• A week ago, Alhaji Aliko Dangote’s group won the African Company of the Year Award at the 2016 Africa CEO Forum.

    The Nigerian based company continues to reap from investing in Africa, a goal pursued and encouraged by Aliko Dangote- Founder and CEO of the Dangote Group.

    Dangote Group, one of Africa’s leading industrial conglomerates has interests in the production of cement, salt, rice, and other goods. Most recently it has also brought on board the production of tomato paste. The tomato paste factory was opened in Kano State to compete with imports of the product in the country.

    Awarding the company, the Founder and President of the Africa CEO Forum, Mr Amir Ben Yahmed, recognized Dangote Group for its achievement and outstanding expansion on the African Continent in 2015.

    Earlier in the year, Dangote was named the wealthiest man in Africa by Forbes Africa with a net worth of $16.4 billion.

    Now is the time to invest in Africa

    According to the CEO of the company, the potential of growing Africa lies within the continent and as such, people should invest in various sectors to safeguard development in the region.

    Speaking to McKinsey last year, Dangote said: “invest now, before it’s too late. The train is about to leave the station.”

    He was speaking about his plan for his company in 2015, which seems to have come to fruition after it triumphed over other nominees including Ascendis Health, Seplat, Safaricom, Ison Group, Maroc Telecom, Naspers and Sanalam at the 2016 Africa CEO event.

    Over the years, the company has transformed its production goals to encompass exports of value-added goods which have not only enabled the company to grow but also transform Nigeria’s economy. By the year 2020, Dangote Group whose market price by 2015 was about $25 billion hopes to have hit a record of $100 billion.

    Dangote emphasizes the need to export goods instead of raw materials alone saying that raw material does not make much money for a country as compared to already processed products- a plan that the company is pursuing and trying to change the mindset of others.

    Other than sugar, wheat, flour, pasta, and cement businesses, which are operational in 16 countries in Africa, the company is also into the production of fertilizer—urea and ammonia. This, they hope to have accomplished in 2017 with an invest of about $16 billion.

    Speaking at the CEO Forum, Dangote also unveiled his plan to expand Nigeria’s sugar industry aimed at satisfying the local needs.

    He called on Africa to learn the ability to connect manufacturing industries with the local feed-stock. He urged, African nations to trade with each other adding that “the more you trade with yourself, the less exposed you are to global shocks.”

    Creating strong partnerships

    “If you want to walk fast, walk alone; if you want to walk far, walk with a group,” an old saying goes.

    Strategic partnerships can propel development further and Dangote believes in partnering with like-minded organizations and individuals to propel Africa’s growth opportunities.

    A partnership between Dangote Group and Blackstone will see to it that $5 billion is invested in infrastructure in Africa.

    Moreover, the company’s innovation strategy calls it to reexamine processes as they are key when it comes to competing with the international manufacturing base, both in terms of quality and producing goods in the most economical way possible.

    Developing and empowering leaders

    “What really matters in human capital: hiring people who are smarter than you,” Dangote said in an interview.

    Dangote invests in human capital because he believes that his success has been contributed much by the management team in his company. He knows and appreciates the fact that the right team helps in delivering the company’s expectations.

    Apart from investing in human capital, Dangote has partnered with former Nigeria President, Olusegun Obasanjo, and the Duke of York KG, Andrew Edward to support entrepreneurship in Africa.

    The African Entrepreneurship Programme (AEP) which is an initiative of the Global African Investment Summit, and Pitch@Palace will support African entrepreneurs and young businesses in need of capital and mentorship. The participants will be given an opportunity to present their businesses and ideas and connect with potential investors.

    The Africa CEO Forum which was themed ‘New reality, new priorities’ comes at a time when Africa is adjusting to falling commodity prices and creating new opportunities out of economic diversification. The forum took place on 21st and 22nd March 2016, in Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire. It brought together the high-ranking business people from Africa and all over the world.

    The forum also discussed how the private sector can lead to the growth of various economies in the continent. This year’s event was the fourth in the series and held on African soil for the first time.

    Image credit: Africa CEO Forum