Africa’s richest man, Aliko Dangote, said at the United Nations General Assembly in New York that he hopes for the global crude oil prices to remain low for a longer period so that resource-rich African countries can turn to other sectors to grow their economies.
Dangote, while speaking with investors who participated in the high level business leaders and international diplomats meeting organized by the Corporate Council for Africa at the headquarters of global law firm, Shearman and Sterling LLC, canvassed for diversification of economies.
Dangote said, “This helps wean us off the dependency on revenues from petroleum. We must take oil to be the icing on the cake. We already have the cake – agriculture, agriculture, agriculture. Africa will become the food basket of the world.”
Although the Dangote Group president predicted that “five of the 12 million jobs needed in Africa soon must be created in Nigeria,” he said this would only be realized if they were trained.
Mr. Dangote’s business fortune, which comes from cement, sugar, and other household commodities, has expanded into fertilizer and other processed high-value goods, and his refinery is expected to commence operations next year.
He said, “Technology of course helps us a lot and our factories are state of the art with the use of robotics but we shouldn’t be overly tech oriented to create wealth.”
Often cited as one of the most inspiring business leaders in the world today and a model for young entrepreneurs, Mr. Dangote advised Americans who tend to rely on outdated news and wrong perceptions of Africa, “not to be lazy.”
“Go there (Africa) and find out the real story for yourself. Things have changed.”