Alhaji Aliko Dangote is from a very wealthy family in Kano. He is related to the late Alhassan Dantata, who was reputed to be one of the wealthiest Hausa merchants in Kano as at the time of his demise in 1955. However, his wealth dwindled as it was shared among 18 children.
Despite the death of their mentor, the Dantata Dynasty remains an indispensable force in virtually all spheres of human endeavour in the northern Nigeria, particularly in Kano state.
Today their fortune may not equal that of some families who recently made the list of wealthy Nigerians since the death of the founder of the empire. Almost 59 years after, the death of the great Dantata of Kano seems to have washed away the fame of the dynasty, but the great grandson in the person of Alhaji Aliko Dangote has emerged to occupy the vacuum created by the exit of Dantata.
In March, 2014, he was reported to worth over $25 billion USD. Dangote is ranked by Forbes Magazine as the 23rd richest person in the world and the richest in Africa. He surpassed the Saudi-Ethiopian billionaire’s 2013 record, Mohammed Hussein Al Amoudi, by over $2.6 billion, to become Africa’s richest person.
Alhaji Aliko Dangote
Aliko Dangote was born in April 10th, 1957 in Kano state to the family of Dr. Mariya Sanusi Dangote, a grand- daughter of late Alhaji Alihassan Dantata, the founder of Alhassan Dantata & Son’s Company. As a toddler, he was desirous to make something out of life. Hence, he didn’t hesitate to grab any opportunity that comes his way. This explains why he tries his best to detach himself from the family wealth to build a business empire for himself. His quest to carve a niche in the business world started in his Primary school days where he would buy a carton of sweets and package them to school to sell to his peers. The returns from this venture generated a lot of excitement for him. Just then, the little Dangote concluded without hesitation that he would do business in life.
Perhaps to acquire the tools for his business enterprise, he proceeded to study business Administration at the Al- Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt. Upon graduation, he returned to Nigeria to begin his personal business as he didn’t want to work for anybody or join in running the family business. At 21, Aliko Dangote made his first but great business move as he took a loan of N500,000 from one of his uncles. This humble beginning however gave birth to the chain of Companies that today form the Dangote Group. Though this feat was not accomplished with effortless ease as young Dangote had to contend with daunting challenges which were common in 1970’s when he started his business, but Aliko was resolute. He is also the 64th most powerful person in the world.
Today, the Dangote group is a multi-trillion naira conglomerate with many of its operations in different African countries including Nigeria. Dangote has enlarged his business coast to include food processing, cement manufacturing and freight. The Dangote Group is one of the major sugar suppleirs to the country’s companies, breweries and confectioners. The Dangote Group has moved from being a trading company to assume the status of one of the largest industrial groups in Nigeria. These include Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Cement, and Dangote Flour. They have also diversified into telecommunications. However, In the 1990’s, as part of moves to expand the business, the Group approached the Central Bank of Nigeria to allow his transport company to manage their fleets of staff buses, a proposal which was approved. Thrilled by the outcome of this partnership, the group again in 2012 approached the Nigerian Ports Authority with the idea of leasing an abandoned piece of land at the Apapa Port, which was approved.
The Dangote Group runs a cartel deal in all of their businesses. Among other companies owned by the Group are Salt factories and Flour Mills and they are also known as the major importer of rice, fiish, pasta, cement and fertilizer. Similarly, the company exports cotton, cashew nuts, coco, sesame and ginger to several countries. It also has major investments in real estate, banking, transport, textiles and oil and gas.
Philanthropy and labour force
Dangote Group has a foundation through which most of his philanthropic work is done. One of the major works sponsored by the foundation is polio eradication in Kano state. He has also given out help in times of crises both in small and major ways. In the past, he has donated relief materials to flood and accident victims in Lagos and in the northern states. He has created avenue for employment in his numerous companies for graduates and unskilled labourers. Recently, it was in the news that Dangote donated 150 million Naira (US$1 million) to halt the spread of Ebola in Nigeria. The Dangote Group has over 11,000 staff and is arguably the largest industrial conglomerate in the whole of West Africa.
The man and his accolades
Alhaji Aliko Dangote has touched many lives and won several awards. In 2011, he was given the Member of the Order of the Federal Republic of Nigeria (MFR). In 2009, he was honoured as the leading provider of employment in the Nigerian construction industry. Again in 2011, Dangote was awarded Nigeria’s second highest honour, Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) by the President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan. In 2013.