At the opening of the FT Africa Summit yesterday morning in London, Mr Aliko Dangote, CEO of Dangote Group said he remained optimistic in the face of fallen oil prices, stating Nigeria’s GDP “will not stagnate” any time soon.
He proposed that the low oil price will encourage economic growth in other significant industry sectors that will continue to see healthy growth regardless of the oil price drop, a challenge which is being felt across the world.
“We will have a short-term shock but people should remember that the Nigerian economy is resilient and huge,” Mr Dangote said yesterday, alluding to better management of not only supply and demand, but cracking down on corruption.
“It is zero tolerance when it comes to corruption,” he added.
If the new government continues its robust plan to end corruption, this will help to mitigate the near-50 percent oil price collapse felt over the past year.
“The government organisations have suffered a lot of leakages, so when oil was $100 a barrel we weren’t seeing all that revenue collected.
“I am confident that the new government will be able to block loopholes because the President is very serious about it…And Nigeria is a place where most of the people misbehaving are well known,” Mr Dangote said.
Delving further into his discussion with Lionel Barber, Editor for the Financial Times, Dangote cited that costly West African intra-trade was also hindering business growth for indigenous companies, with expensive charges at West Africa’s ports that “do not allow Nigerian businesses to thrive”.
He also highlighted that PPPs are a crucial element to Nigeria’s success, with the Dangote Group demonstrating its commitment through significant investments in the country, including a $12 billion in the construction of an oil and petrol chemical refinery located just outside Lagos by 2018.
Delivering perhaps the boldest statement made yesterday, Mr Dangote reinforced his belief in the Nigerian economy with the statement: “If you are a business in Africa but not in Nigeria, then you are not serious about being on the continent.”
It is visionary and bold statements such as this that today, resulted in Mr Dangote being named among the 50 world’s most influential personalities by Bloomberg, coming in at number 41 on the list. He aptly concluded his interview at the Summit stating he wanted the Dangote name to be as “big as possible”.
“All of us want to be challenged, and we have a succession plan in place to make sure we remain in Africa for the long-term,” he concluded.
Africa Outlook will be providing extensive coverage of the prevailing issues highlighted at this year’s FT Africa Summit in the upcoming issues of our magazine.