At the age of 21, Aliko Dangote borrowed $3,000 from his uncle to import and sell agricultural commodities in Nigeria, his native country. His business venture quickly became a success, and as a result, he managed to repay the entire loan within three months of starting operations. For the seventh in a row, Dangote was the richest man in Africa in 2018, with an estimated net worth of $14.1 billion. The business empire he began to build more than three decades ago, Dangote Group, is one of the largest private-sector employers in Nigeria as well as the most valuable conglomerate in West Africa.
Dangote's business interests encompass many industries, including oil and gas, consumer goods and manufacturing. About 80% of his conglomerate's revenue comes from Dangote Cement. According to Forbes magazine, the subsidiary produces 44 million metric tons of cement every year and plans to increase output by 33% by 2020. Dangote also owns the world's third-largest sugar refinery, and together all of his publicly traded companies make up a quarter of the market capitalization of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Here is an overview of how Aliko Dangote turned a local commodities trading businesses into a multibillion-dollar corporation.
Early Life and Schooling of the Richest African
Born in 1957, Dangote grew up in an entrepreneurial household in Kano State, Nigeria. He was raised Muslim and lived an upper-class life. Dangote’s grandfather, Sanusi Dantata, was once named one of the wealthiest people living in Kano.