His fortune, which amounts to about 3% of Nigeria’s total GDP, renders him the richest person in Africa by a landslide — and the highest-ranked black billionaire in the world.
That’s impressive, but it’s about half of what Dangote was worth in 2014, when he commanded a fortune of $25 billion.
The majority of his wealth stems from a more than 90% stake in Dangote Cement, a publicly traded company on the Nigerian Stock Exchange with a market cap of $11 billion.
Dangote’s business interests span several African countries. He owns cement plants in Zambia, Senegal, Tanzania, and South Africa. In 2011, the commodities baron invested $4 billion to build a facility on the Ivory Coast.
Earlier this year, Dangote announced plans to invest $3.8 billion in sugar and rice and $800 million in dairy production as Nigeria navigates its first economic recession in at least two decades due to falling oil prices.
Dangote, who has been CEO and president of Dangote Group for more than 35 years, is also an active philanthropist. As chairman of The Dangote Foundation, he oversees several education, agriculture, and health initiatives, including a $12,000-per-day food program for the undernourished.
“Aliko is Africa’s richest man, and his business activities drive economic growth across the continent. That’s impressive, but I know him best as a leader constantly in search of ways to bridge the gap between private business and public health,” wrote Bill Gates, the richest person in the world, of his fellow philanthropist in Time Magazine. The tech mogul also praised Dangote’s success in removing Nigeria from the global list of endemic countries in his fight to eradicate polio.
In January 2016, Dangote and Gates announced a $100 million pledge to cut malnutrition in Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country and leading economy. The pair also signed a deal to enhance immunization programs in the country’s Northern states.