Aliko Dangote GCON President /CE, Dangote Industries Limited Aliko Dangote is the founder and President/Chief Executive of Dangote Industries Limited, the largest conglomerate in West Africa. A graduate of Al-Azhar University in Cairo, Egypt, Dangote began his business career in 1978, trading in rice, sugar and cement, before he ventured into full-scale manufacturing. The Group he founded, currently has presence in 17 African countries and is a market leader in cement on the continent. One of the Group’s subsidiaries, Dangote Cement Plc, is the largest listed company in West Africa and the first Nigerian company to join the Forbes Global 2000 Companies list. The Group has four other subsidiaries: Dangote Petroleum Refinery, Dangote Fertiliser Limited, Dangote Sugar Refinery and NASCON Allied Industries, with the latter two Business Units listed on the Nigerian Exchange Limited (NGX). The Group is diversified and operates in major sectors of the Nigerian economy including agriculture. The Dangote Fertiliser was commissioned on March 22, 2022 while the Dangote Petroleum Refinery was commissioned on May 22, 2023. The petroleum refinery is the largest single train refinery in the world with the capacity to refine 650,000 barrels of crude oil per day, alongside a petrochemical complex. The South Africa-based Brand Leadership Movement in collaboration with the Johannesburg Stock Exchange (JSE) awarded Dangote ‘the most admired African brand’ in 2018, of African continent origin.
Dangote sits on the board of the Corporate Council on Africa and is a member of the Steering Committee of the United Nations Secretary-General’s Global Education First Initiative, the Clinton Global Initiative, the McKinsey Advisory Council, and the International Business Council of the World Economic Forum. He was named Co-chair of the US-Africa Business Center, in September 2016, by the US Chamber of Commerce. In April 2017, he joined the Board of Directors of the Clinton Health Access Initiative, which is helping countries build the systems necessary to provide health services to their people. A dedicated philanthropist, Dangote made an initial endowment of $1.25 billion to the Aliko Dangote Foundation in March 2014, enabling it to scale up its work in health, education and economic empowerment. In addition, he is collaborating with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation to fight polio. He is also on the Board of ONE, the anti-poverty group, co-founded by Bono. Aliko Dangote has received many laurels both within and outside Nigeria, in recognition of his achievements and philanthropy. On November 14, 2011, the Nigerian Government conferred on him the Grand Commander of the Niger (GCON), becoming the first person outside government functionaries to bag the honour. In 2013, he was conferred with the highest national honour in the Republic of Benin, the Grand Commander of the National Order of the Republic of Benin. In 2014 he also made the list of CNBC’s ‘Top 25 Businessmen in the World’ that changed and shaped the century. In November 2019, the Nigerian Government conferred on him the National Productivity Order of Merit Award in recognition of his contributions to the Nigerian economy.
In June 2021, he received the highest civilian honour in Cameroon – the Commander of the National Order of Valour – from the President of the Republic, Paul Biya. In August 2022, Dangote was conferred with the Commander of the Order of Merit of Niger award by the then President of the Republic of Niger, Mohamed Bazoum in Niamey, in appreciation for his services rendered to the Republic of Niger and as well as a tribute to his business acumen and philanthropy. In April 2014, TIME Magazine listed him among its 100 ‘Most Influential People in the World. For six consecutive years, 2013 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018 Forbes listed him as the ‘Most Powerful Man in Africa’ alongside the Egyptian President Abdel Fatteh el Sisi. In December 2014, he was named ‘Forbes Africa Person of the Year.’ In September 2015, he was named ‘African Businessman of the Year’ by London-based IC Publications. In October 2015, Aliko Dangote was listed among ‘50 Most Influential Individuals in the World’ by Bloomberg Markets. In April 2016, he won ‘The Guardian Man of the Year 2015.’ Also in September 2016, he won the ‘2016 African Business Leader Award,’ organised by the Africa-America Institute (AAI). In addition, his foundation The Aliko Dangote Foundation emerged winner of the ‘Philanthropy of the Year Award’ at the Grand Finale of the CNBC Africa-organised All Africa Business Leaders Awards (AABLA) held in South Africa, in November 2016. In 2017, he emerged among The Bloomberg 50, a new, yearly, multi-platform initiative that honors 50 icons and innovators who have changed the global business landscape in measurable ways. He was rated the most influential African by Jeune Afrique in their classification of the most influential 50 Africans in 2018, and was also named the 6th most charitable person in the world in the same year according to Richtopia, a United Kingdom-based digital platform.
In August 2023, The Africa Report publication also listed Dangote among the 50 most influential Africans. In February 2019, Bloomberg, in its 2019 Billionaires list of the top 500 billionaires in the world, ranked Aliko Dangote as the 64th richest man in the world and the richest man in Africa, which moved him up significantly from his previous ranking of 103rd in the world. In March 2020, Aliko Dangote spearheaded a private sector initiative to support the Federal Government in the fight against the COVID-19 Pandemic. The initiative, known as the Coalition Against COVID-19 (CACOVID) has raised almost N40 billion from more than 50 private sector members to provide medical equipment, health infrastructure and food relief materials for millions of Nigerians across the country to mitigate the effect of the coronavirus. In January 2020, Bloomberg, in its 2020 Billionaires list of the top 500 billionaires in the world, ranked Aliko Dangote as the richest man in Africa. He was also ranked the first in July 2022 and again in June 2023. He is, in addition, still the richest African for the 12th consecutive year, according to both Forbes and Bloomberg.