‘How we consolidated our position through backward integration’
Africa’s foremost business leader, Aliko Dangote has attributed the success of his businesses to the implementation of a backward integration agenda to promote self-sufficiency in various commodities.
Speaking at the Financial Times’ 4th Annual Africa Summit at Claridges in London, Dangote said the strategy has worked and is working, therefore urged other African nations to do same to reduce the Continent’s import dependence.
The Dangote Group’s Chief Executive reeled out statistics that compelled him to key into the strategy implemented by the Nigerian government in the presence of Nigeria’s Vice-President Professor Yemi Osinbajo, Congolese presidential hopeful Moise Katumbi, and about 300 business leaders across the world.
He stated that his ultimate ambition is to see an African nation that would stop import totally at the end.“We are not going to import anything any longer. In Nigeria, we are learning how to produce the entire value chain”, he added.
Once a heavy importer of fertilizer, Nigeria is now gearing up to produce 3m tonnes of locally manufactured fertilizer, transforming the nation into one of the largest fertilizer exporters in Africa.
“In 2007 Nigeria was the second largest importer of cement after the United States. Today, we have not only satisfied domestic needs; we have become a leading exporter of 6-7m tonnes of cement,” he added.
Diversifying into agriculture, Dangote said he had his eyes on the dairy industry motivated by the fact that 98 percent of all milk consumed in Nigeria is imported.
On his rice project, he said: “Soon we will be able to feed not only Nigeria but the entire 320 million large West African market.“Are we going to continue to import everything? Freight rates are now cheap but they will go up soon. A population of over 200 million cannot continue to import basic needs on a daily basis,” he added.
By 2100, Dangote stated Africa will represent 49% of the world’s population, up from 30% today. “If you don’t think big we won’t grow at all,” he said. “In Africa you have to play long-term.”
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