There are 16 billionaires in Africa, according to the just-released Forbes Africa’s Richest list, and Aliko Dangote stands atop them all. The richest man in the continent has amassed a fortune of $12 billion through a concrete empire. Now he’s giving back.
In the wake of a devastating flood in Nigeria that has killed at least 360 people and left more than 2 million people homeless, Dangote announced that he’s giving $15.8 million (N2.5 billion) to the relief effort.
“We should give while we are alive and also when we are young and capable. Sometimes, we need to have the genuine experience of deprivation and poverty in order to appreciate the need to be our brother’s keeper,” Dangote said at a fundraising dinner, according to All Africa. ”My visit to Kogi flood victims was an eye-opener. It is a fulfilling journey when we experience it. We should all be problem solvers and ready to make people happy when the opportunity comes. Nobody says ‘thank you’ for growing a profitable company, but people will say ‘thank you’ when you give.”
Dangote is co-Chairman of the Presidential Committee on Flood Relief and Rehabilitation. In addition to giving his own money, he has pledged to keep the entire process transparent. Money contributed will be displayed at the organization’s home page, specifically created to accept and monitor the donations.
This is Dangote’s second year as the richest man in Africa. His flagship company, Dangote Cement, is Africa’s largest cement manufacturer, and has operations in 14 African countries. But the company is expanding. Dangote plans to open cement plants in Myanmar and Iraq. He started trading commodities more than 30 years ago after receiving a business loan from his uncle, and eventually built the Dangote Group, which in addition to cement owns sugar refineries, flour milling and salt processing facilities.
Back in August, Dangote came to New York City to take part in the Forbes 400 Summit on Philanthropy.