Nigerian Richest Men: Aliko Dangote

Aliko Dangote, Dangote Group, Nigeria, during the African Fellowship Programe with Young Global Leaders announcement at the World Economic Forum on Africa 2011 held in Cape Town, South Africa, 4-6 May 2011

Nigeria’s Richest men

Aliko Dangote (GCON)


Born 59 years ago into the family of Mohammed Dangote in Kano, Kano State, Nigeria, Dangote is the Chairman and CEO of Dangote Group. His mother is Mariya Sanusi Dantata.

He began showing his business acumen since he was a boy when he started selling packs of sweets while still in primary school. In his own words, “I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time.””

Dangote began his career as a commodity trader and engineered his Dangote cluster into a conglomerate with interests in sugar, flour edge, salt process, cement producing, textiles, land, and oil and gas. These, he started with the 500,000-naira loan which his wealthy maternal uncle, Sanusi Dantata Abdulkadir gave him when he turned 21 years of age.

The Dangote Group, which began as a small business in 1977, soon turned into billion-dollar conglomerate with operations in Ghana, Nigeria, Benin, Togo, among others, and has since expanded into food processing, cement manufacturing and freight. His Dangote group dominates the sugar market in his home country, Nigeria, being the major to soft drink companies, breweries and confectioners. Suffice to say that the Dangote Group has gone from being a trading company to being the largest industrial group in Nigeria, which with several portfolios such as Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Cement, and Dangote Flour. Today, the Dangote Sugar Refinery supplies 70% of the Nigerian market. The refinery is said to be the largest in Africa and the 3rd largest in the world, churning out 800,000 tons of sugar annually. Dangote cement on the other hand, produces more than 30 million metric tons annually, as contained on his profile on Forbes website.

The group is also into producing commodities such as Semovita, Noodles, Flour, Fertilizer, among others, which include rice importation and exportation cash crops like cocoa, ginger, cashew nut, cotton, sesame seed, etc.

Dangote is the major employer of labor in his home country, Nigeria, and one of the top employers in the West African region, with roughly about 11,000 employees under his pay roll. Additionally, he is the major financier of transport businesses, the textile industry and the housing sector.

As of 2016, Dangote is ranked the no. 1 richest man in Nigeria and Africa, and also the richest black man alive by Forbes. He is ranked no. 51 globally. He is ranked no. 71 in the list of the most powerful people in the world.

He has a Bachelor of Arts/Science in Business Studies from the Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt.

He was conferred Honorary Citizenship of Arkansas State, by the state governor, Mike Beebe, who also declared May 30 of every year as Nigeria Day in the United States.

Education: Al-Azhar University

Net worth: $16.9 billion (June 13, 2016)

Foundation or organization founded: Dangote Group


  • Forbes’ Africa Person of the Year (2014)
  • The Guardian Man of the Year (The Guardian, 2015)
  • Clinton Global Citizen Award (2015)
  • African company of the year(Africa CEO Awards, 2016)