Aliko Dangote went from being a regular businessman in Nigeria to become a globally acclaimed business magnate with an estimated $11.5 billion net worth (2021). There is, therefore, no gainsaying that the Dangote brand is a household name in Nigeria and several other African countries.
Although a huge chunk of his wealth comes from his cement business in Africa, decades of tremendous growth and success have seen the business magnate spread his tentacles into various business ventures across the sectors in the economy. The widely acclaimed businessman would also go on to launch the Dangote Group – a conglomerate of several business subsidiaries.
How Aliko Dangote Became the Richest Person in Africa
According to Forbes, Aliko Dangote is the 191st richest man in the world with an estimated net worth of $11.5 billion as of 2021. However, the billionaire businessman had recorded a net worth of up to $25 billion in 2014. This means that his net worth has declined over the years to its present state. According to analysts, the main reason for this was a drop in the share price of Dangote Sugar Refinery and Dangote Cement.
With regards to Dangote Cement, its share price dropped from N244.9 to N215 while Dangote Sugar Refinery saw its share price drop from N17.60 to N17. Regardless, Dangote Group had an impressive run in the first quarter of 2021 considering the fact that its founder’s net worth in 2020 was estimated to be $8.3 billion.
More so, with his current net worth of $11.5 billion, Aliko Dangote is the richest black man alive. It’s also interesting to know that the award-winning business magnate has held the number one spot of the richest black man in the world for ten consecutive years.
Dangote’s Journey Into The World of Business
Dangote’s success story is not a rags-to-riches story as he was born into a relatively wealthy family. His early years were spent in his predominantly entrepreneurial and upper-class household. His great-grandfather – Alhaji Alhassan Dantata – was an affluent businessman in Kano and prior to his death in 1955, was the richest man in West Africa. Aliko’s maternal grandfather – Sanusi Dantata – is also a renowned personality in Nigeria as he one of the wealthiest men in Kano during his lifetime. Dantata worked as a director in Shell B.P. Nigeria before he went on to start Sanusi Dantata and Sons Limited. He further made a fortune selling food commodities like rice and oats.
Sanusi Dantata later became Aliko Dangote’s guardian following the death of his father in 1965. According to Aliko, he got introduced to the world of business by his maternal grandfather in the 60s when he was still enrolled in elementary school. As of then, the young man will buy candy in bulk and resell it to his classmates for profit. Dangote then got admitted into the Al-Azhar University in Egypt to study Business Studies and Administration.
Upon his return to Nigeria, one of his rich uncles lobbied for a lucrative government contract to produce cement. His uncle also lent him a substantial loan of $3,000 to start a small importation business. The renowned Dangote Group was then founded by its patriarch in 1977 with the aim of importing agricultural commodities like sugar, rice, flour, and salt from international suppliers at wholesale prices and sell in Nigerian markets. Fortunately, the business scaled quickly and within 3 months, Aliko was able to pay off the loan and he would continue his hard work to get to where he is today.
Subsidiaries Under The Dangote Group
Dangote Group, which started out as a small trading company, has gone on to become the largest private employer of labor in Nigeria. What is more is that Dangote Group is one of the largest conglomerates in Africa as it employs well over 11,000 people. To further support its tremendous success over the years, the group posted a market capitalization of $15.5 billion in 2016.
Asides from Nigeria, Dangote Group has holdings in 18 African countries, including Togo, Ghana, Benin, Sudan, and Zambia. They have helped create thousands of jobs and economic value across a wide range of industries. Some of the prominent subsidiaries in the group include:
1. Dangote Cement PLC
Aliko Dangote, through his holding company, holds vast interests in many industries ranging from manufacturing to oil and gas. Regardless, Dangote Cement accounts for a significant portion of the conglomerate’s revenue and Aliko Dangote owes much of his wealth to the huge success recorded by Dangote Cement.
In 1997, the federal government of Nigeria awarded Dangote a state-owned cement company. Several years later in 2005, he scaled the company by building a world-class state-of-the-art cement manufacturing plant. The cement company now has operations across several African nations and an annual production rate of 45.6 million metric tons which invariably makes it the largest cement producer in Africa.
Back in November 2020, Dangote Cement posted quarterly revenue of approximately $720 million, which is equivalent to N284.6 billion. In 2020, the company became the second listed company in Nigerian history to reach the N1 trillion revenue mark. In that same year, the board of the cement company approved up to N272 billion dividend payout to its shareholders at N16 per share.
2. Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC.
Contrary to popular opinion, Dangote Cement is just one of several business ventures under the Dangote Group. The manufacturing division alone of the conglomerate includes Dangote Cement PLC., Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC., Dangote Flour Mills PLC., and National Salt Company of Nigeria PLC. All of these companies have since been separated into publicly-traded entities and all of the publicly listed subsidiaries of the Dangote Group constitute a quarter of the total market capitalization of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
With regards to the Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC, it is reputed to be the largest sugar refinery in Africa and third-largest globally. The refinery produces over 800,000 tons of sugar annually. This figure accounts for about 70% of the entire market, making them one of the key players in the industry. More so, Dangote Group through its Sugar Refinery supplies sugar to several notable carbonated drink companies, confectioneries, and breweries. As of the first quarter in 2021, the refinery recorded a profit of N11.95 billion.
3. Dangote Flour
As already mentioned, the Dangote Group also comprises Dangote Flour which has been doing very well in the food industry. As of July 2012, the Nigerian Ports Authority granted Dangote leave to build his flour company on an abandoned piece of land at the Apapa port, Lagos, Nigeria.
