiles and banking. When I was trading sugar, I added salt and flour so that then we could do pasta. And then I thought, why not make the bag for it, too? So, we started making packaging.”
- “I always make sure I hire people smarter than me.”
- “If I had challenges in my company, I would not hesitate to sell assets to remain afloat, to get to the better times, because it doesn’t make any sense for me to keep any assets and then suffocate the whole organization.”
- “What I always say is that money doesn’t have color. It doesn’t matter whether you are from Africa or anywhere in the world. The color of money is the same.”