“Today is the economy” portrays Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, founder and head of the conglomerate that bears his name and Africa’s first fortune.
He created his fortune in Nigeria but his dream goes beyond his country. Aliko Dangote: “We have a lot to do. We must liberate Africa economically from Africans. The only way we can thrive is for Africans to control their economies alone. The strangers will see what we do, then they will join us. Of course, we can not grow alone, but we have to lead. ”
The core of Aliko Dangote’s business is glue. A simple distributor in the early 1980s, then he added production and turned his company into a true conglomerate. Emmanuel Igah, Director of Phobos International, a consulting firm specializing in geopolitics and African development.
“Dangote is someone who is very keen on opportunities. So initially he diversifies his group towards the food industry. ”
Sugar, flour, rice and in recent years tomatoes to reduce his country’s dependence on Chinese imports. And since 2013, the billionaire has launched a project for an extraordinary oil refinery with a capacity of 650,000 barrels a day. It was to be operational in 2021. So far, the 4 public refineries with a cumulative capacity of 400,000 barrels of processed oil products have never managed to operate continuously. Aliko Dangote is also building a fertilizer factory.
Working, the 63-year-old businessman today did not do alone
He works a lot and says he has not taken vacations or weekends for 13 years. Aliko Dangote is a descendant of a wealthy trading family from Kano in the north of the country. He started his own business with a loan from an uncle. And over the years, he has built an important group thanks to his business insights, but not only, says Emmanuel Igah.
“He has never been in politics in Nigeria. He remains an entrepreneur, but his strategy is always to be good with the political power and the political class in the countries where he settles. ”
The Nigerian billionaire is described as a modest person who delegated little until recently. He would not own any villa or mansion outside his country. Its credo is to invest in Africa to participate in the development of the continent. The Dangote Group is thus the first company to be listed on the Lagos Stock Exchange.
But Aliko Dangote is also increasingly looking beyond Africa; he wants to invest in asset management in the US after being listed on the London Stock Exchange. Transactions made, not just to accumulate money, the billionaire assures.
“What makes me happy is how many people we help with job creation and do so many things. I want to make sure that Nigeria is self-sufficient in railways, electricity and many other sectors. ”
Not everything works for the man who made his group a continental champion
His plan to build a cement factory in the Democratic Republic of Congo met with opposition from a Congolese industry in the sector. But Aliko Dangoté got closer to the Kinshasa market by building a factory in neighboring Congo. Elsewhere on the continent, he had to win lawsuits brought by local competitors, especially in Senegal or by an administration, the Tanzania case. While protectionist in Nigeria, he hopes the continental free trade area can function quickly.
The Dangote group is present today in about ten African countries. But it still happens to the billionaire to be beaten when he announces a multi-million dollar project and that these interlocutors “think it’s a Nigerian scam”.
Aliko Dangote, Africa’s first fortune, first philanthropist in his country
The billionaire launched the “Dangote Foundation” in 1993. A foundation that funds actions in the areas of health, education, empowerment and disaster relief. The last major contribution to its founding in 2014 was the sale of Dangote Cement shares worth $ 250 million. Its competitors note its desire to always be first. It has thus succeeded in introducing disproportionately high prices of cement in Nigeria, where it is making record profits, while all Dangote Cement’s subsidiaries in other countries have been in deficit for some years.