How Aliko Dangote Became The Richest Person In Africa

How Aliko Dangote Became The Richest Person In Africa
How Aliko Dangote Became The Richest Person In Africa

A few billionaires walk the earth. But what gets even more exciting, is whenever the world hears of African billionaires. With a majority of the world’s view about Africa being portrayed as a continent majorly filled with small huts, farmers, and every man getting married to multiple women at childhood, many wonder how billionaires are ever forged on the continent.

While the world’s perception about Africa is mostly wrong, the continent is disproving these misguided thoughts by even further producing more dollar billionaires every year.

How then are billionaires formed in a continent where the rest of the world’s view about it is a land mass with hunters, huts, and people struggling to survive? The simple answer: “Anyone who hasn’t been to Africa, knows nothing about Africa”.

This article talks about an interesting fellow that has managed to disturb the thoughts of many who can’t comprehend how wealth creation even happens on the continent, talk-less of self-made billionaires. He’s not just a dollar billionaire, he’s the richest person in Africa, and according to the Forbes billionaire list for the year 2016, he’s richer than Oprah Winfrey, Donald Trump, and Roman Abramovich combined. His name, Aliko Dangote.

See Also: How This African Built A Multi-Million Dollar Business From Solar Energy


Who’s This Aliko Dangote Anyway?

Aliko Dangote is Forbes 2017 richest person in Africa. He’s stipulated to also be the richest black person in the world. He has held this position for over 4 years and counting, and seems to be unstoppable.


So How Did He Start Out?

Aliko Dangote | The Richest Person In Africa
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Aliko Dangote was born in 1957 to a business oriented household in Kano State, Nigeria. Unlike many other self-made billionaires, Aliko Dangote was born with a silver spoon. His grand father, Sanusi Dantata, was one of the wealthiest men in West Africa at the time. He made a bulk of his fortune from groundnuts, oats, and rice.

Following the death of his father, Aliko Dangote’s grandfather took him in and became his defacto guardian. Living with his grand father exposed him to the different rudiments of entrepreneurship. He learnt a lot about marketing, procuring goods, establishing customer relationships, and more. This even prompted him to start selling boxes of sweets (candy bars) in primary school to his classmates as one of his first trials at entrepreneurship.


How Did Aliko Dangote Build His Business Empire?

After his graduation from Al-Azhar University in Egypt, in 1977, Aliko Dangote at age 21, got a loan of 500,000 Naira ($2,500) from his grand father to start a trade in commodities, to be repaid within three years. At that time, 500,000 Naira could buy one hundred Mercedes Benz in Nigeria.

He took this loan, and went over to Lagos, in Nigeria, with an uncle of his. With the business loan he had secured, he started importing rice and sugar from Thailand (rice) and Brazil (sugar) respectively.

As he sold these commodities to the locals, his business growth quickly exploded with extremely high revenues, sometimes reaching net profits of over $10,000 daily, and he returned his grandfather’s loan in 3 months, instead of the agreed 3 years.

See Also: The 5 Powerful Investing Tips That Made Dangote A Billionaire


Progressive Growth

As his conglomerate grew, Aliko Dangote realised that if he was ever to reach a true billionaire status, he’d have to start manufacturing and stop importing commodities. He’d have to fully control the final price, so he could compete effectively, and also comfortably push out competitors in the industries he operated in.

As he took steps towards manufacturing in 1997, he began to produce sugar, flour, and pasta. He was later awarded a cement plant by the federal government, and further built a multi-million dollar cement manufacturing plant in 2005 with $319 million dollars of his own money, and a $479 million dollar loan from the World Bank International Finance Corporation.


How The Empire Was Eventually Established

Aliko Dangote The Richest Person In Africa
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Following the success of all his multiple investments, Aliko Dangote took many of his companies public.

Before this, he stated that his company, The Dangote Group, always reinvested everything it made, back into the business, than storing up money in the bank like many other companies do.

He’s currently building a $9 billion dollar oil and gas refinery in Nigeria, stipulated to be completed between 2018 and 2021, and is also building a multi-million dollar fertilizer processing facility.

Today, The Dangote Group is the largest conglomerate in West Africa.

You can find a list of all The Dangote Group’s investments in this wikipedia article here.

See Also: How This African Made Over A Million Dollars From Needle And Thread


To Sum It Up

Aliko Dangote’s success story is not that of a man who started from a poor or comfortable home and eventually achieved great wealth. His story is that of a child every wealthy parent dreams of. The child who doesn’t need to inherit his/her family’s properties, but one who can turn a loan given to them into a multi-billion dollar empire.

While his story may not be the typical rags to riches type, his success story is definitely an inspiration to anyone that has some start-up capital and hopes to someday become one of the richest people in the world.


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What are your thoughts on Aliko Dangote’s success story? Please let me know by leaving a comment below.


