…wants 5million jobs created in Nigeria
By Ada Anioji
Billionaire industrialist and serial enterpreneur, Aliko Dangote, at the UN General Assembly in New York has stated that Africa will feed mankind even as she is set to become ‘the food basket of the world.”
Affirming also that as much as ‘five of the twelve million jobs needed in Africa soon must be created in Nigeria,” his home country, the business leader told gathered investors to look seriously in the area of agriculture as that was where the continent presently had its net potential. “Agriculture, agriculture, agriculture. Africa will become the food basket of the world,” he echoed.
Dangote was addressing a packed room at the headquarters of global law firm, Shearman and Sterling LLC, that included high level business leaders and international diplomats who had been invited by the Corporate Council for Africa to hear the duo of Africa’s richest man and the Rwandan president, Paul Kagame converse on Africa’s opportunities and challenges.
At the session, both leaders underscored the ongoing movement to diversify African economies. In the case of Nigeria, Africa’s largest economy, Dangote stated “we should pray that oil prices remain low. This helps wean us off the dependency on revenues from petroleum. We must take oil to be the icing on the cake. We already have the cake,” he added.
In addition to agriculture, Dangote cited Nigeria’s vast mineral resources and gas as well and the need to manufacture more goods locally for domestic consumption. Both he and President Kagame cited continued need for heavy investments in education and connected the need for young people to be well trained for the jobs of tomorrow.
Dangote’s fortune which stems from cement, sugar, and other household commodities has expanded into fertilizer and other processed high-value goods. “Technology of course helps us a lot and our factories are state of the art with the use of robotics but we shouldn’t be overly tech oriented to create wealth,” he told investors.
The industrialist who is often cited as one of the most inspiring business leaders in the world today and a model for young entrepreneurs upbraided Americans who tend to rely on outdated news and wrong perceptions of Africa, “Don’t be lazy. Go there and find the real story for yourself. Things have changed.”
On this score, Dangote noted the Rwanda success story where he has business interests as an example of positive change, good governance and leadership, and where corruption has been cured. He cited a personal experience of offering a $100 US tip for services at the Kigali Airport to staff who refused to take money for work they were paid to do. he commended President Kagame for delivering the environment for growth that he had promised. And to this, the response from Kagame was complementing: “There is nothing African about corruption,” the Rwandan president affirmed.
The session was moderated by Rosa Whitaker, former US Trade Representative and author of the African Growth Opportunity Act), whose business consultancy has been most active in helping African governments and US companies develop and sustain viable and ongoing commercial relationships.
Pix: Aliko Dangote