Aliko Dangote, Africa’s Greatest Entrepreneur

It was not a surprise that Alhaji Aliko Dangote, a foremost entrepreneur and president of Dangote Group, Aliko Dangote, was recently named along other world leaders such as Russian President Vladimir Putin, American President-elect, Donald Trump and German Chancellor, Angela Merkel as the most powerful persons in the world.

All the years of entrepreneurial activities and smart business investments have earned Dangote the title. Forbes magazine lists Aliko Dangote as the 68th most powerful person in the world. His net worth as of November, 2016 according to Forbes is $11.9 billion.

Dangote has become without any doubt Africa’s leading industrialist and entrepreneur. His success proclaims the new Nigeria of today and tomorrow. It shows that behind all the brouhaha, Nigerians are beginning to take their rightful place as Africa’s leading entrepreneurs; thereby proclaiming Nigeria itself as a major frontier market in international relations.


For the records, Dangote Group is the biggest quoted and most diversified business conglomerates in Africa. Four of Dangote’s companies listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE) had a market capitalisation of N3.832 trillion. This value is about 43 per cent of N9.113 trillion, which was the total capitalisation of the equities listed on the Nigerian bourse as at December 23, 2016.


The companies include: Dangote Cement Plc, Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc, NASCON Allied Industries Plc and Tiger Branded Consumers Goods Plc. With a value of N3.832 trillion, Dagote controls 43 per cent of the market, while the over 180 companies control the remaining 57 per cent.

Through 38 years of unrelenting hard work, dogged determination and unwavering passion, Dangote Group which started in 1977 as a small trading firm is today, a large conglomerate which operates in Nigeria and some other African countries like; Benin, Ethiopia, Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, Togo, Tanzania, and Zambia. Today, Dangote, Sugar Refinery, producing 800,000 tonnes of sugar annually, is the major supplier of sugar to Nigeria’s soft drink companies and breweries. Because Dangote has the knack for recognising and making the most of opportunities, he has expanded his business into exportation of cotton, cashew nuts, cocoa, sesame seed and ginger to several countries in addition to having investments in real estate, banking, transport, textiles and telecommunications. As shrewd business man who is equally passionate about the development of his country, Dangote diversified into telecommunications by building 14,000 kilometres of fibre optic cables to supply the whole of Nigeria.

In addition, he purchased an oil refinery in Lagos which is scheduled to be commissioned in 2017. With the oil plant which is expected to produce half a million barrels of oil a day, the business mogul hopes to reduce the country’s dependence on international oil and gas suppliers.

At the moment, Dangote has expanded his line of business into food processing and freight. Still expanding the frontiers of the business empire into other African countries, the salt, sugar and flour manufacturing companies under Dangote Group are currently active in 15 other African countries.

In 2015, Dangote Cement launched new plants in Cameroon, Ethiopia, Zambia and Tanzania. The company produces more than 30 million metric tons annually, and plans to double its capacity by 2018. As a major employer of labour in the country, Dangote Group has staff strength of 12,000 which is expected to rise to 22,000 upon the completion of on-going projects.

Speaking on the Forbes award, Bloomberg said, those on the list build companies and assemble fortunes. They run banks, or hope to disrupt them. They shape economies and spread ideas. They manage money and wield the clout that goes with the billions of dollars they invest.

The Bloomberg noted that, “Aliko Dangote, Founder, Dangote Group, Africa’s most successful businessman, built his fortune in sugar, textiles, and cement in his native Nigeria, where today, he is a political as well as a financial power broker. He is expanding in other countries and may list his cement company in London Stock Market.”

A piece written by Paul Wallace, a reporter with the media outfit, said: “Dangote is fetes like royalty. He has businesses ranging from cement to sugar to energy in a dozen sub-Saharan countries. He’s a fixture at elite gatherings such as the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland.

No African has ridden the continent’s halting march out of poverty toward potential prosperity as spectacularly as its richest person, the Nigerian industrialist Aliko Dangote.

Also, another list compiled by business news network CNBC, which highlights those who, have disrupted industries, sparked change and exercised an influence far beyond their own companies, listed Dangote among 24 others.

“As CNBC embarks on its second quarter-century, it faces a world completely altered from when it started. The 25 men and women listed [here], from different parts of the world and across different industries, have, for better or worse, been the rebels, icons and leaders in the vanguard of that change,” it said.

“Aliko Dangote, Africa’s richest person, built his fortune in two distinct phases, riding the changes that led to Nigeria becoming the continent’s largest economy,” CNBC said.

“Expanding his empire from his native country to West Africa, and then across sub-Saharan Africa from Ethiopia to South Africa, Dangote showed that it was possible to create wealth in the region by means other than tapping the continent’s abundant natural resources.”

The business news network added that Dangote’s proposed building of an oil refinery is typical of his vision and will allow him to move into producing fertiliser and polypropylene as well.

“Dangote’s model was straightforward from the get-go: to dominate sectors protected from new entrants, and to use scale and his trucking and distribution system to drive prices down to levels that let him crush domestic rivals. He has pursued success with single-minded focus, and has many critics,” said CNBC.

Dangote recently said, “I built a conglomerate and emerged the richest black man in the world in 2008 but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me 30 years to get to where I am today. Youths of nowadays aspire to be like me but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.”

There is no gainsaying the fact that Dangote is building businesses that would survive him and laying a solid foundation of a business conglomerate that would be bigger than the economy of some countries in the nearest future.


Original article can be found here.