Africa needs to have strong institutions to attract investment: Dangote

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“One of the greatest [obstacles] apart from corruption is the lack of understanding in the sense that today, somebody can say ‘I don’t want to go to Africa’, you ask why, he says he has heard that there is corruption in Africa but really almost every single country in the world has corruption. The thing is for us to have strong institutions that will deal with that,” Dangote told business news network CNBC.

“Even here in the States, you have corruption but when you cross the line, there are strong institutions that will deal with that situation. With us, the majority of our governments have tried to stop corruption and I think doing that on a continuous basis will end up eliminating corruption entirely.”

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Dangote, speaking after it was announced that he made CNBC’s First 25, a global list of individuals who have had a profound impact on business and finance since 1989, also emphasised the progress that is taking place in Africa.

“Africa is a continent with 54 countries. At the moment, we have a one billion population, GDP is 1.85 trillion. We’ve been growing at about 5.5 per cent GDP year-on-year for the last 11, 12 years and it’s been doing quite well,” he said.

“When you really look at the numbers, things are happening. A lot of people don’t believe [that] because they have archaic information of the 1970s. We’re being consistent in terms of the growth. If you look at it, the projection that in 2050, which means [in] 36, 37 years, if we keep growing at about 5.5 per cent, Africa will be a two billion population and we’ll have about 15 trillion GDP.”

As a result of this growth, Africa has received increased foreign investment in recent times and Dangote indicated that China is just one of the nations interested in the continent’s growth.

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“There are quite a lot of people, in fact a lot of American companies like General Electric, that do believe in Africa and they are investing heavily in Africa. When you look at what General Electric is doing, what they’ve done in the first quarter of 2014 is the total of what they did in 2011,” he explained.

“It is not only the Chinese that are looking at Africa, almost every single country is looking at Africa because things are happening. When you look at infrastructure, there’s a lot to be done. When you look at mining, there’s a lot to be done. The areas that you want to pick and do business in are enormous. In Africa the return on investment is averaging at about 30 per cent and that’s why people are making a lot of money.”