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Dangote to African countries: Remove trade barriers for sustainable growth, development

L-R: Lagos State Commissioner for Finance, Dr. Rabiu Olowo; Managing Director, CT Productions, Camelia Oros Tsarouchis; Group Executive Director/Group Chief Risk Officer at DIL, Dr. Adenike Fajemirokun; and Regional Executive/Managing Director, Ecobank Nigeria, Bolaji Lawal, at the Launch of “The World Ahead 2023” by 'The Economist' in Lagos Photo: Dangote Group

*Aliko Dangote, President/Chief Executive of Dangote Industries Limited, discloses his conglomerate has committed over $20billion to pan-African investments, urging countries on continent to dismantle all economic barriers to achieve sustainable economic growth and development for prosperity of all

Gbenga Kayode | ConsumerConnect

Aliko Dangote, Africa’s foremost entrepreneur and President/Chief Executive (CE) of the Dangote Group, has urged the African countries to dismantle all economic barriers hindering free trade in order to achieve sustainable growth and development across the continent.

ConsumerConnect reports Dangote stated this while speaking at the weekend during the launch of a Special publication, “The World Ahead 2023”, by the renowned media outfit, The Economist, held in Lagos.

Dangote, represented at the event by Dr. Adenike Fajemirokun, Group Executive Director/Group Chief Risk Officer, Dangote Industries Limited (DIL) expressed the irrevocable commitment of his pan-African conglomerate to solving some of the economic challenges Africa and its people face.

Dangote Group’s Afrocentric investments

In order to attain this lofty objective, the leading private sector player disclosed the Dangote Group had committed over $20 billion to investments in several key sectors of the African economy.

Dangote also disclosed that the massive investments were meant to turn around Africa’s economic fortunes for sustained economic growth of the continent through free trade and economic integration.

The President/CE of DIL further noted the crucial task of building a sustainable future that guarantees equitable growth and prosperity for all, should not be the exclusive role of the public sector alone, but also involve the private sector of the economy.

He stated: “Our massive investments of over 20 billion dollars across key industries, including Energy, Agriculture, and Infrastructure.

“Our recently commissioned 3million Metric Tonnes’ Fertilizer Plant, expansions in cement production, and our soon-to-be commissioned 650,000 barrels per day world’s largest single-train refinery, are all set to empower farmers, foster backward integration, create thousands of jobs, eliminate our dependence on imported products, and improve our nation’s foreign exchange earnings significantly.”

Dangote further said: “We are also confronting environmental issues through our investment in alternative fuels, as well as unlocking enormous opportunities in the communities, where we have our footprints, while ultimately, ensuring that we keep delivering huge value to our shareholders.”

Tackling multilayered global and regional issues

According to Dangote, “the multilayered issues that we face globally and across regions today, ranging from rising energy costs, food insecurity, supply-chain disruptions, access to quality healthcare, cybersecurity, inflation among others brought about by the pandemic or other human factors like the Russia-Ukraine war, call for an objective rethink of geopolitics and geo-economics, especially as they vastly affect policy execution and the ease of doing business in more vulnerable economies.”

He as well drew the attention of the international audience to the need for all hands to be on deck towards lifting Africa above the various socio-economic challenges facing the member-countries.

He also observed the African population has been growing exponentially.

“Nigeria, for instance, is projected to be the world’s third largest population by 2050 surpassing the United States, only behind India and China, so the question of sustained economic growth has become increasingly critical and isn’t one for a single sector to tackle alone.

“To secure the future of our country and our continent we must forge strong public-private partnerships and dismantle regional barriers with vehicles like the African Continental Free Trade Agreement (AfCFTA),” said he.

Going forward as a continent

Dangote, therefore, advised that going forward, the overarching conversations, whether at global or regional levels, in emerging markets or in OECD countries, must be refocused on exploring the specifics of our fast-changing world.

The DIL Chief Executive stated this measure is important “in order to align public-private perspectives and identify areas for collaboration for the collective good of people, planet, and profit.”

Dangote as well commended ‘The Economist’ for putting together the publication being launched on the occasion.

He described the special publication as a rich body of work that offers useful data for all sectors to draw insights from and synthesise the same towards arriving at cutting-edge action points.

Publication a valuable document for policymakers, planners: Lagos Deputy Governor

Speaking at the forum, Dr. Obafemi Hamzat, Deputy Governor of Lagos State, described the publication as a valuable document for policymakers and strategic planners.

Hamzat noted that its contents reaffirm part of the strategies the Lagos State Government (LASG) had executed to make Lagos to assume its status as the preferred destination of choice for investors.

The Deputy Governor disclosed that Lagos has just 0.4 percent of the land mass of Nigeria, but has 11 percent of the country’s population.

This scenario, he noted, explains why some of the challenges in Lagos are peculiar to the metropolis, disclosing that some of the strategies adopted by the state government are geared towards solving the challenges.

According to him, Lagos is Africa’s fastest growing economy and added that a key policy of the state government is to improve its investment profile by providing an enabling environment.

Hamzat further noted that the state has invested billions of Naira in infrastructure and technology, citing the Lekki Deep Seaport as one of the enablers, which has made Lagos to attract 60 per cent of the Foreign Direct Investment into Nigeria.

Mr. Mobolaji Lawal, Regional Executive and Managing Director of Ecobank Nigeria Limited, also hailed ‘The Economist’ special launch.

Lawal noted the publication provides an opportunity for knowledge sharing for the government and private sector to explore emerging opportunities in the digital space.

The Managing Director of Ecobank said: “If we get it right, it will stimulate growth and drive transformation and ensure economic growth.”

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