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09 October 2018

Aliko Dangote calls for deeper pan-Africa economic ties through free trade

First publishedon www.AggBusiness.com

Dangote Group boss Aliko Dangote has called for African investors and governments to make more conscious efforts to deepen the continent’s regional trading ties in order to ensure rapid growth and development of Africa’s economy.

Speaking yesterday during the two-day 5th Annual Financial Times African Summit in London, England (7-8 October), the Nigerian construction materials entrepreneur said free trade agreements among African nations were key to strengthening African economic progress.

Citing an instance from his own experience, the Dangote Group president referred to neighbouring Benin Republic, where the country continues to import cement from China while his Nigerian factory is only 35 miles away from Benin’s border.

“We need to trade with ourselves,” Dangote stated as he spoke glowingly about the prospects for the African economy, through free trade agreements and the presence of huge raw materials to attract investors.

Asked about when the much-touted listing of Dangote Cement on the London Stock Exchange, he told an audience comprising investors, business magnates, captains of Industry and African heads of government including president Akufo-Addo of Ghana and Ali Bongo of Gabon that the listing might happen in 2019.

Prompted by the editor of The Financial Times, Lionel Barber, to speak about difficult markets like Tanzania and Ethiopia, Dangote dismissed the issue, saying: "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 and how there needed to be a reduction in exports of raw materials to other continents, stating: "We need to continue to transform the structure of African economies.” The West African building materials magnate alluded to his company’s entry into the Ghana Sugar market which, he stressed, is helping to revitalise the country’s economy. "We are going to help Ghana grow its own sugar for the first time,” he pronounced.

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