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Stan Edom
Stan Edom
I'm an entrepreneur with expertise in supply chain management, international trade, small business development, e-commerce, internet startups, renewable energy, and agriculture. I'm also a network engineer, I.T security expert, and computer programmer. In my spare time when I'm not working out at the gym, I try to solve problems people face in their everyday lives with whatever means necessary.

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  1. Yes, Aliko Dangote was born with silverspoon. There so many out there who were born millionaires who eventually squandered the riches on extravagance and frivolities.

    We must commend this man for turning things around. He is my mentor, my role model

    • Thank you Emmanuel for the comment.

      Stay focused, work smart, and above all else, don’t give up on your dreams.

      Have a wonderful time!

  2. l am a Tanzanian,but l like this man Aliko as he did not loose a chance from 2500 dollars given by his grandfather.We all enjoy that money as many people have been employed by Aliko’s cement factory at Mtwara in Tanzania.
    l give hi!to Stan Edom to let as know a lot.Thank you very much

  3. He was blessed to have come out of a business oriented family on like some others whose parents will keep beaconing on them to get a job and seek the easy way out. Thats his story, everyone has a unique story to the top. I thank God for him and pray all of us out there will keep the right company and maintain the right attitude that will unable us fulfill our entrepreneurial pursuit.

  4. I was wondering my how did this man became the most successful entrepreneur all over Africa, but thanks for letting me know a story of his success. His my role model and I do admire him and his is still hooking me up to get where he is and even more than there he is,

  5. Yeah Dangote is my self acclaimed mentor,I wish to be like him in the nearest future, because I’m also starting my business with a loan. I pray that the grace upon him for business success will be bestowed upon me.

  6. Am proud although now is not me but our fellow African succsefully billionaire, and I believe the next one is me.

  7. Frankly speaking ,DANGOTE is a man worthy to be inspired by everyone which heard about his greatness ,from his life i confirmed that “youth stage is the junction of decison” the sucess of a man lies in his own hands.i appreciate his groundfather who make DANGOTE ‘s dream come true by giving him loan,from this i understand that “every child with dreams need to have at least a responsble parent because some parents are like stumbling block to their child ‘s dreams.I shall be more than dangote in my time by the grace of GOD in jesus name AMEN.

  8. WOW.. .. I didn’t expect to find such a biography about this man, but it’s really astonishing. And he inspires me a lot.

  9. Thanks to that biography about Mr.Aliko Dangote way up to wealth success which he real created with his business acumen mind.Please send him this request message to assist me with 10,000 dollars repayable within five(5)years which I have been trying to get from our(Kenyan)financial institutions to invest in real estate in my half acre plot in nyandarua county(kenya) but to no avail.I shall be grateful and religiously honest in repayment if my wish is granted. Thank you.

  10. Wao! He is reaping the rewards of his honesty. Any man that put fear of God what his doing, surely he is succeed. And that was what actually happened. Many young people today, if you give them such amount of money they will squander the money. They will say after all is my grandfather’s money ?! You young or woman, stop it if you and I want to be or even greater than him.
    I am hereby, calling on young people. Let us be honest with what is under our care, we will find ourselves growing. Let us make honesty our watched-word.
    If change our mindsets, surely we will have many likes of Dangotes. Change begin with me!

  11. My search for how to be a great business man of my generation led me to this article.This article made my day and i’m really inspired and motivated by it and with Aliko Dangote’s success within the couple of years.This is really worth reading.

  12. I have interest in business, just as u hard before, can you assist me with deal to pay later sir?

  13. I am a Ghanaian and a trained teacher with eight years work experience. I will like to work in your noble company. Any assignment due me is highly welcome.

  14. Am Janko Jallow from the Gambia well am twenty four years old but an investor in the petroleum sector wish to be like you Aliko God bless you God bless Africa…!!

  15. The most interesting biography.
    Aliko Dangote took a tiny seed from his granddad of US 2,500.00 planted it and now it is a forest.
    May this be a lesson taught in African schools.He did not eat the seed.
    He has disproved ideologies of taking Africans for granted.
    My mentor indeed.
    He was also bright enough to note that to break through he needed an avenue to determine his own prices not to be dictated on and therefore manfucturing industry.

  16. Great men take after great men.Dangote is a role model to our generation I definitely leave a bigger impact to this generation

  17. Aliko Dangote is a personality whose lifestyle worth emulating most especially amongst business men. He took advantage of his grand father’s loan to maximise his potential. I, as a person is saluting this hero amongst heroes in the business world. I love him.

  18. Nice story stan.
    I am also having 500,000 Loan right now I hope I will succeed. prayers needed.

  19. This is to Mr. Aliko Dangote, you are my role model and inspiration from today because you are a man who believes in producing your own product instead of buying goods to sell.I wish I known you my role model and inspiration.

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