Sierra Leone Telegraph: 9 October 2018:
Africa’s top businessman – Aliko Dangote, has called for conscious efforts at deepening African regional market by African investors and governments, so as to aid rapid growth and development of the Continent’s economy.
Speaking in London in a “One to One Conversation” at the ongoing 5th annual Financial Times African Summit, the Nigerian entrepreneur said that the key to Africa’s economic growth and strength is in the development of the regional market. “Regional markets in Africa must work,” he said.
Dangote calls on Africans to patronize African markets, which he said is why the free trade agreements by African nations is the direction to go to strengthen African markets.
Citing an instance of his own experience, the president of Dangote group referred to the case of neighbouring Benin Republic, where the country continues to import cement from China, while his Nigerian factory is only 35 miles away from the border.
“We need to trade with ourselves”, Dangote stated as he spoke glowingly about the prospect for the African economy, the free trade agreement and the availability of huge raw materials to attract investors.
Asked about possible date for the much-touted listing of Dangote cement on the London Stock Exchange, he told his audience comprising of investors, business magnates, captains of Industry and African Heads of Government – which included President Akufo-Addo of Ghana (Photo) and Ali Bongo of Gabon, that the listing could take place in 2019.
According to Dangote, all hands are on deck in completing the listing process, which he said is eagerly anticipated by the business community.
Asked about perceived difficult markets, such as Tanzania and Ethiopia, Dangote said: “Our aim is to always provide jobs. 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. He urges the reduction of exports of raw materials to other continents and the creation of greater wealth within African economies. “We need to continue to transform the structure of African economies”.
He alluded to his company’s entry into the Ghana sugar market, pointing that he is further expanding his sugar business to Ghana for the main reason of helping to revitalize the country’s economy.
“We are going to help Ghana grow its own sugar industry for the first time,” Dangote promised.