Aliko Dangote has called for conscious efforts at deepening the African regional market by African investors and governments to aid rapid growth and development of the continent’s economy.
Speaking during “One to One Conversation” at the on-going 5th annual Financial Times Africa Summit, Dangote 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 said Africans must patronize African markets which is why the free trade agreements by African nations is the direction to go to strengthen.
Citing an instance of his own experience, the president of Dangote Group referred to the case of neighbouring Benin Republic where the country continues to import cement from China while his Nigerian factory is only 35 miles away from the border.
“We need to trade with ourselves,” Dangote stated as he spoke glowingly about the prospect of an African economy, the free trade agreement, and the availability of huge raw materials to attract investors.
Prompted by the Editor of the Newspaper, Lionel Barber to speak about difficult markets in Africa, Dangote dismissed the issue of 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 reduction of exports of raw materials to other continents but create greater wealth within African economies.
“We need to continue to transform the structure of African economies,” he said. He alluded to his company’s entry into the Ghana sugar market. “We are going to help Ghana grow its own sugar for the first time,” he said.