Alhaji Aliko Dangote was on April 10 1957 in Kano, Northern Nigeria into the family of Mohammed Dangote and Mariya Sanusi Dantata. His mother was the granddaughter of Alhassan Dantata, a legendary Hausa businessman.
Right from his childhood years, Aliko Dangote showed keen interest in business. Back then, he would buy small cartons of sweet and sell them for money.
Dangote attended the popular Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt where he studied business. After graduation at the age of 21, he returned to Nigeria to start working with his uncle, Alhaji Sanusi Dantata, who would later give him a business loan of N500,000.
Dangote started his own business, The Dangote Group, in 1977. Since then, the business has enjoyed exponential growth and what began as a small trading firm is now a multi-trillion naira investment with tentacles spreading into countries like Ghana, Togo, and Benin republic.
The Dangote Group includes a sugar refinery, which is the major supplier of sugar to the major soft drink manufacturers and confectioners in Nigeria, a flour company, a cement factory, and a salt factory — all with multiple branches. The Dangote Group is a major importer and exporter. It imports rice, pasta, cement, fertilizer and fish, while it exports cashew nuts, cotton, cocoa, sesame seed and ginger to several countries.
In addition, the group has major investments in the transport, oil and gas, banking and real estate industries. Presently, the group is branching into the telecommunications industry and has commenced building 14,000 kilometers of fibre optic cables to supply the whole of Nigeria. The Dangote group is the largest industrial group in West Africa and it has over 11,000 employees.
On November 14 2011, Nigerian president, Goodluck Jonathan awarded Dangote the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON), the second highest national honour in Nigeria.
Presently, Dangote is the richest man in Nigeria with net worth of $10.1 Billion. According to the latest Forbes magazine ranking, he is the 137th richest man in the world and still the richest man in Africa.
A Muslim and a philanthropist, Dangote is married with three children.