Nairametrics| Aliko Dangote, the richest African, according to Forbes, has always had global ambitions. He has taken his cement company across Africa, and has never hidden his desire to operate in every continent of the world. His Africa Centre will enable him to achieve that. While it may look like a public relations or cultural project, there are commercial benefits to it.
The Africa Centre will increase interaction between his daughter Halima, who heads the Centre, and various government and non-governmental agencies. This will be helpful when the conglomerate is ready to expand further.
Several prominent businessmen in Nigeria have adopted this method. Tony Elumelu with his TEEP Programme operates across various African countries. He also does the same with Heirs Holdings. The late MKO Abiola did something similar with his campaign for repatriation. It could also be that Aliko is grooming Halima to succeed him. The centre may well be a way of introducing her to his network.
Expanding outside of Nigeria also lowers the risk of his companies being prosecuted in case a change in government becomes unfavourable to the organisation. A scenario that has played out in Nigeria and other emerging markets.
Furthermore, global expansion provides a steady source of foreign exchange which can be ploughed back into capital-intensive projects back in Nigeria, like the refinery and sugar projects. The expansion also benefits Nigerians who will work in various countries across the world. They will acquire life-long skills which can be deployed later in life for their personal benefits.
Lastly, and probably the most important reason for Aliko going global, is the financial benefits. The Dangote Group will likely get tax breaks for any contributions towards the Africa Centre project. This will lower the amount of tax he has to pay, meaning more dividends to shareholders.