Aliko Dangote
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Profiles - Visionaries - February 28, 2023

3 Failed Businesses Aliko Dangote Owned

Aliko Dangote, a poster boy for Africa’s undeniably successful businesses, is one of the continent’s wealthiest men. 

Starting out

Dangote began from humble beginning, although he got help from his grandfather when he started out as a trader. He began with a cash contribution of N500,000 borrowed from his grandfather which helped jumpstart his venture into trading. Now, this was a huge lump sum for anyone at the time. To put this in perspective, his first car, a Mercedes Benz, cost him N5,100.

From being a trader, he upgraded to being a bulk trader. He graduated to become an importer between 1978 and 1997, and from here he moved on to diversifying his business portfolio to become a conglomerate. He also went from being just a trader to delving into manufacturing.

Dangote’s many businesses

Today, the name Dangote is synonymous with success. From agriculture to petrochemicals and all major stops in between, Dangote has his hands in virtually every major business sector.  Many have attributed his phenomenal growth to the fact that he is where he is today because of the patronage and special concessions he has received from past governments. This, however, shouldn’t take away the fact that he is a man with the Midas touch.

Over the years, Dangote has expanded his business footprint into all the major sectors of the consumer economy, namely agriculture and agro-processing, fertilizer production, sugar processing, coal mining, cement production, petrochemicals, and the popular refinery, which is expected to be a game changer for Nigeria and fix the country’s refining and gas shortage problems.

In the area of power generation, it’s interesting to note that the Dangote Group currently generates 1,300 MW of power for use within the group’s business operations. It also sells power to the government of Senegal.

Failed businesses Dangote has ventured in

Unlike what you may feel or think, Dangote has actually had his fair share of failed business ventures. He has not always had it smooth in every venture he has gone into. And this is a pointer to the fact that, as an entrepreneur, it’s not every business that you should dabble in, especially the ones you have no idea what they’re all about.

Here are some failed businesses that Aliko Dangote has been involved in:

Liberty Merchant Bank 

You may not be aware, but Dangote once ventured into the banking sector. He was the leading shareholder in the then-merchant bank, but the bank never lived up to its promise, unlike others like First City Monument Bank, owned by another Nigerian, Oba Otudeko. 

Dangote pasta

The Dangote Pasta brand is another failed venture of Africa’s richest man. After re-acquiring the brand from Tiger Foods, South Africa to which it had initially sold it off to, Dangote finally announced shortly after that it was finally exiting the pasta business as it did not consider it strategic in its expansion plans.

The Dangote tomato paste factory

The N4 billion Dangote tomato paste factory situated in Kano is another failed business that the richest man in Africa has been involved in. The plant which was supposed to enable the country to generate about 400, 000 tons of tomato paste and thus save it a huge chunk of import has been another moribond venture of the business man.

Launched in 2015, the factory has continued to struggle as it cannot get enough berries to keep it operational at maximum capacity.

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