Monday, 28th September/ London “I believe that we will be able to transform Africa by ourselves. Not alone, but we will lead and others will follow”.
These are the words of Nigerian billionaire Aliko Dangote, who is featured in this month’s edition of African Business. In the ‘Focus on Nigeria’ special, which looks at the challenges and opportunities of Africa’s largest economy, he gives an exclusive interview covering prospects, politics and possibilities.
Dangote, who has stated that he has only achieved about 5 per cent of overall his strategic vision for Africa, speaks candidly and broadly about leadership and governance, regional integration, economic development and, of course, his business.
Dangote, who’s estimated net worth is $18.3billion, is aggressively expanding his cement company across Africa in anticipation of an infrastructure and construction boom. During a recent visit to Zimbabwe, Dangote announced plans to invest $400 million in constructing a cement plant which, when completed, will produce 1.5 million tonnes of cement a year. In June, Dangote cement launched a 2.5 million metric tonnes per annum (mtpa) cement plant in Addis-Ababa, Ethiopia, and commissioned a $250 million factory in Cameroun. It’s no wonder that the expansive cement giant was recently awarded the 2015 African Business of the Year Award. And this is just one part of the conglomerate’s business. The Dangote Group’s diversified activities encompass Manufacturing, Mining, FCMGs, Poly Products, Logistics and Real Estate, to name a few.
He believes that diversification is a good thing. For Nigeria, he believes that diversifying away from oil, into sectors such as agriculture and telecommunications can only benefit the country in the long term. In fact, he maintains that rather than having a detrimental effect on Nigeria’s prospects, the current oil crisis is a blessing in disguise. ‘It will force us to be more serious and more focused in terms of diversification of the economy, » he says.
Dangote accepts that Nigeria’s new President Muhammadu Buhari has his work cut out and his mandate will not be easy. Nevertheless he disagrees vehemently with the sceptics. Nigeria, and indeed Africa is still on the rise, very much able to attract global investment on a large scale, and deliver attractive returns on such investments he says. Overall, Dangote is very optimistic about Nigeria’s prospects.
As well as the Nigeria Focus, this edition also carries a Special Report on Oil and Gas, looking at the economic effects of the collapse in oil prices; a regional ranking of Africa’s top 100 Banks; an interview with former South African President, Thabo Mbeki; a one-to-one with Grant Schapps, the UK’s Minister for Africa. The issue also takes an in-depth look at Africa’s new dispensation towards Iran since it shed its pariah status and examines how the country is re-engaging with South Africa. Also in this issue, you can read about Malawi’s investment and development drive and see how Mauritius is expanding its agribusiness markets with a focus on locally-grown traditional foods.
The October issue of African Business is out now, and heading to newsstands across the globe, and is digitally now via http://www.
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