Aliko Dangote’s Biography and Net Worth

Aliko Dangote

The name Aliko Dangote evokes great respect in the Nigerian business community. This is because he has, for many years, held the esteemed title of Africa's richest man. 

This post offers insight into how Dangote made his wealth while revealing his biography, family, net worth, business challenges, and the companies he owned.

Dangote’s Biography: Early Beginnings

Aliko Dangote was born on April 10, 1957 in Kano to Mariya Sanusi and Mohammed Dangote. The billionaire started his education at Sheikh Ali Kumasi Madrasa, his secondary education at Capital High School Kano, and his University education at Al-Azhar University Cairo, where he obtained a bachelor's in business studies and administration at age 21. 

Dangote’s interest in business began a long time ago, at just 21 years old, when he borrowed five hundred thousand naira from his uncle, Aminu Dantata. Dangote invested the borrowed money into selling agricultural products within his small Kano neighbourhood. This enterprise later grew to become the empire we know today as the Dangote Group.

The growth of the Dangote Group can be attributed to a host of factors, one of which is Dangote’s ability to spot opportunities amid chaos. 

In the 1970s, Africa underwent a gradual infrastructural revolution, which required a significantly large amount of cement. Dangote took advantage of this increase in cement demand and went on to find the Dangote cement manufacturing company. Dangote cement grew in no time and displaced the Nigerian Cement Company (the then major player in the cement industry) as the top dog in the industry. 

Another factor that significantly contributed to the success of the Dangote business empire was Dangote’s drive to diversify. 

Dangote often spreads the tentacles of his business interests to several industries, where he frequently dominates each of them while leaving his mark. Some notable sectors that Dangote has expanded into include food production, telecommunications, and most recently, petroleum.

According to Forbes, Dangote’s quick expansion drive was made possible by reinvesting major parts of his initial profits into the growth of his businesses. 

This diversification made his net worth grow exponentially, giving him immunity from the clutches of economic instability and fluctuations.

Dangote’s Family

Dangote was born by Mariya Sanusi Dantata, the daughter of Sanusi Dantata, the son of Nigeria's wealthiest man as of 1955. Dangote’s father, Mohammed Dangote, was a close employee of Sanusi Dantata. Dangote’s great-grandfather, Alhassan Dantata, was Nigeria’s richest man until his passing in 1955. 

Dangote had three siblings from his mother’s end, Sani Dangote was one of Dangote’s siblings but died from colon cancer at a hospital in Cleveland, Ohio, United States in 2021.

Dangote’s mother is still alive and undertakes various forms of philanthropy across Nigeria. 

Dangote’s Wives and Children

Aliko Dangote has had his ups and downs in marriage, which haven’t seemed to favor the billionaire. In 1977, Dangote married Zainab. The marriage was short-lived, and the couple divorced at an undisclosed date.

In 2000, Dangote married a second time to Mariya Muhammed Rufai, again, just as his first marriage, the second marriage came to an end in 2010 after lasting for ten years with the couple keeping the details of the divorce from the public. Dangote also had a third marriage that also ended and subsequently married a fourth, which all collapsed. 

Aliko Dangote is blessed with four official children: three daughters, Fatimah, Halima, and Mariya Dangote, and Abdulrahman Fasasi, his adopted son. Nonetheless, he also has eleven illegitimate children, bringing his total number of children to fifteen.

Dangote’s Net Worth

As of June 2023, Dangote had a fortune of over $25 billion and was the 33rd richest man on the planet. Today, the billionaire's net worth, despite not doing badly, has dropped to $14.2 billion as of April 2024. This significant drop was caused by a fall in the Nigerian economy.

Aliko Dangote is currently the world’s 136th richest person, the richest black man, and the richest man in Nigeria

The billionaire has an 85% ownership stake of Dangote Cement, one of Africa’s biggest companies and Africa’s biggest cement production company with a capacity to produce over 48 million metric tons of cement in a year. The Dangote Cement is worth over $10 billion. 

Also, Dangote owns a 50% significant stake in the Dangote Fertilizer Plant, which is worth over $5 billion. In addition, Dangote’s stake at the Dangote Sugar Refinery Plc is worth over $300 million. The sugar refinery is Africa’s biggest sugar production company. 

The billionaire businessman has also begun the Dangote Refinery, the world’s seventh largest refinery with a production capacity of 650, 000 barrels per day. 

With over thirty thousand employees, Aliko Dangote owns majority stakes in the following companies:Dangote Cement PLC, Dangote Flour Mills PLC, Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC, Dangote Agro Sacks Limited, Dangote Pasta Plant Limited, Dangote Salt PLC, Dangote Oil Refinery and Dangote Foods Limited.

Dangote’s Business Achievements

Dangote leverages Africa's rich, untapped natural resources. He strategically invests in resource mining and has since invested in limestone, oil, coal, and others. This makes the manufacturing process cheaper, resulting in affordable products for the masses.

Dangote has always shown confidence in his ability to execute projects. He undertook the construction of a billion-dollar refinery while simultaneously running the rest of his business empire, which is unusual among most African business leaders.

Throughout his business journey, Dangote has gathered and struck pivotal deals with investors, including leaders and high-level traders, to trust and follow his brand. One such was the attraction of the federal government to invest over $20 billion in the Dangote Refinery.

Dangote’s ability to relate with people and have them work and invest in his enterprise caught the attention of Bill Gates, who in 2019 during the Gates Foundation talk show reiterated to the audience that Dangote could pick up his phone and gain access to anyone around the world, no matter the status of the other person being contacted. 

Gates offered an example of how Dangote once called all northern governors in Nigeria for a video chat to discuss some ongoing projects. This network and accessibility give Dangote an edge over other businessmen.

Furthermore, Dangote continuously shows high ethical values in his business operations. The billionaire has been in the spotlight for decades, but his record regarding moral conduct remains clean. To date, there are no corruption charges, no strained relationships, and no records of embezzlement against Dangote.

Dangote and Philanthropy

In an interview with Forbes Magazine, Aliko Dangote stated that part of his faith includes helping the less privileged and those around him.

To fulfill his aim of giving back to the community, he started the Dangote Foundation in 1994. Among numerous achievements, the foundation has given over 2 million dollars to the World Food Programme on Pakistan Flood Crisis aversion, 230 million naira to women in Kogi State as microgrants for human capital development, and over a billion naira in donations to Nigerian universities.

In addition, during the 2020 COVID-19 pandemic outbreak, the foundation distributed several items to alleviate the suffering of people all over Nigeria.

Dangote's Legacy of Inspiration

Mr. Wale Tinubu, the CEO of Oando Plc (and nephew to Nigerian President Bola Ahmed Tinubu), and other notable Nigerians have continuously reiterated that Dangote inspires other businessmen, the younger generation, and the country at large.

Some of the notable business figures that have been inspired by Dangote include Deborah Enoma of Debskulture, Mr. Olabode Fayemiro of Buzz Media Africa, Alhaji Salisu Mamman, and Monica Musonda of Zambia, who built a food processing company from scratch. 

While opening the food processing plant, Musonda praised Dangote for charting a path for others to follow in Africa. Alhaji Salisu, on his part, described Dangote as a trailblazer.


Aliko Dangote achieved his wealth through his ability to manage and relate with people, his ability to spot investment opportunities, and his courage to invest in the riskiest of projects. 

With all his qualities, Dangote is a man to watch in Nigeria's business space.

Frequently asked question

Does Dangote have foreign assets?

Dangote personally has assets in Nigeria. All foreign assets are owned by Dangote Group.

Where does Dangote come from?

Dangote comes from Kano, a north-western state in Nigeria.