‘Agriculture used to be a NO GO area for me, today I’m investing $2.3 bln’ – Dangote

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The World’s 27th richest man, Alhaji Aliko Dangote has opened up to the World Economic Forum about the secret of making it in big business in Africa. His secret – “Embrace Risks”.

Dangote, speaking during a live telecast of a business platform “Africa’s Next Billion” alongside African leaders such as Goodluck Jonathan, and John Mahama said Africa was not as bad as portrayed in the media and unnecessary fears were pricing certain investors out of the market.

His words: “For instance foreign investors wait for election to be concluded, after then, they tried to check the stability of government of the day for at least two years but then, its more difficult to take any decision because the tenure of the government is coming to end and by so doing, foreign investors are scared of incoming or incumbent and the cycle keeps going on.

“But then I don’t think there is anything to be afraid of because no government is against business, every government is pro-business. Most business risk is perceived not actual risk”.

He said he envisioned a United Africa by 2050 and called for lifting of travel restrictions outside the Ecowas community States.

As at today, an American has more access to Africa than myself taking visa issues into consideration. I would require 38 visas to visit 38 African countries outside of ECOWAS.

“The government needs to make a policy where we don’t supply/export raw materials out alone, we want to be involved. We want those factories to be set up and produce here, run it for us for about 4-5 years, then we can take over production ourselves.

“Majority of our raw materials have been exported, processed abroad and brought back with at-least 10per cent higher than the original cost.

“Entrepreneurship entails been able to take calculated risk, strong business stamina and a large appetite for work and success. We have what it takes in Africa for people to do business and succeed. I believe in Africa’s setting for entrepreneurship, if you take the risk, the market is there.

“In Nigeria, we have one of the most attractive investment policies through framework that the government has put in place to help businesses succeed.“If I dreamt five years ago that I would invest in Agriculture, I will write it off as bad dream or nightmare but today, we’re investing $2.3 billion in Agriculture, $2 billion in sugar, and $300 million in rice.

“In Agriculture, we’re going to create 180, 000 jobs in the next four years in Nigeria. African government needs to invest in infrastructure, education, economic stability.”

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