Nations confer honours on men and women of outstanding accomplishments. It does not matter the citizenship. Honours are equally conferred on non-citizens who have contributed massively to the nation’s development.
For a man to be conferred with the highest civilian honours by three nations is a testament of his giant footprints in the transformation of these nations. The president/chief executive, Dangote Industries Limited, Aliko Dangote, is currently the only private sector person in Africa with highest national honours from three countries.
His achievements are so remarkable in the whole of Africa, which culminated in getting the highest honours ever conferred on a civilian from presidents of countries where he has investments.
The business tycoon recently bagged Cameroon’s highest civilian honour, the National Order of Valour from the country’s president Paul Biya. While conferring the award, Biya said the honour was in recognition of his efforts in infrastructural development in the country and on the rest of the continent through his cement plants.
Biya commended Dangote for his industrialisation effort as it had provided thousands of direct and indirect employments in their various locations and boosted their economies.
The president urged Dangote to invest more in Cameroon’s manufacturing sector, saying his government was focused on promoting a business-friendly environment to make the country more attractive to investors.
He expressed pride in Dangote’s various efforts at promoting industrialisation across Africa through the building of cement plants in several African countries.
The Cameroonian president was excited that these plants have provided thousands of direct and indirect employment at their various locations, to boost the economies of countries, just like in Cameroon. He urged the leading African investor to consider more investments in the manufacturing sector in Cameroon, explaining that there are numerous business opportunities in the country.
He maintained that his government was focused on promoting a business-friendly environment to make the country more attractive and investors’ destination.
In 2013, the then president of Republic of Benin, Boni Yayi, conferred on Dangote, the country’s highest national honour, the Grand Commander of the National Order of the Republic of Benin. He described Aliko Dangote as a true son of Africa and deserved the award having proved his mettle in the private sector.
He pointed out that the category of award conferred on Dangote is reserved for presidents and heads of his country, and that Dangote was the first person outside government to bag the award.
He added that it was bestowed on him for his business exploits in the country.
Within Nigeria, in 2011, Aliko Dangote was conferred with the Grand Commander of the Order of the Niger (GCON) award in recognition of his contributions to the Nigerian economy. This is the country’s second highest national honour, after the Grand Commander of the Federal Republic (GCFR). He became the first person outside government and public office holders to have the award.
The GCON honour conferred on Dangote, according to the former President of Nigeria, Goodluck Jonathan, was based on his contributions to Nigeria’s greatness, via building a vast business empire which provides employment to thousands of Nigerians.
For Aliko Dangote, honours and awards are like a second skin. The roll-call of honours include; Forbes Africa Person of the year 2014; six times recipient of Forbes Most Powerful Man in Africa; CNBC’s top 25 businessmen in the world who changed and shaped century; 2014 Time Magazine 100 Most Influential People in the World; 2015 Bloomberg Markets’ 50 Most Influential Individuals in the World; The Guardian Man of the Year 2015; 2016 African Business Leader Award by Africa-America Institute and New African Magazine 100 Most Influential Africans in 2015, 2017, 2018 and 2019 respectively.
The business guru also got the Honorary Patron’s Award from Brevity Anderson for his contributions to the global hydrocarbon industry and his investments in Nigeria’s downstream sector.
Aside investments in Africa, Dangote has also become a leader in philanthropy. He pledged $1 billion to the Aliko Dangote Foundation with an additional $100 million partnership with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation to fight malnutrition in Nigeria.
Speaking on building a global brand, Dangote stated, “As Africa’s largest cement manufacturer, we understand our corporate sustainability responsibilities. We are focused on continually improving our social and environmental stewardship, socio-economic well-being and health and safety of key stakeholders. We are dedicated to ensuring progress in the communities and economies where we carry out our business.
“We are also committed to fulfilling the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and are taking very concrete steps to own and drive these global goals in our business operations and across our value chain.
“We relish our long membership with the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). We continue to drive the UNGC’s ten sustainability principles, which further strengthen our business performance and sense of responsibility to key stakeholders and the African economies where we operate.
“Our drive to support sustainable economic development and human capital advancement is at the heart of our business. We understand that these commitments require us to comply with national and global sustainability standards, principles and guidelines, including the Global Cement and Concrete Association (GCCA); the Nigerian Stock Exchange Sustainability Disclosure Guidelines; the Nigerian Code of Corporate Governance (NCCG); the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) Code of Corporate Governance; and similar codes and standards that are applicable in all our African markets.”
Dangote, whose wealth is valued at over $20 billion by Forbes, is the wealthiest man in Africa with huge interests in cement, sugar, salt, agriculture, manufacturing and petroleum.
Dangote’s business units include: Dangote Cement PLC, Dangote Sugar Refinery PLC, NASCON Allied Industries PLC, Dangote Rice Limited, Dangote Academy, Dangote Oil Refinery Company Limited, Dangote Fertiliser Limited, Dangote Packaging Limited, Dangote Ports Operations, Dangote Transport Limited, Dangote Sinotruk, Dangote Projects, Dangote Steel, Aliko Dangote Foundation and Dangote Construction Limited.
His ongoing projects include; building a 650,000 barrels-per-day refinery, which will become the world largest single train refinery on completion. Dangote Petroleum Refinery is expected to produce 65.4 million litres of Petrol (PMS), Diesel (AGO), Aviation Jet fuel (ATF) and Kerosene (DPK) daily, when it becomes operational. This high volume of PMS output from the Dangote Refinery will transform Nigeria from a petrol import-dependent country to an exporter of refined petroleum products.
The refinery is being designed to accommodate multiple grades of domestic and foreign crude (including shale oil) and process these into high-quality gasoline, diesel, kerosene, and aviation fuels that meet Euro V emissions specifications, plus polypropylene.
It will include; a crude distillation unit, single-train residual fluid catalytic cracking unit, diesel hydro-treating unit, continuous catalyst regeneration unit, alkylation unit, and a polypropylene unit. The project will provide thousands of direct and indirect jobs and add value to Nigeria’s economic development. It will lead to significant skills transfer and technology acquisition opportunities in the country.
The fertiliser plant, Dangote Fertiliser, the largest in West Africa with capacity to produce 3.0 million Tonnes of Urea per year, has commenced production. The fertiliser company is set to transfer the country’s agricultural sector.
All these landmarks and milestones, among other sterling achievements, provide the perfect template and reasons for Aliko Dangote, the great African humanist and entrepreneur. The remarkable thing is that this award trend is not over yet.