This is an amazing story about Africa's richest man Aliko Dangote, who is capable not just to sell minerals and produce cement but also using his political leverage to convert it into gold.
When Sanusi Dantata, one of the richest inhabitants of the major Nigerian city of Kano, got to know that grandson was born, he was seriously engaged in his upbringing. From the tender age, grandfather tried to arouse the sense of commerce, and his efforts were not in vain: now his grandson Aliko Dangote is the richest man in Africa.
"When you're bringing up by a parent or grandparent of entrepreneurial nature, you adopt his aspirations - recalls his childhood Alico Dangote - It makes you believe that everything is possible."
He really did what others couldn’t. Over 100 years representatives of the African countries were not included in the authoritative American magazine Forbes. And in 2008 Dangote appeared for the first time in the list of the richest people. At that time Alico Dangote net worth was $ 3.3 billion, three years later the billionaire capital has demonstrated tremendous growth – to $ 13.8 billion Dangote And today he already has the status of the richest person from Africa in the world.
The net worth of the entrepreneur from Nigeria is estimated at $ 10.9 billion. According to the index of billionaires this year, his fortune fell by $ 4.4 billion, mainly due to the depreciation of the Nigerian naira.
Aliko Dangote is different from other rich people in Africa. His fortune was made not by oil or diamonds, as many of them did, but to his own production. Dangote Supporters believe - his main merit is that he proved that Nigeria can not only trade, but also produce. Meanwhile, critics have accused the businessman of foul play when he used his political connections in order to adjust the market for himself.
Whatever, Dangote has demonstrated an example, which is now followed by many who dream of the success of African businessmen.
Aliko Dangote was born in a family of successful entrepreneurs who was trading coffee and peanuts. This business at one time was made by rich Sanusi Dantata, Dangote’s grandfather on the maternal line.
At school his grandson for the first time tried to start a business by buying and reselling sweets. Later in Cairo Al-Azhar University Dangote mastered the theory of business, and when he turned 21, he opened his own business: having borrowed several hundred dollars from an uncle, he founded a company for the sale of foodstuffs.
Businessman Dangote imported sugar from Brazil, rice from Thailand, selling it with a high margin. Over time, sales began to give a daily income of $ 10 thousand. And after 15 years, Dangote transformed his business into one of the largest retail conglomerates in Nigeria. During the years of military dictatorship, when the army rigidly controlled the economy, he managed to build a business empire in the sphere of import and trade of sugar and flour.
Aliko Dangote didn’t stop. In 1996, he decided to learn a new niche - production. Adhering to the backward integration strategy when the business grows through the acquisition of supplier companies, Dangote has provided a stable and cost-effective flow of resources for their enterprises. So that, he was creating new jobs and supported the policy of import substitution, leaving the Nigerian money within the country.
Today his business is combined into the conglomerate Dangote Group - it produces cement, milk, sugar, pasta, fruit juices, flour, bread, rice, as well as packaging materials.
However, over the last year the Nigerian tycoon has become poorer by $ 5 billion due to falling share prices of his company Dangote Cement and devaluation of the Nigerian currency. Nevertheless, the high diversification of the business allowed Dangote to avoid even greater losses.
Despite the fact that 70% of the revenue to the state budget brings oil, Dangote has long avoided this highly corrupt industry. However, realizing the benefits of their own low-cost fuel, in 2013 he decided to build a refinery in the 45 km east of Lagos.
"Refinery with a capacity of 650 000 barrels a day will be the largest localized in one place petrochemical complex in the world" - said the Dangote in a recent interview with US news agency Bloomberg. Its construction will cost up to $ 12 billion, it will generate a turnover of $ 24 billion a year.
This plant will be the largest project in the business biography Dangote and will transform Nigeria from an importer of fuel to an exporter. And this, in turn, will lead to a new economic level of the country, the largest oil producer in Africa, which is one of the twenty world leaders in the oil industry with its daily capacity of 1.8 million barrels.
However, in the heart of the industrial conglomerate is a billionaire company Dangote Cement - it provides 80% of total revenue. Dangote Cement business operates in 17 African countries, its annual sales of nearly $ 2 billion. According to its market capitalization, Dangote Cement holds a third of the Nigerian Stock Exchange.
Meanwhile, Dangote expands the geography of his business. By 2017, he intends to finish building a cement factory in Nepal. This year the country has experienced two devastating earthquakes, and now the company expects to contribute for the reconstruction of destroyed infrastructure.
After the cataclysm Dangote gave $ 1 million donations to Nepalese government.
In the region, Dangote is a newcomer in charity, because philanthropy is uncharacteristic for African businessmen.
In the words of Dangote, he gave to charity about $ 100 million over the past two years, predominantly in Africa - in Nigeria, Niger, Kenya, Tanzania, and also in the western part of the continent's countries, which have suffered from the epidemic of Ebola.
Africa's richest man, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index, Aliko Dangote plans to buy English football club "Arsenal" for three or four years.
"I do not just want to buy" Arsenal "and continue business as usual. I want to buy "Arsenal" and restart it. I led a very successful business, and I think that I’m able to lead a successful team. At the moment, we are engaged in projects for $ 20 billion, I can do something similar at the same time ", - he said.
Dangote for the first time expressed a desire to purchase the "Arsenal" in the past year, in the case of a successful transaction he will become the first African owner of the club in the English Premier League.
At the same time, observers often associate Dangote’s charity with his commercial interests and political games. And the Nigerian managed to maintain and grow his business with any government.
In 1981, Dangote met with General Olusegun Obasanjo. When he ran for president of Nigeria from the People's Democratic Party (PDP) in 1991 and 2003, businessman generously sponsored his election campaign. Obasanjo won both the presidential race, and Dangote entrenched in the circle of his closest associates.
Life of Aliko Dangote is a delicate balancing act in a country where the policy is more than everything.
Dangote himself since childhood has known about the importance of good relations with the power elite. "No matter what you do, you must always respect the current government. Be a humble man "- he quotes the words of his grandfather.