Who is the richest man in Africa? Who on the second largest and second most populated continent in the world with a plethora of resources has managed to make the most money? Amidst political instability, insecurity and war, who has managed to amass the most wealth?
The answer to this question should be very well known by now seeing that the richest man in Africa today has held that position for seven years in a row. He is no other than Nigerian cement and commodities tycoon, Aliko Dangote.
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Richest Man in Africa – Aliko Dangote
It may surprise you to know that Dangote made his money from trading commodities and not from mining or extracting any of Africa’s abundant natural resources which include diamonds, gold, silver, uranium, copper, and oil. His businesses include food processing, cement production, salt, sugar and flour manufacturing, freight, etc. Only recently has he paid an interest in one of Nigeria’s natural resource, oil.
Nigeria does not refine its own oil, leaving room for the billionaire business to build an oil refinery in Lagos. Over $8 billion has been put aside for the construction of the refinery which will refine over 45,000 barrels of petroleum per day.
Dangote has also diversified into telecommunications and has started the building of 14,000 kilometers of fiber optic cables to supply the whole of Nigeria.
With his hands in all these business ventures, what exactly is Dangote’s net worth? According to Forbes, Aliko Dangote, who is not only Nigeria’s first billionaire or the richest man in Africa but also, the richest black person in the world, is worth $14.2 billion. This places him as the 105th richest person in the world.
Brief Life History
Aliko Dangote comes from one of the wealthiest families in Africa. He is the great-grandson of Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, the richest African at the time of his death in 1955.
Dangote acquired his primary and secondary school education in his birthplace of Kano. He went on to get a bachelor’s degree in business studies and administration from Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt.
He started his career as a businessman at the age of 21 when he took a loan from his uncle to start a business. This led to the establishment of the Dangote Group as a trading firm. Along the line, he expanded to sugar and salt processing, flour milling, cement manufacturing, textiles, haulage and real estate.
Today, his business ventures are a multi-trillion naira conglomerate which not only runs in Nigeria but in several other African countries including Benin, Ethiopia, Senegal, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, Togo, Tanzania, and Zambia. Plans are currently underway to expand his business to countries like Iraq and Burma.
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In 2014, Dangote planned to sell 20 percent interest in his cement business on the London Stock Exchange. It was priced at a value of $35 billion to $40 billion. With that, his company became the world’s most valuable cement manufacturer.
Dangote also dominates the sugar market in Africa. It has the largest refinery in Africa and the third largest in the world, producing 800,000 tonnes of sugar annually. In Nigeria, it dominates almost the whole market as it is the main supplier of sugar to soft drinks companies, breweries, and confectioneries in the country.
With such monopoly comes a huge room for employment. His company provides employment to over 26,000 employees in Nigeria alone.
The Forbes African person of the year 2014 also has a keen interest in football. It is reported that the tycoon will buy stakes at Arsenal, an English Premier League football club based in London.
From being a man from nowhere to the richest man in the world and the new face of Nigeria, Aliko Dangote also does a lot of philanthropy. He donated $1 million to halt the spread of Ebola. He has also contributed to the uplifting of the educational and health standard in Nigeria and Africa at large.
Despite the African continent having some of the world’s poorest nations, there are prospects of development in every field. With the rise in technology and the ever-increasing ideas in business and entrepreneurship, the number of billionaires from the continent will surely increase in the coming years.
The poverty problem will be solved and then Africa will rise up as the home of multi-millionaires and billionaires.