Aliko Dangote isn’t a name known to many in the U.S., but in Africa Dangote is well known as the richest person on the continent. With an estimated worth of $13.9 billion, Dangote is the one of the wealthiest men in the world.
Dangote was born April 10, 1957 in Kano State, Nigeria to a well-to-do merchant Muslim family. After completing his studies at Al Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt in 1977, a $3,000 loan from an uncle jump-started an import and trading empire that included the sales of flour, salt and sugar.
In 1999, Dangote went into manufacturing and expanded the scope of his business to include cement production, processed foods and communications. This aggressive approach to business paid off because now his Dangote Group, composed of several businesses, operates in 15 nations across Africa.
Philanthropy plays a large role in Dangote’s life. He gives away large portions of his wealth to advance education and provide opportunities for others. He also oversees a $12,000-per-day food services program that provides nourishment for the hungry in his native Nigeria.
Dangote’s cement company is the largest such entity in Africa and his sugar refinery is the third-largest in the world. The married father of three recently received praise from the world’s richest man Bill Gates, who gave accolades to Dangote for his generous support of health and educational programs.
Dangote and Gates are working in tandem to eliminate hunger and malnutrition in Nigeria, and are using their influence to bring immunization programs to Nigeria’s troubled northern states.
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