The Nigerian businessman's fortune surged 557% in the past year, making him the world's biggest gainer in percentage terms and Africa's richest individual for the first time. The catalyst was listing Dangote Cement, which integrated his investments across Africa with his previously public Benue Cement; it now accounts for a quarter of the Nigeria Stock Exchange's total market cap. Already the continent's biggest cement maker, he has plants under construction in Zambia, Tanzania, Congo and Ethiopa and is building cement terminals in Sierra Leone, Ivory Coast and Liberia, among other places. Dangote, who recently bought himself a $45 million Bombardier aircraft for his birthday, has been shuttling back and forth to London for months, in anticipation of a public offering there later this year. Dangote began his career as a commodities trader; built his Dangote Group into conglomerate with interests in sugar, flour milling, salt processing, cement manufacturing, textiles, real estate, and oil and gas.