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Aliko Dangote: Africa's richest man - Talk to Al Jazeera - Al Jazeera English (
Meet Africa's richest man: Aliko Dangote. Forbes magazine
estimates his wealth at $25bn, making him the 23rd richest man in the
world with a growing portfolio of investments across Africa.

The Nigerian business magnate began with a small trading firm in
1977. Today his businesses cover everything from cement manufacturing,
food processing to freight.
Dangote group now employs about 25,000 people in Nigeria. I

t is
building cement factories in 16 African countries and buying mining
licences from Kenya to Zambia.
"Africa is full of opportunities and I think what we did was actually
harness fully the opportunities that we met on the ground," he says.
"We have done quite a lot in various areas. We started with trading,
after we succeeded in training what we did was go into manufacturing,
which is normally a very difficult area, especially in this part of the
world because of lack of power. But we have been able to resolve those
issues and we are able to succeed in most of what we are doing."

They say it is better to be humble, they say that no condition is
permanent. So I want to always run my [own] life - whether I have money
or I don't have money, I can always run it.
Aliko Dangote, Nigerian businessman

Dangote's is not a rags-to-riches story however.

He comes from a
wealthy Nigerian family. After losing his father at the age of eight, he
was brought up by his uncle, who gave the businessman his first loan,
which he then turned into the most successful business conglomerate in
"I paid [the loan] back in three months because business was so good" Dangote says.
His story, many say, shows what is possible about Africa.

On being the poorest continent's richest man for the fourth year in a
row, Dangote says "it feels a little bit odd, yes it's true, but then
it gives you a lot of thinking and responsibility. You ask 'what do I do
to impact humanity?' And that is why we do quite a lot
[philanthropically] in terms of our [Dangote] foundation."
He adds: "We are giving back because we are creating quite a lot of

We are not doing like other Africans, where most of the money is
in the bank. We don't keep any money in the bank; whatever we have we
fully invest and we keep on investing - and that's what we do."
Because of his success, Dangote has taken on the aura of an economic
folk hero for some. But to others he is a villain who has used his
political connections to sideline the potential competition.

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