Skip to content
Subscriber Only

Africa's Richest Man, Aliko Dangote, Is Just Getting Started

Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote made a fortune on cement. Now he’s trying to corner the market on sugar. Is he building a new Africa or cashing in on the old one?

Photograph by Michael Prince/Forbes Collection/Corbis Outline

Six years ago, Aliko Dangote paid a visit to Tanzania, on Africa’s eastern coast, and shared his dream of having an African-run business empire that would manufacture products all over the continent. To assorted government and business leaders, he announced that he was prepared to make an investment of $600 million to build a cement factory in southern Tanzania, alleviating the shortage in that country’s domestic cement supply. The Tanzanians were skeptical. “They didn’t believe us at all. They thought I was one of these ‘Nigerian 4-1-9’ scammers who try to go and scheme people out of their money,” Dangote says. “Or just one of these clever Nigerians who would come and be lying to them.”