Aliko Dangote-An African Success Story
Alikote Dangote, born on April 10,1957, is the founder and president of Dangote Group. He is known to be one the richest man in Africa , but he said "I think I have to be rated by Forbes magazine first before I can be called the richest man in Africa," says Mr Dangote modestly. "But, you know, I'm comfortable. "He ranked first in Nigeria in the Forbes 2008 list of the richest people in the world with a fortune estimated at 3.3 billion dollars. Dangote was named as the Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2014.
With an estimated current net worth of around US$ 13.8 billion, he was ranked by Forbes as the richest Nigerian citizen. He is also simultaneously the richest person of African descent in the world, surpassing Mohammed Al Amoudi ($12.3 billion) and Oprah Winfrey ($2.7 billion.)
Aliko Dangote is the 'golden child' of Nigerian business circles. The Dangote consortium spans across many sectors of the Nigerian economy. The Dangote Group provides , cements ,sugar, salt, flour , rice, spaghettis, textile etc at competitive prices.
As a nonpartisan and detribalized businessperson, he is generous to different political parties, religious groups and cultural institutions. Apart from providing employment to elite graduates from different ethnic backgrounds, he minimizes the level of crime by engaging youths who are school leavers in the area of transportation, packaging, and security amongst others.
It may not be a wild assumption to say that every Nigerian has heard of his name because of the impact of his business. His products are in most homes across the country. Those who may not use his products would have passed some of his trailers by the way. He is into export, import, manufacturing, real estate and philanthropy. All these are rolled together into what is known as the Dangote Group.
At the helm of its affairs as president and Chief Executive Officer is an unassuming man named Aliko Dangote. The Dangote Group imports 400,000 metric tonnes of sugar annually which accounts for about 70 per cent of the total requirements of the country and is a major supplier of the product to the manufacturers of Coca Cola, Pepsi Cola and Seven-Up in Nigeria. It imports 200,000 metric tonnes of rice annually just as the company imports tonnes of cement and fertilizer and building materials.
Dangote Group also imports fish and owns three big fishing trawlers chartered for fishing with a 5,000 MT capacity. The group exports cotton, cocoa, cashew nuts, sesame seed, ginger and gum Arabic to several countries.
Born in Kano, his grandfather, the late Alhaji Sanusi Dantata provided him with a small capital to start his own business, as was the practice then. He thus started business in Kano in 1977 trading in commodities and building materials. Alhaji Aliko Dangote moved to Lagos in June 1977 and continued trading in cement and commodities. Encouraged by tremendous success and increase in business activities, he incorporated two companies in 1981. These and others that followed now make up the conglomerate known as Dangote Group.
The group today is involved in diverse forms of manufacturing with high turnover. Dangote textile and the Nigeria Textiles Mills Plc, which it acquired, produce over 120,000 meters of finished textiles daily. The group has a ginnery in Kankawa, Katsina State with a capacity of 30,000 MT of seeded cotton annually.
The sugar refinery at Apapa port, Lagos is the largest in Africa and in size the third largest in the world with an annual capacity of 700,000 tonnes of refined sugar annually. It also has another 100,000 tonne-capacity sugar mill at Hadeja in Jigawa State.
Apart from having substantial investment in the National Salt Company of Nigeria at Ota, Ogun State, the group has salt factories at Apapa and Calabar, a polypropylene bagging factory which produces required bags for its products, over 600 trailers for efficient distribution network and goods meant for export can also efficiently be transported to the ports.
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.
The Dangote Group has nationwide staff strength of 12,000 but on completion of on-going projects, it is expected to hit 22,000. Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s business success may be influenced by various factors. He seems to be broad-minded. Unlike some people, his Personal Assistant is Yoruba while his Head of Corporate Affairs is a Christian from Delta State.
In this encounter, Dangote talks about his driving force in business, the factors that have kept him above his contemporaries in business, his $800 million cement factory at Obajana, Kogi State and the N14 million mega company, which he and some industrialists have set up. Perhaps above all, his patriotic stance is commendable: “If you give me today $5 billion, I will not invest any abroad, I will invest everything here in Nigeria. Let us put heads together and work.”
As a self-employed person, with minimum basic education, he proves that business success can be through determination, honesty and perseverance; and not necessarily by acquiring Harvard-Oxford certificates or First-Class academic qualification. His managerial skill must surely be the envy of economic professors. Instead of stashing his funds in foreign accounts, a common feature of fraudulent front and public office looters, Dangote invests wisely in the productive sector of the Nigerian economy.
To deny that Dangote does not have monopoly over some of the commodities in the Nigerian market is to deny the obvious. Recently he and other notable Nigerians announced their desire to float a private sector mega company with the name Transnational Corporation of Nigeria (TCN), which amongst other things may acquire government-owned refinery, operate strategic state-owned companies and pioneer status in Agriculture and IT.
Alhaji Dangote served as the President of Council at The Nigerian Stock Exchange. He served as Chairman of Nascon Allied Industries Plc until December 15, 2015. He served as a Director of Jaiz Bank PLC, Transcorp Hilton Hotel and Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc. He has been a Director of The Corporate Council on Africa since May 02, 2013.
He serves on the Boards of the National Council of Nigerian Vision, Mohammed Bello Endowment for Justice and Jurisprudence, Kano Foundation, the Nigerian Economic Summit Group, African Petroleum Plc, National Investment Promotion Council and the Heart of Africa (a management group on Nigeria Image Project) etc. He served as a Director of Transnational Corporation of Nigeria Plc.
Alhaji Dangote is a Graduate of Business Studies from Al-Azahar University Cairo Egypt.
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