Business News

Overreliance on Raw Material Exports Not Good for Africa—Dangote

Aliko Dangote and Paul Kagame

By Aduragbemi Omiyale

Africa’s richest man and business mogul, Mr Aliko Dangote, has cautioned the continent against the overreliance on raw material exports, noting that it perpetuates a cycle of job loss and poverty.

Speaking at the Africa CEO Forum in Kigali, Rwanda, the Nigerian businessman said Africa must look inward and reverse the trend of exporting raw materials to bring in finished goods.

Nigeria, which is one of the largest producers of crude oil in the world, imports premium motor spirits (PMS), otherwise known as petrol, for local consumption.

Mr Dangote, which recently built an almost $20 billion refinery in Lagos, is yet to commence the production of petrol, though the facility has started to supply jet fuel and diesel to the domestic market.

The business tycoon frowned at this trend, saying it does not make the continent look serious, calling for increased investments to foster its rapid growth and development.

“Looking ahead, Africa holds the key to its greatness. I’m not merely investing money but dedicating my entire being to this cause.

“In Africa, possibilities are boundless. It is like a scratch card; you won’t know what is inside unless you scratch it. For some of us, despite the boom of the capital market in the US, we didn’t participate, rather we invested in Africa,” he affirmed.

Over the past seven years, Mr Dangote said he had channelled over $25 billion into bolstering Africa’s self-sufficiency in vital sectors such as fertilizers, petrochemicals, and refined products.

Notably, he said the monumental Dangote Refinery, boasting a capacity of 650,000 barrels per day, stands poised to meet the burgeoning demand across West Africa, Central Africa, and South Africa.

“We have finished our refinery; it is quite big. We believe it is what Africa needs. If you look at the entire continent, only two countries don’t import petroleum products, Algeria and Libya but the rest import. We need to change that, so we don’t just produce raw materials but finished products and create jobs.

“One of the things we need to know as Africans is that when we produce raw materials and export them while others dump finished products on our continent, what we are doing is that we are importing poverty while exporting jobs. We must change the narrative.

“We just commissioned in February. We are producing jet fuel and diesel. By next month, we will be producing gasoline but what that will do is that it will be able to take most of the African crudes that are being produced and be able to supply refined products not only in Nigeria because our capacity is too big for Nigeria. It will be able to supply in West Africa, Central Africa and South Africa. This is the first phase, we are going to the next phase by next year,” he said.