Who is Dangote?

“I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets [candy], and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time.”

Aliko Dangote

In this article I answered some of your basic questions about Aliko Dangote, how Dangote started his business, when Dangote started his business, What Dangote studied, where he started his business from and a basic Dangote Biography.

You’d be wondering how can someone from Arewa be the wealthiest black man in the world. Pause, there are at least 7 billion people in the world right now, and more than a billion are black people. In Nigeria alone there at least 100 million men, but Aliko Dangote happens to be the richest, coincidence? No. So let me walk you through Dangote’s childhood and his ascension to wealth. In every phase of his life, I will give you one lesson or two to put into your life.

Dangote’s childhood

Aliko Dangote was born in 1957, just two years after the death of his great grandfather Alhaji Alhasan Dantata (I would tell you about Dantata another time). Why is Dantata important in Aliko’s story? even though the two haven’t met. Well, because you need to know the level of mentorship Dantata played in Dangote’s life. Dantata, as of 1955 was also the wealthiest man in Africa, I assume he would be the wealthiest black man in the world at that time too. Naturally, because black people in the 1950’s didn’t have many opportunities around the world. Dantata is an ethnic Hausa Muslim from Kano, Kano State, Nigeria.

This paragraph tells you to have someone you look up to. 

Dangote heard the tales of his great grandfather, the young Aliko wanted to be just like Dantata. Hence, he followed his footsteps. During his primary education at Sheikh Ali Kumasi Madrasa, Dangote began teaching himself business skills while his colleagues watch. Aliko said:

“I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets [candy], and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time.”

Aliko Dangote

This early experience of selling will come in handy when Dangote established his firm in 1977. 

Dangote’s Adulthood

By the time he got into secondary school, he has already made more money than all his classmates, but Aliko didn’t stop there, he continued buying and selling. After his secondary school, he went on to study Business administration in Al-Azhar University, Cairo, Egypt. 

Start investment early, if you are too old or married, then teach your children to start business early.


Following his university degree, Dangote established his small trading firm in 1977, he left his comfort zone in Kano and moved to Lagos. Obviously, it won’t be hard for him since he already had the experience of studying abroad for a few years. Remember that childhood experience of selling candy? Well, it was a not a waste of time, Dangote continued to sell Candy but at a much bigger level, i.e. Sugar. Aliko’s firm expanded its operations to other countries in West Africa.

Move away from your comfort zone if you want to make an impact.

“If you give me $5 billion today, I will invest everything here in Nigeria. Let us put our heads together and work.”

Aliko Dangote

From a humble beginning in selling candy in Kano, Dangote has dominated the sugar market, and refinery business is the leading supplier (70 per cent of the market) to the country’s soft drinks companies, breweries and confectioners. 

Search for your passion and build on it.

To cut the story short, Aliko Dangote followed the footsteps of his great grandfather and was named the Forbes Africa Person of the Year 2014 where he was ranked 23rd-richest person in the World. That is number 23 out of 7,000,000,000 people. Can you do it, probably too late for you, but you can be ranked 23rd richest person in your country. 

The point is never giving up and follow your passion no matter how little it seems.

I hope you like this article if you do comment below and tell us what your passion is and we might help you build on it.

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