For many years, Aliko Dangote has constantly and consecutively maintained his position as the richest man in Africa. Born on 10 April 1957 as Alhaji Aliko Dangote, the Nigerian mogul built himself a name of not only being a rich man but a philanthropist too. His story is similar to those of many billionaires around the globe who started small and dreamt big.
Although Aliko Dangote was born into a wealthy family, he was a business-oriented individual from a young age. As a holder of a Bachelor of Arts/Science degree in Business Studies from Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Dangote’s wealth did not happen overnight. Instead, his tenacity and years of work made him who he is today. But while many people know him as Africa’s richest man, there are other interesting facts about him unknown to most people.
How did Aliko Dangote make his money?
Dangote first started making money while he was in his teens. According to the entrepreneur, he would go and buy cartons of sweets while in primary school and sell them to make money. It is from these humble grounds that his interest in business soared. At 21, he borrowed $3,000 from his uncle to import and sell agricultural commodities in Nigeria.
He imported sugar and rice at wholesale prices and sold them in small quantities at a lucrative markup. It is from this venture that he established an empire that is now worth billions of dollars. That is because rather than importing soft commodities, he decided to build a factory that produced them. As a result, he cut down on the middleman significantly and made a lot of money.
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10 interesting facts about Aliko Dangote
Here are 10 facts you probably didn’t know about Aliko Dangote:
1. He is the richest black person in the world
Aliko Dangote has a real-time net worth of $8.7 billion as of April 2020, according to Forbes. On Forbes’ lists, he ranks at number 189 on the world’s billionaires in 2020, number one on Africa’s Billionaires 2020, and number 66 on world’s most influential people.
In 2018, Forbes released a list of World’s Billionaires that comprised of 2,043 individuals. Out of this number, 11 of them were black, and Aliko Dangote was the richest black man in the world on the list.
2. He is the President of the largest foundation in Africa
Aliko Dangote is the President of The Dangote Foundation. It is the Corporate Social Responsibility branch of the Dangote Group. Per Forbes, the foundation has an endowment of $1.25 billion. Since its establishment, it has donated more than $100 million to help in various causes.
Today, it primarily focuses on humanitarian relief, arts, and education. His charity organisation is also at the forefront of improving the health and nutrition of Nigerians and Africans in general.
3. He is the founder of the largest cement factory in Sub-Saharan Africa
Aliko Dangote founded Dangote Cement in 1981. It is a subsidiary of Dangote Industries and a fully-fledged integrated manufacturing operation. The company is Africa’s leading producer of cement, with a production capacity of over 45.6 million tonnes of cement per year. This makes it one of the wealthiest businesses on the continent.
Over the years, it has achieved successful market entries in Africa and has operations in 10 African countries. In 2017, the company had revenues of over $2.2 billion, making it the largest cement factory in Sub-Saharan Africa.
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4. He has a goal of buying Arsenal Football Club
As Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote has been on record talking about his desire to purchase the Arsenal Football Club. At first, he had announced he would try to buy the club from the year 2020, regardless of whether somebody else comes in and purchases it.
But the philanthropic entrepreneur confirmed he postponed the plans until 2021. Nevertheless, Arsenal FC is a team he would like to buy someday. Based on Forbes’ Soccer Team Valuations, Arsenal’s team value is $2.268 billion. If he actualizes his dream, he might be one of the richest football club owners ever.
5. He credits his success to his maternal grandfather
Aliko Dangote credits his success to his grandfather, Sanusi Dantata. Many reports suggest he was once a wealthy person in the area of Kano. His grandfather made his money selling commodities that Dangote is currently trading, including rice and oats.
In 1965, his grandfather became his guardian following the death of his father. It is from spending his childhood with his granddad that he developed an interest in business, even while in primary school.
6. He does not keep all his profits in a bank
Since he established his businesses, Dangote reinvests the majority of profits back into his companies. It is one of the reasons why The Dangote Group has grown immensely in Africa.
According to the mogul, his company’s approach is unlike others owned by Africans where they keep their money in the bank. Instead, he invests whatever he has and continues investing. In an interview by Bloomberg in 2017, he hinted about investing $50 billion in the US and Europe by 2025.
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7. He portfolio does not include investing in technology or telecommunications
While many billionaires like Mike Adenuga, Bill Gates, Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Page, Jack Ma, and Sergey Brin made their money from technology, investing in it has not been part of Dangote’s portfolio.
He considers the telecommunications market tough because many players have already established base. Instead, he plans to continue investing in cement production, oil refining, renewable energy, petrochemicals, food security, and potentially buy Arsenal Football Club.
8. His net worth has dropped significantly since 2014
Aliko Dangote’s net worth has dropped significantly since March 2014. During that time, Forbes put his net worth at $25 billion. In December of 2014, Aliko Dangote net worth fell further by $7.8 billion after the Central Bank of Nigeria devalued the country’s currency by almost 10%.
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By March 2015, he had a net worth of $14.7 billion. His net worth by March 2019 was $10.4 billion. Despite losing a lot, he has been Africa’s richest man for nine consecutive years.
9. He has been Africa’s most powerful man for six consecutive years
Aliko Dangote has appeared on Forbes’ list of World's Most Powerful People in Africa for six consecutive years. The publication listed him in 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, and 2018. Forbes uses a methodology whereby it measures an individual’s power along the dimensions of power over millions of people, the financial resources they control, their power over multiple spheres, and how the person uses their power. Dangote ranks higher because he is a billionaire and a renowned philanthropist.
10. He is a recipient of top global awards
Dangote has won several awards throughout his lifetime. He is a recipient of the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) awarded by President Goodluck Jonathan. It is the second-highest honour in Nigeria. In 2015, he won The Guardian Man of the Year. The mogul also won the 2016 African Business Leader Award awarded by Africa-America Institute (AAI).
What was Dangote first business?
His first business was the importation of soft commodities. He imported rice from Thailand and sugar from Brazil at wholesale prices. Dangote then sold them to villagers in small quantities at a profitable value.
What number is Dangote in World Richest list?
Aliko Dangote ranks at number 189 on Forbes’ list of World’s Real-Time Billionaires. It is a position that keeps on changing every five minutes when respective stock exchanges or stock markets open. His rank also changes because a majority of his wealth is not tied to private companies. In 2019, the Bloomberg Billionaires Index ranked him at number 96 on the list of wealthiest people in the world.
Aliko Dangote is a Nigerian businessman and renowned philanthropist. He is Africa’s richest man with a real-time net worth of $8.7 billion as of April 2020. As a philanthropist, he is the Founder and President of Africa’s largest charity organisation, The Dangote Foundation, with an endowment of $1.25 billion.
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