Aliko Dangote has been Africa’s richest man for the last six years running. During this time his net worth dropped due to the economic recession in Nigeria. Some of his business interests have not all being roaring successes. For example concessions for setting up a Cement factory in Tanzania were cancelled by a succeeding government. There was also the purchase and later divestment of Tiger Brands South Africa from Dangote Flour Mills.
Granted business is never easy. But Mr. Dangote continues to wax even stronger. In the recent past the business mogul has announced investments in Oil refining, petrochemicals, fertilizers, dairy and rice farming. This is in addition to existing investments in cement, flour, sugar and other areas.
The point I’m trying to make clear is that it would be difficult to dislodge Dangote as Africa’s richest man. Baring any factors outside of man’s control. Infact, I see him retaining top spot for many more years to come. This position is buttressed by the following observations after careful study:
Unshakable and unwavering belief in Africa
I don’t think I’ve come across anyone who possesses a more unwavering belief in Africa than this man. He doesn’t just talk the talk, he walks it. Dangote uses every opportunity to encourage everyone to invest in Africa. And he should know. With investments in fifteen Sub Saharan African countries to show.
His afro-centrism has seen him declare that he has no investments outside Africa. Dangote announced last week on Bloomberg his plans to invest outside Africa for the first time in 2020. Sixty percent of future investments would be done outside Africa to achieve a balance. No wonder Africa continues to give Dangote it’s biggest and best yields.
Robust Diversification Strategy
According to Dangote.com, “The Dangote Group is one of the most diversified business conglomerates in Africa with a hard-earned reputation for excellent business practices and products’ quality with its operational headquarters in the bustling metropolis of Lagos, Nigeria in West Africa.”
Dangote’s interests are in many sectors. While I don’t possess the exact details of his diversification strategy, the results of it are obvious for everyone to see.
Investment strategy driven by comparative advantage
Comparative advantage drives Dangote’s investment strategy. This I gathered from several interviews where he talked about his approach to investing. He only invests in opportunities where he believes he can be number 1 in the market. Or untapped opportunities where he can make a difference. This include Oil refining, petrochemicals, dairy and rice production. That’s probably the reason why Dangote has gone in.
Generosity and Humility
I remember watching Dangote on television talking about his plans to help the victims of terror in the North East of Nigeria. He talked about building houses and in his own words bringing out “around two billion of funding from the Dangote Foundation”. He said it in a way that made it look normal to give such a sum. Everyone who is close to him have testified of his lack of airs and overwhelming generosity. A person who gives much eventually ends up getting much more. Dangote is part of the “Giving Pledge“, an initiative of Bill Gates and Warren Buffett. The pledge gets billionaires to commit to giving a huge chunk of their wealth to worthwhile causes.
Dangote is a brand
Without a doubt the Dangote name is very well recognised in Africa. It has eventually achieved the status of a global brand. He is the only one amongst Africa’s richest who named his organisation after himself. Expectedly the name now stands for wealth, big business and opportunity. The use of his name has made his brand very recognisable and easy to relate with.
Dangote’s optimism and quiet confidence about his ability to build wealth is infectious. I have never heard him complain; he just gets on doing what he knows best, making money. It’s a quality in most rich people preferring to see opportunities than be blinded by complaints and criticisms.
So many things are being said and written , understandably. He does, however remain an excellent role model and poster boy for the possibilities that wealth brings. By and by there are so many things we can learn from him. Instead of trying to dislodge him I believe it is important that we all become like him. Africa would be a lot better if we had more Dangotes, you and I!