Aliko Dangote: Biography, family, how he got rich

Aliko Dangote: Biography, family, how he got rich

Aliko Dangote GCON is a Nigerian business entrepreneur worth billions of dollars. Dangote is the founder, chairman, and CEO of the Dangote Group, West Africa’s largest industrial conglomerate. According to Forbes, Dangote is the wealthiest person in Africa, with a net worth of N6.18 trillion ($14.9bn) as of May 25, 2022.

Aliko Dangote Biography

Aliko Dangote was born on April 10, 1957, into an affluent Hausa Muslim family in Kano, Kano State. Mariya Sanusi Dantata, Dangote’s mother, was the daughter of businessman Sanusi Dantata. Mohammed Dangote, Aliko Dangote’s father, was a business associate of Sanusi Dantata. Dangote is the great-grandson of Alhassan Dantata, the richest West African at his death in 1955, through his mother.

Dangote attended Sheikh Ali Kumasi Madrasa and then Capital High School in Kano. He graduated from Birnin Kudu’s Government College in 1978. Al-Azhar University in Cairo awarded him a bachelor’s degree in business studies and administration.


Dangote became interested in business after spending much of his childhood with his grandfather. He recalled when he was in elementary school, he would go and buy cartons of sweets [sugar boxes] and would sell them for money. He stated that back then that he was fascinated by business.

The Dangote Group began as a small trading firm in 1977, the same year Dangote moved his company to Lagos to expand. Dangote accepted a $500,000 loan from his uncle to start trading commodities such as bagged cement and agricultural products such as rice and sugar. In the 1990s, he contacted the Central Bank of Nigeria with the concept that allowing his transport company to operate the bank’s fleet of staff buses would save them money, a proposal that was also approved.

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With operations in Benin, Ghana, Zambia, and Togo, the Dangote Group is now one of Africa’s largest companies. The Dangote Group has grown from a trading firm to become Nigeria’s largest industrial conglomerate, including businesses such as Dangote Sugar Refinery, Dangote Cement, and Dangote Flour. The Dangote Group leads the Nigerian sugar market, with its refinery company providing 70 percent of the country’s sugar to soft drink businesses, breweries, and confectioners. In West Africa, the enterprise employs around 11,000 people.

Dangote approached the Nigerian Ports Authority in July 2012 and received approval to lease an abandoned plot of land at the Apapa Port. Later, he established facilities there for his flour industry. Dangote sugar refinery is the largest in Africa and globally and produces 800,000 tonnes each year. The Dangote Group has salt and wheat mills and is a significant importer of rice, fish, pasta, cement, and fertilizer. Cotton, cashew nuts, chocolate, sesame seeds, and ginger are among the products exported by the company. It also has significant holdings in real estate, finance, transportation, textiles, oil, and gas.

Following his cooperation with Stellantis Group, Peugeot’s parent business, and the Kano and Kaduna state governments, Dangote announced the completion of a Peugeot assembling facility in Nigeria in February 2022. Dangote Peugeot Automobiles Nigeria Limited (DPAN), a new vehicle firm based in Kaduna, began operations with the launch of the Peugeot 301, Peugeot 5008, 3008, 508, and Land Trek.

How did Dangote get rich?

Dangote borrowed $3,000 from his uncle shortly after graduating from college at 21 to import and sell agricultural commodities in Nigeria. His business venture rapidly became a success, and he was able to pay off the full loan within three months of getting started. Dangote was eventually able to develop a small commodities trading company into a multibillion-dollar conglomerate.

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Dangote companies

Dangote is a group of companies interested in different sectors, which cut across cement, rice, sugar, salt, beverages, oil and gas, real estate, etc.

Dangote group of companies has four major companies which are listed on the Nigerian Stock Exchange, and these are:

  • Dangote Sugar Refinery plc
  • Dangote Cement Plc
  • Dangote Flour Mills Plc
  • NASCON Allied Industries Plc

Dangote Cement, Africa’s largest cement producer, with subsidiaries in Nigeria, Benin, Cameroon, Ghana, South Africa, and Zambia, with a market valuation of almost $14 billion on the Nigeria Stock Exchange. The firm and the Zambian government struck a deal in December 2010 to build a $400 million cement facility in Zambia. It is located in Ndola and was finished in 2015. The plant will produce 42.5-grade cement to compete with the market’s lower-grade but dominant 32.5 products. The new plant is expected to produce 1.5 million metric tonnes of cement per year.

The company has also expanded into oil and gas-related operations, creating a three million tonne fertilizer facility, a 650,000 barrel oil refinery, and a petrochemical operation. 

The Dangote Refinery when it opens will be Africa’s largest.

Other products manufactured by the Dangote group include:

  • Dangote Sacks
  • Danvita
  • Dangote Macaroni 
  • Dangote Flour
  • Dangote Spaghetti 
  • Ziza Milk
  • Dansa Juice
  • Dangote Noodles 

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Net worth

Aliko Dangote’s net worth is currently $14.9 billion, according to Forbes, making him Africa’s richest person. Dangote’s wealth is largely derived from his 80 percent share in Dangote Cement, which produces 44 million metric tons of cement annually. Dangote Flour Mills, Nascon Allied Industries, Dangote Sugar, and United Bank for Africa are his other holdings.


The billionaire is devoted to his family. He was married twice and had a few relationships, but none lasted. He married for the first time when he was only 21 years old. According to Muslim tradition, his bride was chosen for him, and they broke up after a short time together.

He later married Maria Muhammad Rufai, who was his second wife. Their marriage was likewise short-lived and ended in divorce. There were reports that he was dating beauty queen Sylvia Nduka after he split up with Maria. This union did not do any better than the others. Aliko is the proud father of three girls – Halima, Maria, and Fatima.

His daughters work in the family business and hold respectable positions within his company. Aliko has an adopted son named Abdulrahman Fasasi. The businessman is extremely proud of his entire family. They are well educated and have graduated from major universities, but little else is known. Despite their father’s wealth, they live a relatively simple lifestyle.


Aliko Dangote has always been the type of businessman that puts the majority of his earnings back into the company.

He also loves to give back to his society. In March 2014, he founded the Aliko Dangote Foundation, which focuses on health, education, and economic development. This is in addition to the other philanthropic works he does in collaboration with other foundations like the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.

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Esther is versatile writer who thrives in writing top-notch long-form articles. She enjoys research and has an eye for details. She's currently a writer at BlackDot Media.
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