When Aliko Dangote was still at primary school he started buying packets of sweets and selling them individually to make pocket money – he was a businessman already. In 1977 Dangote founded the Dangote Group as a small trading firm. Later that year he relocated to Lagos with the aim of expanding the company which soon became a multi-trillion naira conglomerate that operates in Nigeria, Ghana, Togo and Benin. Dangote Group has since expanded its service offering to include transportation and logistics, telecommunications, cement manufacturing, food processing, sugar and flour. In 2009 Dangote was acknowledged as the top employment provider in the construction sector of Nigeria.
Philanthropy and Sponsorship
Aliko Dangote is the richest person in Africa and is also one of the top 50 richest people in the world. He is also well-known for his generosity and for being humble about his kindness. Dangote made a public statement that he will only give some of his money to charity and not all. With donations of as much as US$185 million over the space of two years, ‘some’ of his money is clearly a substantial amount. The reason behind Dangote’s generosity is claimed to be his belief that Africans should be helping Africa and other Africans.
The Dangote Foundation
Aliko Dangote started the Dangote Foundation in 1997. His aim was to start a charity that would act as a vehicle for his philanthropic deeds and corporate social responsibility actions. Through his efforts and with a generous endowment of US$1.25 billion, the foundation evolved into being the biggest private foundation in sub-Saharan Africa.
Philanthropic Achievements in Nigeria
One of Aliko Dangote’s biggest philanthropic achievements was when he worked with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation in 2013 on a project in Northern Nigeria. The aim of the project was to drastically reduce polio, and to improve immunization routines in the area. As a direct result of the initiative there were no new cases of polio between 2014 and 2016 when a few new cases were found.
Other major donations by Aliko Dangote include:
- Developing the Dangote Academy with the aim of developing manpower in various sectors. The academy is worth around US$6 million.
- Spending a further US$6 million on rehabilitating several universities in Nigeria.
- Making a US$15.4 million donation in aid of cushioning the effects of floods that ravaged Nigeria. A further US$2.8 million was donated as relief aid for flood victims in the same year.
- Donating US$3.3 million and relief items to the value of nearly US$250,000 to victims of a communal clash during insurgency.
Philanthropy Outside of Nigeria
In addition to his generous help to Nigerians, Aliko Dangote is also involved with helping other countries. Notable donations include:
- Donating US$2 million to victims of floods in Pakistan.
- Donating US$500,000 to victims of an explosion in the DRC.
- Donating US$740,500 to battle the devastation of famine in Niger.