Aliko Dangote, President of Dangote Industries and Africa’s richest man, has outlined steps that needed to be taken to be a successful businessman in Nigeria or elsewhere.
In an interview with Bloomberg, the business mogul, disclosed that being familiar with every business he invested in and intensifying his effort towards their growth resulted to the success he is known for today.
“I think the most important one, number one, if you are going into any business, you must understand the business from A to Z. You must know that business; you shouldn’t just invest because somebody says you know there’s money in cement then you go and jump into cement.
“You need to understand the business in and out, and that’s the difference with me. I know my business in and out. You can wake me up anytime and ask me about fertilizer, anything that we are doing.
“The other one is to work very hard. You need to have the tenacity or continuity. You will have some hiccups here and there, but you have to be focus on what you are doing.” He added that one of his principles is being a calm manager, “I’m very quiet and I’m very calm. I get upset sometimes when people try to outsmart me. I don’t like people who will not tell me the truth. I always like people to look at me and tell me the truth.”
On opportunities for foreigners in Africa, while Dangote is the richest man in Africa with investment in several key sectors, he believes there are still growth opportunities for foreigners to invest in Africa.
“There are good opportunities for everybody. And I think there’s quotation for everybody. As we speak today, let me give you an example, in Nigeria, if I have a partnership with you that I’m investing, I won’t have what you call minimum taxation.
“But if the company is owned by myself alone, as a Nigerian owned entity, we have minimum taxation. So, there’s quite a lot in terms of inviting foreigners to come and invest in Africa. But countries I can suggest for you to invest are Nigeria, Ghana, Cote D’ Ivoire, Kenya.”
Meanwhile, Dangote also set the record straight on how he amassed his wealth after claims that his success was aided by heirloom.
The richest African disclosed that he built the Dangote Group empire from scratch without inheriting any money from his father, who was one of the wealthiest Nigerians before his demise.
Contrary to the public perception that his wealth came from his wealthy lineage, as his late great-grandfather, late grandfather, and father were among the richest individuals in Nigeria and West Africa at their time, the business mogul made it without such help
Journey to being a billionaire: He said he became a cement trader in his early twenties without the inheritance.
“I came from a wealthy family. My late great-grandfather was actually the richest in the 1940s in West Africa. My late grandfather was one of the wealthiest Nigerians. The family name was Dantata; that’s from my maternal side.
“My father was also rich, but he was in business and also in politics. But one thing that I am very proud of is that I didn’t inherit any money from my father. I built everything from scratch to where I am,” he told David Leisteiner of Bloomberg.
Gave inheritance to charity: Dangote’s father died when he was 8 years old. When asked if his father didn’t leave anything in his will for him, he said, “Well, he left in the will, but you know, whatever that I inherited from him in asset, I gave that to charity since then.”
However, his business growth and success as a businessman has eclipsed his father’s achievement ever since.
The 62-year-old Nigerian businessman, Africa’s richest and most prominent industrialist ended the decade with a net worth of almost $15 billion, making him join the league of wealthiest men in the world (96th). Dangote added $4.3 billion to his fortunes by the end of 2019, as his investments in cement, flour and sugar grew further.
How Dangote spends his excess cash: What does Dangote do with the wealth he doesn’t use for business? Well, unlike some billionaires who spend their extra cash to collect valuables like arts and cars, Dangote said cash like that goes into charity.
“I’m not really a collector of art. Anytime I have excess money, I like to put more in terms of charity. I don’t really have a very expensive lifestyle,” he said while admitting that his greatest pleasure in life is building his company and giving away extra money.