Despite the ongoing economic recession, Africa’s richest man and President, Dangote Group, Alhaji Aliko Dangote, has restated his promise to invest about $20 billion in the economy in the next five years.
Dangote, who stated this after receiving the 2016 African Business Leader award from a United Statesbased non-governmental organisation, Africa- America Institute (AAI), said the money would go into projects ranging from a petroleum refinery, petrochemicals, fertiliser, gas pipeline and backward integration in sugar and rice production.
“Over the next few years, we will be investing nearly $20 billion in projects ranging from a petroleum refinery, petrochemicals,fertiliser, gas pipeline, and backward integration in sugar and rice production. These projects will create over 250,000 jobs and provide foreign exchange earnings and savings of $16 billion for the country and help diversify our economy.
“Central to this developmental trajectory is the need for capacity building and ramping up of the quality of skills of a fast growing African workforce. “Despite the current economic challenges, we will continue to scale up the value of our investments not only in Nigeria, but also across the entire continent, because we believe in Nigeria and Africa’s potential.
“We believe that it is only by sustained massive investments in infrastructure across the continent, supported with access to education, that Africa can reach its full potential,” he noted. In recognition of his immense contribution to human capital development in Africa through the establishment of businesses across the African continent, the business guru was named and presented the award at a colourful ceremony held on the sideline of the United Nations Congress held in New York.
Reacting to the recognition, Dangote said he was humbled considering the pedigree of the award, which celebrates African achievement at the global stage. At the award Gala themed: “Education: The Key to Africa’s Economic Growth,” Dangote expressed delight that the Institute brought education in Africa to the front burner, noting that he had always been passionate about education because it is a weapon of liberation.
Drawing a reference from a Nelson Mandela quote that: “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world,” the Chairman of Dangote Cement said he identified himself with laudable initiatives that seek to promote educational growth and development, particularly in Africa. He said: “As a matter of fact, I am a founding member of the Gordon Brownled Global Business Coalition for Education.
“Education is also one of the cardinal areas that the Aliko Dangote Foundation focuses on. I believe quality and affordable education will address the immense social and economic inequalities that often breed discontent in many parts of Africa. ”
I also believe education will strengthen the human capital that will drive Africa’s development in the 21st Century. “I am happy to note that AAI has been contributing to Africa’s development, through training and education, since it was founded 63 years ago.
This award is coming at a time the Dangote Group is rapidly expanding its footprints across Africa, and into new sectors. “Last year alone, we commenced cement operations in Ethiopia, Zambia, Cameroon, South Africa, Senegal and Tanzania.
By 2019, we will have operations in 18 countries with a total capacity of nearly 80MMTPA, thus making us the largest cement producer in Africa and the 6th largest in the world.” Commending the organisers for the recognition, he said the award would further encourage the group to redouble its efforts as it works towards promoting Africa’s economic renaissance.