Aliko Dangote
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Billionaires - September 28, 2022

Aliko Dangote: 5 Leadership Lessons to Learn Before His Award

Aliko Dangote, the wealthiest billionaire in Africa and Nigeria, has been selected alongside other dignitaries in Nigeria to receive the 2022 Portraits of Patriots award by Nigeria’s premier biographical compendium on thought leaders.

He will receive the award, which is slated for October 1, 2022, alongside other awardees such as the Vice President of Nigeria, Yemi Osinbajo; former governor Peter Obi, General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG), Pastor Enoch Adeboye; and the Director General of the World Trade Organisation (WTO), Dr Ngozi Okonjo-Iweala.

This is in recognition of their contribution to the growth of Nigeria. Kammonke Abam and Tammie Edet Kammonke, the editors of Nigeria’s premier biographical compendium on thought leaders, said, “Such inspirational value is judged by their level of patriotism defined by how much they put Nigeria first. These are people who, by their actions, put Nigeria above personal and sectional considerations. They are committed to the country’s greatness and are working towards ensuring that the country becomes what its founding fathers envisioned it be.”

Though Aliko Dangote is an entrepreneur, he has exhibited different leadership qualities in his business activities. Let’s have a look at some of these qualities.

He is persistent and determined

Aliko Dangote is a persistent and determined leader who is only out for the best. With determination and persistence, he increased the $500,000 loan he borrowed from his uncle to $194.96 billion in market capitalisation. Through this, he is now worth $18.8 billion. However, this was achieved through hard work.

He asserted this when he said, “You could easily tell that hard work and perseverance go hand in hand with patience. People often say patience is worth it, yet we don’t practice it. I did, and look how well it worked out for me.

I built a conglomerate and emerged as the wealthiest black man in the world in 2008, but it didn’t happen overnight. It took me 30 years to get to where I am today. Youths of today aspire to be like me, but they want to achieve it overnight. It’s not going to work. To build a successful business, you must start small and dream big. In the journey of entrepreneurship, tenacity of purpose is supreme.”

He is passionate

Dangote is a passionate leader who has exemplified this through his different philanthropic activities that date back to 1994. Today, the Aliko Dangote foundation is one of the biggest in Africa, with a single African donor and an endowment of $1.25 billion.

One of its most significant partnerships to date is with the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and key northern state governments in Nigeria to eliminate polio and strengthen routine immunisation in Nigeria. The foundation is also focused on providing empowerment programmes, humanitarian relief, and uplifting education and health.

About philanthropic activities, Dangote said that “The real thing about wealth, what will make you enjoy it and be happy that yes you are rich, is how many lives you can touch while you are alive.” He did justice to this through his actions.


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He is competent and committed

Despite the harsh economic conditions, Aliko Dangote’s competence and commitment have seen him overcome some hurdles. These kept him focused on his vision and mission statement, which, in turn, made his business successful and the leading brand in the sector.

He believes competency and commitment are essential and said, “First, I only enter a business that I can fully understand. I never enter a business that is not clear to me. The second principle is that I have to be able to become number one or, at worst, number two in that business.”

His competency in giving back to the people and elevating poverty in the country has seen him produce some of the necessities people need to survive, especially foodstuffs like spaghetti, seasonings, and salt.

He is a smart and sensible entrepreneur

Every business needs an enabling environment for it to thrive. To create one for his business, Dangote used pro-business strategies. He does this by strategically surrounding himself with people from different sectors to ensure that the policies made by the government do not affect his business.

Apart from being their friend, he gets involved in certain political activities, such as financing campaigns. This way, he acknowledges the role of the government and takes the needed actions. During his speech in 2015 at PES University, Bangalore, India, he said, “I am close to people in government because I am one of the big businessmen in Nigeria. If we don’t have the right people there, then all my money is useless. For example, if the country turns into another Zimbabwe, then I will become a poor person.”

He is visionary

Leaders are visionaries. This led to the creation of different Dangote companies within and beyond the borders of Nigeria, with more than 18 subsidiaries across various industries such as cement, flour, sugar, seasonings, and oil and gas.

With the vision to be the best, he started small and became the best. Therefore, he advised that if you want to be successful in business, “You must have a vision and not just a vision, but a plan that would make you fulfil that vision.”


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