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The Globe and Mail

Africa's richest person has concrete, global ambitions

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Aliko Dangote, founder and CEO of Dangote Group, gestures during an interview in his office in Lagos in this June 13, 2012 file photo. Mr. Dangote’s entrepreneurial skills have helped make him Africa's richest person, with a current estimated net worth of $11.2-billion (U.S.).


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Olusegun Obasanjo, then president of Nigeria, addresses the opening session at the United Nations in this 2005 file photo. Mr. Dangote’s fortunes blossomed when his close friend Mr. Obasanjo became president in 1999 and gave Mr. Dangote exclusive import rights to cement, sugar and rice.


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Workers walk past a pile of limestone at the Dangote Cement mine in Obajana village in Nigeria’s central state of Kogi. Mr. Dangote has cement plants opened or under construction everywhere from Senegal to Ethiopia to South Africa and he dreams of owning the largest cement company on the planet.


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A worker lifts a bag of flour at the Dangote flour mill in Apapa district in Nigeria’s commercial capital of Lagos. By 2015, Mr. Dangote hopes, his industrial conglomerate will be worth four times its current estimated $15-billion (U.S.).


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Heavy traffic crosses a bridge in the Ikoyi neighbourhood of Lagos. Mr. Dangote, who lives in a leafy suburb of the upscale area, admits he has been friends with several recent presidents of Nigeria and has enjoyed lucrative tax breaks, but denies receiving any special favours.


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Nigeria’s President Goodluck Jonathan (shown in Toronto in 2010) last year awarded Mr. Dangote Nigeria’s second-highest honour, Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger. Mr. Dangote is on Mr. Jonathan’s economic management team and the government’s job creation committee.


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A woman waits for customers at a local food market in Lagos in this file photo. The Dangote Group contributes nearly 1 per cent of the GDP of Africa’s second-biggest economy, and employs 23,000 people in a country with massive unemployment.


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A woman walks past a billboard along a Lagos road in Sept. 10, 2012. Mr. Dangote wants to list 20 per cent of Dangote Cement on the London Stock Exchange late next year, at a price that would value it at $35-billion to $40-billion.


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