President and Chief Executive Officer of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, clocks 59 on April 10, 2016. But the business mogul, contrary to expectations is not wining and dining that day. Rather, he is devoting the day to the groundbreaking ceremony of the 6.0 million metric tons per annum cement plant in Okpela, Edo State with the capacity to provide jobs for thousands.
The President and Chief Executive Officer of the Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, started out selling sweets. Though a tiny boy in primary school then, he was already shrewd enough to exploit the sweet tooth of his colleagues.
“I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time,” he recounted.
Today, a mere five decades plus later, that boy sits atop the biggest conglomerate in West Africa. He is rated the richest man in Africa and 24th in the whole world with a net worth of $17billion. Born into the rich family of Alhaji Mohammed Dangote and his wife, Mariya Sanusi Dantata, he is a great grand nephew of Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, the richest African at the time of his death in 1955.
Born April 10, 1957 in the Zodiac sign of Aries, the phenomenal achievements of Dangote in the business world typifies the enormous physical and mental energy that is the Arien’s birthright. That same day, the Moon and the planet of genius, Uranus, were in the creative sign of Leo. And sharing this sign position with them was Pluto, the planet of power.
The Dangote Group started small in 1977 in Lagos. Today, it is a multi-billion conglomerate with operations in Benin, Ghana, Nigeria, and Togo, Tanzania, Congo, Ethiopia, Zambia, among others. Dangote has expanded to cover food processing, cement manufacturing, and freight. The Dangote Group also dominates the sugar market in Nigeria and is a major supplier to the country’s soft drink companies, breweries, and confectioners.
Most prominent of Dangote’s companies is Dangote Cement, the continent’s largest cement producer. In 2015, Dangote Cement launched new plants in Cameroun, Ethiopia, Zambia and Tanzania. The company produces over 30 million metric tons annually, and plans to double capacity by 2018.
In July 2012, Dangote approached the Nigerian Ports Authority to lease an abandoned piece of land at the Apapa Port, which was approved. He later built facilities for his flour company there. In the 1990s, he approached the Central Bank of Nigeria with the proposal that his transport company took up the management of the bank’s fleet of staff buses. The proposal was also approved.
Today, Dangote Group has the largest sugar refinery in Africa and the third largest in the world, producing 800,000 tonnes of sugar annually. Dangote Group also owns salt factories and is a major importer of rice, fish, pasta, cement and fertiliser. The company also exports cotton, cashew nuts, cocoa, sesame seed and ginger to several countries. It also has major investments in real estate, banking, transport, textiles and oil and gas.
The Dangote Group has a nationwide staff strength of 12,000 but on completion of ongoing projects, it is expected to hit 22,000. Alhaji A truly detribalised Nigerian, Dangote’s Personal Assistant is Yoruba while his Head of Corporate Affairs is a Christian from Delta State. Recently, he and other notable Nigerians announced their intention to float a private sector mega company, Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (TCN), which among other things may acquire government-owned refinery.
A vehicle leasing unit with over 100 fully air-conditioned commuter buses, is also part of the Dangote Group. It is also into real estate with luxury flats and high rise complexes in Ikoyi, Victoria Island, Abuja and Kano. Dangote Foundation is the philanthropic arm of the group where yearly, he spends millions for worthy causes such as contributions to educational and healthcare institutions, sinking of boreholes and giving of scholarships.
Dangote is also into telecommunications and has started building 14,000 kilometres of fibre optic cables to supply the whole of Nigeria. In January 2009, he was honoured as the leading provider of employment in the Nigerian construction industry.
The Nigerian government said Dangote donated N150 million to fight ebola in 2014.
In May 2015, Dangote expressed interest in purchasing the English football team Arsenal. According to him, if he was able to make the purchase, he would fire the club’s manager Arsene Wenger. Fortunately for Wenger Dangote’s bid was unsuccessful.
On 14 November 2011, Dangote was awarded Nigeria’s second highest honour, the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) by the then President, Goodluck Jonathan.
Dangote was named the Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2014. In 2013, Dangote and six other prominent Nigerians were conferred Honorary Citizenship of Arkansas State by Governor Mike Beebe who also proclaimed May 30 of every year as Nigeria Day in the US.
He’s married with three children, zainab, halimat, fatimat and Salma.