Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, has announced a no more importation declaration as he seeks to put an end to what has been a heavy dependence on importation of almost every material into the continent and particularly into Nigeria. Speaking at the Financial Times’ 4th annual Africa Summit in Claridges, London, Dangote said that the future was to produce the entire value chain in the country.
In a bid to support his declaration, Dangote gave examples of how Nigeria has shed its dependence on imprtation to satisfy its cement needs. “In 2007, Nigeria was the second largest importer of cement after the US. Today, we have not only satisfied domestic needs; we have become a leading exporter of 6-7M tonnes of cement”
The audience at the summit, including the Vice-President, Yemi Osinbajo and Congolese presidential hopeful Moise Katumbi, would not doubt the ability of the successful entrepreneur to make true on his declaration given what he has done in the cement industry as well as the trends in his new investments.
For example, Dangote is looking to invest in the dairy industry just due to the fact that “98% of all milk consumed in Nigeria is imported. Another example is rice where already Dangote is attempting to overturn Nigeria’s dependence on imported rice. “Soon we will be able to feed not only Nigeria but the entire 320M large West African market,” Dangote said. Not to be forgotten is that the industrialist has lying idle a tomato processing factory that has the ability to handle all of Nigeria’s current tomato production.
Speaking on the motivation for his “no more importation” drive, he added “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” With his current successes and his business strategies, very few would want to oppose the mogul. Particularly the FG would be hoping for the businessman to succeed in his drive as the coffers of the country would be all the better for it. All hail “no more importation” regime.