Dangote: Industrialization, Free Trade will Boost  Africa’s Economy

By Christabel Arina (ScienceAfrica Correspondent)

Africa’s foremost industrialist Aliko Dangote has called for conscious efforts at deepening African regional market by African investors and governments in order to aid rapid growth and development of the continent’s economy.

Dangote spoke during “One to One Conversation” at the 5th  Annual Financial Times African Summit. The Nigerian entrepreneur said the key to Africa’s economic growth and strength is in the development of the regional market, saying “Regional markets in Africa must work.”

Dangote emphasized that Africans need to patronize African markets which is why the free trade agreements by African nations is the direction to go to strengthen the markets.

The president of Dangote Group referred to the case of Benin Republic which imports cement from China despite his factory in Nigeria being only 35 miles away from the border.

“We need to trade with ourselves”, Dangote stated as he spoke glowingly about the prospect of African economy, the free trade agreement and the availability of huge raw materials to attract investors.

Responding to a question about when the much touted listing of Dangote cement on the London Stock Exchange, he told his audience comprising of investors, business magnates, captains of Industry and African Heads of Government which included President Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Ali Bongo of Gabon, that the listing might happen in 2019.

According to him, all hands are on deck to complete the process of listing, the development which he said is being looked towards for by the business community.

Prompted by the Editor of the Newspaper, Lionel Barber to speak about difficult markets like Tanzania and Ethiopia, Dangote dismissed the issue difficulty and re-affirmed “our aim is to always provide jobs and worth. As an African investor I don’t want any investor anywhere in Africa to have a bad experience.”

Dangote repeated his central mantra for African growth urging the decrease of exports of raw materials to other continent but create greater wealth within African economies.

“We need to continue to transform the structure of African economies”. He spoke briefly of his company’s entry into the Ghana Sugar market, pointing that he is further expanding his sugar business to Ghana for the main reason of helping to revitalize its economy.

“We are going to help Ghana grow its own sugar for the first time.”