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Unearthing Dangote’s Legacy: The Wealthy Roots of Africa’s Richest Man

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LAGOS, Nigeria — A fact-check by The Trent, a leading Nigerian media organization, has brought to light the early financial backing of Aliko Dangote, the distinguished Nigerian business magnate and Africa’s richest man, who started his entrepreneurial journey in Lagos about 45 years ago.

The investigation was initiated following a statement by Lagos State Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu. The governor while commenting on the recent commissioning of the Dangote Refinery by former President Muhammadu Buhari, portrayed Dangote, now the CEO of Africa’s premier business conglomerate, Dangote Group, as an individual who “came to Lagos in the late 70s with nothing“, only to build an immense business empire from the ground up.

However, The Trent‘s thorough investigation found that Dangote, in fact, stepped into the world of business with a seed capital of N500,000, gifted by his uncle. Adjusted for present value, this sum amounts to over N350,000,000. This initial investment served as the catalyst for the expansion of Dangote Group, which today stands as the largest business conglomerate on the continent.

Dangote was born into affluence. Having been born in 1957 into a well-off family in Kano, Nigeria, he is the descendant of Alhaji Alhassan Dantata, who was West Africa’s richest man at the time of his death.

A historic photograph obtained by The Trent depicts a young Dangote alongside his grandfather Sanusi Dantata and his uncle Hassan Sanusi Dantata, adjacent to a family-owned jet.

Dangote
From left: Aliko Dangote, Alh Sunusi Alhassan Dantata (his Grand Father that gave him 500,000 naira), Alh Hassan Sunusi Dantata (his Uncle) and a family member standing in front of a family jet.

Coming from a lineage of prosperous merchants and businessmen, Dangote’s upbringing instilled in him a keen understanding of Nigeria’s intertwined nature of politics and business.

Dangote’s business acumen was first honed when he undertook the store manager role for his grandfather. In time, he established his own cement and commodity trading business, backed by a loan of N500,000 from his grandfather. This enterprise quickly became profitable, enabling Dangote to repay the loan in just three months.

From then on, Dangote Group has seen exponential growth, with its operations now spanning at least 17 African countries and a dominating presence in the continent’s cement market. Dangote Cement Plc, a subsidiary of the group, is the largest listed company in West Africa and is the first Nigerian company to be included in the Forbes Global 2000 Companies list.

With an estimated net worth of around $13.5 billion, Dangote has consistently been listed as Africa’s richest man for a decade. His wealth primarily comes from his company, Dangote Cement, even though his business empire started with selling commodities like sugar, salt, and flour.

In conclusion, The Trent contradicts Governor Babajide Sanwo-Olu’s assertion that Dangote arrived in Lagos 45 years ago with nothing. The governor’s statement is misleading and false. The report elucidates the prosperous origins that helped shape the journey of Africa’s wealthiest man.

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