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Aliko Dangote – Africa’s Richest

Dangote!! I wonder what the name means. I grew up knowing that the name of man is a key determinant of what that man will amount to in Life. Please help me, does it in apply in this case?

Aliko Dangote is on a roll. Currently the richest man in Africa, the 62nd richest man in the world (now the 25th richest man in the world in 2013), owner of the largest sugar refinery in Africa and the 2nd largest in the world, largest cement plant in sub-Saharan Africa, largest manufacturer of sacks in the world, the only manufacturing company in Nigeria that has presence in 14 African countries… His Company’s shares accounts for about 30% of the total market capitalization of the Nigerian Stock Exchange (NSE). Indeed, when Dangote sneezes, the NSE catches a cold.

On April 10, 1957, He was born crying like most of us, in the ancient Nigerian city of Kano. Wealth has always been in his family. His mother Mariya Sanusi Dantata was the granddaughter of legendary Hausa businessman Alhassan Dantata and his father Mohammed Dangote was Dantata’s business associate. Sorry, he is not a college drop-out, but a full-fledged University graduate from the Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt where he studied Business. He later returned to Nigeria to work with his Uncle Sanusi Abdulkadir Dantata, who gave him a loan of =N=500,000 (Nigerian Naira) to start his own business. He was just 20 years old.

From that small trading firm which majored in commodities and building materials, the Dangote Group has now grown to become one of the most diversified business conglomerates in Africa with investments in Cement, Oil & Gas, Food & Beverages, Real Estate, Haulage, Packaging, Port Operations, Poly Products, Steel etc. A Reuters report stated that with an annual turnover of $2.5 billion, the Dangote Group contributes nearly 1 percent of the GDP of Africa’s second biggest economy, and employs 23,000 people in a country with massive unemployment. This figure will surely increase as his projects in the pipeline come on board.

Indeed, he has made real progress. The 2008 Forbes Magazine List of World’s Richest Men listed him as the 334th richest Man in the world. Fast forward to 2012, he is now the 62nd. He certainly doesn’t rest on his oars. He just keeps going. According to Bloomberg, with approx $12 billion net worth, Aliko Dangote is richer that the owner of Facebook, Mark Zukerberg who is worth a reported $10.7 billion.

He has an eye for opportunities. Gist has it that He was the One who approached the Nigerian Ports Authority with the idea of leasing an abandoned piece of land at the Apapa Port, which later became the location of his Flour Company. Of course the other flour companies were not happy with the move and they protested. Then, the Chairman of the Nigerian Ports Authority (NPA), Chief Olabode George replied that Dangote was the one who came up with the idea.

Another story has it that back in the 90’s, he approached the Central Bank of Nigeria with the idea that it would be cheaper for the Bank to allow his Transport company manage their fleet of staff buses. This service he later extended to some of the Commercial Banks at the time. I clearly remember seeing those buses that were numbered DAN 001, DAN 002…all nicely queued up at Okokomaiko bus stop (a suburb in Lagos Nigeria), waiting for men and women in nicely tailored suits to get on-board.

In case you are still wondering what drives Aliko Dangote, here is what he has to say – “you just have to believe that yes, there is a future in this country of ours and I can tell you right now, I don’t believe we have even started doing anything in Nigeria because the opportunities are so enormous. I don’t even know where to start.”

Having conquered Africa, He has revealed plans to open cement plants in Iraq and Myanmar. He also said “I have built the biggest Cement Company in Africa. Now I’m setting out to build the biggest Cement Company in the world.”

You may have all the right connections but without hard work and dedication, you may not go far in your quest to become a Dangote. In the same vein, you may not have the right connections, but with hard work, focus and perseverance, your opportunity will surely come. Don’t despair! Don’t give up! This Same Dangote said “If you don’t have ambition, you shouldn’t be alive.”

Copy Genius!

Arise Arizechi
Arise Arizechi
CEO of KA Publishing, Founder of Konnect Africa and Host of Breakthrough Academy

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