Aliko Dangote (GCON), Founder and President, Dangote Group

“I can remember when I was in primary school, I would go and buy cartons of sweets and I would start selling them just to make money. I was so interested in business, even at that time.”

That was how Alhaji Aliko Dangote (GCON), the acclaimed richest man in Africa by Forbes Magazine described his foray into business and entrepreneurship even as a starry-eyed youngster.

Dangote who is arguably the highest employer of labour in Africa today started business three decades ago with a N500,000 loan he reportedly took from his maternal grandfather and which he was expected to pay back in three years but which he surprisingly paid back in three months.

Dangote stands head and shoulder high amongst global brand builders. His entrepreneurial wizardry is worthy of study at Harvard. From his humble beginning trading in commodity, Dangote has metamorphosed into a manufacturing and production octopus with a foothold in several African countries.

From Congo to Tanzania, Senegal to Zambia and even beyond, the Dangote imprint is unmistakably glaring. Dangote who is currently building the largest refinery in Lekki, Lagos, Nigeria has this winsome nuggets for aspiring entrepreneurs: “Work hard. Build your network. Believe in your country. And most importantly, you must pray for a big break. Big breaks are very vital to entrepreneurial survival.”

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