The name Aliko Dangote needs no introduction across the length and breadth of Nigeria. While some believe it is a household name, others believe the bearer has a stake across all the sectors of the economy.
That Aliko Dangote has been able to hold on to the position of the richest man in Africa for 10 years is a pointer to the fact that he has achieved several enviable feats.
How is it that one man has been able to hold the position consistently for the last 10 years?
Not a few people have the above questions in their minds, and indeed it is one that is worth asking. Alhaji Aliko Dangote has managed to pull this feat by the sheer effort of personal, business decisions and actions he has taken over the years.
So, what exactly are those things he has done over the last decade? We certainly cannot consider all, but let us start by x-raying 10 fantastic things this billionaire has done in the last ten years, as he celebrates his 63rd birthday.
In 2011, Dangote invested a massive $400 million in the construction of a cement plant, and also invested R779 million to increase the Dangote Industries Limited stakes in Sephaku Cement (Pty) Limited, based in South Africa, from 19.76% to 64%.
His investment into the South Africa-based cement company was described as the largest foreign direct investment (FDI) ever by an African company in South Africa at the time.
If the Dangote Industries was not already present in 14 African countries at the time, one would have thought the man was in a heated race for the gold.
Keep in mind that the Dangote Group had already been listed among the top 40 African Challengers by the Boston Consulting Group (BCG), a United States-based rating agency; the agency had already seen the potential in the Dangote Group to rival Fortune 500 Companies.
Now isn’t this fantastic?
Back home in Nigeria in 2012, Dangote Cement moved to erect the biggest cement plant in Africa in Southwest Nigeria.
The most amazing thing is the fact that this rich billionaire spent $1 billion on what the Guardian referred to as “a century-old wasteland of limestone and red dirt in south-west Nigeria”.
Some must have turned their noses up at this move, possibly thinking of him as one of those “money miss road”, but 9 years after, the Dangote Cement plant, Ibese in Ogun state accounts for over 6 million metric tonnes of cement, which translates to more money for the billionaire over the years.
With this in place and the creating of new lines at Dangote Cement Plant, Obajana, he ended the era of cement import and launched Nigeria into cement export.
He was already richest black man in the world at the time and ranked 76 in the world by Forbes magazine.
Dangote moved to assert his place in sugar production when in February 2013, the Dangote Sugar Refinery announced plans to acquire 95% equity stake in Savannah Sugar Company limited, SSC.
The deal was executed through a Share Sale and Purchase Agreement, SSPA, and Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) acquired 95% of the issued share capital of Savanna Sugar, amounting to 2.14 billion ordinary shares of N1.00 each.
This was about the same time the Nigerian government designed the backward integration goal, the National Sugar Master Plan to attract over $1 billion annually in local and foreign direct investments and create jobs.
Also, recall that April 2013 was the first time the mogul announced his intention to build a private refinery in Nigeria, to reduce Nigeria’s dependence on importation of petroleum products.
Such big dreams!!!
Aliko Dangote in 2015 signed a mammoth deal with Chinese state-owned engineering company, SINOMA, to build factories for Dangote Cement Plc.
The deal was worth $4.3 billion (£2.8 billion), and seven plants to be built across the continent and one in Nepal. It was not just another avenue to spend money, as the billionaire had done the calculation and expected the new plants to increase the company’s production capacity by as much as 25 million metric tonnes.
Great plans for his home country, no doubt!
As a result of the sizeable investments made over the years, Dangote Cement ended 2014 with new lines in Nigeria, factories becoming operational in Senegal and South Africa, and other plants in Cameroon and Zambia. This increased production capacity from just under 21 million tonnes in January to more than 34 million tonnes at the end of the year.
This was an unprecedented rate of expansion and the company went ahead to open new factories in Ethiopia and Tanzania in the following year.
The Dangote Foundation remains one of the most heart-touching innovations of Aliko Dangote. It is the largest foundation in Africa and has an annual endowment of $1.25 billion. The foundation is described as “locally focused, but globally-minded” and has contributed millions to improve nutrition, health, education and economic empowerment in Nigeria.
The foundation is a lead contributor to the ‘Saving One Million Lives’ every year in Nigeria and was at the forefront of efforts to contain the spread of Ebola in Nigeria and other parts of Africa. The foundation was the biggest private contributor to the African Union Ebola Trust Fund with a donation of $3 million.
The foundation also partnered Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to eradicate polio in Nigeria by strenghtening primary health care and making provisions for routine immunization across Northern Nigeria. The initial project commenced in Kano and Bauchi states. In January 2016, Sokoto, Yobe, Kaduna and Borno States were added to the partnership, with over $10 Million spent.