4. Dangote Fertilizer Plant
The billionaire business magnate owns a $2.5 billion granulated fertilizer plant in Lagos, Nigeria. Situated in the Lekki Free Trade Zone (LFTZ) axis of the state, a production test run was successfully carried out at the plant which is now running in full capacity.
5. Dangote Refinery and Petrochemical Complex
The refinery project officially began in 2016 in Lagos, Nigeria. Upon completion, Dangote Refineries will become one of the largest oil refineries in the world. The Chief Operations Officer of Dangote Refinery Company – Giuseppe Surrace – has also revealed that the refinery is almost ready for operation save for a few equipment installations. According to projections, the refinery is expected to commence operation before the end of 2021.
The completed Dangote Refinery and Petrochemicals complex will house one of the world’s largest oil refineries and petrochemical plants. The refinery has a projected capacity of 650,000 barrels of oil per day and with this, the refinery is expected to reduce Nigeria’s dependency on the importation of oil and gas products.
Other Business Ventures
Dangote Group, under the able leadership of Aliko Dangote, has also made a significant amount of investment in sectors such as banking, real estate, steel, oil and gas, textile, telecommunications, and transport.
Sometime in the 90s, Nigeria’s Central Bank contracted Dangote’s transport company to help manage its fleet of staff buses. Dangote Group has further invested in the telecommunications industry as it has 14,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables underworks. This landmark project is expected to serve the whole of Nigeria. The group also has stakes in United Bank for Africa and Nascon Allied Industries. The latter operates several businesses across food manufacturing, oil, fertilizer, and other industries.
In addition to the above, the Dangote Group has interests in salt manufacturing and food processing. Moreover, they are reputed to be one of the major importers of rice, fish, and fertilizer. They also export food commodities like ginger, sesame seeds, cocoa, cashew nuts, and cotton. Furthermore, Dangote Group is the manufacturer of the popular Dangote pasta and spaghetti products.
Proposed Arsenal Takeover
Aliko Dangote has never shied away from expressing his desire to own the English Premier League team, Arsenal Football Club. Reports have it that he has been planning a takeover for some years now. So you know, the notable businessman is an avid supporter of the North London club.
In 2011, Dangote came so close to buying Lady Nina Bracewell-Smith’s 15.9% stake at Arsenal. However, the Nigerian businessman reneged on the deal to aggressively pursue his oil refinery venture. Regardless, Dangote has continued to reaffirm his desire to buy Arsenal. According to the business tycoon, he would only hold takeover talks with the current owner once he has completed his unfinished projects.
Aliko Dangote Gives Back To The Society Through The Aliko Dangote Foundation
Aliko Dangote is a well-known philanthropist famed for his numerous humanitarian deeds. He founded the renowned Aliko Dangote Foundation (ADF) in 1994 with a focus on adding value to the lives of Africans by supporting education, health, and economic empowerment causes. As of now, the foundation is reportedly the second-largest privately owned foundation in sub-Saharan Africa.
More so, Dangote sits on several boards and committees, including the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative Steering Committee, Corporate Council on Africa, and Private Sector Health Alliance of Nigeria. Aliko Dangote is also a member of the prestigious World Economic Forum, Gordon Brown-led Global Business Coalition for Education, and the Clinton Global Initiative. In 2014, he was named Forbes Africa person of the year in recognition of his unwavering commitment to investing in Africa.
Dangote Championed The Goal To Eradicate Polio & Ebola In Nigeria
In 2013, ADF partnered with the globally renowned Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to eradicate polio in Nigeria. In August 2020, the World Health Organization officially certified Nigeria free of wild polio, thanks to collaborative efforts and similar initiatives. More so, Dangote, through the Aliko Dangote Foundation, pledged a whopping $100 million partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to combat malnutrition in Nigeria.
Following the outbreak of the Ebola virus in 2014, Dangote donated $75,000 to the Nigerian government to help stop the spread of the Ebola virus. Additionally, Dangote Group donated $3 million to the African Union Enola Trust Fund, making it the biggest private contributor. During that same period, the billionaire businessman pledged a substantial sum of $1.25 billion as an endowment fund for Aliko Dangote Foundation to enable the establishment to take on more philanthropic activities alongside other notable foundations and humanitarian networks all over the world.
Similarly, in 2020, during the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic, Dangote Group was at the forefront of the fight to curb the spread. The group donated over N200 million in cash and equipment to the Nigerian government.
He Supports Several Political Agendas
As with most businessmen across the globe, Aliko Dangote has been actively involved in politics. In 2003, reports have it that the cement tycoon donated over $2 million to then-President Olusegun Obasanjo’s reelection bid. However, Dangote has never publicly sided with any political party to give himself room for maneuvering. The same way he donated to members of the Peoples’ Democratic Party (PDP), he equally funded campaigns for members of the All Progressive Congress (APC). These donations have sparked a lot of concerns among well-meaning Nigerians who claim these donations are more or less done to curry political favor.
It is also known that Aliko Dangote made a significant donation to the Federal Ministry of Sport in Nigeria to renovate the dilapidated national stadium in Abuja and to show appreciation for his unwavering support to Nigeria as a whole, the former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Ebele Jonathan, conferred on Aliko Dangote the national award of Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) in Nigeria – one of the highest recognitions given to Nigerians.