Africa’s most successful business leader, Aliko Dangote has noted that the way to go in achieving a sustainable African economy is to learn to use home grown resources, rather than depending on foreign export. He made this during an interview session at the Financial Times’ 4th annual Africa Summit (http://APO.af/qv2dZF) at Claridges in London.
In the interview, conducted by FT editor, Lionel Barber, in the presence of Nigerian vice-president Professor Yemi Osingajo, Congolese presidential hopeful Moise Katumbi, and about 300 business leaders, Dangote said the key to his success include self-sufficiency and backward integration, a manufacturing strategy that extracts value from entire processes. “We are not going to import anything any longer,” he said. “In Nigeria, we are learning how to produce the entire value chain”, he added.
Noting that in 2007, Nigeria was the second largest importer of cement after the US, Dangote told the audience of business elites: “Today, we have not only satisfied domestic needs; we have become a leading exporter of 6-7M tonnes of cement”.
Diversifying into agriculture, Dangote has eyes on the dairy industry motivated by the fact that “98% of all milk consumed in Nigeria is imported.” Same for rice. Dangote Group has invested heavily in rice production by investing in local farmers and then offering to buy back the 1M tonnes at open market prices that they are growing. “Soon, we will be able to feed not only Nigeria, but the entire 320M large West African market.”
By 2100, Africa will represent 49% of the world’s population, up from 30% today. “If you don’t think big, we won’t grow at all,” he said, adding: “In Africa, you have to play long-term.”
Asked by Barber which African nation, apart from Nigeria are good growth opportunities, Dangote answered: “I’d have to pick Nigeria. I am a big fan of Nigeria. We are only using 8% of our land.”
*By ‘SANMI FALOBI: Sourced from APO Group – Africa Newsroom*