The Aliko Dangote Foundation Micro-grant programme is a N10 Billion programme designed to provide a N10,000 one-off grant to at least 1,000 vulnerable women, and in some cases, youths, in each of the 774 LGAs across Nigeria. it is national programme launched in Kano in 2011 and is being systemically rolled out across the country. The programme is being implemented in partnership with states government to complement their respective poverty alleviation drive across the country.
So far, the sum of N3.345 Billion has been disbursed to women across Kano, Jigawa, Kogi, Adamawa, Borno, Yobe, Lagos, Niger and Nasarawa States.
Also, in continuation of its efforts to rehabilitate and resettle the Internally Displaced People in the Northeast, Nigeria, the Aliko Dangote Foundation commissioned 200 Housing Units of the Dangote Village Housing Estate for the Internally Displaced Persons in Maiduguri, Borno State, with Award Letters issued to the chosen beneficiaries – mostly widows with dependents.
In support of this laudable action by the Foundation, the State Government made provision for each family to be given economic empowerment tools to sustain their livelihood adding a fully functional school and a clinic to cater for the residents of the estate.
The impact of this foundation over the years can hardly be wrapped into a few paragraphs, but it has been a major contributor to alleviating poverty, just as the philanthropist billionaire intended.
The year 2018 was a significant one for the Dangote Group. Aliko Dangote did the ground-breaking ceremony for the construction of a rice processing plant in Jigawa – the culmination of a series of events that started a couple of years earlier.
He had signed a $1 billion agreement with the Federal Government for the integrated rice production in Kebbi, Sokoto, Zamfara, Kano, Niger and Jigawa.
The multi-billion processing mill had the capacity, upon completion, to process 16 tonnes of paddy rice per hour, totalling to about 14-billion-naira worth of rice per year.
It was a much-celebrated event for the year, as the rice mill was expected to improve the lives of the residents since the raw products would be bought from local farmers in Jigawa. The end aim is to make Nigeria self-sufficient in rice production.
We can expect more from this billionaire in this regard, as he has announced in recent times, his intention to do more in agriculture.
Dangote Cement Nigeria increased the group’s revenue in 2018 by over 10%, simply by creating favourable fuel mix at the cement plants at Obajana and Ibese. With these unprecedented innovations, the group cut out reliance on imported coal for both plans and started using coals from mines operated by the Dangote Industries Limited.
The impact of this was seen largely on foreign currency demands, thus pushing the company’s revenues. Subsequently, all eight kilns in Obajana and Ibese have been running on coal, gas or LPFO or a mixture of the three. I’m sure you didn’t know that.
And lets no forget that stunt he pulled when he bought back Dangote flour mills, the loss-making business he sold for $200 million to Tiger Brands, only to resell it to Olams years later for $362 million
2019 was the year of consolidating on the refinery plans which had long commenced. The peak of it all was the arrival of the specially configured facility which Dangote had since requested to be made.
The facility, which was built by Sinopec, China’s leading energy and chemical company, has been described as the largest in the world and has since been installed at the Dangote refinery.
The Atmospheric tower is expected to separate crude oil into its components (or distillation cuts, distillation fractions) for further processing by other processing units when the refinery starts full operations later this year.
According to the mogul, the refinery will within 18 months of operation, be able to meet Nigeria’s demand for petroleum products, and soon after become the largest exporter of petroleum products in Africa.
Experts support this prediction, adding that Nigeria could become Africa’s biggest producer and exporter of refined petroleum and gas products, including plastics, fertilizer, jet fuel, diesel and gasoline. This is expected to lift the economy of the entire continent.
Very fresh on our minds is the donation of N2 billion naira and other materials to the Private Sector Coalition against COVID-19, just some weeks ago. It signified the tycoon’s willingness to partner with the Central Bank of Nigeria, and private sector participants, to alleviate some of the hardships which the pandemic is sure to inflict on Nigeria.
Just weeks before this, he had donated N100 million worth of materials after the Abule-ado explosion to help in rebuilding the destroyed buildings.
You may feel like we have said much here, but we have not even made mention of the infrastructural facilities he built across tertiary institutions in the country – the construction of a N1.2 Billion Dangote Business School, Bayero University Kano, or the construction of hostels or provisions of power supply at Ahmadu Bello University, Zaria, Kaduna state and Kano University of Science and Technology, Wudil, Kano State.
So much has not been said.
The year is still very young with only 101 days gone, there’s still a lot more fantastic things that could happen this year. Keep in mind that the billionaire also has plans to buy Arsenal FC, and take the Nigerian flag all over the world.