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The Connect Nigeria team celebrates Mr. Aliko Dangote who turned 58 on the 10th of April, 2015! The 2014 Forbes Africa Person of the Year undeniably stands out as an inspiration to millions of aspiring and current entrepreneurs across the continent. His many business achievements, positive contributions to society and the multi-million dollar empire he has grown for himself (with little to no scandal attached to his name) are just a few of the reasons why we love and respect this great visionary. Mr. Dangote’s success story is truly inspiring. Born in 1957, he discovered his passion for business as a child and has never looked back. He was able to successfully transform a small trading firm he started at age 20 to one of Africa’s biggest conglomerates, the Dangote Group.  The company today has stakes in various profitable endeavours – cement manufacturing, food processing and freight. It recently expanded into telecommunications and oil refining, with operations in Benin, Ghana, Togo and Nigeria. . I’ve learnt a few things from following Mr. Dangote’s life over the years.  The first is to refuse to be defined by my family’s background or environment. Dangote could have chosen to settle for a life a rich Hausa man’s son, but he chose to create a name for himself, and its popularity has far surpassed that of his father’s. Even if he grew up as a pauper, I’m certain his innate ambition would have forced him out of the situation, something we must all take note of. This leads me to my next lesson. Imagine transforming a loan of N20,000 to an estimated net worth of US$18.6 billion! That’s what Mr. Dangote has achieved in his lifetime, and we can only expect more of him from his recent business acquisitions. This goes to show that there are no limits to what can be achieved with hard work, ingenuity and drive. Thirdly, I’ve noted down the importance of investing in the welfare of my society in any way I can. He could have chosen to hold on to his wealth but he has instead given towards various causes like the fight against Ebola. In a true charitable fashion, he donated a whopping 50 million Naira (US$1 million) to halt the spread of the disease. As Mr. Dangote turns 58, I wish him many more years of success as he continues to inspire my generation on to greatness.         About the Writer: Ify Halim is a young Creative and a promoter of values through the force that is writing.  Follow her on twitter: @MissHalim

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This article was first published on 11th April 2015

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